This is a piece that I have been working on for several months. I began during the Christmas season — became frustrated with my feeble effort and set it down — a couple of weeks later, I would pick it up and begin working again. The pace was slow and wrought with a lot of misgivings and trepidation. It was difficult to concentrate and even more difficult to allow the strokes of the charcoal and pencils to move across the paper with ease. I erased…I sketched…erase…sketch…oh and how many times I wanted to rip it out of my art pad and throw it in the trash…but I did not.
I prayed often throughout this sketch! I prayed about the darkness that enters my soul all too frequently. I prayed about the despair that threatens to erase me…rip me up…throw me in the trash. It was painstaking!
Between the time lapses of this sketch, I worked on watercolors — trying to train hands that are not gifted with skill to blend, and accept what has been placed on the paper. I have boxed up my art supplies at least six times since December…to send them to someone else who can draw and paint with ease…but I did not. However, today I finished my sketch and I will bravely share it with you and why I sketched it out the way that I did.
Mary found herself with an unplanned pregnancy — she was no more than 13 or 14 years old. Oh how I can feel the fright in her heart — the uncertainty of Joseph’s reaction…her betrothed. We do not have to go much deeper to know that the LORD made sure that they both knew of His plan and we know nothing more than that Joseph did indeed marry her…and as Paul Harvey used to say, “That’s the rest of the story.”
Yet as my sketch unfolded, took form, and developed it began to tell a story. Not of the Nativity or Mary or Joseph or the Christ Child. It began to sing of God’s sheltering love to me. I chose not to draw their faces (truth is I probably would have made them look more like freak show stars if I had) — I wanted to show their countenance.
Mary is holding her Child — the Savior of the world — close to her bosom. The child wrapped in the shroud that would cradle him at death. Joseph — oh, Joseph — sheltering them under his strong arm. A mirror of God as He cloaks us in His sheltering love. Mary and the Child can rest easy in this God-given shelter of love.
The psalmist, David, said that we can seek refuge under God’s wings — we simply need to abide there. He will cover us with His pinions — a beautiful shelter from those things that seek to overcome us and try to destroy us.
He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark. Psalm 91:4 (NASB)
Beloved, abide there…abide in the shelter God has supplied through His loving kindness and tender mercy for you. It is sure — you can rest in it — just as Mary and Baby Jesus are resting in Joseph’s cloak in my sketch!