The bows of the mighty men are broken, and those who stumbled are girded with strength. 1 Samuel 2:4 (NIV)
I went to a pottery store recently to paint a gift mug. It was kids’ day, and the shop brimmed with children noisily painting their treasures. Undaunted, I selected my paints and sat down to sketch on the bisque. A mother and daughter sat nearby working on their own projects. I listened, enchanted, as the mother taught her little girl how paint worked, and gave her ideas and color tips.
Ninety minutes later I was nearly complete; only one last coat of paint and a shot of hot air remained. The little girl seemed close to done as well. She stood to carry her figurine to the blow dryer.
Then it happened. My head jerked up at the crash, and my eyes drifted from the girl’s stricken face as she looked at her mother to the shards of purple and black scattered on the tile floor. She began to cry. I felt her anguish as the sculpture she had put so much work into lay in ruins.
“It’s okay, honey,” her mother said with a hug. “It was an accident. You can paint a new one.” Her daughter resisted, but the mother persevered until the girl relented at the words, “I’ll help you this time. It’ll be even better than the first one!”
On the way home I thought of how often I trusted my own strength or ability to improve myself and achieve goals. It only produced outward improvement—a painted facade. The greatest growth always came after my life lay shattered like that figurine, and after I accepted God’s loving offer to help.
Father, thank you for your never-ending, stubborn love. Paint my heart big, like yours.
© 2013 Katherine A. Fuller