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Saturday, October 14, 2006

Who Is Painting?

“But life—every single part of it, every stroke of the paintbrush—is God-moments. And fiction that tries to discern a non-God-moment and erase it from the possibilities is missing part of the painting.” Andy Meisenheimer, Zondervan editor. Interview by Rebecca LuElla Miller at Speculative Faith

I don’t want to be the one to discern a God-moment from a non-God-moment. I’ve already learned that lesson in my life. Andy is spot on here. In our fiction, we’re so busy trying to discern what is of God and what isn’t that our paintings (novels) seem to look all sloppy and dumpy.

Doesn’t it say somewhere that everything good is from our Father in Heaven and all things work for good for those that believe?

So what is ALL? Does this include every stroke of the paintbrush or are we trying to determine which parts we should put a glob of white over to cover and make it look clean according to our standards?

Are we forgetting that to God our righteousness looks and smells like filthy rags? And this doesn’t mean a dishrag, friend. This means bloody, filthy, smelly menstrual rags or rags used to clean up diseased sores on diseased skin. Did you just turn your nose up in disgust? Good reaction, take note because that is what our best attempts at being “good’ look and smell like to God. If we choose to paint over this with a big glob of white paint because it doesn’t fit into our little understanding of God, how then can He wash us to make us whiter than snow? Maybe you don’t need Him; maybe you’re okie-dokie painting all by yourself. I’m not.

I tried to get out my paintbrush. I thought I’d show Him how good I was at painting my own picture. When I was finished, I admired my handy work and expertise and I was sure I was going to dazzle Him with my brilliance and technique.

I presented it to Him and bounced up and down while he looked at it. And then I realized I forgot some stuff. I was so concerned with trying to put in a stroke over here like hers and one over there like his, and I focused on making it look like something someone would want to buy for a lot of money (because this was THE painting of all paintings) that I forgot to paint Him in the picture with me. I slumped down in despair and buried my face in my hands. How could I forget Him? I turned and started to walk away.

I felt His hand on my shoulder and I looked up with tears streaming down my cheeks. He wiped them away and gave the painting back to me.

He whispered, “Look.”

It was an empty canvas. My brushstrokes…gone. Every one of them.

My eyebrows scrunched up in confusion. I blinked hard trying to understand.
He said, “You can start over now.”

I held the blank canvas in my hand for a moment, still crying. I handed it back to Him and said, “This belongs to you.”

He smiled and whispered; “Now you understand.”

My thoughts grew hot within me and began to burn, igniting a fire of words
Psalm 39:3

Michelle Pendergrass is a coffee-lover who lives in Knox, Indiana where she homeschools her son, Zane. She blogs at Just A Minute. When you visit, please note that her son is most definitely weaned and has been for some time now. Some names just stick.

©2006 Michelle L. Pendergrass - All Rights Reserved


michael snyder said...

That's beautiful, Michelle. Thanks for sharing it with us. And I hope you share your canvasses with us well...the blanks and the finished products.

Jennifer Tiszai said...

I love this, Michelle. And as usual, Mike said it better than me . . . Thanks for sharing your heart with us.

Jenny said...

Michelle, you moved me, touched my heart. Your words are true. Isn't it so amazing to fall into our Abba's arms and let Him lead and guide? Thank You Father!

Abundant blessings,
Jenny Cary

Gina said...

What a wonderful glimpse for every writer. I too am trying to had my canvas back to Him, and even today I asked Him several times what He would have me to do.

It's so freeing to give it all back to God. If only I could remember that everytime I pick up the brush!

Anonymous said...

Thank you guys so much. Your kind words mean a lot to me.

Becky said...

Great insights, Michelle. You've done a wonderful job extending the analogy to show God's forgiveness and how freeing that is.