**I'm warning you now, this one is wordy, so please bear with me.**
As I write this, it is two weeks and two days before I begin set up for Art San Diego.
16 days. 384 hours. Taking a deep breath. Release. Phew!
If you’ve read any of my prior posts, you will know that this year I have experienced quite a journey: God, me and painting. The journey is now entering the rollercoaster ride phase. You know, the part of the ride where you’ve been gently cruising along, then you enter a dark tunnel, and you can feel the roller coaster start to incline, temporarily losing speed as it crawls to the top. Suddenly, you see a pinhole of light in the distance that grows bigger, and bigger, and bigger. Anticipation (and anxiety) increases because you know that the coaster is about to hit the peak of its climb and you will be thrust into a supersonic drop of pivots and turns and possible loop-de-loops! All at once you’re scared out of your mind -- simultaneously excited and looking forward to what’s about to happen, screaming and laughing the whole way through, maybe even crying a little (and hoping no one catches you blubbering).
Yes, this describes my life at this very moment: Crazy, scary, exciting!
Just this week:
-I’ve begun work on a 48” x 60” commission (I’m so stoked about doing this project for an incredible couple celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary, giving each other the gift of art! I thought that was pretty cool they chose me!)!
-Reconfiguring my booth space - after having all the details done for Art San Diego a few weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to switch to a more desirable location, but a different size meant switching pieces around; adding some and taking away others (Insert blank stare emoji here).
-I’ve started and am completing four new pieces, because, you know…why not???
-And the most important items on the list: One of my kids has a birthday tomorrow, and the other has a rather significant birthday the day after the show!!!
No, I don’t have much going on right now. Oh, and did I mention my amazing and supportive husband is traveling the week of the show?!?! (he he) … no external pressures at all (insert another blank stare emoji here…maybe two).
In the midst…
I am finding amazing pockets, nay - fields of peace!
It’s simply miraculous. Or is it? In Matthew, Jesus tells us to come to Him, all who are heavy-burdened, and He will give us rest. What a beautiful word-picture that describes. “Heavy Burdened…”
When I paint I often use a gel medium (a mix in), to make my paints more substantial, it’s called extra-heavy gel medium. By mixing this into my color, it adds girth and body to the paint, without interfering much with the hue. It makes my paints dense. Kinda like that crazy list I mentioned above can do to my disposition; it can weigh me down. But unlike my paintings, where that gel medium will add depth and dimension to the final product, our heavy burdens make us miserable and potentially mean-spirited. That isn’t what God intended for you and me! He wants us to give that entire burden to him! So, that’s what I’ve been actively trying to do (I can hear a very dear friend saying: “Don’t try, Do.”).
Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t all been cupcakes and buttercream frosting (Can you tell I’m about to make birthday treats?). The other day, someone cut me off on my way home from carpooling and simultaneously, another dude nearly hit me when I slowed to avoid the first driver. He let me know his displeasure when he flipped me the ‘bird’ and yelled obscenities while passing by. A few moments later, when I pulled into the garage, I just sobbed. At first, I prayed God would smite the second driver on his way to wherever he was in a rush too. But God stopped me in my tracks and reminded me, that if I need grace, so does that fellow. So, I adjusted my prayer accordingly, and slightly reluctantly.
This may be too much detail on the sometimes-it’s-crummy side of the coin, but my point is still the same: God has met me in incredible ways all the way through this journey, in the details of this week, of my painting career, and truly of this life! And in crazy-cool ways, too! Historically speaking, when I have seasons like this, I get ridiculously stressed, and my reaction would atypically be to sit on the couch and pretend that Armageddon wasn’t about to hit my mind/home, and likely there would be lots of yelling. Instead, I’m finding I sleep soundly (90% of the time), work extremely efficiently, am enjoying the daily details of chatting with my kids and husband, doing the daily duties, while still having time to argue effectively (I should hope) with my kids. I’d say that’s pretty good!
Sure, it’s my younger daughter’s birthday tomorrow and I don’t know what games will be played, and the cupcakes aren’t made at 8:44 pm. But weirdly, for this type-A person, I am amazingly okay with that! As a matter of fact, as the soon-to-be-birthday girl is getting in the shower a moment ago, she said SHE, not ME will be making the dessert when she finishes. Woo Hooo!!
Is this denial? Perhaps. But I’d like to suggest, that as I’ve laid all of this (the painting, my family, the day-to-day stuff of life) before the Lord: the clever Creator of the universe, the giver of all good things, the steadfast lover of my soul has given me the top request of my personal prayers: please guide my path, bless me with peace throughout the journey, and please, Lord, where I would normally be completely self-absorbed/focused (not to say it doesn’t still creep in – I’d be lying if I didn’t mention it, but…), help me consider others higher than myself. Which, in turn, drops my me-monstering (for the most part) to the bottom of the list, replaced by the requests & needs of others in my life! Win-win!
So, in (now) 13 days, 20 hours from now, when the biggest career move this professional artist kicks off: I will not fear, because I know You are with me, Lord. I will not be dismayed, for I know You are my God. I know You are helping me and lifting me up in Your righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10). And I will be ever so grateful, because I know You already know the plans You have for me, Father. You have promised that, and You have proved yourself to be trustworthy and true. There’s no reason for me to feel this calm before such an unknown event in my life…except that I love a God who loves me and is able to do immeasurably more than I could hope or imagine (Ephesians 3:21).
What’s especially sweet for me is knowing that my precious Savior has used Y-O-U all to bless my socks off along the way…through your prayers, your encouraging words, your purchases, and above all, your friendship! Did you know that? Do you recognize what a loving and faithful God we are (or can be) in relationship with along side one another? Please, help me keep my eyes fixed on the Author and Perfector of my faith...please share your prayer requests with me (I'll keep them private), and I will pray for you faithfully throughout this week.
I can only say thank you…from this very full heart…that is now ready for bed!
Seeking and sharing the beauty in the every day stuff of life with you,
PS: By the time this posts, I will not be able to help you out with passes for the show, but if you’re local to Orange County, San Diego or Riverside areas and would like to attend the event (November 3-6), please visit their website at: www.art-sandiego.com … I’ll now be in booth #411
Featured Artwork: “Savoring Confusion” 20” x 16” x .75” acrylic on canvas. As the title suggests, this piece is a reflection of my current state…and one of the last pieces completed before the show.