From the next room, laughter and the banging of toy trains on wooden train tracks distract me from the glowing laptop in front of me, so I pause and listen to a small three-year-old voice giggling and chattering away in conversation with his daddy as Thomas and Friends chug-a-chug up short wooden slopes and through plastic bridges.
Gratefulness wells up within me and I stop to thank God for these sounds, for the peace in this house.
My new addition catches my eye…
And I think, yes… it is so, SO well with my soul.
in these times for me, with tiny feet running barefoot down hallways, plenty of food in the pantry and blessings raining down unexpectedly at every turn… in these times we rarely struggle in any real way. These times are precious and good.
We are not often tested. We are not made to wonder where our next meal will come from, or whether our little ones will survive the night. I wonder what my faith would look like in other circumstances.
Have you heard the story of the hymn “It is well with my soul?” I always liked the song, but once I heard the back story, it took on a whole new meaning for me.
The man who wrote the hymn was a successful, wealthy lawyer in Chicago with a wife, son and four daughters. In 1870, he lost his only son to scarlet fever. One year later, every one of his real estate holdings was wiped out by the great Chicago fire. Realizing his family needed rest and escape, he decided to take them on vacation to Europe via a large steamboat set to sail across the Atlantic. At the last minute, he was held up by business and sent his family ahead of him with plans to join them in Europe shortly.
En route to Europe, the ship carrying his wife and daughters collided with another ship, sinking within 12 minutes and claiming the lives of 226 of its passengers. As the ship sank into the deep, cold ocean, his wife stood on the deck with her four daughters watching the water swallow the ground beneath them. Her last memory of the disaster was having her baby girl torn from her arms by the violent force of the water. All four daughters died that day.
Upon hearing the tragic news, the man boarded the next ship out of New York to go to his wife. As his ship passed over the place where the previous vessel sank, he stood on the ship’s deck gazing into the water that claimed his children. I can only imagine the turmoil washing over his heart as the waves rolled beneath him. He returned to his cabin and wrote the lyrics to this hymn.
Whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say…
It is well. It is well with my soul.
What faith in the goodness of God! What trust, when all that had happened to him screamed not to trust. I consider the faith that would compel his pen to compose these lyrics… I want to soak up that perspective and pour it over my heart. To set my heart on ground so solid that no violent wind or wave can shake it. To consider the sovereignty of His plan even when it’s so far from what I might have chosen… I want to have that faith.
So here, in my home, where peace reigns and our hardest days are still gifts, I thank God and ask him for faith that doesn’t lean on an easy life. I ask for faith to give Him praise for who He is and not what He gives. I ask to see through the tearful eyes of a heartbroken man gazing over rusty railing into an angry ocean, so that I might say, “whatever my lot… it is well with my soul.”
And that’s why I’m so happy for this new reminder:
The sweet family who owns 163 Designs sent me these amazing canvas letters after I spied them on another site. As soon as I saw them, my whole world went “SCREEEECH” to a stop and I had to investigate! I loved that the letters were the same color as the walls, so it’s the 3D effect that jumps out at you.
I needed some of those letters in my life, specifically for this blank wall spot between my kitchen and living room…
I worked with Jen of 163 Designs, who I instantly connected with and kinda have a girl-crush on now that I discovered her blog – and she helped me create a design that would fill that spot perfectly, with a quote that would remind us every day that It Is Well, and not just because It Is Easy.
These letters are laser-cut out of eucalyptus and covered in canvas. I loved the canvas texture, but I wanted the letters to be the same color as my walls. I asked Jen if the letters were paintable, and she was sweet enough to send me a little ampersand to experiment with. You can really see the canvas texture here:
I wanted to see them hung up first to be SURE I wanted them blue. To hang them, I just stuck a couple of these bad boys right to the back:
Then I whipped out the trusty laser level to get them all aligned. Not gonna lie – hanging them straight and even was the hardest part by far. Once they’re in the right spot, you just stick ’em, and the mounting squares work their magic.
Are the crooked letters bothering you? I know, me too. I knew I had to paint them first, so I wasn’t too worried about it at this point. I hope we can still be friends.
I loved them, but seeing them on the wall confirmed for me that I wanted them fade a little more. I wanted them to softly hum the hymn, not scream it at me, know what I mean?
I used a little foam brush to veeeeerrrrryy lightly cover the letters in some spare wall paint I found in the garage. At first I was worried because the color looked a little patchy. (You can also see where I touched up the wall paint. Lazy girl’s solution to the pencil marks I made when I was aligning the letters!)
But they dried evenly and ended up looking pretty fantastic. The edges are dark wood, so they help the letters pop just the right amount. Mostly it’s the shadows that catch your eye.
How do you feel about words as art? Are you going to have this song stuck in your head all day now?
P.S.: If you like this post, you might like my easy DIY verse art too!
Disclosure: I received free product from 163 Designs, but all opinions here are my own, of course!