God’s Paintbrush



“The only memories our children will have are the ones we live, not the ones we hope for”–Mr. Simmons

As the children and I are chit-chitty-bang-banging along down the highway, the sky demands my attention–a beautiful sunset of fuschia and pink like the color of tangy, bursting grapefruit; coral like the flaming underwater ocean-lined dance; true orange, like the grainy flesh of that round, florida-sweet orb, and purple like dark violets, all royalty, like Jesus coming swift on horse out of the heavens, lightening in His wake. And it is something I can’t describe, the way the colors are masterfully painted and displayed, the way they sway in and out like waves, are vast and high like mountains, low and earthy, lying in the very depths of the ocean and me all at once. And it leaves me joyously breathless.

I say to the girls, above the roar of the enormous trucks passing us up, ” Girls, do you know that God is the real, true artist, and us humans on earth are just imitators of His art?”

Lorna speaks up from the back and says, “Do you mean that God painted that? And what does ‘imitators’ mean?

Ivy says, “He used his paintbrushes to paint it like Daddy does and like we do when we paint?

I say, “Well, I guess you could say that He uses paintbrushes, but not the same way that we do, and what I mean about humans being imitators is that God was the first artist–He is the best and we can try to make our art like His–but we can never create it the way he does.”

Lorna helps, “Yeah, because He uses the whole sky as His canvas and we could never be big enough to paint the sky.”

“Exactly,” I smile-speak it, content in His truth and my children’s growing knowledge of Him.

A week later, Ivy and I are on the way to the store together, a rare moment alone for us, her sitting in the back, the distance seeming like the grand canyon because I yearn to make this moment stick but don’t know how, lost in the depravity of myself, of the draining of daily human needs, desires, and clashing and thrashing of a family like the waves upon a mountanious, sure rock, the waves losing the battle. And somewhere in between all of my grappling for the loving intimacy of this moment with my daughter, she interrupts my thoughts from her spot in the back, “Mama! Look at the sunrise that God painted in the sky!”

“You mean the sunset, Ivy?”

She says, “Yes, (giggle) the sunset…God painted a beautiful one for us today, all just for us, didn’t He?”

I laugh softly yes, and we putter happily to the store.

And God is the sure rock that we crash against, and I’m so glad He wins.

My gratitude:

#203 jumbo cartons of fresh strawberries and blueberries

#204 Bella’s blueberries lined up on the counter following “Mama Strawberry”

#205 family that doesn’t give up on me and loves me unconditionally

#206 Husband that, through all the heartache, pain, and this long road of chronic illness, loves me with such passion

#207 Husband’s note–“We will make it through this–never give up on us”

#208 Husband, though he is a man of very few words, shows quiet admiration when the girls show him work they have been doing at home with Mama

#209 When Ivy says, “We’ve been writing about why we like homeschooling today” and husband’s face beams when he looks into my eyes and i can hardly take it in

#210 how my babies smell of cocoa butter and pure heaven after bath time

#211 the contentment in the way our evenings unfurl in babies wet, grinning, and wrapped up in towels, supper at the table, a story, and Bella’s reminder: “i gotta brush teeth!”

#212 When i walk in the door, Lilly running excitedly to me, her little legs unsteady and rigid, but amazingly swift, arms wide, embracing and throwing her face into my legs

#213 new hammock that came in the mail–a dream made reality

#214 watching my children puddle jump in our front yard

#215 Husband that works hard putting hammock up to make his wife happy

#216 how he keeps his promise to complete the project, even after working long hours

#217 how when Bella chopped her hair off clear up to her hairline, and after i cried in horror and anguish, we were able to salvage her beautiful wheat-blonde locks and her new hair, befitting of an angel, made her fresh-faced and made her rosy, dimpled cheeks shine.

#218 how Bella looks at me, blue eyes looming sadness when i tell her that i was disappointed and sad that she cut her hair, and she says, “You cried?”

#219 communication and understanding between me and my four yr old

#220 white blooms waving in blue sky

#221 gentle breeze, bringing in fall

#222 bright green leaves, fluttering, hanging stubbornly onto branches

#223 me and mountain of children, bundled up in hammock, giggles and laughter spilling out the sides

#224 Husband rubbing my face, his caressing confession, and his desire for me

#225 how we can hurt each other so much with our arguing, but one look of love in eyes and we know why, after all this time, we are still doing this thing called marriage

#226 how God’s grace wraps us up in a soothing blanket of repentance, forgiveness, love and peace.

#227 blueberry and dark choc chip pancakes made by my girls–seeing them lovingly give of themselves and serve

#228 a trip to town with all my girls alone, going by to see our Granny, and finally accomplishing my goal of obtaining some essential oils from the health store–a big day of victory for me!

#229 my clunker of a van that won’t reverse

#230 Husband’s loving offer to grill out and his surprise for me when he returns from the store–a pack of salmon just for me (the non-beef eater)–such a gesture of love

#231 me cleaning silks off corn, washing asparagus stalks and taking them out proudly to Husband, all rubbed down and seasoned for him to place on the grill, and i can do this–though i wasn’t taught–i can be a loving, serving wife

#232 lying all peacefully tangled up with Mr. Simmons on our new hammock

#233 his admission–“This IS nice”, and a cute, boyish grin

#234 figuring intimacy out and having patience with one another

#235 and my favorite this week…1,000 gifts on audio and Mike Mason’s The Mystery of Marriage arriving at my door, sent by a friend made on the web in this grace-filled community! Thanking God for this precious friend!

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4 thoughts on “God’s Paintbrush”

  1. Nacole… first let me say your girls are just adorable…second…your mr.simmons is a wise man…I love the quote.
    You are a gifted writer…you paint pictures with words…keep writing…you honesty is refreshing.
    Glad for all arrivals that made it to you in the mail this week…enjoy reading and listening in your hammock.
    Blessings sweet lady~

  2. thank you both for your sweet comments. i love 226 too, and hammocks.

    Ells, wow…thank you. that encouragement is appreciated and i take it to heart.

    i am trying to figure out how to get the audio on my ipod shuffle for running…i am lost when it comes to technology!

    blessings to you too, friend.

  3. wow..I am no help there…I have a touch…google is my best friend…my kids laugh because I think I can figure out anything as long as I can google my problem.

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