Sometimes we can try too hard.
I asked my daughter if she would do the cover for my next devotional book. She agreed with enthusiasm and asked what I wanted. I tried to express what I was thinking. Laura took the idea and started playing with it. She works for a printer who was gracious enough to let her go in and use the computer there, with its up-to-date programs.
Laura played and played and played some more. Her first efforts were discouraging, both to her and to me. Then she hit on one I thought would work. She didn't seem overly thrilled with it, but I wanted to get everything off to the printer, so we were both feeling a bit pressured. We agreed we'd go with what she had done.
She started to walk out of my office, then shyly said, "Mom, next time I think it would be better to try a different concept."
"Huh?" I replied.
She tried to explain what she meant. I wasn't getting it.
"Show me," I said.
She sat down at my computer and opened one of her folders. She started clicking through photos and graphics and finally picked a photo a friend had taken at the beach this summer. Then she started putting the cover together, explaining what she was thinking as she did it.
It was one of those moments we mothers have now and then when we realize through some miracle we have birthed a wonderfully gifted child whose talents we have barely glimpsed. I stood with my mouth agape. In about 30 minutes Laura produced a cover that, to use a cliche, knocked my socks off.
"Will Steve let you use this photo?" I asked. It was Laura's turn to be surprised. "You like it?"
"I love it. I want it. Can we use it?"
Steve said yes and the rest, as they say, is history. Or will be, once the book is printed.
As we looked at the final product we both laughed at how we'd struggled. She was trying to please me and I was trying not to discourage her, but neither of us were happy.
Somehow I think it's like that with me and God sometimes. I try hard, but know I'm not quite hitting the mark. He keeps encouraging me to keep trying. And then, every once in a while things come together - my efforts, His will and grace, His purposes. It's usually when I finally say, "God, show me." I'm always surprised when He does. It's always exciting because I want to shout - "I love it. I want it. Can I use it?" Oh me of little faith.
I imagine He just smiles and nods and knows that's the way it's meant to be. Someday it won't be such a struggle. Someday I'll know His mind and heart as completely as He knows mine. Some day it will all come together.