At times, I take God's paintbrush and paint the portrait of my own day. The crazy thing about that is, I don't know how to paint. I can't even draw stick people with any authority. My husband will testify to that fact.

Our cat deposited a dead mouse in the garage one night and I couldn't bring myself to pick it up and throw it in the field. Instead, I put a bucket over the top of it, drew a picture of a mouse, put the drawing on top of the bucket, and left the little critter for my husband to dispose of in the morning. He called me from work the next day and asked me to leave him a note, not a drawing, when I wanted to convey a message. "Please don't draw me a picture", he said. "I had no idea what I was going to find under that bucket. From the picture you drew, it could have been a mouse, a rabbit, a raccoon or a skunk!"

Yet, there are times when I find myself snatching the paintbrush from the Master painter's hand and attempting to paint myself a day. You'd think I'd be smart enough to give the paintbrush back, when my day starts running off course. But then again, thinking I can paint a better day than God can paint, shows a dip in my intelligence.

I get caught up in the small dramas, painting them with excruciating detail. I languish over 'just the right' shade to paint my hurt feelings or tumultuous emotions, making them the focal point of that part of the portrait. Every encounter along the way revolves around how I view the event, how I let it effect me, how I react to it.

By day's end, most of the canvas remains blank. So much space, so little on it.

When God paints my day, every inch of the canvas is covered. While I'm encountering an unforeseen or unpleasant incident, He's busy painting a path to a lovely new garden, or a new and promising gateway, or an inviting, mysterious new door. I may or may not choose to follow that path. I may only see it in hindsight, but I realize the opportunity to walk that path, was available to me.

I may find myself craving fulfilling conversation, and if I'm painting the day, there I am, in full detail, standing alone with my craving. If God is painting the day, directions to the people who will fill my craving are painted at convenient intervals.

When the desire to have something hits me, I'll try to paint myriad ways to get that thing. God will paint needy people in my path, knowing that my true need will be met when I realize that everything in life - is not about me.

God's portraits are always paintings of opportunity. Mine are paintings of myself trying to maneuver through the obstacles of life.

Ugh! Why does He let me have the paintbrush? How am I able to pry it from His fingers?

Ah..... but that is the beauty of God. He gives me the free will to paint my day - with or without Him. It is a choice, not an imposed will.

Today, I pray for empty hands. I don't want to hold the paintbrush. I want to be filled - heart and soul.

Paint me a day, dear Lord. Give me a full canvas.

Terri McPherson
Windsor, Ontario, Canada