Updated: May 24, 2019
In all of it’s unfinished beauty this painting resonates with one of the truths I long to convey when I create. God can use anything in our lives whether a mistake, a sin of our own or sins committed against us. This painting is of a little girl I nannied while living in Dallas. We were passing a beautiful field of dandelions yet to transform to magical puffs. Those with eyes of a child are able to see beauty in what others consider weeds.
With watercolor paintings sometimes an artist will wet and tape down the paper to stretch the paper so that water doesn’t make puddles while painting. I had done this to this painting so my painting would have a smooth look as I painting layer upon layer. I was so excited, and wanted to show this painting to a friend, that as I was rushing out the door one day I pulled too quickly off of the surface I had it taped to. It ripped into the edge of the little girl's head and down towards the dandelions. I stared in shock with a sick feeling in my stomach.
I was angry with my hastiness and lack of forethought. I had a queasy feeling of deep regret and my mind whirled with shock because of what I had done. It was a moment I could not take back or erase. I was angry with myself! But, I couldn’t even think of throwing it away. It held a part of me. I had painted for hours over the prior weeks whenever I had a moment. So, I said a prayer and tucked it away asking God to show me a parallel of his deep love for his precious children. I had no idea what could be done to redeem the piece.
A few months later I was watching the students in my church's youth group as they placed broken pieces of glass into a mosaic cross. Praying quietly, I noticed one of the girls was crying as she placed her piece of broken glass into the mosaic. As she began to share with me a sin that had been committed against her, tears of shame and regret fell steadily. A boy had asked her to do something that she didn’t want to do, but due to her desire to feel accepted and loved she agreed. She wept feeling marred as she tried to break free from the lies that sought to ravaged her heart and mind. I prayed with her and continued to pray for wisdom as I drove her home that night.
This precious girl and I had had several deep talks before, but this time while driving her home in a severe thunderstorm and electrical storm... I decided to just turn up the song playing in my car. “Somebody’s Watchin”, by Chris Rice, played and I realized she was crying. She cried while staring at heavens fireworks that seemed to be declaring God’s love for her. Explosions continued to light up the sky and her tear stained face while her fragile heart kept repeating in disbelief that faded into peace-filled hope... “He’s seen it all and still cares... He still cares... “
After dropping her off at her house. I continued to pray on the way home. I wanted to create an expression of God’s tender heart and His unconditional love for her. The painting of Mallory came to my mind. I envisioned iridescent pearl ink being placed along the tear of the painting. Then I saw jewels intermingled along the tear. The crystals symbolize people we allow close to speak of God's love and truth and the jewels of God's word that bring healing and redemption.
The pearl ink and little pearls represent how painful and wounding things in our lives can transform to inner pearls within our soul amidst the tears. Pearls form when a foreign particle gets inside of an oyster causing irritation. The natural reaction is to cover up the irritant to protect itself! This reminds me of allowing God to cover us and bring truth and healing through His Word. The process of the pearl forming varies and ranges from 1 - 20 years.
This is a beautiful truth! And I can't help but believe that forgiveness is something that is knit into the parallel of pearls forming in our souls. The longer the pearl is hidden and layers of forgiveness form, well the larger the pearl! That can be a comfort if there is an ongoing suffering and trial in your life where the layers of forgiveness offered seem daily.
There are circumstances in our past, present or both where a mere memory feels like a piercing splinter to our souls. It could be a memory from childhood, a wounding that occurs in key relationship in our life on a daily or weekly basis... selfish actions, emotional abuse, thoughtless words or venomous words that cause deep wounding. Layer upon layer, forgiveness upon forgiveness (which can be really HARD sometimes) and seeking the balm of God's love to our minds and emotions produce pearls that decorate the masterpiece of our lives. Some of the layers of forgiveness might involve forgiving ourselves. Each pearl holds a story! Each story holds power when the layers in which the pearl forms hold the key ingredient of forgiveness.
Though this painting is an unfinished piece, what it declares is powerful. So it stays exactly the way it is! Perfectly imperfect and beautiful in its imperfection and brokenness. A statement of God's faithfulness and love throughout our lives.