Monday, March 14, 2011


This is a pencil drawing that hangs above my writing desk.  It was created by a woman in the 1930's, a part of the Depression-era support for artists.  My mother gave it to me a few years back.  I treasure it for many reasons.

First and foremost, her gift made me feel very known.  I have a thing about turtles - many people who know me know this.  But I also have a passion for art, for history, for women learning to walk in whom they are called to be.  This expression embodies all of these for me.  My mother knew it would be meaningful, so she gifted it.  That means more than the gift.

Secondly, it has a turtle.  But not just any turtle - a tiny, two-inch turtle suspended in air.  This image impacts me every time I behold it.  Turtles are utterly fragile creatures with their soft underbellies.  They are also incredibly strong and resilient.  Over the millenia, they have developed strong protective measures - a thick, outer shell as it were.  I can relate to that: soft on the inside but presenting a hard shell at first glance. 

To know me, to know my softness, you have to look more closely.  You have to make me feel safe so that you can approach me and flip me over.  You have to be still and patient to draw my head out once it has retreated.

In this picture the turtle is suspended, held gently between two fingers, utterly helpless.  It can do nothing but wait.  I often think: "those fingers could so easily crush the little thing."  Crush it.  I feel frightened even thinking of it.

But, she - the woman with the fingers - doesn't crush it.  She suspends it, raising it to a height it cannot know on its own, giving it a vantage point it would never achieve via a more solitary existence.  There are many ways to interpret this moment of cradling, but I choose to interpret it with hope.  In trust.  When I look on this image, I am reminded: trust me.

The still, small voice - the one belonging to the One who could crush me if He so chose - reminds me, calls me, to trust.  He is good and gentle and worthy.  I need not be afraid.  I am in good hands.

I'm linking up with Soli Deo Gloria today over at Jen's place.  Take a minute to stop by - you won't be sorry!


  1. I'm here early. Because you were on the top of my blog roll with the most recent post and perhaps because the title called to me. I long for this tenderness, too. And it is there, but I have to let myself embrace it. I have to be willing to become tender in those hard places.

  2. The way you described the tenderness is without a doubt one of the best ways I have ever read/heard it. This spoke to my heart tonight so much... I often don't let myself get caught in the tenderness because I am afraid. Of just what you described. But He holds me there....and waits....and you have given me a lot to think on...about making Him wait and about me showing myself underbelly so to speak ;)

  3. That's beautiful and so true. We are all lifted by Him who uplifts us just because and no other reason.

  4. Jenny this is beautiful! I a lot you. I often have my head retreated around people. The computer is safe:)
    Love your words for women learning to walk in what they are called to be...beautiful. I lots of art. Over the 5 months God has made this more known to me.
    I also love how you interpreted the Trust the hands that hold you..sweet.
    love where this post is going...go with it

  5. Hope and trust in a good and gentle God! Thanks you for the beautiful words and image!
    Blessings on your day!

  6. LOVE this post - thanks so much. (Love the drawing, too - and your gentle interpretation of it.)

  7. "raising it to a height it cannot know on its own, giving it a vantage point it would never achieve via a more solitary existence"

    Love this truth that flies in the face of the lie in the Garden of Eden.