“Worthy are you, our LORD and God to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they exist and were created.”Revelations 4:11 ESV
“Mom!” My oldest child appeared in the room. “You’re gonna be mad.”
I had an idea of what I was about to encounter. I knew my youngest child, whose artistic flair is undeniable, had retreated to her room to “make something.” I learned several years ago that fighting her artistic impulses was a lost cause. However, not long before this, I had laid down the law: paint and pens were for paper only. I asked her to repeat it. She looked at me and smiled, “paper only.”
I predicted a colorful array of freshly painted canvases and some spills. What I hadn’t anticipated was a wall in the corner of her room dripping with pigment. An overlay of chromatic chaos reached from the floor to as high as her little arms could strain. She had been painting canvases but had run low. The shortage demanded her design break free to the overflow provided by the bedroom wall. Bright colors pricked my patience as they blended into a disheveled mural.
My eyes flew open and my mouth widened. My youngest looked at me sheepishly. “I wanted it to be pretty.” Her hair was splashed with purple, a pinkish-blue handprint was smeared across her shirt, and a mix of colors dripped down the wall and gathered along the floor. A glass sat half-filled—water and paint swirling around several dearly loved paintbrushes. Multiple tubes of acrylic sat open sullying her desk.
I glanced at my young daughter, her eyes soft and unaware, “Isn’t it pretty Mommy?” I took a breath and looked again. I saw something with my second glance I didn’t see at first. I saw creativity, imagination, and joy reflecting at me in the wet paint. I started to tell her she had been disobedient. I wanted to tell her that the wall was not paper, but when I opened my mouth all that came out was laughter.
It’s been a few years since that day and every one of her shirts is splashed with drips and drops of paint. My bathroom sink, her carpet, and her desk have seen better days, or at least cleaner ones. Now, I just shrug. These are casualties of a free imagination and uninhibited creativity. Singers must sing, drummers must drum, writers must write, and quite frankly painters must paint. She’s made some pieces that amaze me. I see beauty in the swirls and lines of her brush, the rakes of a fork, and the stains on her small fingers.
Watching her imagine and create brings to my mind the awe-inspiring Creator we worship. What joy he must have had while creating the world and the universe. Consider the visible light spectrum. The colors my daughter splashed the wall with were imagined and created by God in heaven. Much like my daughter does when she paints, I can envision him smiling as he put into place the elements of the electromagnetic spectrum. I see him laughing with glee while he created the waves of energy, grinning as he sets them in motion. I imagine him vibrating particles too tiny for the human eye to see and saying, “Watch this!” while he displays the visible colors as light waves bouncing back from each object we observe. God found joy in creation. God took time to carve out our shape, our detail, our intricate form. It’s awesome to consider the way The Creator creates.
My son is less crafty and artistic. He likes numbers and order. He tells me he is not creative, and I disagree. I see the creative qualities of God shining in him in ways he doesn’t. He likes video games, but he doesn’t just play them, he also makes them. He imagines a game and jumps on the computer to code the vision. He doesn’t view this as imaginative in the way his sister is creative, and he is right. It’s not the same, but it does reflect the Master Creator anyway. God is imaginative and artistic but, in the beauty, there is also order, law, and complexity. We don’t all have the same gifts, but we all reflect the image of God as fashioned beings full of imagination and ingenuity.
We need only to open our imaginations to how God might use us, for we are his workmanship created to do good. (Ephesians 2:10) It will mean vulnerability. Humanity is full of critics, but our value isn’t determined by them, it’s determined by the One who found joy in creating us. Will we be willing to risk letting our call to create overflow from the canvas of our mind to the waiting world?
Jacqi Kambish is a wife of 17 years and a mom to three spirited children. She enjoys reading, gardening, and raising her chickens. She earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Bible Theology and Youth Ministry from William Jessup University. Jacqi lives with her family in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado and enjoys reflectively writing about parenting, faith, and the joys and trials of life while leaving her readers with hope and encouragement. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram.