Thursday, March 17, 2016

Bathroom Graffiti by Heidi Chiavaroli

"Randy loves Liz."

"Justin wuz here.

Sentiments of love, sentiments of hate. Desperation. Some simply expressing a desire to be heard long after they are gone. 

We've all seen the typical graffiti on those bathroom stalls. And although I've never been a graffiti offender myself, I suppose I can see the appeal in it...

The author is anonymous, and forever safe from hurtful judgments.

The words will be read.

Unlike a daily newspaper or monthly magazine, these words will last a bit longer. The writer has successfully left their one small mark on the world.

But do these words matter to the reader? Do they make a difference in even one person's life? Maybe...if you're name is Liz. ;)

As I ponder this, I can't help but realize that all my efforts, all my works—whether they be writing, being a “good” wife and mother, or helping my neighbor—are nothing but graffiti on a grimy bathroom stall if I'm not giving them over to God. Only He can make them useful in the grand scheme of things.

For this reason, I dig deep into my heart. Deeper than I usually want to. What is my motivation for what I do? For writing? For trying so hard to be a "good" mother? A "good" wife? For helping others?

Sometimes I don't like the answers I get. And if you're not ready for my complete honesty, read no further.

Often I find myself performing these works not for Jesus—and sometimes not even for others—but for me. My heart can be ugly. I want to look good. I want the best...after all, don't I deserve it?

Bathroom graffiti. All of it.

What I deserve is not what my Savior has given me. He's given me grace. He's given me mercy. I am nothing if it weren't for Him. And when I fall, it's Jesus's arms that catch me and my undeserving efforts.

As I continue to wade through my motivations and seek to be faithful, I have hope that He will use my efforts—even if they are as inconsequential as bathroom graffiti.

How do you consciously offer your writing to your Creator? At what times do you struggle most to do this?

Heidi Chiavaroli is a writer, runner, wife, mother, and grace-clinger—not necessarily in that order. Ever since taking her first trip to Plimoth Plantation with her sister, mother, and grandmother at the age of nine, she has been fascinated with history and its significance to today’s people and culture. Heidi is the winner of ACFW’s 2014 Genesis Contest, Historical Category. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, two sons, and Howie, her standard poodle. Learn more about Heidi on her website: