Finding beauty in your circumstances may not be a one-time choice. You may need to keep pulling back the curtain and letting in the light.

I woke up the other morning to whack, whack, whack, whack.

It went on and on and on, like a thumping headache.

Enough to give me one.

It was the racket of machinery hammering away on a nearby construction site.

I was ready to take the elevator in my pjs from my 6th floor Manhattan hotel room, walk across the street to the building site, and smack the foreman in the head.

I’m not good in the mornings.

What was he thinking to allow such a disturbance to go on at 7:00am?

My frustration drove me to bury my head under the covers, which did not help at all. In the end, I decided to discover the source of the offending noise. I crawled out of bed, went to the window and raised the corner of the blind.

Sheer beauty in the street below took my breath away.

We had arrived at our hotel minutes before midnight the night before. Tired after a delayed flight, I climbed out the Uber and into a dark rainy street.

Black bags of refuse stood like mountains on the sidewalk. Uneven concrete created puddles from an earlier downpour. Greasy residue made the pavement slick. Even the darkness cannot make city streets pretty. I began to regret our decision to spend time in the city, let alone think about moving here.

Yet, in the morning light the street stood transformed. Tubs of flowering shrubs, lavender, hibiscus, snowball hydrangeas, ivy bushes, trees and ornamental firs lined the sidewalk, up to three or four containers deep. It was a breathtaking sight.

We were in the heart of New York City’s wholesale flower and plant district.

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I forgot about the huge pneumatic drill pounding away in the deep gaping hole where a building once stood between it’s towering neighbors across the road.

The delight to my eyes made up for the assault on my ears.

So often, I realize, I fail to look for the beauty in my circumstances, as I listen to what sounds annoying or looks ugly and let it dictate how I feel and what I think.

When I hear my husband say we will know soon what’s happening with his job, I get frustrated and irritated waiting to find out where we will settle down. Instead, I need to focus on good things, like how he always brings me a cup of tea—just like he did that morning—while I’m still in bed.

The din continued. Yet, as I walked out on the street and smelled the perfume from the flowers, it made up for the garbage and the noise.

Isn’t that how we’re meant to live? Isn’t that how the Bible teaches us to live? Give thanks in all circumstances, says 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

But sometimes our circumstances are really ugly. Seeing the beautiful is not easy and not a one-time choice. You have to keep finding a glimpse of light every day.

The next morning when the whacking started again I had to practice my change in attitude all over again.

What helps you make that change in attitude?  Share in the comments your place of shelter when life gets ugly.

Join me each week as I share encouraging truths of living fearless

Linking up with Suzie Eller at #liveFree, Susan Mead at #DanceWithJesus and Dawn Klinge at #GraceandTruth


  • Rachel, I had no idea New York had a wholesale flower and plant district. I think I would love to spend hours there! Your story made me smile because just yesterday I was in a sort of similar situation. I was at a stoplight when my car made a weird thump, the brake and battery lights came on, and the AC stopped working (the dash said it was 95 degrees outside at the time).

    The bad news was that the belt that runs the alternator had snapped and needed to be replaced pronto. The good news was that I made it to the repair place without the car overheating and the even better news was that this happened in my home city, not the week before when we were driving around in the Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming! 🙂 Wonderful post … so glad I found you at Grace & Truth today!

  • Too often, I only see the negative and not the lovely around me as well, Rachel. Thanks for sharing your story and reminding us all to see God’s beauty and shelter in the everyday!

  • Found your blog this morning … with renewed confirmation to wait well! I’m two months in from a breast cancer diagnosis. Waiting on a date for a second surgery, after lots of ups and downs. I separately texted 3 friends yesterday those same words “I don’t wait well.” Thanks for the reminder to focus on the wonder in the wait. Do you mind if I link to your blog on mine? Blessings!

    • Lori, please link my blog to yours. I am a breast cancer survivor. I know about the waiting in those circumstances. It’s hard. Hoping you get the answer for your second surgery soon.

  • Hi Rachel, I have also recently been in the same circumstances of waiting to find out what is happening with my husband’s job and how that will affect where we live. Months of this wore on my nerves. I didn’t always wait well, yet somehow I felt a deepening of trust in God. This made me think of what it means when God reminds us of the benefits of waiting on Him – practicing thankfulness (as you said), learning to trust God’s sovereignty, having patience formed in us, and so much more. It reminds me that there is a bigger picture to life – my life – and God is the artist.

    Thank you for sharing your encouraging thoughts. I especially like, “Find shelter by discovering something beautiful in difficult circumstances.” The pictures are really great – and really brought your story to life.

    God’s blessing on you as you wait – and as you experience…

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