As an artist, I can paint a pretty picture. And with my artistic skills, I painted a picture of what my life should look like. A young Christian lady married young with two beautiful and healthy children. I added rays of sunshine with happy family pictures on Facebook and spoke of every highlighted detail of our life through my updated status. From the surface of the picture, it looked good. A young couple was learning to be married and learning to be parents with a smile on their faces and God in their hearts.
Yet, this picture was ridden with ugly spots. And the top layer only looked pretty because I painted it that way. But the layers underneath were scraped and marred. I kept adding heavy layer after heavy layer to cover up the mistakes and spots that I didn’t want anyone to see.
I didn’t want anyone to see the toxic spaces. I didn’t want to tell anyone of the harmful moments. I didn’t want anyone to know of the pain and neglect and the dangerous parts. I didn’t want anyone to see beneath the heavy layers of dripping paint was a woman with a shattered soul desperately trying to hold herself together and shield her children.
I was afraid everyone would think I failed in my marriage. That somehow I was the one who messed it all up. If I just prayed hard enough. If I just accepted the pain and glossed over the hurt. If only I had kept on painting a pretty picture, then my marriage would work out. I knew God gave me the strength to carry the world on my shoulders, so I took that to mean I was supposed to carry everything in my marriage, even if I carried it alone.
But there is only so many layers of paint a canvas can hold. Eventually, paint starts to chip and chunks begin to fall off. The day I separated from my husband was the day I was left with my children and a blank canvas. The thick crusts of paint on the floor, because my canvas couldn’t hold it anymore
It was heartbreaking. It was painful from a mixture of all the hard work to keep this pretty picture, the people pushing me to portray it that way it and the fact I was only human. And at that moment I felt like an utter failure because I could create what should have been beautiful.
However, God is the creator. He is the greatest of all artists. From the brokenness, He gave me new paint and held my hand as I trembled to hold the paintbrush. And upon this canvas, He helped me paint the truth. It shows all my scars and all my broken pieces. It shows where I have grown wiser and where my children have grown stronger. It reveals our troubles and our blessing. It shows tenderness and brokenness. It shows the good and the bad. And it shows the deep love I have my children and that we are even more loved by a mighty God.
I think many other women have done the same thing as I did; making pretty pictures to hide the brokenness that we have inside. However, God does not intend for us to hide our brokenness or be ashamed of the fact we can’t do it all alone. We were not all meant to display these fake, pretty, little, pictures of ourselves that lack what is raw and real. Even in our failures and brokenness, God gives us a blank canvas to paint upon. It should be filled with both the good and the bad; the vulnerable places and the victories; the gentle and hard parts; the troubles and blessings. And that picture may have rough parts and ugly bits you do not like, but know that painting is truly lovely.
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