“. . . I couldn’t be more proud of you!” Romans 16:19 TM
When my daughter was smaller she used to draw these wonderfully simplistic self portraits. I remember how she would pluck the purple crayon from the Crayola box ever so carefully and grip it tight between her pudgy, pale hands. She did her very darnedest to keep them steady.
I used to love to sit and watch her doodle away on the living room rug, her tiny pink toenails kicking as if completely filled up with artistic energy that just had to get out.
I’ll never forget the first picture she ever drew. It still graces our refrigerator to this day. Her crayon etched head so wiggly and large with two giant skinny legs sticking straight down from her chin. While it certainly was no Monet, to me it was worth just as much. She’d worked so hard to create the little bit of something she had created and knowing it was her best made it the best piece of art I ever owned.
Of course, as the years passed by I taught her to hold her hands a little more steadily. I showed her how to use different shades of crayon to capture the essence of her golden brown hair and her rosy pink lips.
If you were to look on our refrigerator today you would see a freshly drawn “after” portrait. You might not see much difference in the two since her tiny little people still have giant heads and absolutely no neck to speak of – but because I am her mother the little changes would be so evident to me. I would point them out to you in vast numbers because I appreciate every little “work in progress” improvement her self portrait has made – from the slightly straighter legs dangling from her chin to the ever so slightly steadier circle, no matter how robust.
Sure, I know there is room for improvement but together we will work on that, little by little, until someday those little legs will have feet attached and those giant heads will be within normal scale. As mommies we look forward to the milestones still somehow being completely wrapped within the “head over heels” feeling for the here and now scribbles on our fridges.
Isn’t this a lot like our Heavenly Father? He watches proudly as we scribble with our purple crayon, teaching us little by little how to bring out all of our living colors. He points out how we can improve but never misses a chance to celebrate who we are in the moment along with the little changes that we make to become better, more rounded men and women. After all, He even promises that He has “drawn” us “with loving kindness” and “everlasting love.” (Jeremiah 31:3)
While the inner changes we make to our own self portrait may go unnoticed by the world, our Father will always be quick to proudly point them out. “Anne is a wonderful budding artist, Moses. Look, how well she stays in the lines!” “Hey, Noah, come here a minute. Check out how straight Anne is drawing her arms these days. Pretty amazing, huh?”
As you grow and change and you shuffle your pink toenails from the living room rug of life, know that God takes notice of each improved stroke. And if you ever doubt His celebration of who you are even in the unchanging moments just ask Him to show you His waste basket. You’ll find it completely empty. His refrigerator on the other hand you will find completely full.