(Originally posted April 2016)
As a mom of young children, my life could be defined by the word “mess”. Partly because cleaning is not really my thing, partly because I have three girls who like to change their clothes multiple times a day – but mostly because my children refuse to stop being creative! Yes, most of our mess concentrates in one area of our house: the craft cabinet.
As much as I love having creative children, creativity always seems to lead to a mess. Even if we get things all cleaned up and organized one day – the next day it looks like we never even tried!
One of the things that happens often as I make attempts to clean things up is that I will grab something that, to me, looks like scrap paper or leftovers from some project. But as I get ready to throw it away – I get caught: “No! Don’t throw that away! That’s my spy girls super decoder telescope!” A lot of times things that look like a mess to me are actually my children’s beautiful and wonderful creations.
A couple weeks ago, our youngest daughter, Anna, drew this picture. I noticed that she had worked especially hard on it, so instead of just throwing it in the overflowing box of miscellaneous projects and papers I’ll deal with someday (or sneaking it into the recycle bin) I decided to stop and ask her what it was.
On the bottom left is a cave, which is next to a parking lot with a flag. To the right of that are mountains – each color being a specific section of the mountains we had hiked a few days before. And of course, there are the clouds and sky. It may not look like much to anyone else – it may just look like some lines and scribbles – but to Anna, this was her creative way of capturing a beautiful and special family memory.
In Genesis 1 we are introduced to the most creative Artist that ever existed as He simply spoke and brought everything we know of into being. Then, as author Jennie Allen states, He “puts His hands in the dirt to craft a final masterpiece. This time, He didn’t use words. He lovingly fashioned man from the dust and woman from a rib.”*
We were not just spoken into being – we were formed. David reminds us of this in Psalm 139:13: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” The amazing thing, though, is that His creative work in our lives did not end there – He is constantly forming us.
The Grand Artist of all creation has chosen us to be His canvases. And although our lives may look like a mess of lines and scribbles and mistakes, He is creating a masterpiece. Every single mark is made with intention and out of the mess comes beauty – beauty that goes beyond anything we could ever dream up if we were the artist ourselves!
When I look at my children’s artwork sometimes, the ‘realist’ adult in me wants to say things like, “Oh – but mountains aren’t pink – they should be green or brown. And the sky? It’s not really just on top there, you should fill it in all the way down.” Because that’s what I see – and that’s what I think mountains and sky should look like.
The same runs true with life in general. When there’s a mess in my relationships or my work or my health or even just in my head – I just want to fix it. I want to make my life what I think my life should look like!
The other day my friend Tassie told a story about a mentor she once had. Every time the two of them would get together and Tassie would share a concern or problem she was facing, Sally would respond with, “Okay, let’s pray.” She would then open the prayer by thanking God for the situation and expressing how much she was looking forward to seeing what amazing things He was going to do through it!
The other day, I challenged myself to stand in the middle of my kids creative mess and just be. To pause and see the beauty in the mess. To just be the mom of these amazingly creative children.
God sees you in your mess. He sees you in your stress. He loves you in your mess and He cares for you in your stress. And even though you may not be able to see it now, He’s making beautiful things out of all of it.
So stop trying to be your own artist! Stop trying to clean it up, fix it all, or run away from it – and just BE. Be His canvas. Be His creation. Your Creator knows exactly what He’s doing.
*”IF: I Believe” (http://ifequip.com/content/i-believe-god-maker-earth-and-all-seen)