Let’s Chat! Hidden Places of the Heart

The Heart’s Hidden Places

Ever find yourself guarding hidden places in your heart? Maybe several? I do. Are you ashamed to have felt certain emotions? How about a physical flaw? Too embarrassed to expose it even to those who love you? Oh, yeah.

Might your hidden places include spiritual struggles? Those nagging, pesky, and sometimes debilitating battles that take you to your knees in abject remorse? Yup. Too many to count. 

*Join our chat below and qualify for next Tuesday evening’s drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card. It’s easy-peasy.

**Congratulations to Jane Waughtal (pen name Jane Quail), winner of the drawing for an Amazon gift card!**

Hidden Places Covered in Dust

When I close my eyes and allow my memories to drift to the surface from their hidden places, I see a school girl and even a college student of the ’50s and ’60s. She’s pushing a wheelbarrow of insecurities. The weight of her load keeps her from expressing herself freely. Oh, she’ll happily write some lines that sound good but don’t scratch the surface of what’s lurking in the dark corners of her inner self. 

She comes across as mature and confident. But she knows the truth. She’s just a country girl, a farmer’s daughter, who lives on a dusty road miles out of town. Her school friends are daughters of ranchers, bankers, doctors, and store owners. Even those whose fathers are farmers own homes in town, not out in the sticks where the wind stirs up dust clouds that can blind a girl to all but what’s at the end of her nose. Hidden places abound in dust storms.

Hidden Places: A Girl’s Attire

This girl dons clean, neat, well-maintained clothing each morning. But her outfits can’t rise to her circle of friends’ standards. To the contrary, her girlfriends frequent the little boutique on Main Street where the racks and shelves bulge with the latest fashion, sassy dresses and skirts and blouses cut from the highest quality fabric and trimmed just so. You see, this girl’s clothes are handmade. Her mother seldom purchases an article of clothing. She sews and teaches her daughter to do the same. But the old sewing machine is locked up tight in a hidden place.

Hidden Places: A Girl’s Ride to Town

Her friends’ parents deliver them to school in brand-spanking-new, clean-as-a-whistle Cadillacs, Oldsmobiles, Buicks, and Chevrolets. They drive over city streets and rarely venture into the countryside. But this girl’s father buys second-hand family cars in whatever color is available–and affordable. She lives down an unpaved road where cars and the school bus stir up dust clouds that choke the passengers. She feels dusty–and a bit embarrassed–when she steps off the bus next to one of those new, clean cars delivering her girlfriends with not a speck of dust.

Hidden Places: A Girl’s Home and Hearth

Her friends live in homes with central air conditioning and “help” who become invisible when guests are around. They chat about what’s going on in the neighborhood–a mysterious place where she can’t imagine living. Her friends share a bond she’ll forever be denied, a familiarity borne of shared streets and playgrounds, riding bikes, service clubs, private swimming pool memberships, Sunday dinner at the one fancy hotel, and vacations in distant locations. 

Hidden Places: A Girl’s Privileges

This girl’s mother is as old-fashioned as they come. Not only does she sew–eegads–but she won’t allow her daughter to wear a bathing suit in a “mixed” crowd. Take dancing lessons or attend dances. Wear hemlines above the knees. Play basketball or try out for cheerleader or twirler, not with uniforms above the knee, for pity’s sake.

Nor is this young girl permitted to miss Sunday morning and evening or Wednesday night church, not even for an end-of-school-year or slumber party or a ball game. Her friends’ll go to church with her first, or there’ll be no party. And forget more than a handful of dates with anyone who refuses to go to church with her. Em-bar-ras-sing!

Hidden Places: Bringing Them to the Light

Hearts can hide anything from anyone–even oneself. But never from God. Six decades down that dusty road of the ’50s and ’60s, that girl finds herself throwing open the windows of her heart more and more often. Fresh wind gusts through, flinging dust to the trash pile where it belongs. 

What changed? For one, years. Decades of them. For another, a new pair of spectacles with lenses that correct faulty vision. Gradually this girl’s world came into focus. Homemade clothes? Evidence of love beyond measuring. Hems to the knee and below? A sign of a mother who cared more what she believed her God expected than twittering teens. And that second-hand car covered in dust? A possession made noble by the driver who held her head high and thanked God she didn’t have to walk.

Above all, the girl’s concept of God’s grace came into focus. And with it, the fresh wind of the Holy Spirit, whose dust bin is bottomless. I should know. I kept an extraordinarily dusty house for a very long time.

Would anyone have guessed? Not for a minute. But that’s the idea when you’re all about hiding your faults, missteps, and outright defiance. Isn’t it?

Hidden Places: Another Girl, Another Time

Which brings to mind the heroine of my coming novel, Book 2 in The Women of Rock Creek series–The Mending of Lillian Cathleen–which follows The Calling of Ella McFarland. Once destitute, battered, and abused, Lily has reason to hide. But can she live that way forever? Can she rise above the lowliness of her young life? Or will her past forever define her?

Stay tuned for coming news on the release of Lily’s story … 

~ ~ ~

Dear Lord, we praise and honor Your holy name. You are holiness itself. Strength. Sustenance. Understanding. And love. Infinitely kind, You’ve provided the cleansing agent required for every dusty house–Jesus Christ, who takes away the sin of the world.
We’ll thank and praise You throughout all eternity.  
~ For Jesus’ sake

8 thoughts on “Let’s Chat! Hidden Places of the Heart

  1. Ruth Trippy

    Linda, this is a beautiful post, It carries in it so many memories that we girls share, those of us who were blessed to be born in godly families. I was born in one of those “northern” states, but in a family that cared more about character than big money or a fancy house. As one TV ad says, “Priceless!”

     
     
    1. Solid, faith-filled upbringing is second to none! Thanks for joining in, my friend. Love!

       
       
  2. JANE WAUGHTAL (Pen Name-Quail)

    Ah, Linda, God uses you in such an honoring way, praising His Name, lifting Him up, exalting Him in a manner that God the Father does. I thank our great God and Savior for bringing you into my life. I still wait upon Him for contact with a publisher, and hope to have my Novella published soon, then I will offer it on “Let’s Chat” when you feature me as an author. Thank you again for your precious friendship. Praise the Name of Jesus, He is everything to us!

     
     
    1. Oh, how precious. Thank you, Jane. You’ve encouraged me so. Bless you, friend.

       
       
  3. Marilyn R

    Linda, this was a beautiful post and I could identify with so many areas. Our mother made our clothes and I learned to sew in 4-H and mother’s assistant where I even made clothes for others when I was out on my own. A talent that so many lacks today. I enjoyed country living but never invited to those fancy homes so some deep hurts but the precious memories of our family times and yet today we all love being together. Memories, God’s amazing love and grace to heal childhood and young adult hurts as I matured is valued more than any fancy car, home, or expensive clothes. Thank you again for sharing. I’m looking forward to reading The Mending of Lillian Cathleen.

     
     
    1. Aren’t those memories precious though? What I sometimes cringed at in bygone days is now priceless. I’ve given both of my granddaughters a sewing lesson or two. Who knows if they’ll ever pick it up. I sure sewed for my daughter many a night, in the 70s and 80s. I love seeing you in our circle, Marilyn.

       
       
  4. Linda D. Davis

    Mother made all my clothes. Sunday church. School. My birthday parties. School plays. Dances. My prom. And my wedding dress. She sewed 2100 tiny seed pearls on the gown and the train. After 51 years, it’s still hanging in my closet, still white and beautiful. All my dresses were very beautiful, lovingly stitched with perfection. When I was in 8th grade, she splurged her ironing money and took me to Montgomery Wards and bought me a beautiful magenta sweater and skirt. I was so thrilled to have a “store-bought” outfit. I wore it every Friday—dress-up day—to school. But Mother was such an excellent seamstress that I was never embarrassed of my clothes. Even though I secretly longed for a “ready-made” dress, I felt like a princess. Fast forward to 1973 and my own baby girl. I made all our clothes and loved making matching mother-daughter dresses. Finally 8th grade came along with the desire for Jordash jeans and ready-made clothes for my precious little girl. We didn’t have much when I was growing up. But I treasure those years and I treasure my Mother for loving and sacrificing for me. Good memories. Your blog is wonderful and heart touching , Linda. Thank you.

     
     
    1. Beautiful, Linda. I loved reading about your mom and how she doted on you. About 45 years after high school graduation, a friend commented on how she remembered my fashionable clothes. We were eating lunch, and I nearly choked! 😊 I had no idea my homemade clothes were admired by one of the girls who shopped at the local boutique. Thanks for visiting in our circle.

       
       

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Let’s Chat! About Beauty and Beholders

Beauty and Beholders

Beauty. Most of us can agree beauty is as subjective as beholders themselves.

What’s the origin of the well-known idiom, Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder? I looked it up. 

Irish romance novelist, Margaret Wolfe Hungerford, coined the idiom in her 1878 novel, Molly Bawn

We may apply this truism to the latest beauty pageant: “No! Not Miss Tall and Dignified! Miss Petite and Sassy should’ve won!”

Or to a “find” on Antiques Roadshow: “Egads! That piece of junk is worth more than the national debt!”

Memories of Beauty and Beholders

Which reminds me of living as a military family in Germany in the 1970s. Not long after arriving, we began hearing about American couples going “junkin’.” On those Wednesdays, German locals would set out on sidewalks any items they considered junk. And Americans flocked to them.

One couple might come home with a gorgeous 100-yr-old “shrunk”. (Think hutch on steroids!) Another, a finely carved, 150-yr-old grandfather or grandmother clock. And another, a set of generations-old hand-painted plates. To the locals, “old” meant “ugly”, but to Americans, the older, the more beautiful.

But that was before Antiques Roadshow debuted in 1979 and we learned the truth of a similar idiom: One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

A Family of Beholders 

No better illustration exists than this one from my family history.

My mother and father both came from impoverished backgrounds. Mother had two dresses–one for Sunday and another for every other day. Daddy finished high school at 16 and struck out on trains heading in the direction of one harvest or another, sending his paycheck home to help out.

When Mother and Daddy met, 16-yr-old Mother lived with her widowed mother and brother in an uncle’s barn. They would have lived in the uncle’s house, but there wasn’t an inch of space after the rest of the Great Depression-deprived family moved in.

Beauty in the Great Depression

When they married, Daddy was working for a local farmer for $5 per week. He borrowed $5 for his and his bride’s wedding clothing and paid his employer back $2.50 per week.

Daddy made a deal with his employer to live in an old farm house situated on a piece of land he worked. Some would call the house a shack. But considering where Mother came from, she called the old shanty a castle.

Beauty Reborn

Decades later, after Daddy was a landowner in his own right and had built Mother the brick home she always dreamed of, she took up oil painting. Their first home had deteriorated by then to nothing more than weathered clapboards on the verge of collapse, unlivable.

Mother decided she’d paint the old place the way it looked when she and Daddy claimed it as home—to preserve the truth about what it looked like. The two of them “worked” on the painting for months, angling their heads left and right, recalling details, Daddy noticing something not quite right, and Mother making an adjustment or two, adding a little something here or there, their memories guiding her hand. 

The above painting is the thing of beauty the two of them came up with.The reality, however, was something altogether different, to which the photo below attests. 

Beauty Goes Full Circle

You might say Mother was as subjective a beholder of beauty as you could find. But I wonder … Is that so bad? Consider this: Romans 3: 11-18 paints an ugly portrait of humankind.

“There is no one righteous, not even one … no one who understands … no one who seeks GodAll have turned away, they have together become worthlessthere is no one who does good, not even oneTheir throats are open gravestheir tongues practice deceitThe poison of vipers is on their lipsTheir mouths are full of cursing and bitternessTheir feet are swift to shed bloodruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes. (NIV)

However … Zechariah 2: 8 paints an altogether different picture:

“For this is what the Lord Almighty says [to you, His people]: ‘…  whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye …”

Beauty, Up Close and Personal

I love this photo of my grandson Braden when he was 3. When I look closely enough, I can see myself in his eyes. I’m so close to him, my love so intimate that it’s as if I’m a little person within his eyes. 

That’s the intimate picture Zechariah paints of God’s love for His pitted-with-flaws people. He holds us so closely … treasures us so deeply … we’re embedded—implanted— within Him … the apple of His eye.

I don’t know about you, but I’ll take that subjective view of me any day. I’m pitted with flaws, scarred, bruised, and covered in the scabs of sin. I’m every bit of the ugliness the apostle Paul lays out in Romans. Just as unrighteous. Willful. Bitter and despicable. Yet in God’s eyes, I’m … if not an apple, for sure I’m a peach! 

I’d be a fool to reject that kind of love.

~ ~ ~

Dear Lord, please give us eyes to see You as our Eternal and Holy Beholder
and ourselves and others as the Apple of Your Eye.
~ For Jesus’ sake

21 thoughts on “Let’s Chat! About Beauty and Beholders

  1. Alison Boss

    I left a post a couple of days ago, but it never appeared online, so I will try again 🙂

    What a wonderful post, Linda! I loved reading about your mother and father’s story and about their first home. What a gift she had for oil painting! I love the picture she painted of their first home, and then to see a comparison to what the home really looked like. It is interesting how each person’s perception of something determines the way they view it. I also enjoyed reading about Americans ‘Junkin’ in Germany in the 1970’s. What amazing treasures they found! I so enjoyed all the analogies you made about beauty and how it is perceived…very interesting! I loved how you wrapped it all up in how God views us. We are but filthy rags, yet God views us through the blood of Jesus Christ, and sees us as the apple of His eye….Truly a miracle! I am so thankful to have Jesus as my Saviour.

     
     
    1. Welcome, Alison! I’m sorry your comment didn’t show up last week. I’ll comb through Spam. That happens sometimes. 🤨 Thanks for letting me know. I really appreciate your thoughts.👏 Please come back. 💛

       
       
      1. Alison Boss

        Thanks, Linda. It was probably a fluke my comment didn’t post or an error on my part. I will definitely be back 🙂

         
         
  2. Steph J.

    What a nice post! I love the old pictures too.

     
     
    1. Thanks for stopping by, Steph!

       
       
  3. Marilyn R

    Linda, this was a lovely post filled with memories of your heritage past and present, along with the wonderful Word of God. I had heard about the Germans sitting the old out on sidewalks for whoever wanted it as they preferred the new. So thankful God sees the beauty in all of us despite our blemishes, imperfections, heartbreaks we cause, etc. but always loving us and calling out to us as He truly sees the beautiful individual He created in each one to share eternity with Him by following His plan of Salvation. God’s blessings and thank you for sharing.

     
     
    1. Amen, Marilyn! Aren’t we blessed.

       
       
  4. I love reading your stories, Linda. Your mom and dad are beautiful people. Thank you for reminding us of God’s love for us.

     
     
    1. Thank you, Gail. You’ve made my day! 💛

       
       
  5. Patty

    So interesting about the American and German view of old stuff or junk! We are going to an estate sale tomorrow hoping to find some interesting old ‘junk’.

     
     
    1. Thank you, Patty. I hope you find a treasure trove at the estate sale.

       
       
  6. Shamekka Sheffield

    This was beautiful to read💕

     
     
    1. Thank you, Shamekka. My mother left me lots of beauty to write about.

       
       
  7. Perrianne Askew

    Wow! Deep and meaningful thoughts. I LOVE your mothers painting. I’m sure it has a lot of meaning for you. She is quite talented!

     
     
    1. Thank you, Perrianne. I never knew when I was watching (and dealing with 🙂 Mother all those years ago that she was giving me such a wealth of writing material. 🙂

       
       
  8. Carlene

    What beautiful thoughts, reminding us that riches are not measured by material possessions.

     
     
    1. Thank you, Carlene. That’s so true about riches, isn’t it?

       
       
  9. Becky Smith

    Wow! Great post! Love the family history, and the painting is wonderful!! Your words are so encouraging and inspiring! Thank you!

     
     
    1. Aww. Thank you, Becky! It’s a blessing to me to share stories like this one. God bless you today!

       
       
  10. Paula Shreckhise

    Beautiful post! Thankyou!

     
     
    1. Thank you, Paula. Your words encourage me. God bless you and yours today and always!

       
       

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