“Don’t look so closely at the painting that you miss the masterpiece”. A man I just met said that to me, and he didn’t even know that I am a painter. Or how devoted I have been to fixing my painting.
I met Will as part of a ministry outreach team that came to my church a few weeks ago. He, and several other guys, shared their testimony of how Jesus is transforming their lives; freeing them from fear, anger, addiction, depression. All in His amazing grace, unfailing love, and perfect timing.
I cried uncontrollably during worship and the testimony. Not because I was sad or distraught. But because of the joy that came in seeing real men redeemed in Christ. Men who know the other side – the desolation of a life apart from God. Men who are familiar with despair, hopelessness, misery. Men who have believed the lie that they are too far gone. Men like my son; spending endless days in a prison cell trying to imagine life beyond it. On some days, the eyes cannot lift high enough to grasp where true help comes from. When hearts are too heavy with grief. One of my biggest concerns for Eddie has been life after release. Where will he go? Will there be a place for him to get his life together? These men witnessed strongly to me that God provides. Hope rekindled in me to believe God for this, and to rest in His timing.
I had my second Take he(ART) party last weekend. It was equally a time of blessing, and strengthening. I shared about what it means to take heart in a world full of trouble. I had each woman select and write words over the heart on her painting to represent what taking heart means to her, so she will remember when she looks at it. When her worries are overtaking the peace she has been given in Jesus. I pray the painting is a source of strength and hope, even on the worst of days.
Here are a couple of pictures from the party:
Last week, I also had the opportunity to go on a rare date night with my hubby. Glenn Phillips was in town doing a solo tour. He was part of Toad the Wet Sprocket – one of my husband’s favorite bands back when we were dating. Their song, All Things in Time , is the song we danced to at our wedding reception. We asked Glenn to play it, and he did – right there on the spot. A special and once-in-a-lifetime moment.
I didn’t notice until that night how much Glenn’s music is full of struggle. I hear pain, sadness, and cynicism in it. Never have I witnessed so raw a struggle as I observed in Glenn during the show. I found myself praying for him. His references to God in his music encouraged me that he is still struggling forward, even as his life bears the scars of the past.
Here is a picture of my husband, Glenn, and me after the show:
From these experiences, I am learning a truth: we are all stumbling forward, painting the story of our own lives against a hidden backdrop. We cannot see in each detail the significance to the whole. Will, Eddie, Glenn all bear witness that our struggle is real. The glimpses of glory that God provides encourage us to rise again to meet the challenges of the day, believing one day we shall see how our painting comes together in God’s grand design. I pray for the courage to display the painting of my life – flaws, scars, and all. For the faith to step back from it, when it seems beyond repair, and believe God is creating something more beautiful than my eyes can see.
A masterpiece take time. All things in time. A song, and a promise that God is making all things new. Our imperfect lives bear witness to His masterpiece in every stage.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end”
Keep painting your story. But don’t miss the masterpiece.