It’s fascinating to stare into your process. I think that sometimes our journey wanders around so much it’s easy to miss the growth.
This week my parents changed out a sink at the church where I grew up. When they did, it left a space that needed to be painted. She mentioned it to me because it’s in a bathroom I had painted a million years ago.
After I graduated from Auburn, I accidentally took a gap year. Long story for another day, but all of my future plans hit a brick wall. I started a graduate program, but at orientation I hated it. I sat outside under a tree, bawling my eyes out. I was so confused about what to do, but equally sure that the path I was on was just not right. My daddy....bless that man. He told me life is a carousel, and it’s ok to hop off if I need to. I can hop back on when I’m ready. So we packed up the boxes he had just unloaded, and we drove home. No plan. No direction.
I can’t even remember why I started painting that year. I imagine it’s because my mom loved a project and we were always at church anyway. I think we found some cute ideas at Sherwood Williams? But my church family....They oohed and aahed over each room I painted. They made me feel like I was Michelangelo. So I believed the. I did more. I let my creativity stretch. I tried a faux finish,I added clouds. There was a partition so I painted a lattice on it. I think it took me 3 weeks to measure it and over analyze it. 😂. Next, I added a picket fence. One day I went wild and added flowers. The ladies were so excited and so encouraging. When I added the hymn reference over the toilet they all laughed.
Here’s the thing I saw today. I didn’t just see a wall covered in the most basic art. I saw discipleship. I saw baby steps I made that were so lovingly nurtured. I saw vulnerable Amanda at a crossroads where I could have become so defeated and insecure. I could have felt like life was over, that I was a failure because I quit my career path. My church welcomed me back home and discipled me towards my purpose. They weren’t upset that the art wasn’t perfect. They saw their Amanda create, and that was just wonderful. It was enough. Because it was the best I knew how to offer, they accepted and rejoiced over my offering. When I think back over that time in my life, I wonder if that is a modern version of what the widows mite looks like. We always associate that parable with money, but I wonder if another lesson to learn is that Jesus rejoices over those innocent, eager, less than perfect offerings that flow out of tender hearts.
I think my church got that. I don’t think I would be the artist I am today without their discipleship of my vulnerable heart. I wonder if there are a lot of insecure, vulnerable Amanda’s out there who want to try out the gifts God has knit into them. I wonder what would happen if we cared more about nurturing tender new growth than perfection. I wonder how good we are at actively looking for the signs of growth potential in people around us.
Today I made the pedestal sink into water fountain, because every garden needs a water feature 😂. But isn’t the imagery of a sink full of water overflowing into a fountain of blessings just the perfect way to finish up this little bathroom mural’s testimony? You know what else is cool about the analogy? I completely missed it, until Hannah, one of the girls who has been in our small group for a few years pointed it out. Wouldn’t it be fun to see how far that overflow goes?
How are you watering the growth in the garden around you? What’s watering you? That is discipleship. It’s such a beautiful design. 🥰