Being Part of a Picture

When I was in my early twenties, I worked in a daycare center. It was one of the most stressful jobs I ever had. As much as the State of North Carolina says that one adult can care for five infants or six one-year-olds or 10 two-year-olds, single-handedly, it is surely a challenge of epic proportions.


I learned a lot from those kids. One of those lessons came back to me yesterday as I was talking to a girlfriend. She was telling me a familiar story–one I’ve lived, myself–about how unworthy she sometimes feels and how it seems like she is surrounded by people who derive joy from chipping away at any worth she has. I’ve been there. Oh, how I’ve been there. It’s not a comfortable place to be.


As we chatted, I thought of Nathan. He was almost three then. I’m sure I wouldn’t recognize him now, as a teenager. But that day, his Dad was running late to pick him up and Nathan was watching me hang up their latest artwork. I knew that he would quickly get bored–and bored toddlers are dangerous creatures–so I dug into the stack of gluey colored construction paper to find his picture.


“Nathan, what’s this?”


He pointed with a pudgy finger and grinned.




“Yes, it is yours. What is it?”


And in pleasant, hardly-discernible toddler-chatter, he told me about his picture.


Yesterday, as my friend told me about her coworkers’ snubs and I remembered the hurts of my own life, I also remembered Nathan and his picture. Only Nathan could tell me about what was in his picture. Well, God drew this picture, in which we are featured. So, why do we allow other people in the picture to try to tell us about the picture? They can only see a little portion of the paper. They don’t know what the whole thing looks like or what it all means or what the value of each piece is.


In this week’s chapter of Kisses from Katie, Katie talks about how her purpose is to love, to show her love–and even more, God’s love–to folks who don’t get to experience much love otherwise. Her purpose is to be a safe place for them.


“I get to love children who don’t know love otherwise. I get to accept them for who they are. I get to present them with my love and then teach them of the Father’s extravagant love. [My home]…is a place where people can know that they are important and special and loved.”


I identify with that, strongly. While she’s called to love and be a safe place for children in Uganda, I’m called to love and be a safe place for folks here. And what more love can I show people than to remind them that they have infinite value and worth to The One Who created them? What safer place can I offer than His strong hand, His amazing plan, and His brilliant picture? He is bigger than those who snub us and tear us down. He created us for a purpose, and He loves us and protects us there.


I taped Nathan’s picture up on the wall of the toddler room and he beamed.


I once heard a campy little saying about how if God had a refrigerator, our picture would be on it. Thanks to Nathan, I think there might be something to that.

This post is part of a weekly series that my friend, Jason Stasyszen, some of our friends, and I are doing on the book Kisses from Katie. Whether you’ve read or not, you’re welcome to join us. If you’ve written a response, please visit Jason’s site where you can link up on his link widget.

About Sarah Salter


  1. Barbara Capps says:

    Cute story.. I looked after many a Nathan myself.. and still do.. Its what we need to do..Remember me telling you that my house had a “revolving door”.. wouldn’t trade those days and the kids that came through that door for nothing. Love ya Sista Sarah..


  2. Sarah Salter says:

    Barbara, you know the world I grew up in… Every Mama looked after every kid in the neighborhood. Well, the world is our neighborhood and we get to look after every “kid” in it. It’s a privilege. And for those who don’t have anybody else looking out for them, it’s a Godsend. Thanks for being such a good Mama to your corner of the neighborhood, B!

  3. What a high calling–being a safe place. I really, really like that. Sums things up nicely! And a sidenote, the little boy that arrested my heart for Japanese orphans when I was just a senior in high school was also named Nathan. 🙂 I’ve thought about meeting him again–he’d be somewhere from 16-18 years old now. Anyway, my brain is all over the place today! Thanks Sarah.

  4. Sarah Salter says:

    Jason, the first child I fell in love with was a Nathan, too. (It was a few years before the Nathan in this story.) I even wrote a poem about my first Nathan, called “Nights.” One of the favorite poems of my poetry prof in college. 🙂 And it’s okay for your brain to go all over the place. I’m like that MOST days! 😛

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