Friday, October 12, 2012

Offering Hope

This past Sunday I had the great honor of painting during worship at my home church, Hope Community Church. Our pastor had asked me if I would be willing to do this a few weeks prior. My response, "OF COURSE!" I was enthusiastic and extremely excited to be able to share this with my church family.

I haven't done worship painting in front of a church before, so that was a new experience. But actually painting and drawing during worship, was not. While on the World Race, I had many times where God laid a particular image or word on my heart and I found myself scrambling for a sketchbook and a pencil or marker, whatever was at hand, to get it out on paper. It was an incredibly intimate time, and a new and unique way that God began to speak to my heart during worship.

I began to create with Him during worship. I felt His heart beat with each stroke. With every word He spoke through the movement of worship and those around me. He began to reveal His creator's heart to me in those times, and still does.

I began to pray about what God wanted me to paint for His body. What message He would have me share through art that day. And He responded.

So, on Sunday I toted my easel to church, paints and canvas in hand. I set up on the stage, the canvas facing out towards the church so they could watch me paint. I squeezed out the color onto a palette, and waited for the music to begin.

Everything kind of disappears for me when I begin to paint or draw. It all drops away. The music is there, and my heart is singing as my hand finds the canvas. Some asked me after if I was nervous, which in reality, I wasn't at all. I kind of forget that people are watching me. Truly, my hearts desire is to paint to please the one I love, my Abba. To hear His heart in the messages He has me paint, and pray that it touches just one other person.

Our church just finished up going through the book of Ephesians, and we were covering the section that talks about the relationship between parents and children, and masters and children. When I first began to pray about this, the image that kept coming to the front of my mind was an open hand, outstretched. I couldn't get it out of my head. So I pressed into it, and that is what I ended up painting on Sunday.

God's open hand, outstretched to us. He is inviting us into Himself, into His love. He invites us into obedience to Him, because He knows the outcome. He knows the fruit and reward that follows obeying our parents, and obeying those in authority over us. We may be in difficult situations within those, but ultimately, God sees the big picture, and He knows what fruit comes out of it, whether we realize it or not. He invites us into that abundance, though. His abundance.

He invites us to do the same, to open our hands. To open our hands in obedience, to open our hands to others. To shine His light in our homes, in our workplaces by living with open hands and an open heart.

That is my heart behind this painting, and the words that God laid on my heart for it.

I love being able to share this gift with others. I don't want to share it to get a pat on the back saying "oh, you're a good artist!" or "good job!" Truly, I do this because that is my time with Him. Art makes my heart come alive. Art is a way that I can communicate to others the message that God puts on my heart for them. It is a way for me to say to you, YOU MATTER. You are worthy. You are valued. You are beautiful.

And while many believe that art is just a secular force, I will battle to my dieing day that God is very much alive in art. He speaks from His creator heart. And I will share that as long as I can, communicating His messages to you. It's all for His glory, always.

How has God called you to proclaim His glory? What gift has He given you to share His heart with others?

Trust me, YOU have something that the world needs. YOU have a specific way that you can share God's heart that no one else can. And it may be simpler than you think. Yes, you. I'm talking to you.

It may be something like roasting your own coffee for church on Sundays, offering one cup of hope at a time, like someone from our church body is doing.

Maybe it's listening to others in a time of need and comforting them because you yourself faced something difficult in your life.

Maybe it's cooking dinner for your family.

Maybe it's doing your job with 110% of your efforts.

Maybe it's gardening.

Literally, it can be anything. But you have something special on you that the world needs. Will you share it? Will you share God's heart in a way that only you can today?

Let's change the world by being exactly who God made us to be. How about it?

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