I thought I could try to dazzle you with my wit in how I start this blog, but then I realized I am not that fancy. How do you lead into what you want to talk about? I could start like other stories with an “In the beginning” or a “Once upon a time,” but I’m not technically starting from the beginning—in the middle is where I find myself, so let’s start there.

While we anticipate a certain amount of pain as we go through life, I have recently come out of an exceedingly rough patch. Let me expand a bit.

I was overburdened by anxiety, guilt, shame, failure, depression, heartache, and crushed expectations of what I’ve always wanted my life to be about. To a point where most days I wanted life to be over before the day even began.

I don’t know if you have been there and can relate? Can I just say—it totally sucks! While I wish people could understand the height and depth of my pain even for a moment, this is not something I would wish upon anyone.

So after getting some counsel and some perspective, I felt the desire to write, which while always being an interest was now more of an imperative. So write I shall! About what you ask? Good question. Anything and everything!

I see this blog similar to a paint-by-numbers project. Did you ever do those? I loved them as a kid (Lisa Frank anyone?).

In working on them I would have to focus on one box at a time, one color at a time, mostly that the silly black fuzz wouldn’t end up in the marker felt. But really, so that when you take a step back you appreciate the myriad of bright colors in the bigger picture, which was the effort of the tedious, seemingly small work done.

So that’s what I want to do. Work on my life, one post at a time. To create a brighter picture—filling in the empty white space that once existed.

My hope is that people who read this blog would “share in my struggle” in any sense of what that phrase means.  If my experiences or my story resonates with you.  If it has been your story.  Or God forbid, will one day be exactly what you go through, I’m thankful that neither of us is alone.  That we share in a common bond of the rough times today, but also in the renewed hope of tomorrow.

While this is not a faith blog per se, I am a Christian. I have a lens of faith in which I see the world around me. However, a lot of my early experiences and even some of my current thought processes were shaped by not growing up in Christianity.

Part of this writing process for me is to work through aspects in my faith, as it is something I want to be characteristic of my life. I’ll admit now that I’m not perfect. Again, I know I’m not perfect. I also don’t hold to the view that while I may think one way today it couldn’t change a year from now. I mean, I wasn’t always a Christian, so point proven. I want to let go of the false standards of Christianity I once held—reorienting myself to a faith that is my own and stronger than before. Again, I’m just processing here—one box at a time, one color at a time.

Each week and with every post I invite you to join me in working on the bigger picture, with a perspective to know at a deeper level we are more than generic paint-by-number’s.

My prayer for myself and also for you is that we would step into being the masterpieces we were created to be despite what we have experienced in the past or what will come in the future. Ephesians 2:8-10 is one of my favorite passages of Scripture, particularly in the New Living Translation. I love that version because in verse 10 Paul writes that, “you [namely me and you] are God’s masterpiece.”

I’m not an artist. In fact, I have trouble drawing stick figures. But I have some incredible artist family and friends and have had more than one instance to watch their creative process.

A finished work of art—a masterpiece—is the product of long hours and intentional thought. A masterpiece has deliberate beauty in the brush strokes, paint choice, and even the art medium used. You and I are intentional beings from the design of our frame to the inner-workings of our mind. Our personalities, our humor, our faults, and our families are only part of what make us unique from the other pieces around us.

Real life: most days I have a hard time believing aspects of myself are masterpiece material—that they were intentioned to have purpose to me or to others. Some days I have a hard time believing that I’m cared about, loved, wanted or valuable, especially with some of the difficulties this life has thrown my way.

But it takes progress—one box at a time, one color at a time; continued reminders to know that I am loved. I am cared about. I am wanted. I have immense value. And the same is true of you! My hope is that I will, we will, believe it more today than we did yesterday.

Until next time…Live as a Masterpiece!

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