The Canvas Of My Life 

Despite my unstable childhood, like most little girls I remember the early arousal of maternal instincts kicking in. I wanted to be a mommy. I wanted to cook, clean, and care for my family. Many summer days I remember setting up house in the front yard, caring for my doll, who was of course a girl! I hand washed her clothes, hung them on the clothes line, and prepared pretend bottles. What bliss! What a joyous time of innocence and pretend!

As life unfolded before me, I never lost that feeling. Although I was no Einstein, I knew I was relatively smart and could do just about anything I wanted to do; but being a wife and mom was my first goal and eventually turned into my first ministry.

I write to you today, not as a young mother with little babies, blissfully happy in my career choice. I humbly come to you as a veteran. I’m closing in on half a century in age and 30 years and counting on mom duty. This journey has taken me to the heights and depths of my greatest accomplishments and worst fears. You would think by now I’d have all this figured out. Well, on the raising, I’m still getting there. On the growing, I’ve got a long way to go.

As I was praying while I lay in bed tonight, I talked to God about my fears and short comings. I wondered, after being in the work force again, if I was supposed to be at home, solely a wife and mom. How could I feel this way after all the growth and many, many miles He had brought me through?  

I saw before me a bright white painting canvas. I saw the vibrant and beautiful colors my first 3 boys stroked across the center of the surface; the bright yellows, orange, red and blue! A new beginning, a new generation of upbringing, traditions, and way of raising. Oh yes! This was my goal. To break the curse and raise strong, God fearing, happy children!  

Suddenly the palm of divorce smeared across my beautiful canvas. No! No! My vibrant yellow was rudely mixed with my brilliant orange, and the red and blue bled into all the colors, leaving, mixing, swirling, the beauty together until they left an ugly brownish, black stain across the center of my canvas. 

My painting is ruined. It will never be beautiful again. 

I worked, I provided. I attempted to add color by keeping those glorious traditions and ways of raising. But atop the brownish, black smear, the colors lacked brilliance. Little by little a few bright spots were added. Watching my first-born dive into the Word, mature and become a man, produced some yellow. A splash of blue, a spot of red, a hint of orange as I’ve seen my second son grow with his joyous heart and many talents. A hint of purple and yellow to see my third boy love life and perservere. Still on the outer surface, just at the edges, were the reminders of brownish, black.

Then I had my baby boy, Sam. Brilliant white were those outer edges! Stevie’s yellow shined beautifully! Nathan’s array of colors, so vivid! My Jonathon’s starbursts of purple and yellow shined like the sun! With all the experience, growth, and maturity, I just knew my painting was going to come out absolutely perfect, as the Master had planned it!

I diligently prayed and worked day and night to avoid any miss-strokes. If I made a mistake, meticulously I corrected, being sure to do it just as the Master instructed. This time, THIS time, my canvas would be to His liking. I just knew it would come out beautiful and pleasing to Him! 

Another 12 years, another divorce. I prayed, I worked, I provided, but I dared not to look at my canvas. I dared not. No. I cannot bear to see another black smear. To start all over, to recreate. All those years. My heart and courage could not bare it. 

 
That is where I have been for months. I refused to look. Tonight, in my doubt and fear, God raised the veil. He made me look. He forced me to see. I argued. I didn’t want to see. In submission and obedience, I sat, as He held His hand on the tarp, ready for the unveiling. My heart raced, and sank, and raced some more as He slowly lifted. 

I closed my eyes.

“Open, look what you’ve created,” He said.

Tears filled my eyes as I gazed upon my canvas. No brownish, black. “Where is it?’ I wondered. This is not my canvas. All I saw was beauty. But divorce, hardship! Where are they? This can’t be! Surely, I’ve left a mark, a blemish, a smudge, somewhere!

I asked the Master, “Why is there no blemish?”

He replied, “Because you allowed Me to make the strokes.”

Perhaps it’s best to do as the Master instructs. I will remain at home, doing what I’m doing. I did notice there was still a lot of white space on that canvas.

~ Sandra K. Andrews 

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