I spent most of yesterday working on a painting of my neighbours three daughters. she had this awesome idea of painting them with iconic halos on their heads as a birthday gift for her husband. i was only two happy to oblige. as i started drawing out the canvas i had this idea take shape that maybe, just maybe, i could do a better portrait of them than a stranger could because i know them. i know how Laura wants devil sticks for Christmas, and Eloise is allergic to apples and Charlotte hates (and i mean HATES) spiders...these were my utopic (is that a word?) thoughts as i drew.
and then i began to paint.
six hours later i called my friend and left this message on her answering machine:
"i have just painted a lovely girl, but sadly she doesn't seem to be your daughter. i don't know who she is, but she's definitely not Laura."
the force was not with me.
i woke up this morning, a little scared to enter the studio (a.k.a. basement corner) again. But things came easier, and then joyfully and then HALLELUJAH: charlotte was staring back at me. I talked to my mom and she said "i was praying for you".
what would your gut response be to that?
mine was to refrain from laughing, thinking "why would you pray for something as trivial as a painting?".
okay, i hear you all tsking, but seriously, with famine and genocide and legalized prostitution, why waste mental energy and spiritual connection on a painting?
later in the day i was reading Psalm 90:16,17
Let your work be shown to your servants,
and your glorious power to their children.
Let the favour of the Lord our God be upon us,
and establish the work of our hands upon us,
yes, establish the work of our hands!
this is the work of my hands, the work that God has shown me to do, and gifted me (most days) for. So, pray for me and Eloise tomorrow. that her little cherub face would be established in the work of my hands.
and pray for this: that we sell our house.
Scott is in the process of being hired by Ebenezer Baptist Church (no laughing at the name!) in Saskatoon (no laughing at that either!! I already feel protective...). We want to move there ASAP, and there's a house there we'd love to buy, BUT, we have to sell ours.
selling a house is a crazy business. it's so passive. you lay the sale of your most valuable material possession in the hands of strangers, and pay them extravagantly for their work, which frankly you experience very little of, and then you wait. and wait.
no viewings. no offers.
we had people come in the open house last weekend, but nothing since.
my house looks wicked awesome and i have this notion that if I could just talk with someone even vaguely interested about moving into this neighbourhood I could sell it no problem. but i can't talk. as far as I know I can't even meet them.
the waiting game is completely a trust game for me.
I read this the other night:
It's almost as if God forms a parenthesis in time and a parenthesis in space around us. He is hovering all around you all the time. *
What an incredible thought, that God is circling me, my physical body, but also my time. "you hem me in, behind and before...Psalm 139". It is a great comfort in these days. When I was younger I used to resist trusting God, feeling that if i allowed myself to be in a place of vulnerability (which is truly every breath, but anyways) God would use the chance to "teach me a lesson". I heard the pattern of those thoughts returning recently. that God would probably wait until the very last second to sell our house to "teach me" about faith...which puts God back in the position of manipulating ruler rather than good King. So, I'm training my mind to view my situation through this lens: fundamentally God is Good, and does all things for my good. not to teach me lessons, although I'm sure that's a part of it. But because He loves me, and is working in the parenthesis around me because He loves me.
may God establish the work (nursing, scrubbing, stirring, confronting, time-outing, driving, knitting) of your hands.
*(Mark Batterson - In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day)