A Letter to My Budding Artist

2004-01-04 13.31.47Dear One,

You are making a beautiful self portrait from little colorful pieces of paper and cardboard. It is a mosaic, that requires you to step back and take a look at it before the whole picture comes to together. In response to your question, “How is life like a mosaic?” I would like to offer these thoughts:

Life is like a mosaic, with many colorful pieces.  Not every piece as it is being added makes sense. When we are living the experiences, we are only able to see individual pieces like the ones you used in your mosaic. Sometimes we like what we see, and other times we wonder if something else would have been a better choice.

Here is something interesting though to consider:

When you were making your mosaic, you were choosing the pieces. You had an idea what the outcome should look like, so you chose pieces that would give you that desired outcome. You, the creator and designer, have opportunities before the picture is finished, to re-arrange some pieces, remove some pieces, replace some pieces, or alter the picture until it is just right. You have something in mind–a purpose that causes you to have creative control over what you are making.

If your picture had emotions, thought and a voice, it might ask you along the way “Why did you choose that piece? I don’t like that color.” or “Ouch! That one was glued. why did you remove it?” You see, the picture is the thing in process. It cannot see the end result ahead of time. It can’t objectively decide what pieces it needs and what pieces it doesn’t need because it is incomplete.

Art doesn’t make itself. Art is made by a creator and designer who has an end goal in mind of a masterpiece.

Our lives our designed and crafted by God, who has limitless creativity, and unlimited resources. Added to that, He loves and cares for the things He has made. He works with us, and for us–allowing us to see the beautiful pieces and be a part of the choosing of the colors. But there are those dark pieces–that add the shading, the contrast, the deep lines that draw the boundaries for the beautiful and cause the colors to “pop”. These are the ones we don’t always understand at first when they are added, but become important for the picture to take shape. These are the ones we question. Our inability to see the whole picture can sometimes cause us to doubt the Artist.

So remember this:

The Designer of our lives is not distant or unconcerned with our needs. In fact He is so vested in our outcome that He staked His own life for ours. He made a promise that reads: “He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.” Philippians 1:6 (And many many other promises that He is keeping.)

So like your picture, you and I are the product of a Designer and Artist. One who takes great pride in His work, and great care for His art. One day we will see the finished product and marvel at His expertise, but for now, we trust.

If He can cause the sun to rise every morning, and the planets to orbit in their places, the seasons to change and produce new life, then He is trustworthy and able to make something beautiful out of us! And already, I get to see His beauty in you!



Bill Gates and Me

You wouldn’t believe me if I told you, but I had the most amazing conversation the other day.

My computer was not working correctly and giving me a lot of trouble with the programs.  I took it to some shops to have it looked at and many different technicians tried to help me with the problem, but it wasn’t resolving.  I asked around to find out if anyone else around me knew how to fix it and I was referred to a few books that I read, but still couldn’t get the solution I was needing.  I finally called Microsoft to speak to one of their technicians and would you believe it, but I got to talk to the Man himself, the designer, Bill Gates.  Incredible!!

I started my conversation kind of akwardly…like “You probably don’t have kids like mine, but I think they downloaded some programs onto the computer that really messed it up.  Then my husband and I tried to fix it but only messed it up more.  I’m not sure if you know how to fix it because I’ve taken it to a lot of technicians who weren’t able to find the solution, but hopefully you’ve got some better ideas than what we have tried.”

Okay, you shouldn’t believe this story because it isn’t true, except that I really did have a conversation like that with a Designer and Inventor of the very thing I was having trouble with.  It was my conversation with God the other day.  I was struggling with issues in my heart and family and started out the conversation by saying, “I know you never married and had kids, but maybe you could help me out with this particular problem I am running into.”  Hoping to pick His brain of possibilities instead of believing He actually knew how to correct my problem–  Ridiculous, I know.

Every day I have an audience with the The Creator, Designer, Manufacturer and Redeemer of everything and I treat him as another technician who may or may not know how to handle my problem.  Much like Peter stepping out on the waves I start out confident then begin to doubt whether or not Jesus really has any experience with my particular problem.  Sure he can feed multitudes with bread and fish, he can heal lepers, even raise an occasional dead person (as if this is all common), but does He really know how to mend a relationship?  Does he have experience with difficult people and stubborn attitudes?  What about my particular quirks, I mean, they do set me apart after all.

When will I learn that My Maker knows me.  When will I rest in the confidence that He has all the experience and qualifications I could ever have need of.  When will I finally trust that He will make a way for me and I no longer have to make excuses for my trouble.  Oh, I pray it won’t be long.

He is trustworthy, faithful, able, fully qualified, fully alive, fully engaged in my life and the things that concern me, and always redeeming my stupid mistakes.

Isaiah 43:16-21

16 This is what the LORD says—
he who made a way through the sea,
a path through the mighty waters,
17 who drew out the chariots and horses,
the army and reinforcements together,
and they lay there, never to rise again,
extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:
18 “Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
20 The wild animals honor me,
the jackals and the owls,
because I provide water in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen,
21 the people I formed for myself
that they may proclaim my praise.

Isaiah 42

The Servant of the LORD

1 “Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will bring justice to the nations.
2 He will not shout or cry out,
or raise his voice in the streets.
3 A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
4 he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
In his teaching the islands will put their hope.”

5 This is what God the LORD says—
the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out,
who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it,
who gives breath to its people,
and life to those who walk on it:
6 “I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles,
7 to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.