Monday, August 15, 2011

Colors of Grace

I sit on the floor, an ocean of photographs scattered all around.  Piles of color are taking shape and there's a familiar elation surging through my chest.

I don't know how it is that the same place that tightens with all my fears is also the one that beats wild with joy when there's beauty all around and I'm lost in the Glory of Him.  But I feel it now, just like I always do when I'm perched on the edge of something new, about to create a piece of who I am.


I've got this vision of beauty in mind and I don't know if I can take what's in my head and make it into something real.  But sitting here, this wild hope coursing through, I know I've got to try.

It's days of pondering methods and materials before I find a way to bring my vision into being.  I've gathered all the pieces, carried them out to a sunny spot in the yard, and I'm starting out without knowing where I'll end up.


Because I might think I know what this is all about and I might try my hardest to make something beautiful out of what I have.  But I'm not the One Who spoke the world into being and I'm not the One Who takes the pieces of a life, breathes hope and light into all the broken places.  I might call myself an artist, but who can really say that when the Artist behind all this beauty is standing right here, whispering His love?


It's a few hours of work, laying photographs one beside the other.  I'm bent right over, kneeling on the ground, and I'm too close to see what's really happening.  I see the vision in my head and it's slipping out of reach, the disappointment rushing in to take its place.  My heart's weighed down because I just want to reflect the One Who's opened my eyes to all this beauty in the world.

But how will anyone see Him here when my hands are too clumsy and I haven't any skill to fashion this reflection?


I just keep pressing down the photographs, hoping He'll find a way to fill in all the emptiness.  Because I've been at this too long not to know He's more than enough to make up for everything I lack.  And isn't that the only way for the world to see Him here anyway?  Me too small and broken, Him too beautiful and glorious not to be noticed, holding all the pieces of a life together in the most unexpected of ways?

It's later that night when I'm finally finished and I set up the boards, one beside the other.  This piece of art, it's turned into ten feet of color and I sink to the floor in disbelieve.  Because there it is, stretched across the couch, the vision in my head now flesh and blood.  And I don't understand how He's come and held the pieces together but, oh, He has and I'm trembling at the sight.

(Click photo to enlarge)

His beauty, it's far too great for any of us to see or know, but there's a piece of it here because all of this--it's His.  He's the One Who dreamed up all these colors, carved petal shapes out of nothing.  It's all His handiwork and it's all a gift.

And this is the moment I realize I've had my face buried in every one of these blooms.  There are a hundred photographs right here in front of me, but these--they're only a fraction of the beauty I've captured with the click of a shutter.  Thousands upon thousands.  Blooms and buds and leaves.  Light and beauty and God--everywhere I look.

Maybe it's only been eight months since I started counting the gifts and the graces and the moments, but I know it now that He's been pouring down on me all the years before.  And maybe I didn't understand what was happening and maybe I didn't put any words to all those moments of a life, but I felt the pull of His beauty and I kept seeking it out, pressing in close, trying to memorize the joy way down deep.

Now I see that long before I ever counted a thousand ways He loves,  I'd brushed against His creator heart over and over again.  And I didn't know what I'd gotten myself into when I first held the camera to my face, but He knew and He opened me up and poured Himself right in--into the place where all the fear lives.

Perfect Love, it casts out fear--but maybe it's not once for all.  Maybe we keep letting in Love and He keeps casting out the fear.  And in the end we realize He's not going to leave us and we're never going to have to face the fear alone.

Because there's always a bigger picture than the one we can see right now.  And most times we're just too close to understand what's really going on.  We might see the vision of a life slipping away and we might feel weighed down by the loss of all the dreams and the plans and the hopes.  But I'm certain now that if we just keep pressing on, laying down the days one beside the other, we'll discover something we didn't expect.

Him standing there, holding our pieces together, the days all joined in the most beautiful reflection of grace and glory and God.



1062.  Straining to see the almost-full moon, rising behind the neighbor's tree

1063.  Fingers stained with cherry juice

1064.  Long, hard conversations full of pain and tears and connection

1065.  Understanding a loved one's suffering

1066.  Amaryllis blooms open and tall, a gift in the middle of summer

1067.  Afternoon naps when days are hard

1068.  Sharing a burger and fried mushrooms with a brother

1069.  Movie night at home with all the right snacks

1070.  Banana bread baking in the oven

1071.  Summer evenings on the porch, garden wet from all the watering

1072.  Face pressed into beauty a thousand times over

1073.  God holding all the pieces, making this life into something beautiful

9 comments:

  1. What a beautiful work He has created, in your life and in your art. I love the collage, it is really wonderful!

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  2. "Me too small and broken, Him too beautiful and glorious not to be noticed, holding all the pieces of a life together in the most unexpected of ways"- such beautiful words, such a beautiful post, such beautiful photos, such a beautiful Savior, such a beautiful you. Yes, #1073 is true. Thanks for the reminder.

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  3. magnificent! His work in and through you re-making you ever more beautiful because of Him.
    thank you for all the work you said 'Yes' to bring this vision to life.

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  4. Simply SPECTACULAR! Thank you so much for this writing and for these glorious photographs! Is it possible to do anything like this digitally - in the computer? LOVE this, love it, love it.

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  5. You will not believe this - but the word entry for the comment I just posted was 'b-l-e-s-t.' And that's exactly what I am as I look at these photos.

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  6. @Kathleen: Thank you so much for reading, and for your kind words. God *is* doing beautiful things, and what a privilege it is to have these eyes to see it. Thank you again.

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  7. @tinuviel: Thank you. Just thank you. I teared up reading your comment because there really is all this beauty in what God is doing in me and through me and I am so humbled to be His Beloved. He's holding all your pieces together, too, Friend. And it is beautiful!

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  8. @Rachel Schober: Thanks for making time for my writing in the midst of all you're doing right now...and thank you for saying "yes" to walking this life road with me. I love you.

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  9. @Diana Trautwein: It lifts my heart to see others finding beauty and joy in the art that He gives me. Thank you so much for stopping by.

    I am fairly certain it would be possible to do something like this digitally. Sadly, though, I have no skills in that department. I am very tactile in my art--I like to hold it in my hands during the making. If you know anyone who does photo work on the computer or has a good photo editing program, maybe show them these pics and see if they can point you in the right direction?

    Thank you again for reading. *You* are blessing *me*.

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