"Don't Let Go"
LIFE | HOPE | FAITH
Here a few thoughts (in no particular order) about this painting and the process it undertook.
First off I'm not use to doing paintings for myself. This one in particular shows where I've been at in my life in a very personal way. Some of these views you may not agree with or grasp. It's who I am. If you don't agree that's totally fine but I hope you will be inspired and challenged to dig deeper and see if anything stands out to you that can help you on your journey.
- The green shirt represents life
- She could be flying (out of the pit) or standing above the pit of darkness (nothingness)
- But even in the nothingness WORDS of LIFE have given her strength to stand
- She looks up to her God for everything - letting HIS character and who HE is define her choices, her heart, her life
- The words that she wants to be defined by | KNOWN BY | are written on her arms, he clothes her in love, kindness, strength, courage
- She holds them up to the world to see as she serves and loves those around her - But it's only reflecting HIM to them
- The rain comes down from the ONE that sustains all things
- The rain symbolizes growth through this struggle and nourishment
- The red cross reveals that their is a GREAT NEED - resembling the American Red Cross - but it's also to represent the cross of Jesus (the red reminds me of how he poured out his life - paying the price for my sin - that I might live and be able to look to GOD with boldness. I know he always listens to me - he has heard my every plea - spoken and unspoken)
- And her face will never be covered with shame - she is forgiven and loved.
- Arms are outstretched in PRAISE | SURRENDER
- Hands open to RECEIVE
- The hair reflects passion, holiness super and other worldly (super hero type look)
- The verse written on the PAVEMENT | PIT is from Psalm 103:1-5
"Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits - who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagles."
The BACK STORY (emotions) that led to the painting: Almost two years ago this April our family had sold almost everything, given up friends, family and our large home that we built on water to move to BC. Best decision and hardest decision of our life. The struggles are deep, but my trust in God runs deeper. I've had practice in deepening my faith. Why is it we learn the most through our struggles? Growing up with very little, desiring so much to fit in, never having those 'name brand' clothes, those nice vehicles. I found joy in my outdoor pets (an old horse, outdoor kitties, a dog, trips to the pond/creek, gardens and playhouse my dad had turned out of a chicken coop). I also day dreamed a lot and my dad says my desire to know God is just as strong now as it was when I was 5. I moved a lot growing up but a defining one was moving my last year of high school from Rock Island, Illinois to West Des Moines, IA. That year I spraining my ankle in a volleyball accident, went on voice rest (so I couldn't try out for all state) and was very lonely. Who would care to get to know the new girl who was leaving in a few months? We had a lot of things happen in our family that year that made life even harder. My 10 year old brother got diabetes, I had to be a second mom while both parents worked and my dad did some things that I had to forgive him for money wise. I wrote letters to God in class just to get through the day, ran home to sing/journal to God, woke up to do homework and repeated it the next day. It prepared me for my first year in college at the University of Iowa being on my own, working as a phlebotomist and having a horrible boyfriend that told me 'God said' he was to marry me. I shudder thinking about those younger years. But through it all Jesus has been my rock, the ONE I connect to, the ONE that makes my heart sing again. The ONE that gives me courage (the kind of courage to go down the crazy mountain bike trails here, break my hand finish the race and go out again). My dad and mom modeled this connection to God well. They knew how to cling to God and how to love people well. I was always prone to depression at a young age (the Norwegian coming out). My dad taught me to write down my blessings every night and choose to praise God for the little things he's given me.
I can honestly say I'm thankful for how those experiences have strengthened me in my faith in order to handle this move. Life isn't getting any easier either!! The housing situation here seems to be an immovable mountain but I serve a God that can flatten mountains or help me jump over them. He's everything to me, he's what makes me tick - everything else pales in comparison to his love for me. Everything I do flows out of this love he so freely gives me when I need it the most. No matter how I've failed he is there to lift my head. If I stray he creates an emptiness in me, reminding me that he gives me Meaning | Purpose | Life. Everything else has failed to give me what my heart craves most. A husband, children, pets, an art career, stronger legs to bike and run better and even a house will not answer my deepest longings. Yes, I still hate cleaning my house because it's a reminder of how much I miss the beauty of my other house in St Charles, Missouri. And I still struggle with WANTING to plan and cook meals because it's a reminder that I no longer have that awesome gas stovetop and space (cabinet, drawers, counters) that I use to have. I really enjoyed being in my large kitchen with friends and family. All the parties would be at our house, meals for 30 days would be made all in one night, and so many wonderful memories I'll cling to forever. But my house doesn't define ME. HE DOES. So I'll be content while using boxes as bedside tables, a cooler for our coffee table, and painting in the light of a single bulb. We'll keep inviting people to sit at our small borrowed dining room table and enjoy the neighbor kids who are happy to help me cook (or eat) in my very small kitchen.
I'm Also thankful to identify with a very large community here in Squamish that is struggling to own a home.
Prices have almost doubled since we've moved here, with very few quality homes to choose from. It's teaching our kids life doesn't just get handed to them, material things aren't the all in all, comfort not the goal. Our family is on an adventure and as G. K. Chesterton would say:
An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.
I'm ok with whatever adventure story God wants to write for us as long as I get to connect to HIM. He's my prize....until I meet him face to face I'll praise Him for my family, the awesome people he's put in my path, my health, the nature around me, my puppy, my kitty, my five salamanders and my small garden.