The Canvas / by Jeffrey Waters

In the middle of the life we live, we long to be called out into beauty, to create beautiful things.  But I’ve felt that if my life were a picture… it’d be a mass of multicolored blots on a neon piece of paper- a bold, bright, busy, chaotic mass of nothing that mattered.

I’ve hidden in my beyond-busy schedule.  The more I packed into a day, the less I could get lost in my own mind.  If I were to ever slow down, I’d have to face myself.  I’d have to admit that I’d done a million things and still had a void that had been reached by nothing.

I was “saved.”  But I rode the emotional highs of life.  I was happy when the life around me was fun and enthusiastic, depressed when the life happening around me was dead and empty.  I dated a few guys that couldn’t be everything I needed them to be. I went to a few churches that offered an empty, plastic God that didn’t do much for me.  I followed the “church rules” rigidly; my dying spirit matching the lifeless congregation. I thought, in going through the motions, I would somehow find God, but I didn’t.

I remember the day I looked at my life and realized my best efforts were insufficient. My boyfriend and I had been trying to use each other to fill God’s place in our lives, to be each others' everything.  I remember this guy demanding me to give more, be more, to be anything but who I was.  I had nothing left of myself to give, but still, I gave myself to the effort constantly.  I tried so hard to be anything besides myself- anything that wasn’t so ugly.

God saw my useless struggle; the desperate flailing of my arms and legs, the cries that were heard by no one.  He watched me fight the world until I was exhausted.   Until I gave up. 
I was wounded, disillusioned by the lie that I had no value, when God came and found me.  He knew it was the only time He’d find me laying still- the only time I’d hear Him whispering.
And this is when I met, El Roi - The God Who Sees Me.  The God that was always there, working in the shadows of my life and waiting for me to see Him

Since then, I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good.  He is faithful to find me, to pursue me with His fierce love, even when I don’t think I need it.  I have to examine my life daily.  Sometimes when I’m making my way through this jungle called life, I forget my dependence on God, and I can no longer recall who I am or what I’m trying to accomplish.   Sometimes I let trees grow between myself and God’s face.  But when I call to God, he shows himself to me again.  Anytime I so much as glance His way, He holds my hand and paints another glorious, meaningful image on the new canvas that is my life’s picture. 

And so I declare the power of God’s love with all that I am.  I give my life to follow everything He is, because His presence makes me new.

- Natalie Estes