The Overflow! where souls are filled and faith is spilled

Why that Mess of Yours May be the Start of Something Marvelous

Welcome! I’m glad you’re here.  Whether you’re an old friend or a new one, feel free to pull up a chair and stay a while. If you like what you find, I hope you’ll sign up on the sidebar to receive my blog in your inbox now and then. Or find me on Facebook or Twitter and we’ll stay connected as we chase after Jesus day by day. Better yet, I’d  love to meet you face to face!  I’m scheduling speaking events for 2017-2018 now and would be delighted to head your way. (Feel free to contact me at overflow@aliciabruxvoort.net if you’d like more information).

Over at Encouragement for Today, I’m telling a story about a great big mess and a creative little girl with eyes of possibility. If you haven’t read it, you’ll want to swing over here and check it out. But before you go, let me tell you what I learned from another mess right beneath my roof…

I heard the clank of the crash before the sound of her wail reached my ears.

The clamor of sad sobs led right to my daughter’s bedroom door. And when I entered that little yellow room, I found her. Beside the tall white bunk bed, in the center of the floor, my sullen eight-year-old sat in a spray of scattered bricks and pummeled plans.

“This wasn’t supposed to happened,” she howled as she waved her hand over the motley mess of fallen Legos. 

I gazed at the jumbled pieces on the floor and squatted low to put my arm around her sagging shoulders.

“I was almost done building the most amazing castle, Mom,” my girl explained. “I was just adding the very last tower over here-–” she said, her pointer finger hovering over the place where her grand creation had stood. “But when I reached for that pretty  purple Lego, I bumped my jewelry box off the dresser and it fell right on top of my castle and wrecked the whole thing….” She flopped face down on the floor in the middle of the scattered bricks and punctuated her story with a hiccup and a sigh.

Drizzles of disappointment seeped from my young builder’s eyes, and I tried to think of something to say- something wise and maternal. But I too have watched some of my greatest plans topple and fall. And I know all too well the sting of disappointment when my best plans fail. So I just reached for my little one’s hand and held it quietly right there in the middle of the mess.

My daughter held her face in her hands as I lingered at her side and gathered up the toppled pieces of her greatest plan

I sifted through the jumbled pieces of that great castle and plucked out pieces to use again–winsome pink windows and teeny arched doors, blue bricks and purple ones; white bricks and pink.

The sun streamed through the window like a beacon of hope and slowly I began rebuild.

In time, my daughter’s wails waned and she lifted her tousled head to eye my efforts.

I reached for a sky-blue brick and offered her a subtle smile.

Her frown flipped with expectancy and she squared her shoulders with new resolve.

Then she reached across the pile of blocks and gave me a one-armed hug of gratitude. “Mommy, thanks for making something great again,” my girl declared with inarguable confidence.

I stared at the blob of bricks taking shape in the center of that mess and I swallowed a giggle. The configuration between us didn’t look like a fairytale fortress or a charming chalet; it didn’t resemble a spindly-spired palace or a quaint little cottage. It just looked like an ordinary stack of Legos at the moment. But I saw it in her eyes– my daughter believed what she couldn’t yet see.

“How do you know what I’m gonna do?” I asked my girl with a playful wink.

She cocked her head to one side and looked at me like I’d just asked her what color the sky was. “I don’t know what you’re going to do, but if I know you, it’s gonna be great!” she said with a happy shrug of her no-longer sagging shoulders.

She flashed me a crooked grin and leaned her back against the bottom bunk to watch me work.

I looked long and quiet at my little girl and let her childlike trust wash over my own wary heart.

I don’t know what you’re going to do, but if I know you, it’s gonna be great!

I thought of all the times I’d sat with Jesus in the middle of my own wrecked agendas and toppled dreams. And I wondered what might have happened if I’d approached my Savior with the same kind of childlike confidence.

I don’t know what you’re doing, Lord. But if I know you, it’s gonna be great. 

How would my heart have changed if I’d chosen to praise Him for who I knew Him to be rather than for what my eyes could see?

I can’t see how you’re going to create beauty from this bedlam, but I know you are a kind Creator, so I’ll trust you.

I can’t see where you’re taking me, but I know you’re the Way, so I will follow.

I don’t know how you’ll calm this storm, but I know you’re the Prince of Peace, so I will place my hope in you.

And as I sat there with my little girl in the middle of that mess, I realized that what changed my daughter’s heart from sulking to certain was gratitude. She gave thanks from the middle of the mess.

It’s easy to give thanks when we get a glimpse of our God’s great work in our lives.

But it’s powerful to give thanks when the only thing we know for sure is that God is great.

Maybe that’s why the Apostle Paul was able to write these words from a dark, lonely prison cell–“Give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. (This is God’s will for all of you in Jesus the Anointed.)” I Thessalonians 5:18, The Voice.  Even though he couldn’t see what God was doing, Paul was confident in WHO GOD IS.

And we can be, too.

Paul reminds us that the great things God can do aren’t dependent on what our eyes can see. “God.. can do so many awe-inspiring things, immeasurable things, things greater than we ever could ask or imagine through the power at work in us…” Ephesians 3:20, The Voice.

I don’t know where you find yourself today- in the middle of something marvelous or in the center of something shattered.  But I am confident of  this, dear friend.

Whether our dreams are standing strong or our hopes have toppled low, we can take a tip from a Lego-loving eight-year-old I know, and we can fix our gaze on the One who is able to do things greater things than our hearts can imagine. And with childlike faith, we can praise Him for who we know Him to be no matter what our eyes can see.

Then, as we give thanks from the middle of our mess, we will find courage to wait for God’s best.

And, maybe, just maybe, we’ll discover that our mess is merely the beginning of something marvelous!

“God’s the one who rebuilds…He heals the heartbroken and bandages their wounds. He counts the stars and assigns each a name. Our Lord is great, with limitless strength; we’ll never comprehend what he knows and does. God puts the fallen on their feet again…” (Psalm 147:2-6, The Message)

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As promised, today’s giveaway is especially for a little artist you know. This precious smock from Melissa and Doug is a fitting gift for any child who loves to create. Perfect for fingerprinting or crafting, baking or making, this “artist’s apron” will be a colorful reminder of to look for the marvelous in any mess.

Just leave us a comment and tell us how we can pray for you today or leave a simple thank you to Jesus from the middle of your mess. We will join you in the praising.

 

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28 thoughts on “Why that Mess of Yours May be the Start of Something Marvelous

  1. God is everything to me, He is God all by himself, Lord Jesus thank you because I know your turning my story for better and that you will put a new song in my lip…. thank you lord because everything is working out for my good.. in Jesus name Amen

    April 28, 2017 at 2:20 am
  2. What you have written is beautiful. I love how God uses the children to teach us truths about Him when we keep our eyes open to see His hand working. Thank you for having your eyes open to see the beautiful illlustration He through your daughter and sharing it with us.

    April 28, 2017 at 5:03 am
  3. Julie Giarrusso

    Oh how o need this right now. My life is such a mess! Sometimes I feel like it’s hard to breathe. I need this reminder all day everyday right now. Thank you!

    April 28, 2017 at 5:27 am
  4. Dana

    Thank you for the devotion. It helps to be reminded that God is good always.

    April 28, 2017 at 6:56 am
  5. Yvonne

    I used to have a lot of mess and craziness in my life but I know God will take care of it as long put my trust in him. God is good all the time!

    April 28, 2017 at 8:26 am
  6. Terry

    I see through a glass darkly at times as the physical/material problems come wave upon wave and then, just when I feel like I’m stuck in the mud, The Lord gives encouragement thru faith eyed individuals such as you, Alicia and all the Proverbs 31 team of writers. Thank you, Oh Lord for this ministry!

    April 28, 2017 at 8:27 am
  7. Kathy

    Several years ago there was a huge mess going on in our family and extended family with a certain family member. I prayed and prayed for God to fix it as it was not fair as to what was happening to us. Our daughters were 13, 8 & 8 at the time and I didn’t have any answers to give them except that God had something better planned. For years I tried to instill this with my girls and use this as a lesson of faith. Just this past weekend something happened that brought us full circle and was the answer that explained why this was such a long process but it was worth the wait. On top of that, my daughters were the first ones that smiled and said “this is why”. “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you….Hebrews 1:5” I am an artist and hopefully now I can teach my 4 year old grandson a thing or two….I would love to win this for him. Thank you for sharing your story.

    April 28, 2017 at 8:53 am
    1. Kathy

      Please excuse the typo 🙂 it is Hebrews 13:5.

      April 28, 2017 at 8:55 am
    2. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Kathy, thanks for sharing your story. God is faithful, isn’t He? And so often it’s hard to see His hand in the moment- but what a thrill when we recognize it in hindsight.

      May 2, 2017 at 9:25 am
  8. Janice

    I have a lot of mess in my life and your devotional this morning was a blessing to me to put it all in perspective. Thank you!
    Please pray for my son who has walked away from the Lord after a painful divorce. He is going on a Men’s retreat this weekend with his brothers and I pray that God would reach his heart.

    April 28, 2017 at 8:56 am
    1. Karen

      Praying for your request… The LORD watched over me and brought me back to Himself when I strayed away years ago. And now He’s strengthening my faith and walk with Him as life moves​ on after being divorced a little more than a year ago.
      Earlier this week the Lord brought this verse to me that I wrote down and posted on my headboard and have memorized because it speaks so well to my heart. And just like our faithful LORD always does, the devotional thoughts that Alicia brought to us today both here on her blog and at Encouragement for Today go hand-in-hand, as she also referred to this verse as well: “The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; Your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.” (Psalms 138:8 ESV) May God bless you and your son.

      April 28, 2017 at 1:27 pm
    2. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Janice, I am praying for your prodigal. May Jesus pursue your son with relentless love and draw him back to your heart.

      May 2, 2017 at 9:24 am
  9. Kassandra Velasquez

    You never disappoint Alicia with your words of faith seasoned with Gods spirit..i cant wait till my little artist start teaching me valuable lessons….i so Desperately needed this today as God is showing me this week its ok to be a mess because hes not done with the masterpiece, oh i feel like i can breathe, a heavy weight off my shoulders for this first time in years i believe that God is ok with me being a perfect mess..thank you soooooooo much u have no idea how God always uses ur stories to permanently etch truth and hope into my soul and story.. Thank u Alicia and happy early teacher appreciation week (you are definetly a teacher to me and i know u get your lessons from the ultimate teacher) God bless u from this side of the spectrum have a good weekend and thank u so much

    April 28, 2017 at 9:49 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Awwww…. thank you, Kassandra!

      May 2, 2017 at 9:23 am
  10. Megan L.

    Thank you. Pray for my son, Truth, who is going through a long battle with mental illness.

    April 28, 2017 at 10:16 am
    1. Mandi

      We have begun a journey with our son in the past year having been diagnosed with bipolar and anxiety disorder. I pray we both find comfort in Alicia’s words today that although it looks a mess, God is God and He is at work in our lives and those of our children. That is the truth I cling to when it all feels so out of control. God bless you Megan and I pray for Truth to find peace in his mind and spirit.

      April 29, 2017 at 6:42 am
    2. Alicia Bruxvoort

      I am praying, Megan!Jesus, shine your light into Truth’s darkness. Give Megan wisdom as she walks with her son and be Truth’s great Healer and unshakeable HOPE.

      May 2, 2017 at 9:21 am
  11. Karen Overton

    Thank you, Alicia… just “Thank you”… My spirit is overflowing with the love and truth HE has brought me today through your ministry. God bless.

    April 28, 2017 at 1:32 pm
  12. Joanna Kearns

    WE ARE GOING THROUGH SOO MUCH VERY SEVERE HARD TIMES THANKYOU JESUS FOR THE WORK YOU ARE DOING IN AND THROUGH OUR LIVES PLEASE LET US WIN THANKS FOR THE CHANCE!

    April 28, 2017 at 1:59 pm
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Joanna, I am praying for you–asking God to step right into your HARD and give HOPE.

      May 2, 2017 at 9:20 am
  13. I love reading everything you write! It is always so beautiful! God shows you so many beautiful truths! Thank you so much for sharing them with us! You are such a gifted writer and the Lord is very real in your life! What a tremendous blessing you are!! 🙂 This was such a timely word for me today. I can’t wait to share with my friends!

    April 28, 2017 at 4:34 pm
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Thank you for your encouraging words, Rachel.

      May 2, 2017 at 9:19 am
  14. Cheryl

    Thank you for the reminder of how we should be saying thank you to God even in the bad moments. That’s when it’s easy to forget our thankful hearts.

    April 28, 2017 at 4:34 pm
  15. Courtney

    There isn’t much in my life right now that isn’t a big “mess”. My main disaster areas would be myself, my exhausting, life affecting ADD/ADHD, & my marriage, the relationship between my husband & myself.

    April 28, 2017 at 7:57 pm
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Courtney, I am praying for you right now… asking the ONE who is bigger than your mess to meet you right where you are and buoy your heart with hope and give you a glimpse of His faithfulness.Thanks for being honest and for allowing us to pray you through.

      May 2, 2017 at 9:19 am
  16. Cyndee Crout

    God’s blessings to everyone as we all trust Jesus to pick us up and “rebuild” our hearts : )

    April 29, 2017 at 4:15 am
  17. lc

    Would you please pray that I will receive and live in God’s love and acceptance for me.
    My heart doesn’t believe He is enough. That He can meet my every need. That He has good plans for my life. I’ve given up on Him and me and everyone else.
    Thank you

    April 29, 2017 at 8:26 am
    1. Mandi

      Ic, I pray you would encounter God in a very real way. God please show Ic you are real and you hold her heart at this time. I pray she would see a glimpse with spiritual eyes that you are there.

      May 3, 2017 at 5:26 am

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