'It's Ugly but It's Yours'
We practiced on each other. Most of us had neither skill nor experience. We had volunteered to staff the face-painting booth at the children’s festival the next day and we had a lot to learn.
Gretchen went first because we all thought she would be the best. Confident and relaxed, she made breezy conversation with me while she worked. I knew the butterfly she was painting on my cheek would be beautiful. When she finished, she handed me a mirror and said sweetly, “It’s ugly, but it’s yours!” I realized she was faking it all along.
In a way, I felt relieved. If Gretchen talked such a good talk and still couldn’t paint a simple butterfly, then that lowered the artistic bar for the rest of us. It meant we could be more honest about our abilities… and our inabilities. We may not have been talented artists, but we could imitate Gretchen’s honest and comfortable conversation with the kids. Our goal, after all, was to use the time while we painted to tell kids about God. Talking about God would be easy, especially compared to expectations of skillful face-paintings.
As we debriefed our practice session, our laughable attempts at face-painting reminded us of some good lessons about God and ourselves. Our face-paintings would not earn us any awards. Neither would any of our other attempts to satisfy or please people earn us any favor with God. Our salvation through faith in Christ is a gift from God. (Ephesians 2:8-9) Furthermore, God’s intimate familiarity with our shortcomings and inabilities offers us the opportunity to talk comfortably and confidently with Him. (Hebrews 4:16)
God knows us inside and out (Psalm 139) and loves us in spite of our weaknesses, artistic or otherwise. What a gift to know God accepts our meager but earnest attempts to show our love to Him and to show His love to others. We can offer God our best, acknowledging “it’s ugly, but it’s Yours!” - Kathy Raines, Minister of Administration