For one of your birthday gifts this year, you wanted to go on CustomInk to design your own T-shirt. You knew just what you wanted the T-shirt to say: “I am made by an Artist.”
Your acknowledgement of that truth shot through my heart and struck me deeply. I absorbed the blow and considered why it hurt me so much. Of course, I knew God made you. On your birthday last year I even wrote about what a comfort that fact was to me. But, it seems to be another thing to call him an artist because that implies he’s stillmaking you. And this is where it gets tricky. I want you to be the way I want you to be, which in most ways lines up with how he wants you to be. But in other ways it doesn’t. Because I also have my selfish motivations in there – what I want you to do with your gifts and potential, when Ithink you should be over certain fears and struggles, and, sad but true, what I think will make my life easiest or me a “successful” parent.
This truth you want on your T-shirt rips that artist’s brush right out of my hands, and reminds me it’s not ultimately my work to do. And so, I see what he’s making you in a whole new, beautiful light, with new freedom to watch the Master Artist do his work on you and allow me an apprenticeship.
I see him paint you with layers of colors – color combinations so varied I didn’t even know they existed. The brightness of them can be blindingly brilliant at times and the dark, in contrast, overwhelming and perplexing. And then there’s a depth of texture he uses, showing nuances only the finest artist can depict. I can get lost in the texture – wishing it was all smooth and clear – but, oh, it’s in that texture that the artist shows his profound wisdom and the extent of his knowledge of you. So, I watch and learn from him. He knows what he’s making you. And, of course, there’s dimensions of you he depicts that show perspective beyond the here and now. They show an eternality of purpose I cannot begin to comprehend. So, once again, I surrender my brush to him.
I notice you aren’t the only artwork in his portfolio. He’s a prolific artist, this Creative Genius, and I know he’s simultaneously at work on me, often corresponding specifically to his work on you. We are part of the same collection, inseparable, linked by his sovereign design, his permanent exhibits. And the same detail your life displays, he conveys in mine too. Sometimes I resist it, but when I catch a glimpse of such handiwork, skill transcending the best romantic, impressionist, abstract, and cubist artists of all time, I stand in awe of his expertise.
And that’s right where he wants both of us to be. Standing in awe of him. Because this whole parenting thing, ultimately, is his means to the end of my knowing him better. And, really, this whole childhood thing for you, is his means to the end of yourknowing him better. He’s using us in each other’s lives so we see him, understand him, love him, desire him, and know him above all else. We both must submit to the Artist and let him have his way. We can trust he knows what he’s doing with us. Because he promises, when he’s done, to put those he has saved on display for all eternity, “in order that he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. . .for we are God’s handiwork.” (Ephesians 2:7,10)