I’ve always had a thing for color. I have so many memories of when I was a little girl helping my artist Mom mix paint colors or select chalk color palettes for murals she would let me help her with. I grew up loving color as a tool of expression.
Over thirty years later, I am starting to find a voice in and through color. Although I grew up in a world of art, it’s only been the last couple years that I’ve been freed up enough to think about ‘being an artist’ – and what that means for me.
Next month I’ll have been married 8 years to my (very hot) best friend. I’m so thankful that he challenges me towards freedom and grace and hope. A rare gift, I know. I also have 3 small beautifully quirky children (5, 3 and almost 2 years old). Inevitably, when people find that out they ask, “How do you find time to paint? ” It’s a 2 part answer.
The first is; I don’t…as much as I’d like to. I love my kids and the joy filled and many times aggravating job of raising them. I used to (for 7 years) be a youth minister but for now, as one of my former youth said, I ‘have my own little youth group’. So for this season, I try to balance, as best I can, giving time to them to teach and love them and giving time to myself to love and teach them and myself how to be and use what God has made in you. The other part of the answer is, “How do you find time to breathe?” You just do! You have to. It’s the most basic way you take care of the vessel God has put you in. In the same way, I find that part of the way that God has made me “in our (His) image, in our (God’s) likeness” is that I’m creative. In order to be a healthy me, to take care of His daughter, this vessel, the person God made me to be – I have to create, to express what I see and feel creatively!
1 Peter 4:15 says, ‘Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
So, I am practicing. Practicing the discipline of giving an answer for the hope I have.
I have seen darkness. I have wrestled with fear and doubt. I have witnessed hopelessness. But, I have seen God there…through it all. He has never left me. And so, I use colors; vibrant, true, bold, unafraid – to express my hope. I practice the discipline of choosing to see beauty where there is the unvalued, to see light where there appears to only be darkness, to see hope where it would be easier to believe bleakness.
I may not ever be an expert at this practice. I may even fail sometimes. But I am also set free in the truth that God is bigger than me. I can not, with my imperfection, thwart his purposes. His power and provision for this world and for me is greater than my little paintbrush strokes. He says “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish…so is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10&11) And so, I believe him. That he can use, even me, even my mere brush strokes to speak of his freedom, of his grace, of his love.
There are many invisible things worth fighting for in this life. Intangibles worth holding on to; love, reconciliation, justice, mercy, beauty and hope to name just a few. I am a daughter, sister, friend, mother, artist. I am a fighter…for hope. What will you fight for?