I was sent somewhere I'd never been and assigned to assist a girl I'd never met before on a new adventure that was like nothing I could relate to from any experiences I'd had in my past. I had been anxiously anticipating it for months. But as the day approached I worried that I might not be accepted. I was afraid that I might not be liked. I didn't know how the people I was going to would receive me. I was scared that they wouldn't. I wondered on the way. Truthfully I didn't just wonder, worry would be more like it.
Before meeting those I was being sent to, I met the girl for the very first time that I was being sent with. It never dawned on me that it would be her that might not accept me when we met. Yet I could tell, she wasn't impressed! She closed herself off before we'd barely gotten started. Nothing I said amused her. No joke was funny. No serious talk reeled her in. No light-heartedness could thaw the heart she had frozen. I was tolerated.... but obviously (VERY obviously) not very well liked!
Surprisingly those that I was on a mission to meet instantly liked me. We instantly bonded! I loved them all. And felt very loved in return. It was a grace of God that was tremendously appreciated! I thanked Him for it! Marveled with Him over it! Praised Him profusely! I couldn't thank Him enough.
Now I had concern for the one I was paired with, the one I'd be working with, the one that surely felt no choice in our coupling, the one that surely felt she was stuck with some alienating odd kind of artwork.
I came home and this is what I told Tim:
"She's a non-painter. And not all non-painters can stomach painters very well." For you see, I've been painted from head to toe. From the color of my hair to the tips of my toe nails... and everything and all that lies in-between! I bleach my hair, fake tan my skin, powder my face, blush my cheeks, tint my lips, color my lids, and every nail has been polished! Not that I had thought about it before then, but there's not a part of my body that seems to have escaped some kind of painting or coloring of some kind.
I must say that over the years I've had many odd and strange wonders. As you can tell I have recently inherited a new one, "Can she see me past my paint?" I wondered? Or would I have to strip myself down? Go naked? Unbleached? Un-makeup-ed up? Nailed down? Send everything back to its original color? And honestly, could I do that?????? Or was I too stuck to my paint to unpaint it?
It might never be your wonder. But like I said, it became a new wonder of mine. :)
Thankfully, I didn't have to. Before the second week was done, something had happened. She'd changed her attitude, changed her mind, and I could see the possibility of close friendship on its way to happening.
Seriously though, would I have given up all my colors if I'd needed to. After worrying about it and the division it might cause I thought that maybe I could. If only strictly for the hours it was needed. But being that I didn't have to, it didn't come down to that, I'll never know for sure until I'm presented again with the real actuality of truly having to do it.
Regardless. It's made me curious again at why we're so judgmental? So quick to erect walls? Why the painters don't understand the non-painters? Or the whites don't understand the blacks? Or the rich don't understand the poor? Or vice-versa? There's an unlimited list of prejudices. But we're all the same people inside. We all need the same things. We're all a bit insecure. We all want to be liked. All want to be loved. We've all been hurt. All been harmed. We all need a Savior. And we all have need of healing of some kind.
Perhaps I ought to wonder about myself and wonder why I feel such need to paint? What am I trying to cover? What do I feel I need to hide? Why don't I feel okay in the naturalist of how God made me, and in all the colors He chose for me?
Ridiculous people we are! It doesn't matter the size or the height or the width or the color or the accent we speak. It's simple. We all need Jesus! He's all that we're looking for! And the greatest part about it is that He'll take us as is! No matter the color. No matter the artwork. No matter where we've been or we hadn't! He plain out loves us anyway! And truly, HE sees us past our paint, our masks, our camoflauges... into our hearts, deep into our souls, and knows what we need even before we ask Him!
"Oh LORD, You have searched me
and You know me!
You know when I sit and when I rise;
You perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
You are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
You know it completely, O LORD.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain....
If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,"
even the darkness will not be dark to You;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness" [or possibly paint!] "is light to You.
For You created my inmost being;
You knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;...
My frame is not hidden from You
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
Your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in Your book before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of the sand..."
Basically, this is what I know... it's what I'm sure of,... it's this: "Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so...." Wow! I love that! Profound! But simple and total truth. He loves me in my paint. And He loves me without it! He'd love me stripped and all crazily poka-dotted! I'm totally blown away! And totally in love with the One that died and was risen because He first loved me!