Monday, December 21, 2015

Under Your Pile of Hats, I See It

Sitting side by side at the kitchen table, we are surrounded by slivers of blue, green, and black construction paper.
Photo of Neptune and moon Triton, NASA Solar System Exploration, Creative Commons cc license
"Here, this will be the volcano," I say, taping a grey three-dimensional cone onto a round blue sphere. "This is the ice lava. Wow, a volcano that erupts liquid nitrogen that freezes anything it touches! Can you imagine?!" and I act it out to Daniel as we attach tiny blue strips of paper to the inside of the volcano. "What a cool God!"

My seven year old grins at me, eyes wide, his haircut growing out in spiky tufts. He swings his legs excitedly under the table and picks up more paper.

"Mom, can we do some more?" he asks, his small red and black scissors poised in mid-cut.

Pausing for a moment, I waver. Because in the throes of efficiency, I had already switched hats. My Homework-Helper Mom hat was already off, my hand raised to don the Lunch-Coralling hat. Next up was Bill-Paying Mom, and Dish-Washing Mom. Homework-Helping-Mom was due again soon when 11th-grade Morgan and I would study Algebra 2.

(Don't ask about Dusting Hat. She hasn't been seen in weeks. Laundry-Folding-Mom works Saturdays, after Mark and the kids bring up toppling baskets of clean laundry. Who am I kidding? Laundry-Folding Mom just needs to tackle the growing mound of clean clothes that have been on the side couch all week, occasionally carried away and hidden in the bedroom when guests show up.)

My hats and To-Do lists are already lined up in my mind when Daniel asks it: "Mom, can we do this some more?"

Splashy colored paper, two scissors, and several glue sticks line the cherrywood kitchen table. South-facing window sunlight warms the dining room. Five flower buds swell slowly on the new green orchid branch.

"Sure, bud. That sounds nice," I say, sitting back down again. I pick up a scissors and start cutting.

"Did you know that Neptune has at least 27 moons? This icy-volcano is on the moon called Triton. Isn't God amazing?"

We pass glue sticks in silence and cut into green, blue, and red paper, the sunshine spreading warmth across my shoulders.

Our Creator God who invents ice-forming volcanic lava wears the hats of Creator, Father, Sustainer, Provider, Encourager, Savior, and Rescuer-King. In striking strength and beauty, he dons them all effortlessly.

I know you have a stack of hats, my friend. I see moms and dads who swipe on and off hats that read Provider, Meal-Maker, Child-Chauffeur, Band-Aid-Applier, Bedtime-Enforcer, Drink-Getting,  Bill-Paying, Present-Wrapper, and Homework-Helping mom or dad.

God leans in and pulls you into a deep hug. He sees you and delights in you. You are loved. You are enough in Him, and you are held and sustained by Him. Merry Christmas! We celebrate our Rescuing King wrapped in baby clothes.

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Monday, December 7, 2015

Of Oil Swirls and the Painter's Canvases

Remnants of Korean Steak Wraps spread sesame oil and soy sauce in brown swirls beside romaine lettuce leaves on two plates still on the table. Minced garlic and ginger hang fragrant in the air.
Photo: Megan Myers, Creative Commons cc license
My husband's voice slips out from seven year old Daniel's bedroom, reading a bedtime story aloud. Daniel sniffs and coughs, reaching for his handkerchief, a re-purposed cloth napkin.

"Mom, what makes colds go away fast?" he asked wearily a few minutes ago. 

"Sleep, buddy. Lots of sleep. Let's have you go to bed early, okay?"

He's brushing his teeth now, and a sentence from my daughter's AP Drawing class has been running through my mind this evening.

"Create an entrance to the picture for the eyes to travel to the subject," states her Art Principles handout. "The eye should travel in a circuit from the subject to the secondary subjects before leaving the painting. Do not place an obstacle in the picture which prevents the eye from going beyond it." 

And it's funny to have an art concept speak wisdom into my life, but I can sense a deeper truth from it in relation to my walk with God. This concept that I want the observer's eye to scroll right to the subject is something that reverberates truth in me. I desire for people glancing in my life to find their eyes directed to the beauty of Jesus. 

So, Morgan's art principle is on repeat in my brain, and I find myself reviewing all aspects of my life. In my attitudes, am I pointing viewers to the beauty and transformative power of my God? In my stories and the words that I choose to describe my life, my marriage, my family, and my sin struggles, am I pointing to God's restorative grace and his unstoppable love?

Just like a painter or a sculptor chooses what to paint, where to highlight, and what to bring the eye to, I choose how I perceive and receive my world and attitudes. This color-swirled, majestic canvas of our lives is a gift and masterpiece still being finished by the Master Artist. I desire to have each curving Van Gogh-like flourish draw the eyes to our Artist God.

It reminds me of a verse I've been thinking about this week from my Bible reading in 2 Corinthians chapter 6. Paul is writing a letter to some believers and he says, "We put no stumbling block in anyone's path so that our ministry will not be discredited."

It reminds me of the art principle about placing no obstacle in the picture which prevents the eye from moving on. Then Paul racks up a seventeen-item list about all the ways he and his co-workers are striving to make right choices, but he ends with this thought: "We have spoken freely to you and opened wide our hearts to you."

And I think this is the way we draw the viewer's eyes to the Subject each time. We speak freely, striving honestly to have clean hands but admitting when we've stumbled, and we point always to the beautiful work of the Artist God in us. He gets all the credit. 

And we open wide our hearts to you. Thank you, friend, for this online or email friendship, for this pointing to the Artist God together. I appreciate you and would love to get to know you more.

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