catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 3, Num 8 :: 2004.04.09 — 2004.04.22


The Image in women

You’re only a vision in my mind, but I know your form. There is a creative excitement coursing through me as I contemplate the appropriate materials and tools to use to bring you to life. My love embraces you before your inception; preparation and timing are considered as all things are made ready. The surroundings must be perfect or your entrance will not be quite right.

There is quiet. There is thought. There is gentle prayer: “Let flow from these fingers and from this mind the power to make manifest what is only impression.” I know you are special, and in me you exist before you take your first breath. I need direct contact. I decide that only my hands are appropriate tools for you—Creator to creation. Everything about you is exactly as I wish it to be…

Form begins.

I trust the work—gently smoothing the clay, rounding rough edges, putting holes, folds, and wrinkles where I see them in my mind. I do some rearranging. There is some frustration, but patience brings your shape into conformity with what I desire for you. I only create beauty. I know your function, and I fully intend to give you everything you need to accomplish it.

I stand back to view you. I’m pleased, even joyful. I want to dance. You stand there looking back at me. Behold you possess my image. What will I call you?

Sculpturing has been a voyage into a deeper understanding of what it means to be beautiful, to grasp that every curve of my body, the angles and lines of my face, the color of my hair and skin, even my personality are intentional. I am a precious gift and all that makes me intrinsically “me” is purposed and valuable, a treasure made in the image of God.

This culture (and subcultures) on a regular basis demands that a woman look, act, and become a certain way to be found pleasing. We spend an awful amount of time, energy and money to mold ourselves into an image that culture has dictated is desirable. Or we spend an awful amount of the same rebelling against those things through various forms of feminism. As an artist, I ask the deeper questions, “What if culture didn’t dictate one way or the other what is feminine? What if each woman had the capacity to very deeply process that she is lovely and acceptable, as she is, because she embodies the image of God?”

Bearing the image of God means something very deep. Part of what that means is living from a center that is manifesting the light and glory of God. To be feminine, even masculine, can only truly be defined by the One who created such things. The Bible states in Genesis, “God made man in His image, both male and female.” I won’t take the time to develop the deeper implications of these ideas, but I will say that my premise for all I share flows from an understanding that I cannot discover anything about what it means to be feminine until I know something of the God who created me.

All things must have a foundation. Being human, being feminine, is founded upon the character and nature of the One who created humanity in His image. If you would like to know what your original design was supposed to be like, what the very essence of being feminine means, look to the Creator. Who is God? What is God like? By answering those questions, you can begin to understand what it means to be beautiful.

Oddly, sculpturing starts answering some of those questions as I gently mold my little dancer’s nose. To me, it is the perfect nose. To this culture’s standards, it is not quite symmetrical and would be considered imperfect. As the creator, I really don’t care what culture says, I’m rather happy with her nose exactly as I have made it. I am the creator, no one else. Who has the right, least of all my dancer, to tell me that what I have created is wrong or junk or should be some other way than exactly what I have fashioned? The questions about personality, interest, capacity and capability, the far-too-long stereotypes of femininity start to fade as I see myself through the eyes of my Creator. What does God say about me? Why has God fashioned me?

Do you see the subtle shift that must happen in a woman’s thinking to realize she doesn’t need to be dictated to by cultural norms in either extreme? I don’t have to be a supermodel. I don’t need to be consumed by thoughts of inadequacy. I don’t have to carry around with me a resentment toward culture or men or any stereotype. I am only limited by what my Creator says about me. I am directed by God’s purposes for my entrance into this world. This life is precious. These days are numbered. Why am I here? That can only be answered in the discovery I make in realizing I have a foundation from which I can navigate that question.

I have to recognize very deeply that I am loved by my Sculptor. I have to recognize that He fashioned me with genius, in every way, according to His purpose and plan for my life. That recognition brings hope, security, joy and an acceptance of myself that no pop psychologist or book on self-actualization can offer me. This knowledge that I am as He created me, and I cannot and should not wish to change the delight of His expression, brings freedom that I cannot describe. I am as I should be, but so many things and people in life tell me that I am not. Why do we trust lies?

Embracing that each person is created as a treasure brings answers to the deepest questions women ask, “Am I beautiful? Am I delightful? Do I deserve to be loved?” In every way the answers are, “Yes,” not because you’re wearing the right clothes, have the best job, apply your makeup just right or wear none. Not because you can compete with the best of men in the marketplace or intellectual arenas, but because you were lovingly touched before you were born. You are delightful. You are cherished beyond your wildest dreams by the One who created you. He saw you, knew you intimately, and wanted you before you ever made an impression on the world.

Know that expressing yourself as a woman in any number of ways is fine. If you love clothing and looking a certain way, if you prefer to be the woman in the middle of the fray and find the competition stimulating, if you are more nurturing and discover that being a wife and mother are the most fulfilling to you, embrace those things. Just make sure those endeavors flow from a foundational realization that you are purposed and in every way a glorious treasure. The Sculptor took time and thought to create you, and He is convinced that you’re absolutely stunning—warts and all. Being feminine is defined by what God says about you, and in return your capacity to rejoice and revel in those truths daily. God gave you freedom and designed you to be something spectacular. Live as if you believe it.

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