|by Bridgett Lopata|
Last month I made a diaper “cake” for my sister’s baby shower. I have worked with a lot of different mediums, but diapers were a first. The finished diaper “cake” turned out less like a cake and more like a deluxe doghouse complete with diaper shingles, swirls resembling candy, soft white and pink blanket walls, and roses on the “front porch.” The whole thing was comprised of 192 diapers, 10 washcloths, 6 pairs of socks, 5 towels, 4 onesies, 2 blankets and 1 book, all to house the stuffed animal dog named Lady, from Lady and the Tramp.
This piece of art was unique in several ways:
1. The pieces were handled with great care, because they could not be damaged.
2. The “cake” was comprised of very unique and specific pieces.
3. It was not so much that the art itself that was valuable, but rather the pieces that made up the art.
4. It was made with the knowledge that it would soon be taken apart.
Normally when piecing together artwork, I really do not care very much how the individual parts are assembled. Bring on the tape, glue, nails, holes or whatever is needed to get them to stay where I need them to be. I couldn’t do that this time. What use is a diaper with holes in it? What use is a blanket that has been cut into strips? What use are socks that have been glued together?
There are times when I have felt like I am a dispensable piece in God’s masterpiece. It shouldn’t matter if I am destroyed, so long as the mission continues, right? But this is not truth. God may allow us to go though some hard things, but we are not expendable to him. He makes this clear in Jeremiah 29: 11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I was very selective with the supplies I chose. I did not just want a blanket; I wanted a soft pink and white blanket that incorporated a Disney theme. I did not just want any diapers; I wanted diapers to match my colors and design. I did not just want any baby book; I wanted the book that told the story of Lady and the Tramp. God gives unique gifts and talents to believers. But I also think he gives us specific opportunities to use our gifts. Not everyone who has the gift of teaching is called to do so within the confines of a small group. Not everyone who has the gift of leadership leads in the same way.
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.” 1 Corinthians 12: 4-6
All too often we view and talk about the church as a building that we go to every Sunday. But as Aaron has told us at least seventeen times, the four walls of the building are not the church. The sound booth, video system, and lights are not the church. The seats and rooms and things are not the church. We are the Church. We are the valuable part of the ministry; not the building. The building is only a too.
“You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” 1 Peter 2: 5
When the sweet little baby was born (4 weeks early), it was time to disassemble the diaper “cake”. Several people commented that it would be hard to “ruin” something so beautiful. They were wrong. It wasn’t difficult at all. As I took each piece out, I knew that it would be used to clothe the tiny human, or keep her warm, clean, and dry. That little girl is more beautiful than any piece of art I could ever make.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
I’ve heard it said before, “Art is often created through the re-imagining of ordinary things.” We may be ordinary people, but we serve an extraordinary God.