My handwriting is celebrated as unsteady, shaky sessions that I call “scribbles”. My sentences often look like a mixture of crooked upper and lower case letters written by a four-year-old, falling diagonal outside of notebook paper lines.
My scribbles remind me of an art form. My printing is illegible much of the time due to a mild case of cerebral palsy, therefore I must concentrate, to whittle my words, shaping them to clarity against hands that tremor. These may appear as imperfect renditions upon a page, but they are expressions of me.
Yet scribbles are no longer just written words I use to characterize my penmanship, they have come to mean more, serving as tangible representations, distinguishing marks in how I want to love others and live out my life wholly devoted to Jesus Christ. The ill-shapen, jagged letters cause me to reflect upon the sentences of my existence; my scribbles are what those specific pages bookmarked as milestones celebrate; they are the segments in life that string chapters together, pointing me to purpose. “Scribbles” is a life story of intention that carves out a theme of sanctification. Scribbles inspire me to live outside of predetermined lines; they are what drive me to hope, making me who I am today, what I will be tomorrow.
Scribbles are not the shaky edges from a scratched life that needs to be erased, rather they are the markings whittled out of our own brokenness that are meant to be lived. Far too many times we worry about the rewriting, of rounding out our letters more precisely, shaping them to fit within the confines of a manufactured script, some manicured society. After decades of processing life, I have come to understand that the written beauty of God’s redemption through His pursuit of my individual life is a biography of celebration, declaring a holiness that I haven’t earned, the process by which I want to stand out because of God’s grace shown to me through Jesus Christ. Scribbles become that expression of His love to those around us; it’s an art form.
In 2010, a staff member from a high school ministry in Noblesville, Indiana noticed how I had written the actual word “scribbles” in my own handwriting. “Scribble Sessions” became the inspiration behind naming their winter camp weekend, and it was through speaking at this camp when I first realized that God had been using scribbles as a theme of sanctity throughout my entire life to shape me, to alter my perspective in how I viewed the world, to change my heart for those who are marginalized, and to show me how my own story was being used to help those who grapple with the angst of brokenness.
2 Thessalonians 3:17 – “I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters. This is how I write.”
The apostle Paul certainly had imperfect circumstances, and through in his own brokenness, God used him significantly to be an influence in his letters to the various people throughout the New Testament; he empowered the Church how to celebrate life, how to become an authentic expression. This was how Paul wrote; it was how he lived. He used his life and its distinguishing markings to ignite a passion.
Scribbles are the representations of brokenness, those shattered pieces of our existence that are not meant to confine nor define us, but rather are to become distinguishing markings that fill us with hope. They are the symbols of our lives that allow us to run free because we have been redeemed through Jesus Christ to be an authentic expression. Life is an art form, to whittle with words a process that celebrates. The way I live my life becomes the pen. How, then, will I chose to write it?