Monday, August 8, 2016

"Journey" 60x72, Oil on Canvas

"Journey" 60x72, Oil on Canvas

Psalm 121:8 (Message)
"He guards you when you leave and when you return, He guards you now, He guards you always."

This entire experience has been a journey. A going out and coming home. Even now I can't fully articulate how it has changed me but it has. There are paths you take that forever realign the way you've looked at yourself, nature, God.

Some things that have clicked in place for me:

God. has. me. I feel this so strongly. He has me, my art, my family. I don't have to strive as the world would have me believe. He's got me.

Nature is a comfort and reprieve for me. The beauty encases me and feeds my soul in ways that nothing else can. It can also be the place where I face my fears. It is the literal metaphor (is there such a thing?) where God becomes real to me. The landscape in particular, which is uncontrollable (as in other art forms with the figure or still life), becomes a place of trust. It is my opening into the spiritual.

I like to control things. When I give that up God is more present with me. It's as if I have let go and He takes my hand. Faith is hard for me. To believe God will use me. Why me Lord? I'm not good enough...I'm not _____ (fill in the blank). But trust says something else. It's not based on talent or ability. It's entirely based on Him. Do you believe He called you out here? Yes. Do you believe He has something for you to do? Yes. Then simply get to work. It seems my ability is put on the shelf and I am the willing participant in joy, freedom, and real life. My control is always ready to take over in any aspect of my life with my children, my work...but God is teaching me. Not saying I have graduated yet! But He's kindly drawing me into feeling so unsatisfied with my control. And helping me yearn for the release.

Prayer is a sweet thing.

My family is necessary to my art. I used to think of them as two things vying for attention. Of course, my family being more important than any art yet this tug to DO something I love to do: paint. I found through this experience that beauty is BEST when it is shared. That, in fact, my children, husband, other family members allowed me grace and love where I was not allowing it for myself. When I hiked it was sweeter with my children. When I painted it was deeper when I thought about our times in the wild together. They helped me see things I wouldn't have seen. God not only drew me deeper into Himself but deeper in love with my family.

I Corinthians 16:14 says, "Do everything in love." A short verse but a long task of faith. I learned that it is possible to do that. To love the landscape, the people who serve the landscape and to love the work (yes, work!) that God has for me to do. In any place love must be the core. Not to prove a point or put someone in their place. Just love. Through the One who is pure Love.

Adventures are also meant for the weak. What I mean by that is I'm not some experienced hiker or backpacker. I'm not an eloquent speaker or confident painter. In fact, I am very weak in many aspects of my life. I don't say that to put myself down but to show you how God uses that. It's as if there are holes that God can seep through. He gives me the fire, passion and drive to walk, speak, paint, and see. He loves to show His strength in my weakness. And I love letting him.

Even now I feel sad that this series is ending, as if my adventure has come to a close. I find myself home. In my studio. Back where I started. Yet, it's not the same at all. And the sadness is mixed with joy. My deepest love, my dearest beauty is Him you see. And "He guards me always." 

"It was when I was happiest that I longed the most...the sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing...to find the place where all the beauty came from."  - CS Lewis