She stood at the end of my line, quietly. I only briefly noticed her as I rushed through the waiting children. Spiderman, rainbows, a cupcake, and more super hero’s. My relief was barely contained as I announced to the children that the other volunteer would be taking over the face painting.
Wait, where was she? The middle-aged lady at the end of my line? I peered through the crowded room and caught a glimpse of her sitting down back down. Her face screaming disappointment. Feeling responsible and a bit guilty I made my way over to her as my stomach screamed its protest. I had officially reached the hangry stage, and was annoyed at having to reach out. Breakfast was more hours ago than I could count.
I pasted a smile on and began to convince her that the other face painter was way better than I was and her children would be in wonderful hands. Her voice finally broke through the fog and protest that were creating a harmony of discord in my brain and stomach.
She wanted ME to paint HER face? I wasn’t anyone special. And I was definitely NOT an artist. I was the pinch hitter volunteer. The one they called over when they couldn’t find anyone else, or while the artists took their lunch breaks.
And painting an adult’s face? That was a scary proposition I had no courage for. A kid you could mess up on and they either wouldn’t know any better or be too respectful to tell off an adult.
I wanted to faint, not paint. My stomach growled again. But her face! It was filled with hope and with a confidence in me that I didn’t have for myself.
What’s one more? I shrugged as I told her. And besides I hadn’t eaten in hours anyway.
The Spirit whispered
“I go after the one more too Katie”.
One more. Right. Ok. My stomach quieted. We got this. Right?
I picked up the brush and froze. She wanted me to paint Olaf the snowman from Frozen?!? Frozen became more of my mental creative state at that moment than a mere movie title.
You gotta be kidding me! I couldn’t free hand to save my life. Full face painting where you could smear with a sponge was my type of face painting. Not detail color work.
My hands began to shake at the very thought of having to keep my hand that steady. And circles? Right. The only circles I could draw where the ones that wrapped themselves around my brain in protest.
Have fun lady. Sure you don’t want to wait for the other face painter?
Nope. Oh course not.
Well this was about to be an epic fail.
I braced myself and picked up the brush again. Fail, and then run away to lunch. It was a bad plan, but none-the-less a plan. And at least the lunch sounded comforting.
I froze again, brush paused in mid air, as it hovered just below her cheekbone.
The Holy Spirit repeated, again, stronger this time.
“Lean In?” I asked back. What?
‘What?’ seemed to be the only thought and word my brain could come up with since this whole drama began.
‘Stop thinking about what you can’t do, who you think you aren’t, and simply lean in. Lean into the beauty.”
Beauty. More than the way Olaf did, my heart began to melt at the sunshine of that word. Beauty. Beauty was my safe word. The song my Father had written into the deepest chambers of my heart. The parts of my heart I was just discovering with Him, long buried under the layers of dust and busy, rushed, neglect.
Beauty. Lean in to the beauty.
My heart overflowed in love for this grown woman. The one who was brave enough to want to be a little princess adorned with glitter and pink again. The one who wanted to delight in a happy snowman.
Casting aside the fact that I couldn’t create circles or shade, I leaned in. Pressed against the Holy Spirit and breathed. Breathed beauty, breathed delight, and let go.
Frozen got something right. Let go.
My hand moved with a steadiness I had never experienced before. My heart laughed in delight as Olaf took shape.
I couldn’t believe it. I was actually drawing, painting, creating. The fear was replaced by the love of beauty.
Creating beauty, creating art, being an artist, is not about perfection, and who we are not. It’s about being a co-heir, and a co-laborer with Christ. He is perfect in beauty (Psalm 52). He is already the beauty, the art, the perfection. We are invited to lean in, to create with Him. It is the delight of the Father to share His creativity and joy with His children. We are His children. Invited to let go, and lean in to the art He has placed in our hearts to discover with us.
We are invited into deep measures of freedom when we create art and beauty from the understanding that we are heirs, children, co laborer’s of Christ.
My heart IS His art.
She walked away with a picture that will wash off her face in a few hours.
I walked away with a picture that will forever change my life.