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  • Lea Hartline

Painting With Lipstick: Life Lessons From a Amy's Masterpiece

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

When a little girl paints a red lipstick dress on herself, hold on tight mom's she is going to find a man who will appreciate a little girl with red lipstick dress.
Picture from Amy and Logan's Wedding

Ever find joy in life's little messes? I've got a story about my daughter Amy becoming a mini Picasso with my red lipstick. Get ready to explore life lessons we can all learn from a child's masterpiece. You'll want to hear this if you've ever faced a 'colorful' situation. The best memories often come from unexpected places.


Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for today and for the constant joy You bring into my life. Philippians 4:4 tells me to "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice." I come before You with a grateful heart, eager to find joy in the monumental and minor moments of my life.

Father, with my busy schedule, it's easy to miss the simple, happy moments that are such clear signs of Your love and presence. Help me center myself, find joy amid the bustle, and share more laughter with the people I love.

As I dive into this devotional, open my eyes to the joy hidden in everyday situations and treasured memories. Let this reflection deepen my gratitude for the life You've blessed me with and help that gratitude become a constant companion in my day-to-day life.

In the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, I pray.


The Red Dress Saga

My daughter decided she needed a new red dress. Her solution, paint on a red dress with red lipstick.

Imagine me, up to my elbows in dish soap and daydreams, unaware that my 3-year-old Amy was plotting her next big adventure. Spoiler alert: It involved my red lipstick.

With the stealth of a tiny ninja, Amy found my red lipstick and hid in her closet. She found the perfect canvas for her new red lipstick paint—herself. She became the Michelangelo of the toddler world in her closet, using my favorite red lipstick to draw what can only be described as the most exclusive designer dress ever.

Her quiet antics lulled me into thinking all was well in the kingdom of playtime. But when I finally walked into her room, I found her still at work on her "couture" creation. My feelings? A cocktail of stifled laughter and sheer panic. This was one of those "I don't know whether to take a photo or grab the stain remover" moments.

Amidst it all, as I stood there staring at Amy's red dress artwork, a whirlwind of emotions took hold of me. Laughter, almost involuntary, bubbled up because it was downright hilarious. However, my next thought was, "How could I let this happen?" I blamed myself for not keeping a closer eye on Amy. Even though I was doing housework, I still wondered how I let her have access to my expensive lipstick.

Frustration soon replaced the guilt. I mean, "How on earth would I delicately remove this stubborn red lipstick from her tender skin without causing her discomfort?" Then, the anger for misbehaving. That lipstick had been a small luxury for me; now it lay smeared and ruined. At that moment, my emotions were a tangled mess. It would be a while before I returned to the initial laughter and seeing the moment as funny.

While reflecting on this moment, I couldn't help but think of Psalm 139:13-14: "For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well."

Here is the golden nugget—this messy red dress became a cherished memory. Why? Because it taught me about God's grace and humor in the midst of life's oops moments. God looks at our messy scribbles, our mistakes, and even our red lipstick disasters and finds them endearing. Our imperfections become love notes in the eyes of a Father who has an infinite capacity to see the humor and beauty in our mess.

Joy in Life's Little Messes

My flooded kitchen

Life has a knack for serving up unexpected messes. Let me share another life's not-so-funny moments that have become something I look back on and laugh about.

For years, I wanted a garbage disposal. I thought it would be the coolest luxury ever for my kitchen. Robert and I had just bought a new house, and I was so excited it had a garbage disposal. EEEK Joy! Until 2 days in our new home and I use the disposal. I clogged it because I didn't know you couldn't put macaroni and cheese in there, or at least not as much as I was doing. It clogged the sink. I grabbed the plunger, and I am not sure how, in a matter of seconds, my disposal was sitting in the bottom of the cabinet, and water was flooding my new kitchen floor. There was no laughing. It was pure frustration and rage. Then, when my husband got home after the mess was cleaned, but the sink was unusable, he went right to work putting my sink together without a garbage disposal. Initially, I was a little sad, but I had to agree they were not a luxury.

My house has one now, and because of that day, when we bought this house, I wouldn't use the garbage disposal at first. But now, I am an expert. I know what does not go in it, no matter what! When we first moved into the house and refused to use it, I told my husband the whole story of how the first garbage disposal catastrophe happened. We laughed about that a lot as we sat in our new home with me daring that disposal to disappoint me.

The truth is the messes, spills, and unplanned detours all add color to the canvas of our lives. In the mess, we find beauty; in the chaos, we find joy. So, embrace those moments when life throws you a curveball because they often turn into the most cherished stories.

From Mess to Master Piece

Moments that can initially leave us frustrated, angry, or even feeling guilty help us to build the puzzle that is our life. When we step back and take a closer look, we find that these mishaps are often the moments we laugh about. These become stories that shape our lives and our relationship with God and others.

Nehemiah 8:10 encourages us to "Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength." This verse challenges us to find joy in every moment, even the messy ones. It reminds us that God's grace surrounds us despite our mishaps and misadventures.

So, let's approach life with a sense of wonder and an appreciation for the unexpected. The truth is the messes, spills, and unplanned detours all add color to the canvas of our lives. In these moments, we find beauty and the fingerprints of God's grace.

As we journey forward, let's treasure the stories that emerge from life's quirky twists and turns. After all, these messy moments often become the most cherished memories, reminding us of God's unwavering love and His ability to find joy in the unexpected.

Call to Action:

Let's actively seek out the joy in our own lives today. Whether it's in a cup of coffee, a phone call with a loved one, or even a mess made by your little one—take a moment to pause and recognize God's grace in it. Share your 'joy moment' with someone close to you; it could make their day!

Journal Prompt:

  1. What 'messy' situation has recently happened in your life?

  2. How did you initially react to it?

  3. In hindsight, can you find God's grace and humor in it? If so, how?

  4. Describe a 'joy moment' you experienced this week.

Additional Bible Reading:

  1. James 1:2-4

  2. Romans 8:28

  3. Philippians 4:11-13

  4. Psalm 16:11

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Life on Faith and Fumes

Christian blog with stories, devotional and bible studies.

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