Only God Can . . . .

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One morning in January, I snapped some snowy photos of our barn.

Not long afterward, I took one of the pictures to my art class and began painting it. I finished it yesterday afternoon.

That’s a lot of branches. I worked on them during much of three classes. Though I felt a bit intimidated at first, I came to love painting branches. Still, it is a humbling experience. I can only mimic their intricate and varied shapes. I didn’t begin to paint all of them. I can’t create them or make them grow. I can’t make leaves, flowers, nuts, acorns, or pinecones sprout from them. I can’t make their leaves turn beautiful colors in the fall.

I especially enjoyed adding the snow to the branches, partly because I love it so. It was fun to examine the photograph and try to mimic the shapes of some of those globs of snow, too. Again though, I can’t make snowflakes in all their infinite shapes or make them cold or make them fall.

I like the poem Joyce Kilmer wrote about trees.

Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

That last line is particularly profound. I can’t begin to imagine how many things could be written after those first four words: “But only God can . . . .”

Each of our grandchildren who is over 9 months old enjoys creating art. When I showed the barn to our eight-year-old grandson who “lives and breathes” art, he commented on how I left out the barn’s imperfections, saying he agreed with that. I love how he thinks and sees like an artist. I see that in him so often.

How blessed we are that God saw our horrendous imperfections and sent Jesus to forgive them. How blessed we are to know that God sent Jesus to forgive our children’s imperfections, too.

In Him we have redemption through His blood,
the forgiveness of our wrongdoings,
according to the riches of His grace 
which He lavished on us.
Ephesians 1:7-8

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  1. I think this is one of my favorite posts ever, Charlene! I love the photo of the barn; your artistic rendering of it; the poignant thoughts on all that you are not capable of doing in creation; your grandson’s astute observations. I love that you all have such beautiful artistic talent, including your late mama. I love how the end all ties back to the observations in the beginning. Joyce Kilmer’s poem has long been a favorite as well! Thank you for blessing me so today!

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