"One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent." – Acts 18:9
2016 - What will it bring? I don't know, but I'm excited to discover it!
One thing I will be adding to my bag-full-of-goodies is the monthly mental exercise of writing a blog post. With it, I will be stretching my capacity to articulate all those chaotic thoughts that roll around in my brain and strengthen my trust and faith in the Creator of life. Why? Let me take you back to October 2012...
Five months after being hospitalized for a freak incident that left me with 3rd degree burns on my legs and right hand, I found myself at our churches women's retreat. Every year, there is a small metal sculpture of a tree, and on it, are about 175 scripture verses. The organizers of the event ask attendees to prayerfully pick a verse from the tree, and this year was no different. But for me - it was so much more. I wasn't sure what my accident (with it's subsequent six surgeries and nine months of occupational therapy) was suppose to manifest in my life, but if I truly believed that "all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose," (which I do, Roman's 8:28) then I knew that this incident was, in fact, no accident.
So what was the verse I picked? "One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent." --Acts 18:9 How did I interpret this to mean 'write a blog'? Well, I didn't, exactly. At first, I thought it meant I should speak to groups about how good God had been to me and my family through this incident. And I did have the opportunity, once or twice. But then, I kept being encouraged to write about my experiences, which seemed odd, because some very smart, highly intellectual family and friends used to mock me for my terrible writing skills. Still, the small voice in my head persisted, and in 2013, I attempted to write it all down, but found myself so overwhelmed with the emotion of it, I abandoned the notion.
Fast forward to September 2014: I had been teaching art privately for the past few years, helped create an art program at my kids elementary school, and was busy with managing my family and studio, when my husband proposed that maybe with the kids in school more often, I should get a more structured job, part time.
Well, after 15 years of being out of the "structured" work force, I was a little taken aback by the thought! Needless to say, I was resistant, but I prayed fervently about it for week. In hindsight, I've had a chance to consider that conversation from a new perspective, now I see, really see, all that our conversation created!
It was at that moment, my voice, my artistic voice began to emerge. I began to "speak" in a way I had never done before! After I finished my first commission (received just weeks after the conversation with my man), I was inspired to paint all the time! In the decade preceding 2015, I may have created four or five paintings. But in 2015, I painted well over 100 original works of art! Some, I'm amazed they came from me and others are just meh, but I painted! And what's more incredible, lovely individuals bought some of them! My style has developed into something I am proud of, and the humbling thing is, I know that it isn't me, but my Creator working through me. I'm not that unique or special, but I did say: 'yes, Lord,' when I heard him call me to painting, and I'm using the voice God has given me to speak to you about who He is and what he does in a life. He has blessed me in ways I never expected, which has now led to this crazy idea of writing about all the ways God has guided me through the process of painting and life. Will you consider joining me?? I hope you will!
So, goodbye 2015! You have been a year of tremendous growth and change for this chickadee! When I think of where I was on my journey one year ago, I can't help but feel overwhelmed - by God's grace and mercy, and by the hope and joy he gave to me. It takes courage to step into something new, which for me was painting and now writing. And although my life was precious and sweet before, there is an excitement and spark that is new and intense and filled with anticipation and expectation I haven't ever experienced.
Painting has added layers of depth to my life and my trust in Jesus. This has been the voice I have been using to speak about His goodness and truth. Now I will add writing to my voice. And I won't be afraid, because I didn't dive into this without thought or consideration...it was covered in prayer and confirmed by some godly folks in my life. How grateful am I? There is no measurement.
I genuinely don't know what 2016 will bring with it, but I am stepping into this new year with delight and a tickle of nervous excitement in my belly! My hope and prayer for you is your hope and trust are in the one who can do immeasurably more than you can hope or imagine, as well. Yes, I am full to overflowing with gratitude! There is SO much to be thankful for...even in the unexpected and difficulties of life. Honestly, if you had asked me at that women's retreat 3.5 years ago, if I thought I would be painting and writing a blog in response to that verse, I would have told you 'You're nuts!' Now look at me!! You really never know.
Blessings to you and yours in 2016. Let's keep creating beauty (in our own unique ways), and inspiring each other to be better, love more and trust!
PS: Looking forward to chatting with you each month! If you've found this post helpful or inspiring, please leave me a note and let me know your thoughts, and please follow on Instagram for updates on future posts and new paintings I'm working on.
Art Piece: "Poppies" 4' x 2', Acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas, original SOLD. Prints and giclees available in February