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You are God's masterpiece

This week our youngest daughter invited me to watch a show she found based on the Disney character, Forky. This funny plastic fork was crafted by five-year-old Bonnie, with some googly eyes and pipe cleaners, and quickly became her beloved companion. Now Forky is seeking understanding in some big life themes since he is new to the world. In the episode we watched together he asked the question, What is Art?

As an artist, I was interested in how this would be answered. A theatrical friend of his explains what art is to him, and suddenly Forky has an understanding of this concept. He takes a moment to think about his creator and how he was created. “Bonnie made me, and I was her art project…and I love Bonnie.”

He then realizes that he has a divine purpose. “Maybe I was created to make her feel good things, like love.” As I sat with these words, I could not help but think about my creator and my purpose. I thought about the scripture where it says, “we are God’s masterpiece” (Eph 2:10). This has been a favorite of mine as one who loves to create works of art, but to think that we are God’s masterpiece, is to be able to understand our design. If I am His workmanship created in love, why is it so hard to believe that I make Him feel good things? At least for me, this is something that I continually struggle with.

So often I’m challenged to believe that I have enough value to be loveable unless I am doing something to earn His love. Even though I know I can’t earn His love, there are many moments that I feel like my failures and imperfections are greater than His love can reach. This doesn’t only affect my relationship with Him, but my relationship with others and myself. Fear of failure can become consuming and derailing. This week my mind was drawn to the rose. An exquisite red crimson-rose lingered in my thoughts as I drank my morning coffee. I was drawn to the beauty it held with every silky petal and the smell that swirled into my senses as I imagined it before me. I was flooded with gratitude at its flawless design and thanked God for its workmanship.

Suddenly another less joyful thought entered into my mind, the thorns. My eyes were fixed on the thorns and the pain of their prick. Within a matter of seconds, it was as if the rose disappeared and all I could see was a stem of thorns. There was no beauty in the thorns, if anything, all I could see was their malice. Then a still small voice reminded me to look at the rose again. There it was in all of its fragrant beauty. The still small voice returned and prompted the conversation asking why I was so focused on the thorns, to the point that I forgot the rose altogether. My mind journeyed through my week and all the moments I sat with my failures and places where I had done something, or said something I wish I hadn’t. I could feel the prick of shame, anxiety, and fear of not being enough. “You're striving to live your life as if it’s possible you will never have a thorn.”

What? Is that true? I sat and pondered this thought and realized that I am afraid of having thorns. I want to be a rose without a thorn because the thorns in my life are moments of imperfections or mistakes that I’m afraid of making. I forget that I am not defined by them. They are not the full picture of who I am. I even laughed at the thought of anyone who would see a bouquet of roses and only see a pile of thorns. So often I think that is how God sees me when I do something wrong or make a mistake. It became clear to me that every rose has its thorns, but they do not define the rose. Paul's words came to me about his thorn too. Three times he pleaded with God to take it from him but He didn’t. Or did he? There is another moment in the Bible we read about thorns, “they twisted together a crown of thorns and placed it on his head.” (Matt 27:29) If we go back to Ephesians 2:10 for a moment, we are told that we are God’s masterpiece having been created in Christ. I thought about the crimson-stained thorns on Christ’s head that he wore and nailed to the cross. It was as if I could see all of my thorns in that crown. Being created in Christ, for me, brings me back to where this story began with a talking fork as he came to the understanding that he was created for love. Because I am my creator's work of art, my thorns will never change the way He sees me. As we approach Easter and the crown of thorns that He so lovingly bore, I am reminded that even on my worst days, He calls me his rose and His banner over me is love. “I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys. As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters. As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.” (Song 2:1-4)


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