Monday, August 1, 2016

An Unfinished Work of Art.

Earlier this summer, my family and I were very blessed to go on vacation to Niagara Falls.  And, we were blessed to visit the Canadian side of Niagara Falls which is absolutely beautiful and gives you a complete view of all three of the falls at one time.  Being so close to the border, and having went through the ridiculous hassle of getting passports, I decided I would like to venture further into Canada and visit Toronto.

Toronto is a beautiful city situated on Lake Ontario.  I personally loved the mix of old and new as we drove past century old buildings and newly developed skyscrapers on the same block.  I liked the fact that their city policies keep them from tearing down old buildings, so they just add on to them.  Several of the buildings have such a neat historical value and yet look so uniquely modern at the same time.  We took a "hop on, hop off" bus tour that was very interesting and gave us the opportunity to view the city, avoid driving in the traffic and bypass the worry of not knowing where to go and where to park.  I, being the planner that I am, had researched the best places to visit and shop and found an interesting place called Kensington Market.  The internet said I would find lots of colorful handmade items, unique pieces of art, and a diverse cultural neighborhood with lots of fresh foods to try.  What I actually found was nothing like that... so either the internet is wrong, or we didn't get to the right place.

The tour bus dropped us off at the Art Gallery of Ontario and we had to walk several blocks to get to Kensington Market.  We had to walk right through Chinatown, which we learned is the third largest Chinatown district in all of North America.  After almost seeing a street fight, I instructed my kids to "keep walking".  "Don't look, just walk".  My son said we weren't quite safe, and I told him he might have to get his "Rush Hour" moves on.  We did find Kensington Street and therefore I think we found the market, which was old, rundown house after old, rundown house and yards and streets full of merchandise... but honestly, it wasn't what I was expecting and we only went into one of the shops.  Most of them were questionable, especially the herbal shops.

It was, however, an adventure and we realized that we had seen some of the best the city had to offer, and now we were seeing some of the not best of Toronto.  On the way back to the bus stop, we passed by a local art shop and sitting outside there were two canvases and a sign that said "free art".  Initially, I walked past them.  One of the canvases was way too large to fit in my car, the other was a lot smaller.

After initially walking past them, I told my husband, "I should take that home, it would make a unique souvenir, which is why I wanted to come to this part of town anyway.  I wanted something I couldn't buy at home or off the internet."  He went back and got it for me.  I sent him, just in case there was a catch to the "free art" part.

I often tell my kids how lucky they are to have me as a mom.  Not everybody has a preacher slash teacher mom that can make a Bible lesson out of anything.  And, while waiting for our tour bus, I already had a message forming in my mind.  And, the more I thought about it, and the more I worked on it, the more I realized this message would change me, and it might change others too.

I held in my hands, and now have hanging on my office wall, and unfinished piece of art.  To some, it may not be considered art at all.  I mean, it really isn't anything.... It's a canvas, painted black, with some red, orange, and pink paint strokes on it.  It's not a portrait, or a beautiful scene, or even some type of abstract.  It's really... nothing.  With no artist signature.  Just an unwanted canvas, tossed out on the street, offered for free to the person willing to pick it up.

But, it started out as something.  The artist had something in mind when they began it.  They picked the size of the canvas, the background color, and I believe had an idea in their mind of what this painting was going to be.  In the process something went wrong.  And, they left it unfinished.

As I stared at my free, unique souvenir, the first thing that came to mind was that I too was an unfinished piece of artwork.  Fearfully and wonderfully made by the Creator, yet, imperfect, at times crazily messed up, and unfinished.

We are all unfinished.

Every one of us.

Not one of us has been given the artist signature and hung up in His heavenly gallery.  We've not yet reached the place of perfection that He has said, "you're now perfect in My image, come on home".  Some of us may be further along than others, but none of us have been completed yet.

But, unlike the artist who began this painting, the Creator who began the work in my life, and began the work in your life, does not quit and He does not give up.  He never fails.  He doesn't toss us out, throw us away, or walk away when we are not cooperating as we should.

Instead, He pursues us, desires us, loves us, and longs for us.  He began a work in us and He will finish the work that was started.

So, when you feel...

Messed up.
Torn up.

It's OK!

Shout that to yourself... It's OK!

You're unfinished!

When you see someone else making mistakes, messing up, not handling things the way you would if you were them, struggling, and behaving badly, don't judge them.  Remember they're unfinished too.  Their masterpiece may not be as far along as yours is, but God still has a plan to finish the work He began in them too!

As long as you're still here on this Earth, breathing in and breathing out, you're unfinished.

But, be confident!  He that began a good work in you, will complete what He started!

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