I feel it most when sand runs through my fingers and the water rushes to the shore only to run back out again. I breathe deep and let the words run through me to form sentences which frame stories. It untethers my word-weaving-soul.

I open my eyes and think how God must’ve felt the same way as he formed our world from nothing.

This is my gift—to write little things and big things, like the sun sinking into the earth, community, God and hurts alike.

Lately sentences have been hard to form. Stories—empty. Pages—blank. Ink—dry. Mainly because I can’t see myself, I’ve lost my purpose and can’t see how He is shaping me. 

At least until a friend dragged me to the dump one weekend. Standing in 88 degree heat with  baseball cap on my head and a hot latte in my hand—I stood in the midst of her story unfolding.

 She spends her afternoons rummaging through tall piles of abandoned pieces of wood. Pallets, old barn wood and construction boxes.

To her, a pile of wood standing two stories high isn’t junk. She sees what I can’t see.

An old barn panel waiting to be dressed in paint and stain of a red dressed girl swinging into the sunset. An old pallet waiting to be Pottery Barn table. She sees the future for jagged pieces of decaying wood, dead and lifeless to become a canvas for arrows, flowers, and bold words.

I’m her adopted sister and sacarcasm runs deep as she sweats in the sun making fun of my latte. I banter back about sunburns and better things to do than being at the freakin’ dump, and the fact she loves the smell of the garbage baking in the sun.

To her—it’s a treasure trove of things waiting for new life.

She crawled around the pile until her trained eye spotted a piece ready to be refined. She found old barn wood, jagged and full of splinters. A discarded pallet. 

“Now this is worth the trip,” she quips as she grabs her crow bar and hammer; eager to pull rusty nails from it’s flesh. Sweat trickles down my back as I question her sanity and the value of wood I think is perfect for a bonfire.

Then it hits me. I hear Him whisper, “This is the process, daughter. To be plucked from the mess, refined in my Word and sanded into the future I have for you.” You haven’t lost your way, you haven’t lost your gift–you’re being refined.”

We like to think we’ve already arrived but reality tells us differently. Pride pushes up splinters when He offers to sand it down. Insecurity splits us pieces when God says, “I can mend it.”

As I watched Cindy pry nails and boards apart to be shaped into something new, I wondered how many of us are willing to be laid bare on His table?

Are we willing to go through the process as he puts on His gloves and gets to work, cutting off pieces of our lives that no longer fit. He nails us into place all the while leaving His fingerprints all over His creation. 

I see it in every one of Cindy’s pieces of art. But the question is this: Are you willing to be refined? Are you willing to wade through the process to see what His tomorrow brings?


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