This is the story of a woman who knew the truth, but instead turned to worshipping idols, and the story of her God who held his peace for a very long time and did not forsake her. Eventually, though, he disrupted her life of ease and took her where she had never been, turning darkness to light before her. He had created her and designed her for a specific purpose in his kingdom and now he reclaimed her. This is her story of discovery of that design and how she let it be marred, but how God began to restore her and set her back on track to fulfill the unique calling and design which he had given her. And this woman is sixty-four.
One year ago I took a detailed walk through my life story to discover who I was and what that meant. I studied moments of intersection in my life where I had done something excellently and loved doing it. I found the theme and discovered that I existed to glorify God by discovering and sharing beauty. My name became Lucy Looking for Loveliness Along the Beam (taken from C.S. Lewis’ Voyage of the Dawn Treader and his “Meditations in a Toolshed”). I understood what Lewis meant because I could see green leaves shimmering on a branch in the sun when I looked along the beam that stretched through the crack in the shed roof when others might have seen only the specks of dust floating in the beam. I heard the albatross’ sweet voice and smelled his delicious breath and knew what he said when others might not have understood. I know that beauty and loveliness are everywhere, and I long for it. I long to show it to others as a witness to God, the loving author of all beauty.
But I also analyzed the opposition that has come against me and contrived to prevent me from fulfilling my design – things of my own choosing such as worshipping money and things my enemy threw at me such as making me believe the core lie that the things I was good at were of no real value. I have also fallen prey to the downsides of my design as a seeker and sharer of beauty – to seek beauty for its own sake, to experience melancholy when faced with ugliness or people who do not appreciate beauty, and to get lost in my own idealism and create seclusion from others.
At the end of my life story interpretation I faced the truth that Lucy Looking for Loveliness along the Beam almost died. She lost her way. She forgot what her name was. In her wandering in the darkness she asked others what her name was and where she was going. Lucy Looking for Loveliness listened to their lies.
And the ink writing down her story got blotched and smeared and ran off the page till Lucy Looking decided her name must really be Peggy Perpetrator of Disgrace and Regret, and she sat down and cried in the cold and the dark not knowing what else to do.
But a beam of light shone into the dark shed. And an albatross flew by in the stormy clouds. And the voice of truth spoke to her.
“You will not be named by your shame. You are Lucy Looking for Loveliness along the Beam. You will see beauty everywhere. Speak of it. Point to it. Tell others it came from me. And I will heal you and restore the ink to flow in gracious lines on the pages of your story till its very end.”
“What is your name,” asked Lucy.
“The name that is above every other name.”
He took Lucy by the right hand, pulled her up, and wiped her eyes. She followed him out of the dark, and then, restored into the light, she did indeed see loveliness.
Calling matters even as we grow older. If you take time to carefully walk through your life story you will certainly find a constancy of design revealed, a theme in the things you’ve suffered, and probably a connection between your suffering and your design. You will see an Author (and an Enemy) at work. And God will show you the signposts he has placed on your path through life and teach you how to resist the temptations and core lies that will prevent you from fulfilling the design in which he made you from your mother’s womb. I wish I had done this so many years ago when I had much of my life ahead of me, but I’m still here. The last chapters will be exciting as I live out my God-given design more fully than ever in his will and for the sake of his Kingdom.
Aging holds a promise of being an extraordinarily fruitful season of life!
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my
I praise you, for I am fearfully and
Wonderful are you works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of
of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
Peggy Drew is a graduate student of Spiritual Formation at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts. Her particular research interest is the role of beauty in spiritual development. In addition to her studies, Peggy is a team leader and coach for software development teams in a financial services company. When not studying or working, Peggy enjoys writing about literature for her family and friends at peggy.drew.com. She has two grown daughters and four grandchildren and lives in rural northern Massachusetts with her husband, dog, and two cats.