“When a pretty young woman wanted her portrait painted, she wanted it within a reasonable length of time. If Leonardo kept her waiting until she got a lot older, she naturally complained about him to her friends. And in other ways, too, Leonardo was difficult. He would accept an advance payment for materials for some job, and then take so long over the job that his client lost patience and gave it out again to some other artist. Leonardo couldn’t return the money because he had spent it on the materials. This probably explains why so many of his clever inventions weren’t’ carried out in practice. No careful Florentine merchant would trust Leonardo to deliver the goods.”
“The more celebrated his painting became, the less inclined were people to risk ordering anything from him. We still have several paintings of this phase. Each was carried through far enough to show how marvelous it would have been if it had been completed. Always, before it was finished, Leonardo decided that he was not satisfied, that the groundwork was not good enough. So he would abandon it in order to work harder at his preparations for another picture.”
Leonardo da Vinci by Emily Hahn
These paragraphs were read during our family morning time in school this morning, and they couldn’t be more appropriate. Finishing has been a topic of ours this year in many ways, but particularly with our oldest. He would, until recently, read up until the very last chapter of a book ravenously, and then he would take weeks to read the last pages, because he would spend all of his time counting how many pages he had left, dreading the end. He would begin craft projects (knitting, crochet, inventing fishing rods, whittling) and abandon them because they didn’t meet his standards of perfection immediately.
Noticing this pattern, we began to have many conversations with him about finishing and to demonstrate (overly obviously) the art of finishing something well. I read the entire Harry Potter series in a little over a week, proclaiming loudly and talking animatedly when I would finish. I also spent time nonverbally showing him persistence in my own handicraft projects. After a few talks with Michael on the topic, our oldest began to be more intentional about finishing his reading.
I made him this chart that he could fill in whenever he finished a free read (not a required read for school.)
Today, after we discussed Leonardo da Vinci’s major character flaw, the kids and I decided it would be a good idea to have a “Finishing Party” for Michael. You see, three years ago, he was hired in his position as a senior analyst programmer in order to design a specific program for the ambulance service. Staffing changes were made during the course of those three years, and this particular project was put “on the back burner” for a while. Yesterday morning, unceremoniously at 9 a.m., his program went live without any hiccups. He went to a local restaurant and had a little party by himself.
This was momentous. Why? Because we started feeling led to the missions field five years ago this fall. But we knew that we wanted to finish our adoption process for Aslan first. After Aslan came home, we began to raise support for our ministry with great intention. But we still knew that Michael had taken this job, committing to design this program specifically. We didn’t feel that he could consider himself a man of his word unless it was finished.
And now it is. Our very last social worker appointment (likely forever unless God has a surprise adoption planned) will be happening in two weeks. And we are finished here. We have no house. We have no debts. We have nothing tying us down.
We are absolutely certain that France is where our family needs to be. We are also certain that regardless of who gives to our ministry or how much they give to our ministry, we will get to France because of our God. You see, He is a finisher by nature. Think about all of the times in scripture that He finished things. Some of Jesus’s last earthly words were “It is finished!” Further, in Philippians 1, we are encouraged as believers that “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” God is a finisher, and I’m so glad that today we were able to celebrate Michael’s being a “finisher” with our kids.
Here is the link to our more information about our ministry, specifically a place you can sign up for our e-mail newsletter. Here, also, is our facebook page to keep abreast with new developments and prayer requests.
Currently, if we were to leave for France in February, we are 72% funded for our ministry for the first two years to build and staff a refugee ministry day center in the city of Lille. Would you consider helping us by being a “finisher” for us?
To partner with our ministry, please click here.
And now, this post is……finished. (insert wry grin.)