I broke the first piece of art I’ve ever been proud of within a week of bringing it home.
I went to spend time with some of my friends at one of those cute pottery painting places last month, and walked away from our session really excited about the outcome of my little masterpiece. It was a new feeling for me. I always feel awkward the second I grasp a paint brush and am faced with the task of creating something pretty with free-hand painting.
My brain turns to mush, I fight back hyperventilating, the brush shakes in my hands, and I feel utterly silly about the whole thing. “It shouldn’t be that hard! It’s not a big deal.”
But for some reason, the reassurances I mutter to myself don’t work, and I walk away feeling like a kindergartener who is just completed her first messy art project at school.
This time was different though. I’m finally starting to accept my limitations and that I don’t have to be defined by them. I have learned time and again this year that grace means I don’t have to be perfect. I don’t even have to be good. I just have to accept God’s grace and let Him work through imperfect me.
(It also helped a whole lot that I sat next to an artistic friend who encouraged me along the way while I painted that coffee mug, giving me suggestions for color choices when I asked every 8 seconds.) 🙂
I picked up my little piece of artwork a couple of weeks later and treasured all that it represented to me. Something I actually loved and had created with my own shaky hands. Something that I could look at every morning when I drank my morning brew and smile about the light of grace in my life.
For 3 days, I did just that. Then that busy afternoon in my crowded kitchen when the baby was crying and time was slipping away from me, I didn’t notice that I’d placed it too close to the edge of the counter. I didn’t notice until my elbow grazed it, and I heard it make that that deep, internal smash on the floor.
My picture of grace was destroyed, and I felt the lump form in my throat. How could I mess up grace? Why did it have to be ruined so quickly after I found triumph over something that has plagued me for so long?
Because it was not actually grace.
Grace is not something I can create. It’s not something I can destroy. It’s not even a result of anything good that I’ve done. It’s a gift given to me by Jesus. He went through the fire much hotter than my mug did after I painted it. He died and 3 days later rose again. The man Jesus, whom His disciples and family had grown accustomed to seeing each day during His time on earth, was finished.
But He was victorious. No, He did not physically stay with them the rest of their days on earth, but because their picture of grace died and rose again, He became much more than a picture.
He became the real deal. How much greater that is than an earthen vessel!
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