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It’s late. I just finished washing my face, ready to crawl into bed and something caught my eye. Hanging on the wall in my bathroom, is a framed picture (the one you see above: not a great picture of a picture…but I tried!) that I recently unpacked and hung up in our new home in Tennessee. I haven’t really looked at this picture in a while…funny how it takes a good cleaning out or packing up and then unpacking for a move, that can make you really take a second look and remember the memories of where something came from. 

So I know you are curious…what is so special about this picture that looks like a simple print out copy? I’ll have to help you look closer. This picture is from a mission trip to Mexico from when Josh and I were newly married and in student ministry. Its significance is that I bought it on the street in Mexico on that trip from an artist…he actually painted this right in front of me! He didn’t go to art school or have a claim to fame…just a normal man on the street trying to make a living. Josh thought I was crazy when I handed him $20 considering his supplies were as follows: pieces of cardboard for canvases, spray paint in varying colors and plastic sacks—yes, like from the grocery store. But what Josh didn’t know, is I had been studying his work that day on the road and was amazed by it. I don’t claim to be an artist, but I am somewhat artistic/creative and appreciate that skill in others. All of that to say, I handed him the money and watched him literally use spray paint and plastic bags (in replacement of brushes) on cardboard to create a beautiful masterpiece. I was blown away at how ugly it started and the tools being used, that resulted in something so beautiful! The challenge from that point was getting it home without bending it in my suitcase but that is a whole other story…

So that is the backstory of this painting. Maybe it was the day I had today…I’m not sure…but tonight as I looked up at it, all I could think about was how such inadequate tools could still make something so beautiful because of the artist behind them. 

This is a great representation of parenting isn’t it?! Some days you just get it wrong or you aren’t sure you did it right. My day kind of felt like that today. Patience can get lost. Discipline efforts can fail. Frustration can set in. Deep questions from the kids came at the wrong time, or were not to answered as well as they could have been. There are so many things every day that we get wrong in our humanity and more specifically our role as parents. Yet, even in our imperfections and sin, we have a God that takes our inadequacies and works them out for our good and makes them into something beautiful if we continually lay our lives down at His feet each day! Wow—what a promise! 

Take a look at these promises straight from the Word of God:

1. Ecclesiastes 3:11- He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

2. Romans 8:28- And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

3. 2 Corinthians 4:16- Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

My parenting “tool kit” may not be stellar everyday…I may go to bed some nights like tonight, knowing I need to do better. But you know what?— I have a Father God who is the ultimate artist that can take my spray paint and plastic bags of imperfections and make them into something beautiful! “We are being renewed day by day” and the HE is making “everything beautiful” in HIS timing, as we continue to learn and seek to do better in our calling to raise up legacies to know and love the Lord! 

So you won’t always go to bed with a “mom win” of a day! Remember though…We have been called for a BIG purpose of raising our kids to know, love and serve the Lord—a painting that is complete and beautiful. How does this happen? Well, I’m just taking one day at a time. Lots of prayer and surrendering. Asking God, the great Artist—who created the whole WORLD—can surely take my inadequate tools and imperfections and turn them into something beautiful. I want my kids to know that mommy isn’t perfect, but I serve a God who is. That I LOVE them unconditionally because of how Jesus died for us and in that, taught me what unconditional love looks like. And ultimately above ALL else, I want them to grow up knowing they are loved the MOST by God and there is nothing they could do to earn or to lose His perfect love—and to uphold that a beautiful and complete life (aside from living close to their momma smile) is serving God wherever He calls them to. This future painting of raising 2 godly young men who are living a life serving the Lord will be a beauty to behold one day! I pray for it—that all the parenting strokes and splatters of spray paint and paper sacks it takes to get there now, will be a beautiful work of the Lord in its completion. 

For now, as they are young and impressionable—while the painting of their life is still being created—I pray to God that he would continue to renew my calling each day as a mother, to love my boys well by seeking HIM first and to see these young years we have together as a gift and opportunity to help shape them into something beautiful for the future. Where ultimately, I pray that they would know and love the Lord above all else!