Because Cadence is profoundly autistic, her skill set is pretty small. As she grows into a woman her level of independence continues to grow, but it has taken years. One thing, however, that she has always loved to do is color and draw. At first she would just color randomly, just lines and blobs. As time went on she started to draw faces. Then those faces became more complex with hair and ears. These days she likes to look at pictures and recreate them. She is an imitator. She loves to follow a model. Not just in drawing, but in completing tasks, life skills, almost everything. She is often hesitant to do things without someone doing it along side her or before her. She keeps her eyes on the model and tries to imitate it. She is pretty dependent on a model.
When she first started copying pictures they were all over the place. You could tell what they were, but the shapes would be disproportionate in size. As she keeps practicing her drawing skills, however, her drawings get better and better. I have notebooks full of pictures that are a testament to her continued progress.
Yesterday a therapist in her class texted me a picture of a drawing that Cadence had just completed. It was her best ever. She paid attention to detail and shadowing and colors and copied it to the best of her ability. It was impressive. I have looked at the picture over and over again noticing how close she tried to copy the model and how much effort she put into it. Is it perfect? Nope. But it is her best and it is obvious that she was copying an original.
I think we are a lot like Cadence as Christians. We are imitators. Imitators of Christ, trying to follow His model. The more we attempt to imitate Him, the better we become at it. When we first start our walk of faith, we can be all over the place in our attempt to look like the Original, one and only, Jesus, but time and effort, dependence on the model, and practice help us become more and more like Him. I wonder if the Lord has a book that is full of our continued progress? Does He look at our efforts over and over again, proud of what we are becoming? I think so!
The truth is, we will never get it perfect. We are human and He is God, so we can never look exactly like Him; but to the world watching I hope it is obvious who our model is. When they see our lives may they see how close we are to the Original.