Luke 24:6-7 He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, "The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.



The other day I had a speaking engagement. I set up a table of special mementos. Among the items that lay on that table was my rather tired looking scrap book. Sitting about 4 inches high, it contains all the cards, letters and other keepsakes that I collected during my nearly 3 months in the hospital.


As someone turned the pages my eye caught view of a balloon fragment and I remembered the day it arrived. I was coming back from therapy and the hospital volunteer was standing in my doorway looking around. On her table was this big polka dotted balloon filled with Easter grass, a fluffy stuffed bunny and some candy. Now, keep in mind that it was just a few days after Christmas! I thought, "What in the world," until I looked at the card. It read, "You'll always be a little kid to me. Love, Donna." That explained it!


Donna was just a couple of years past my age of 40. When we were very small, my brother had been married to her aunt. He and his wife cared for Donna and her sister and brothers. Donna had been there the longest, and we were like sisters. My brother lived next door to us. The marriage failed and Donna's parents arrived and removed the children from my brother's home, his heart now completely broken. It was to be years before I saw Donna again and then only infrequently. There is just something about that sisterhood that has remained even though we do not see each other very often.


Back to the balloon . . . Obviously Donna remembered Easter at our house as something special. Growing up in a large family, Easter was the one time we could count on new clothes. Most of my garments were handmade or hand-me-downs. Easter meant new dresses and new shoes. We would wake to the sight of about a dozen Easter baskets all lined up in a row, their cellophane shining in the morning light. Then the photo ritual would begin. My sister, Joan, was an amateur photographer. One by one we would file onto the hamper in her room to have our pictures taken. She even did her own developing. I used to love being in the darkroom. There was something awesome about watching the transformation. The room was dark as the negative was exposed onto the special photo paper. Then the blank paper was placed in a tray of liquid and slowly the picture came into view. At just the right time, she would pull it out and place it in a second tray. Soon the finished product was hung to dry. Special photos like Easter got the royal treatment! In those days of black and white, Joan would use pencils or oil to add the color by hand. The finished product was a vision to behold!

And so it is with God . . . First I was nothing until Jesus reached down and saved my soul. (John 3:16 NKJV) "For God so loved the world -- that means me, too -- that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." The story doesn't end there. Jesus died for me, but He rose again on the third day. Luke 24:6-7 "He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.'"


Without Christ I was like that piece of photography paper. A blank canvas. But Christ knew what was to be! One step at a time . . . First he took the skinny little teenager with no-self esteem and He ever-so-gently placed me in a church where I could be loved and nurtured and taught the Word of God. He gradually built my self-esteem and made me feel good about myself. He showed me that there were little things I could do. I could share stories with little girls in the mission program. Eventually I even became brave enough to teach a Sunday School class of first and second graders. Teaching them really made me study. Some of them were pretty sharp and knew more about the Bible than me, so I had to do my homework. As the picture developed and came more into focus, God gave me more and more responsibility.


About at the time of the accident, God finally took me out of the liquids, allowed me to dry and began to add the color. Through my accident I learned many things. I learned patience and forgiveness. I learned to trust God completely.


I know that my canvas is never going to be completely finished until the day I meet Jesus. In the meantime, God continues to do a work in me and through me as He adds more and more beautiful colors to my canvas.

How's your canvas looking?


Written November 2007