Three Ugly-Beautiful Gifts


It wasn’t until I read Thomas Watson’s book entitled The Doctrine of Repentance that I felt a bashfulness before God when dealing with my sin. [Phenomenal read and I highly recommend!]
I don’t even know if I necessarily thought such a response was good.

Watson comments on the shame of Adam in sinning as follows:
“Adam never blushed in the time of innocency. While he kept the whiteness of the lily, he hard not the blushing of the rose; but when he had deflowered his soul by sin, then he was ashamed. Sin has tainted our blood. We are guilty of high treason against the Crown of heaven. This may cause a holy modesty and blushing.”

Watson sums up true gospel repentance with six ingredients:
1. Sight of sin
2. Sorrow for sin
3. Confession of sin
4. Shame for sin
5. Hatred for sin
6. Turning from sin

The self-accusing nature of true repentance is hard and sometimes can be an ugly process. We have to battle with our minds as to whether we stand on the basis of our sin actually being what it is, namely an affront to God’s glory.

But what a beautiful thing it is to know that the Spirit is working through our hearts and sanctifying believers! A hard heart, unregenerate, will not feel the weight of their sin though guilt may be present. Even Judas Iscariot felt regret, yet regret and guilt are not enough for true repentance.

2 Corinthians 7:9-10
“As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.”

I am considering this an ugly-beautiful gift because sin in and of itself is ugly. No beauty in God-belittling things. But when a heart turns from such a way to completely run to God and his gospel and find satisfaction in that rather than a fleeting thought or act, what a grace it is!


Within this covenant is found a raw relationship that no one else in the world really has a true picture of other than the two in it. There are words said that shall never be heard by other ears. Actions taken that not a soul outside of the two will know of.

Considering that, pain and joy are intermingling. As mentioned above, repentance is beautiful but the sin involved is ugly. This covenant, created by God for man and woman to image the relationship of Christ and His church is breath-taking in beauty, yet the affects of a fallen world and sinful men and women make it ugly at times.

The reality of this makes me more conscious of how I treat my husband. What do my responses convey when I am asked to do something that I may not necessarily want to do or think is best? Am I considering Christ in my reactions? Do I appear as loving or domineering? Of course, I would LOVE to say that each of these questions work as a filter every day with each conversation I have with my other half, but truthfully, it isn’t always the case.

Even this week I consider the emotional roller-coaster I have been in and how that affects Josh. In one instance I am bewildered as to why leftovers are such a big deal (for the 3rd time…cough, cough…I might have cooked too much to begin with!) and then I spout out how people in other countries don’t have all these options. They eat rice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and are pleased! Then I am beaming with pride for my husband in another instance and wanting to applaud him in every way possible. Marriage points continuously to man’s fallenness and God’s perfection. The need for the gospel is the resounding theme.

Marriage is a gift. The coupling of two souls as a representation of our glorious Lord! And due to God’s grace, sin no longer has a ruling power over us. We are not condemned because Christ was condemned on our behalf. We are to forgive as Christ has forgiven us (Col. 3:13). We are not dependent on our spouses to satisfy our souls. Instead, we join hand-in-hand and flee to the Fountain for living water.

It is a shadow of what is to come.

Right after we married, I truthfully tried to run from the reality that I wouldn’t be married to Josh after death. What a sad thought it was to me! Why would I ever need to lose this pleasure and joy of being married to him? I just didn’t want to think deeper into it because I knew that when I went there I would see how he wouldn’t be necessary. Now, not that his sweetness has grown old to me, but rather, Christ has grown increasingly beautiful through my marriage with Josh and that is why I can GLADLY anticipate the Wedding Supper of the Lamb.

Marriage is a constant reminder of God’s grace – that in my weakness He is glorified and I can glory in the cross and boast in his work.

Pull-Ups and Potty-Training

I think every mother that has potty-trained their child or is in the process of doing so can look at a pull-up and know immediately why I would list this as an ugly-beautiful gift.

Wow, awesome! A diaper that our toddler can pull up themselves! Great, perfect, exactly what we need to transition to underwear.

But wait. The cute facade of a mouse on the front or a little red car might be appealing while we are putting the box into our shopping cart as our toddler reaches for everything surrounding them, but then when we realize during a pull-up change (you know, when your toddler completely forgets they are wearing these neat in-betweens and reverts back to baby ways) and we realize that we didn’t get the ones with the velcro sides…yeah, that’s ugly alright.

Potty-training has proved to be a gift most definitely. Norah and I are bonding in new ways as I’m keeping her in the “bafroom” much longer to teach patience. I’ve found that she loves my jewelry box and calls for it every time she is in our bathroom. She also loves clapping for herself and Elmo when she looks at her Elmo themed potty-training chart we have up in her bathroom. Every time we go to Walmart, we take Norah down the toy aisle to show her the Elmo potty toy. She loves it! She will sit in the cart happily clapping for Elmo and asking about him during our entire venture through the store. There’s a new aspect of Norah that I’m learning through all of this. She experiences shame to some degree now as she is more aware of how this all works. I want her to know that she is safe to be vulnerable and instruct her with gentleness towards better ways.

Pull-ups and everything else entailed in the potty-training effort is a reminder for me of God’s abundant patience. He is not swift to deal harshly with me in my errors, intentional or not, but is a fountain of kindness even in correction. The portion I have been given on this earth is a gift- one filled with giggles, crying, and messes and I see a gleaming providence behind it.


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