Monday, February 21, 2011

The painting.

I've loved Ann Voskamp for a long time. I remember stumbling across her blog, A Holy Experience, a couple of years ago. At the time, it was the most peaceful, encouraging place I could go without a passport and umbrella drink.

I'm sorry. Comparing her writing to an umbrella drink is probably not flattering to her. I'm pretty sure, though, she's not too concerned about this mama's analogies. Her writing is like reading poetry. It's rich and beautiful and full of love for Jesus.

The other day, my mother-in-law gave me her new book, One Thousand Gifts, and it's been wonderful to read - even if it's just a little each day.

I don't have a lot of art in the house. Unless it's made by my children, or purchased at a flea market, it's probably more accurate to say I don't have any art in my house. I love vintage oil paintings though, but they can sometimes be a little shabbier than chic. The other day, I was moving some stuff around and found this old oil painting that had hung in my boys' room. It's of a little country farmhouse at the edge of a long lane boarded by an old wooden fence.

There was a quarter-sized hole in the canvas and I thought it was probably time to donate it to the garbage.

I'm sure some of you could figure out a way to repurpose it for something fabulous but I am both uncreative and unmotivated. And busy trying to figure out how to get Darius focused on graduating and unfocused on his girlfriend.

My go-to of candy and television just isn't working on his 17 year-old self.

Anyway, I had this old painting set out to be tossed and then, last night, I turned another page of Ann Voskamp's book.

"...I wonder too...if the rent in the canvas of our life backdrop, the losses that puncture our world, our own emptiness, might actually become places to see.

To see through to God.

That which tears open our souls, those holes that splatter our sight, may actually become the thin, open places to see throught the mess of this place to the heart-aching beauty beyond. To Him. To the God whom we endlessly crave."

And it makes me look at the painting again. Perhaps that scene, carefully painted long ago, is like our lives - at least what we imagine what our lives should look like. All peaceful and serene and full of sunshine. But, as Ann asked, what if the holes in the painting, the interruptions or diversions or derailments of our plans, actually give us a place through which to better see the Lord?

It makes me think about the holey, torn canvas of my own life, and how, through every rip, I've seen more of the love and faithfulness of the Lord. And it makes me hang the picture back on the wall.


The Hidalgo Family said...

Just received Ann's book in the mail today...from my MIL as well.

Cari said...

What a great idea to meditate on. Perfect for the season I'm in. I just stumbled on your blog and I'm loving it!

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...


Amy Anderson said...

I am slowly reading (and loving) her book right now too. Love this post.

TDM Wendy said...

Sweet. I am reading the book too. Who isn't. So much pressure on twitter and the blogosphere - so I finally got it last week.
I loved that part about the holes too.
And I love your canvas. Sweet visual.

Holli said...

wow. I don't like my rips but it is true in those times you feel and see the Lord!
thank you!

Kim said...

Waiting on Ann's book in Hong Kong!

Anonymous said...

Okay, I want you to have a piece of art to remind you of Jedidiah. Please go to and pick out your favorite photographic print. PLEASE! I'm so sorry the one you wanted never got sent to me.

Love you,

Polly said...

I'm also reading this lovely book. There is a wonderful on line book chat available online through {in}

Marcie said...

Love it! My sister has a giveaway of Ann's book on her blog She also talks about getting to know her on a Compassion trip they went on and how wonderful she is!

Kim said...

One day while sweeping the kitchen floor, I knocked a decorative plate off the wall with the end of the broom handle. Not having access to the garbage just then, I placed it back on the wall even though it was now cracked and missing a chunk. Later as I went to take it off the wall and pitch it in the garbage, I was reminded of a Nicole Nordemon song about God seeing our imperfections and "hanging us on the wall anyway".

The plate stayed.

The Pennington Point said...

Beautiful. It would be so neat (but remember here that I am a person that re-does everything and am a bit over the top ridiculous about it) if you had another picture behind it, very subtly, of Christ and could see a bit of it through the hole? It would be deep, so deep. :) Lisa~