Pick-Me-Up: Torn Canvas

©Lynn Abbott Studios. Used with Permission.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight” ~Proverbs 3:5-6

After hours of work and frustration one evening, I finally went to bed. I had worked into the wee hours, wrestling with a painting composition.

Something wasn’t right. The painting didn’t fit with the other paintings that I had set aside for an upcoming show. It stood there, a problem in an otherwise unified body of work.

Of course, time had not been on my side. And as is usually the case when I hurry to canvas with minimal preparation, I quickly paint myself into a corner.

In the morning, I pulled out a few of the paintings that I had already framed for the exhibit. I leaned them against the easel beneath my latest work, and stepped back to consider the whole effect.

When I hurry to canvas with minimal preparation, I quickly paint myself into a corner.

I decided to get a cup of English Breakfast tea to drive the fog away from my weary head. As I waited for the water to boil, I heard a loud crash.

What I found constituted an artistic disaster. My painting had tumbled and hit one of the framed paintings leaning against my drafting table. And yes, my canvas had torn in not one but two places.

I groaned.

I couldn’t in good conscience sell a damaged canvas. Time to accept my defeat, to retreat and begin anew.

I decided to approach the process differently. I’d certainly learned my lesson.

In my hurry to complete my tasks, I had overlooked the all- important step of asking God to guide me.

Of course, I’m not the only one who rushes into things when time pressures crowd me.

I’d certainly learned my lesson.

Even Biblical saints sometimes found themselves in similar straits. I’m reminded of Joshua and the Ai fiasco.

The account isn’t as well-known as that of Jericho although the victory at Jericho immediately precedes the Ai disaster.

Eager to capitalize on their recent victory, Josh and the people hurried to capture Ai. I find no record of prayer in the passage. Confident that God had promised the land, Josh simply approved the attack.

The effort ended in disaster.

Josh must have felt devastated. Yet, his response teaches me a lot about how to handle myself when my life work crumbles. Josh humbled himself before God, (Joshua 7:6). And then, he poured his heart out.

When Josh turned to Israel’s Sovereign Shepherd, the problem in the camp became clear. Thus, disaster at Ai served as a wake-up call for Josh.

My torn canvas did the same for me.

Joshua’s response teaches me a lot about how to handle myself when my life work crumbles.

And yes, both accounts end happily. Indeed, under God’s care and direction, you and I uncover the problem in the ‘camp’ and start anew (I John 1:9).

Abba loves us so deeply that He will not allow us to wander alone for long.

Undoubtedly, grace sometimes requires our facing life’s torn canvases.

But in doing so, our overconfidence melts away and we turn to our Sovereign-Shepherd for His direction once more.

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46 thoughts on “Pick-Me-Up: Torn Canvas

  1. What a beautiful message—and beautiful painting! I am teaching about Ai today in my K-1 bible class (how cool is that?) and I noticed too that he didn’t consult God—not at Ai nor in the affair if the Gibeonites. I too need to do better about asking for wisdom instead of assuming I always know best. Thank you for this beautiful and timely post!

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    • Yes…you are so right, Elihu! And in both instances, Joshua got into trouble. :-/ Very cool that you are teaching about Ai today! Bravo! And thank you with all my heart for your kind encouragement. It means the world to me. I love your blog and your writing!

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  2. I can imagine your disappointment. How frustrating to go through all that work and lose it. Making a habit of asking God for guidance ever returns void. Good luck with your show

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  3. What a wonderful story that sure “paints a picture” of the way that we approach those things that we do. Placing God first may take some time out of our precious schedule and agenda, but it ultimately saves us so much more than just time and heartache. Even when we don’t put Him first, He teaches us so much in the process of bringing our attention back to Him. Blessings to you.

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  4. So True Lynn, we reap what we sow but yes as you shared God works everything for good in our lives.

    Proverbs 3:5-6 was the first Scripture that greatly touched my Heart after becoming a Christian but sadly as the Link below shares I got lost along the way and became very confused but after being an Atheist for almost 30 years in my Thinking because of being deceived as a young Teenager, I knew that was a dead-end but finding God’s Truth seemed an impossibility too but He showed me the way.

    Confused – http://freedomborn.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/my-battle-with-confusion/

    Christian Love Always – Anne.

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    • Hello, Anne! My heart breaks for you regarding the difficult paths you have traveled–through the occult and then, atheism– before you received Christ as Savior and Lord and became a child of God. Thank you for sharing your heart. I so appreciate your authenticity. My heart and prayers are with you! ❤️ in Christ.

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  5. Thank you for this! Sometimes I am so quick to make my own decisions without running them by God because I know what I’m doing – I’ve done it 1000 times before. And then I fall flat on my face. Thanks for your encouragement to seek God’s will, not our own.

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  6. I love your encouragement, Lynn, both through your art work and words. I also loved reading your story at your “About” page. We are so prone to forget that “all- important step of asking God” to guide us, aren’t we? I’m so glad He’s so full of grace and patience! Blessings to you!

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    • Oh, Trudy… what a delight to find your comment here! Truly an honor that you would take the time to return my visit to your wonderful blog! Thank you with all my heart for your kindness and your thoughtful encouragement! It means a great deal to me. And yes, a thousand times yes… I’m so grateful for God’s grace and patience! God bless you big time, Trudy! ❤

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  7. Oh yeah, like my time before Him this morning. Joy in trials. Perseverance being the Message. He is quick to offer His Grace when I acknowledge my self directed motives. Then, there it comes in the day. Joy in the midst of trials. Beautiful words Lynn. Refreshment at the end of the day. And beautiful painting. I want to step into it! Love, Deb

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  8. What a coinscidence! I have most recently made a huge canvas of a beautiful garden that I worked very hard on. And while I was moving, I took it out of my trunk, and there it went, it ripped into pieces! Most of it is salvaged, but I just don’t know how to repair a canvas! What do I do? Thank you for your inspiration. Yes, I should save it, and mabye find someone who knows how to fix them. I hope you can check out my most recent painting, and tell me what you think. I love the detail of your art, and how much it seems like a little piece of a home. 🙂 caelidotblog.wordpress.com/2017/12/28/abstract-city/

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    • Oh, I’m so sorry that your canvas got torn! 😦 But yes, you can repair it. I could write it all down for you here, but it would probably be much easier for you to simply Google it. You can carefully use canvas to patch the back of your piece. Of course, if you choose to sell it, you will probably need to do so at a slight discount since it had to be repaired. But it won’t be a loss, and that is the good news! I did visit your blog! Your abstract work is extraordinary! And your use of vibrant color is so compelling! So delighted to meet you here! Thanks for visiting my blog and leading me to yours! Happy New Year!

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