For Kay, my dear sister in Jesus. May this small parable help to remind you how beautifully and wonderfully made you are in the eyes of the Great Artist.
~ Beautiful ~
A Short Story
Once upon a time, not long ago and not far away, there lived a wise and skillful artist who loved to paint. He delighted in making magic with color and bringing all the images he saw in his head to life in his pictures.
One day, he was painting something extra special. His brush dipped in and out of the swirling colors and flew across the canvas in expert strokes; dabbing here, blending there, moving swiftly in a joyful, marvelous dance of creation.
And at last, the painting was complete. It was a picture of a pretty young girl on a swing at a park, with a rosy-cheeked face and sweet brown eyes. She was wonderful.
The Artist stood back to admire his latest masterpiece and smiled in satisfaction. It was very good.
Suddenly he gasped in surprise, for something happened! The girl in his painting...moved!
He rubbed his eyes hard and looked again, but it was true! The girl had frowned for a moment and slipped off the swing.
"Oh dear..." she sighed, running her slender fingers through her chestnut hair and glancing over her shoulder at the other children in the park.
The Artist felt even more surprised to hear her speak aloud, let alone move; but his surprise soon vanished into concern. She seemed to be rather unhappy about something.
"What's wrong?" he asked.
"Oh nothing. It's just that..." She trailed off and looked down at her shoes, biting her lip.
"I'm not...pretty," she said, a small tear glistening on her painted cheek.
"What on earth do you mean?" asked the Painter, feeling confused. Why would she say a thing like that? She was beautiful!
"I'm not as pretty as they are," she said, looking back over her shoulder at the others in the background and particularly taking notice of another girl with a pale face and golden hair. She looked back at him for a moment then frowned down at her shoes again, unable to look him in the eye. "I think you made some mistakes with me."
"Well...there's my feet, for one thing. You made them way too big. And my nose must be some kind of joke! It looks so stupid."
The Artist patiently listened as she continued to list all her faults and compare herself to the others he had painted.
"...my eyes are boring, I'm too fat, my legs are...I mean, why couldn't you make me look like that girl over there? She's prettier than me..."
"Stop," he finally said, holding up a hand. "Stop. Look at me."
His voice was so quiet and filled with sadness that she closed her mouth, and had to look at him.
"Listen to me, dear one," he said, "and listen well: I painted you. I created you."
The girl blushed and tried to look away, but instead found her gaze firmly held by his calm gray eyes.
"I chose the color of your hair and eyes," continued the Painter. "I chose the shape of your nose and the length of your arms and legs. I made you. And I believe you are beautiful.
"Yes, the other children I painted are pretty; but not any more or any less than you. They are beautiful simply because I made them each different and wonderful in their own way - just like you."
The Artist lovingly brushed his fingertips over the painting as tears ran down her face.
"You really think I'm beautiful?" she whispered.
"Yes," he answered. "I think you are very beautiful. I am the Artist. I made you - and I don't make mistakes."
"And you know," he added, "it rather hurts my feelings when you say you don't like the way you look, or when you compare yourself to others. I wish you'd instead try to see yourself the way I see you."
"I'm...I'm sorry," the girl murmured, blushing again and dropping her eyes in shame.
"I forgive you," chuckled the Artist. "Gladly and completely. But from now on, I want you to stop putting yourself down and remind yourself more often of how wonderful I think you are. Could you please do that? For me?"
He gave her a small, hopeful smile.
The girl in the painting smiled back at him through her tears, eyes shining with joyful gratitude, and whispered,
"I guess I can try."
~ The End ~
Psalm 139:13-14 "For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."</i>