Years ago I used our daughter Kylie as a model for the child sitting on Christ’s lap in this painting. When the painting was finished I hung it in her bedroom near a night light thinking that it might be a comforting image for her to fall asleep with as she went to bed each night. When our youngest daughter Brooke was born she and Kylie shared that same bedroom.
One day, when Brooke was about 3 years old, she was in her bedroom with my wife Sydnie. As part of their little conversation Sydnie looked at Brooke and asked, “Brooke, do you know that Jesus loves you?” Brooke was quiet for a moment and then pointed at the painting on the wall and said, “No…Kylie!” Apparently for Kylie the painting had been a wonderful reminder that Jesus loved her, but for Brooke it meant Jesus loves Kylie best. How sad! When I heard this I felt so bad, I thought to myself, “I’ve scarred this poor little daughter of mine!” I had to change Brooke’s perception.
I ran to my studio and went straight to my computer where I pulled up an image of this painting in Photoshop. I imported a recent picture of Brooke and carefully superimposed her head over the top of Kylie’s. I then printed out a large copy of this new image of Jesus with Brooke on his lap. I then ran with it back into the house and handed it to little Brooke. At first she didn’t notice the change and her expression seemed to say, “thank you father, remind me one more time that Jesus loves Kylie best”. I got her to take a closer look. This time her eyes grew wide and a big smile burst across her face as she exclaimed, “Jesus loves me!”
Sometimes I think it would helpful if all of us had our own version of a painting like this just as a reminder that “Jesus LOVES ME!” His love is real and transforming, and above all abiding.