Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Uniquely Designed

Growing up, I was awed by my mother's creativity. I loved to listen to her play the piano and sing the many songs she composed. She sewed beautiful clothes for us, created her own recipes and cooked delicious meals on a shoestring, decorated our home tastefully at very little expense, even designing and building items of furniture to meet our needs. She taught a children's Sunday school class and wrote her own continued stories to teach life application. She was quite artistic and developed a way of crocheting beautiful decorative ornaments out of clear plastic wrap using her own patterns for three-dimensional angels, snowflakes, snowmen animals, hats, baskets, and flowers.

She was renowned for her baking of pies and cakes. Not only did she decorate cakes for special occasions, she "built" them into special shapes. Once, she created a birthday cake for my father in the shape of a Grumman Goose that really looked like the amphibious planes flown by Alaska Coastal Airlines where he worked. Another time, she made a cake in the shape of an apple for a PTA meeting and figured out how to make the frosting look like a shiny red apple.

One time in church, we were in the middle of viewing a Billy Graham film when the projected broke. She fixed it with a bobby pin, enabling us to see the rest of the story. She could fix anything with a safety pin or paper clip. And she was always inventing new gadgets and better ways of doing things more easily and quickly.

By the time I was a teenager, I felt very lacking in creativity compared to my mother. Then I heard a someone say, "A person can become more creative by deciding to be creative."

God has designed each of us for His purpose and has endowed us all from birth with certain natural talents and abilities to fulfill His purpose for our lives. These talents and abilities are not yet developed, but one aspect of stewardship is to study and exercise our gifts to hone them to usefulness for God's Kingdom. I made up my mind never to refuse to try to do a task someone asked me to do, thinking that if someone thinks I can do it, then with God's help, I probably can.  

At a very young age, I realized God had given me a special voice to sing for Him, so I sang. In addition, I learned to play the piano and the accordion for church. Classmates elected me to leadership positions, and I learned skills that helped me as a minister and pastor's wife. When I worked in editorial for a publishing house, I submitted stories and articles I'd written. To my surprise, they were accepted, and that led to a lifelong vocation of writing. 

As I look back over my life, I find that I too have become more creative and have accomplished more than I ever thought I could. Mother taught me many of her skills. Over the years, in the churches we pastored, I have even done many things outside of my natural gifting. I noticed that by developing the talents I knew I had, I discovered more.

Isn't that what Jesus indicated in the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:21, where God gave more talents to the ones who were faithful in handling the talents God had given them? (Of course, Jesus was referring to money, but I think the same principle applies.) Have you found this to be true? 

You too are uniquely designed. What talents have you developed? What new talent did you discover?

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