Beauty and Complexity

Abuse Survivor, Art, bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, hope, memoir, Peace, Prayer, rest, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder
Things of Beauty

The space was filled with exquisite ideas for design, paintings covered every wall. Artisan made coffee tables and rich leather chairs draped in soft throws over the arms. I arrived with art as a prospective newly represented artist and departed with my paintings and a tiny bit of hope.

Big hopes were thwarted.

A happy voice greeted me and then asked to hear “my artist” story and then I heard hers. She loves working with graphite, she told me, and practices in portraiture. Her iPad with the shattered screen was her gallery that day.

With every sketch or painting, she asked. “Do you see where this went wrong, do you see the error?”

Then she told me. One watercolor she’d entered into an exhibit was of elephants, a mother and baby.

I was drawn to the painting and she explained she’d given it to her mother. As she explained her technique, again telling me where she botched the color and had to fix it and then decided to let the mistake of the pale blue remain, I was captivated by the wrinkles.

I told her so, the detail in the trunks, the layering of pencil and color, the beautiful wrinkles were perfect, touchable.

Last week, I prepared for an interview. I arranged myself and my laptop in a corner and having curled my hair and found a blouse with bright color, I turned my phone to selfie mode to get a glimpse of how I’d be appearing on screen.

I’m horrible at selfies. Do you smile? Do you pretend you don’t know you’re taking your own photo? Do you look at the ceiling? What’s that angle that’s said to be becoming?

I stared at the several shots. I hurried to the closet to change from one blouse to others.

The neckline of the first one accentuated the crepes in the stretchy place on my neck. It was unavoidable and too late to be concerned, too evident to be remedied.

The wrinkles could not be erased.

I sat and prayed and there was peace in my expression, peace with the production manager, the interview and in my responses to kind and unexpected questions.

God was with me.

“You formed my innermost being, shaping my delicate inside and my intricate outside, and wove them all together in my mother’s womb. I thank you, God, for making me so mysteriously complex! Everything you do is marvelously breathtaking. It simply amazes me to think about it! How thoroughly you know me, Lord!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:13-14‬ ‭TPT‬‬

I thought of the elephant artist, the way she discounted the work her hands created.

I wondered if God felt that way. If God sees and saw me despising my appearance, expressing self-hatred over my weight, my sparse eyelashes, the intricate texture on the place where my necklace rests.

The necklace that has a small gold cross, the one a tiny girl reaches for to say, “I love your necklace, Grandma,

I love your cross.”

The magnolia leaves my daughter uses for decor will soon be replaced.

The verdant green is drying to a darker tone. The underside is curling and the veins are more evident, magnolia leave wrinkles now.

But, still a regal sort of beauty, a strength as a table display.

I’ve returned to the practice of the “Pause” app after growing bored with it.

I was required to start over because of a new phone. The old phone charted my listening and I had listened over 700 minutes.

As of yesterday, I’m at 11.

I listened again and the words of the prayer are now resonating new and different.

“I was created for union with you.” The Pause app prayer

God, my creator longs to be united with me, with us.

United in thought, in decision, in praying and in listening, God waits so close he could reach out His hand to mine, possibly soothe the wrinkles that now cover my hands, the hands of an artist, a creative who gets carried away by color and ideas.

The complexity of me, He knows completely.

Says keep learning, keep learning and discovering you according to Me.

The beauty and value of wrinkles, a display of me in you and you with me.

Heavenly Father, thank you for mornings and quiet rediscovering of you. You are with me. You spare me from harm. You give me courage. You calm me when I notice and you strengthen me when I feel belittled or unable. You’re the lifter of my head and the lover of my soul. You give me songs to celebrate my growing. When I feel cornered, you join me in that dimly lit place, you tell me “I am here.”

The interview went well. There was talk of art and there was talk of God.

A song stayed with me that afternoon.

Oh! Christ be magnified
Let His praise arise
Christ be magnified in me
Oh! Christ be magnified
From the altar of my life
Christ be magnified in me

3 thoughts on “Beauty and Complexity

  1. “The beauty and value of wrinkles,” you say. Before reading your post I would have raised my eyebrows in doubt of THAT! But your story of the elephant picture gives new perspective for their beauty. Why can’t I celebrate my own wrinkles like I would the intricate line-design on an elephant’s flank? As for their value: the wisdom of experience often develops as wrinkles begin to appear. I think I’d rather have wisdom than smooth skin! Thank you, Lisa, for lifting my head with YOUR wisdom today!

    Liked by 1 person

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