Kari always used to be excited about Grandma's visits. She would eagerly gather up her best dolls and favorite books, arrange them just so, and wait for the magical moment when Grandma would join her in the land of make-believe.
But this time, Kari wasn't happy about Grandma coming. Mom was surprised, especially when Kari started saying things that were not so nice about her two-year-old cousin, Michelle. Tears came to Kari's eyes, and she whispered a very sad secret. She was afraid that Michelle had taken her place and that Kari wouldn't be special to anyone anymore. Grandma arrived before Mom could talk to Kari about her feelings. Sadly, Kari told Grandma that her dolls had all run away.
Grandma took her gently into her arms. She said that if there weren't any dolls around today, maybe she and Kari could go to the art museum together. Kari found a little smile, and out the door they went.
Kari had a happy time at the museum. She was especially drawn to the masterpiece paintings of flowers, mountains, trees, streams, birds, and children. When Grandma dropped her off, she wanted to tell Mom all about the paintings, but suddenly her voice broke off with a sigh.
"I guess Grandma will take Michelle to the museum from now on. Michelle's so cute and funny."
While they were at the museum, Mom had prayed, asking God how she could help Kari. Now she had an idea.
"Kari," she said, "let's think about those beautiful paintings. Let's think about the colors, the gardens, the mountains, the birds, the children. Lots of people like to see those paintings because they bring to mind such interesting ideas. That's one reason that the very best paintings are considered masterpieces. Did you ever think you're a masterpiece, too?"
"Me?" Kari asked. "There wasn't any picture of me in the museum!"
"No," Mom said, "but a masterpiece is an important work of art, carefully painted by a brilliant artist. I think the Artist who made you must be especially brilliant."
"Well, even if I am a masterpiece, Grandma thinks Michelle's a better masterpiece than I am."
"I think I know why you feel that way. You got tricked into thinking Michelle's Artist is better than yours. But, you have the same Artist! Remember the paintings by Monet that you saw today? They were all painted by the same person, who kept having new and beautiful ideas about the flowers in his garden. Each picture is magnificent, yet each one is different from the rest. They're all masterpieces.
"The Artist who thought of you and Michelle has so many great ideas that He needs both of you to be examples of His thoughts. In fact, He has so many great thoughts that He needs each and every one of us."
"You really mean God, don't you, Mom?" Kari had attended Sunday School since she was very little and had been taught the Bible verse that says, "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" (Gen. 1:26).
Mom smiled and said, "You figured it out!"
"The image of God is like a picture, isn't it?"
"Sure, it's like a picture of His thoughts."
"So, God, my Artist, made me especially to be a picture of His thoughts!"
"Right. And the better you know your Artist, the better you know yourself. God makes sure you know you're a masterpiece by telling you something new and delightful about yourself whenever you listen to Him. He tells you something good in the morning, in the afternoon, and at night all the time!"
It made Kari feel better to think that God was telling her something good all the time. Then she had a new idea. "If God is talking to me all the time, then He must be telling Michelle good things about herself, too. She can't take my place, because there isn't room for us to fit in the same masterpiece frame together!" This idea made Kari happy again. It was more fun to think of Michelle in her own picture frame. In fact, Kari thought Michelle was pretty cute, too.
In a few years, when Grandma and Grandpa moved away, Kari and Michelle had wonderful times visiting them together. Kari has discovered that all of God's children are His masterpieces. That means you are, too!
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