My friend Susan is an artist who uses ink to create intricate art, whimsical characters and scenes. A casual glance would make one think that her prints are shaded drawings or even watercolor creations. Upon closer inspection, however, one discovers that her art consists of thousands and thousands of minuscule dots, all coming together to make a single cohesive, beautiful image. This art form is called ‘stippling,’ which is to paint, engrave, or in this case, draw by means of dots or small touches. Taking 10 to 20 hours to complete each image, it is quite astounding to see the finished product when you consider that it was made by the tiniest of points of ink on a page. Above is a photo of one of her pieces. Look at the intricate details! (***Be sure to read ALL the way to the bottom of this post to learn how you can WIN from lottiedottieart.com)
I’ve written before about our family’s search for answers with regard to my older daughter’s mysterious medical condition. We finally were referred to the Mayo Clinic, and part of the process reminded me of Susan’s art medium. You see, we had been to so many doctors, specialists, and facilities with no answers, nothing definitive, no mystery solved. Just a bunch of seemingly unconnected dots. Before her appointment, we worked on compiling a timeline, complete with radiology images, MRIs, scans, reports, and surgery records. It was pretty overwhelming for an untrained layman like me to look at. The day of my daughter’s appointment, it felt like we were surrendering to the doctor a shoebox of hole-punch detritus and saying, “See if you can make anything out of all this.”
Praise God, after studying her case, he was able to do just that!
Like a master artist, the medical team at Mayo gathered all of the records, reports, images, and timeline pieces and carefully curated them into a cohesive, recognizable diagnosis (two, actually). After going so long without a clear picture of what she was dealing with, my daughter had very low expectations at the outset. She didn’t want to be disappointed yet again with inconclusive results. Surprisingly, the doctor, so certain of what was going on and so confident in the diagnosis and treatment plan, delivered the information so smoothly that after the appointment was over I incredulously asked my daughter, “So did he DEFINITELY diagnose you?”
Sometimes it seems like its that way with God, too. We can become overwhelmed with worry, tragedy, trauma, stress, unanswered questions, pain, grief, heartbreak, disappointment, anger, or fear that it feels like we can just hand over a box of dots and cry out with desperation, “Here! Can You make anything out of all this??”
Amazingly, God is able to do just that. You see, nothing escapes His notice. Nothing is outside of His grasp. Nothing is beyond His understanding. Nothing is too big for Him to handle, and nothing is too small for Him to care about. He is absolutely more than willing to gather up our remnants, our detritus, our littered pasts and scattered dreams, and begin to arrange a little here, clean up a little there… to create a masterpiece. See what the Bible says about this.
Ps. 56:8 You have taken account of my wanderings; Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not recorded in Your book?
Ps. 139:15-17 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.
How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
They cannot be numbered!
Is. 55:8-9 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts higher than your thoughts."
Rom. 8:27-28 And He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because the Spirit intercedes [before God] on behalf of God’s people in accordance with God’s will. And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.
Ps. 46:10 “Be still and know (recognize, understand) that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth.”
You see, because God is the master Artist, the unparalleled Creator, He alone knows His intentions for our lives and how all the puzzle parts fit together. At present, we are only able to live and perceive as we walk day to day, so our perspective is obstructed by circumstances, our view is hampered by shadows. Danish philosopher and theologian Soren Kierkegaard is credited as saying, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
1 Corinthians 13:9-12 puts it this way: Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless. When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
Just as Susan can somehow transform ink dots into beautiful art, and just as the specialist at Mayo was able to piece together the mixed up, seemingly unrelated medical symptoms into a definitive diagnosis, God, our heavenly Father, can take all the puzzling parts of our lives and perfectly fashion them into beautiful art that reflects His glory and fulfills His purpose. We only have to be willing and malleable. What beauty would allowing God to take your disordered, confusing, messy parts of your life create in you? Are you willing to allow Him to do that?
I am SO excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with Susan of lottiedottieart.com for this post, and I'm thrilled for you to have the opportunity to WIN!! Here's what's up for grabs:
Its "A Year of Cards" box from lottiedottieart.com!!!
This beautifully-packaged collection features a year's worth of hand-drawn, frame-worthy cards (one for each month). They are special enough to give to others, but you'll want to keep them for yourself, trust me! Here's how to be entered to WIN:
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Visit lottiedottieart.etsy.com and "heart" any twelve pieces in her etsy store.
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Deadline for this giveaway is July 1. Caring is sharing, so thanks, and good luck!