The Beauty of Lumps and Bumps

Life drawing, or drawing nude people, was one of the most interesting of my college classes. To see where muscle and bone interact is important in learning to draw the human form. For example, if you want to paint a woman working in her garden, you need to know what her triceps are doing as she leans forward, lifting

We were timed on each piece. I think this was a two minute attempt.

We were timed on each piece. I think this was a two minute attempt.

her arm to water the roses. How do you capture the right proportions with her arm outstretched and quads flexed to keep her balance…how does her skin stretch across her knuckles as she grips the watering can?

It helps to know what’s underneath so you can accurately bring the action to the surface. Of course, you never know all that goes on underneath unless a person is completely nude, and you’ll just have to trust me on that one.

Some of our models were athletic, some were obviously sedentary, and several were in between. The body can speak volumes without a single spoken word. Beauty, however, is a little different in the art world. Outside the studio, it’s all about looking young, fit, and stylish. But inside the studio, we capture the essence of beauty. The eternal kind of beauty—the kind people will pay thousands to grace their walls with. It could be a stolen glance between lovers, a deeply-lined palm of hand, a belly ripe with new life.

We called him the "Jesus guy" because he looked like all the old paintings.

We called him the “Jesus guy” because he looked like all the old paintings.

To this day, I like to guess what someone’s feet look like by the wear of their shoes. I know my own look a little different after years of ballet and two pregnancies. They’ve widened and changed shape and my shoes do show their story.

Several years ago, the retirement place where I work hosted a dance every Tuesday evening. Outsiders were invited—a handful showed up on a regular basis. One woman, along with her husband, shuffled in with her feet stuffed into slim, low heels. The shoes were so tight, her skin muffined out of them, and her gait was more of a limp. With every step, I could feel her pain. I don’t know how she managed to dance that way—I suppose she thought dance shoes had to look sexy, even to the point of pain. But she just didn’t fit the mold anymore, and she heeded the world over The Sculptor.

I could have told her that she’d dance much more beautifully in her Grandma shoes. Grandma shoes are made to cushion years of sacrifice—they’re made to support years of children, grandchildren, and all kinds of battles.

They hug the bulges pushed out from Love, and make smooth the tread of eternally beautiful feet.

Eternally beautiful feet aren’t necessarily young, or fashionable, and only some of them are

Everybody's favorite model. She had a certain essence.

Everybody’s favorite model. She had a certain essence.

fit.

But we know The Sculptor has spent much more time and care on them than any sexy heel fashioned by the world.

I could have told the woman that The Sculptor would rather her wear Grandma shoes—that He would want her to celebrate freely all the things that made her feet change. But my words wouldn’t have mattered if she didn’t realize the value of all those hidden things.

 

Go boldly into this week, knowing you were made to shine through any kind of surface.

Beautiful

I wasn’t going to end my vacation this early. I just finished the first draft of my novel and didn’t have time to write a blog ahead of time like I usually do. Writing ahead allows me to come back and edit, making for smoother reading without so many typos and cleaning up my tendency, toward, comma – happiness,,.

But God woke me up with a message.

He brought to my mind the pampas grass outside my bedroom window.

Every time I look at it, I think of God. The light touches it holy. Something about the OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAway it reaches toward the sun gives me a dose of peace. I often pray when I look at it because I know God is never apart from His creation.

If it reached toward others of its own kind, I would focus on them and make comparisons. Where does it lack fullness… is it as tall as its cousin in the neighbor’s yard?

But the light hits it so lovely and it always points to the Son. It reaches toward the sky with such grace, I know that it lacks nothing.

If its arms lowered to peek at its cousin, it may forget to rise up again because the cousin next door is oh so beautiful. Maybe it would forget to stand up straight because the cousin looks so abundant, every arm in place, a perfect curve on top.

Its beautiful arms slouch. Heaviness presses them down until they no longer receive the nourishment from the sun; the center lays empty, exposed to the world.

And it withers – it’s beauty darkens, drains into the earth. It catches the loose branches blown from the neighboring yard and stuffs itself full of another’s beauty, but instead of glowing, it lays heavy in shadow.

Friends, if you lean too heavily toward the world, it will strip away your peace, your self-esteem. You don’t need the curves or abundance of your neighbor. When you shine with God’s glory – when you stand tall in the beautiful way He made you – others will see it true. If you reach in the right direction, you will point others toward His perfect peace.

If we point toward God, our daughters won’t feel like their self-worth lies in the eyes of guys. If we reach toward our creator, our sons will see true beauty, and marry girls that shine with God’s glory.

If we let God be our focus, our children will know how to mend the broken places.

God is endless grace. He blows in Fall to clean the dead branches away, and wraps us with Spring, making us new again.

And He says, “Rest in Me, grow toward me, My beautiful creation. And I will bring you peace.”