Growing up, I was never artistically inclined when it came to drawing or painting; and somehow, it was always a requirement in school. The students who were gifted in this area thrived at the opportunity. Very often they were also the same students who had difficulty in other subjects. So to see the end result of what they could do with crayons (before the big box of assorted colors) paper mache, or scissors was always amazing to me, as well as others. We stood in awe, permitted to leave our assigned seats to witness their gift unfold on a sheet of construction paper. Suddenly, their challenges in other areas were insignificant. We celebrated their talent, with echoes of “oohhh, I wish mine looked like that!” “Please show me how to do that!” And my favorite from the bitter child (there’s always one) “So what, I could do that too!”
At Thanksgiving time, there was a standard artistic creation that was anticipated each year. It was not the five fold ministry, but instead, the five fold turkey. One placed their hand on the infamous sheet of typing or construction paper and traced one’s fingers, slowly and methodically, one at a time. No matter what, sometimes I was able to remain really close to my fingers, other times, my tracing extended beyond the scope of my fingers, resulting in at least one of the fingers resembling someone much larger than me. No matter how much some parts of the drawing did not look like what I thought I should see, it was still completed. We were provided crayons, cotton balls, feathers, pipe cleaners, glitter and other accessories to personalize our turkeys to our desire. And our teacher proudly displayed them in the hallway, on our bulletin board. Our names were on each one, so that everyone could know which one to associate with whom. Following the visual celebration at school, everyone rushed to take their artistry home to share with families, where again it was proudly displayed on refrigerators (before stainless), and mantles and occasionally the front door.
Its been a long time since I’ve traced my fingers to create the infamous turkey. Given the challenges that we encounter in life, its just as difficult to sometimes trace the hand of God. At times it feels as though there are those around us who are just gifted and from our perspective blessed and favored. In all respect, their turkey looks perfect. Others appear to have the same resources for life, but the result is quite varied. Things seem to be going fine, when all of a sudden, a huge issue results that nearly carries you off the page. And then there are others who are struggling to just settle to just place their hand in one place to even begin. They may go through many issues repeatedly. First they choose a color whereby their turkey is not visible. They choose another sheet, and try to create on the page vertically, which is fine, except they worry because everyone else around them is working in a horizontal manner. It may take several attempts to get a rhythm, but no worries, because it works, and completion will occur, no matter the pace.
In every trial (or turkey) the hand of God can be traced. Just as our teachers were often able to return our creations without looking at our name on the paper, God knows our name. He knows exactly who we are. He celebrates us and displays his handiwork for his glory. We are reminded in Deuteronomy 31:6 to “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” We can have confidence to encourage ourselves and take hold of our faith in every situation. There is no need to wonder if he’s there, because he is. He knows the ending of a thing before the thing gets underway. Like the tenets of tracing, as followers of Christ, we are reproductions of him. We have what he has. We are “traced” in his image. Instead of holding your head down in tough times, choose instead to hold your turkey in the air, and praise (or gobble) your way through!
Happy Tracing! #HerNameIsSHE