Sunday, November 7, 2010

I Just Scribble

A few years ago, my three-year-old son and I were sitting in a meeting, and I was trying to keep him happy with a coloring book and crayons. 

"Come on, honey.  Why don't you color something nice?"  I whispered.

Resting his chin in his hands, he sighed, "I can't.  I just scribble."

He was right.  His drawings did basically look like scribbles, but that was okay with me--that's how every artist begins.  My son didn't see it that way, though.  His older sisters could stay in the lines.  Their pictures actually looked like something.  When they finished a masterpiece, they felt a sense of accomplishment at having created a colorful garden, a family portrait, or a series of rainbows and fluffy clouds.

My son could only make scribbles. 

It hurt my heart to see him discouraged, so I picked up a green crayon, placed it in his grip, and then guided his hand around the coloring book, helping him create the picture he could see in his mind's eye.  

I remember that moment clearly because the Lord used that experience to teach me a powerful lesson.

I often look at my life and think, "I just scribble."  I burn the pancakes, I miss half the stains that enter our washing machine, I don't create perfect web pages for The Power of Moms, I struggle to find the "right" way to teach my children how to behave, I cry too easily, and I'm lacking in patience. 

These are little things, for the most part, and I know that I do many things well, but I still get discouraged.  Sometimes I don't even want to try to create that masterpiece I can see in my head.

The Lord knows that.  Every successful person has started out with "scribbles."  It might look like everyone else can stay in the lines, but if that's the case, it's only because they first started out with a mish-mash of indecipherable lines and squiggles. 

It's when we're feeling discouraged--when we're convinced that our efforts will yield nothing but failure--that the Lord takes us by the hand and helps us to create something more beautiful than we ever imagined. 

A scripture I love from church says, "Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers."

I know this is true.  I've seen it happen in my own family.  We'll have a really hard day, one that is full of sickness, quarrels, and messes, but then everything will turn around, and suddenly I'm sitting in the middle of a masterpiece I did not have the strength or ability to create.

It's all because of Him. 

When we start to question ourselves, and when we feel convinced that our scribbles will never be enough, let's remember to rely on Him.  Rely on Him heavily.  Rely on Him forever. 


  1. Thanks April! I needed to read this today!

  2. I enjoyed reading this post and your analogy of sometimes feeling like you're a 'scribbler' in life. I happen to think that Life-Scribbling is important; those squiggles and swirls and lines may seem random and directionless, but they all have a purpose, they all are necessary to the process, and they are all somehow connections in our journeys. Sometimes we can see the patterns and those connections clearly on our own and at times we need the Lord's help to make them much more obvious. It is especially in those times of frustration and confusion when I just can't see any clarity that I turn to prayer. My belief in the power of prayer, and my faith that He understands my scribbles is such comfort to me. It's amazing what we see when we look at our scribbles with the heart. Thank you for reminding me.

  3. What a beautiful post. I was reading a very condescending blog last night, one in which the author, a highly trained musician, was very critical of a church organist's wrong notes. Frankly, it made me angry that she would use her education and training as a mountain from which to look down on others. My mother was a church organist who grew up on a dairy farm in Idaho. Her parents saw to it that she had lessons on the organ at the local Church building and she learned enough to play the hymns. She never got the chance and probably doesn't have the talent for Julliard, but you know what? She filled in a lot over the years because no one else could play the instrument. She was self-conscious about playing because she knew she wasn't the best, but she was willing to do it anyway.

    I was thinking last night that instead of being critical of other's efforts, we need to encourage them the way we would a child's first hand-drawn love cards to their parents. A writer might cringe at the misspellings, an artist might scoff at the color choices and roughness, but a mother would always react with pride, recognizing the effort and love behind the card.

    I think all of our offerings are acceptable to God, and to Him, they are all amateur. Even the beautiful music offered by the highly-trained and very talented person who wrote the blog post I disliked is just a child's offering compared to the majesty and works of our God.

  4. Such great thoughts, Christina and Orianne! I love that focus on the beauty and goodness behind the scribbles. It's so true that all our offerings are "amateur" compared to what God can do, and it's inspiring to remember that He can make even our "scribbles" into something wonderful. Thanks, Ladies!


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