Music: My Inspiration

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Every time I feel unaligned and a little unhappy, I find my my relief when I listen to the beautiful instrumentals that drown out the noise of everything around me; the noisy voices and sounds of the to-do lists and commitments I too easily allow to weigh me down and cause pressure.  It fades and dissolves as I find myself again.  I find my focus, my imagination, and art pours from my heart through my hands with a renewed passion.  For the world is so loud and it takes a melody to inspire.

Frustrations can build in the back of my mind unconsciously.  A numbness can settle as I disappear into my busy routine, losing focus on my desires and dreams.  My imagination waits, pacing back and forth at the door.  And then my ears are filled with music, not the noisy racket that screams its words at you, filled with vulgar ideas.  It is music that draws out new ideas of beauty and wonder that are too often lost in the crowds of people chasing a counterfeit dream in vain.  Anticipation

As true love comes softly, so does inspiration.  As it grows,excitement builds, but it does not trample others in its path.  Pure imagination is that which inspires others and brings hope to dreams that have faded.  I am a dreamer, and an artist, these are my life’s blood and breath.  If I am not inspiring others; if I am stuck in a routine my mind creates, my passion is lost.  I cannot afford to forget my deepest inspiration, the very reason I am alive.  For our Creator is the inspirer of men, the One who gives us our gifts, desires, and passions.  These beautiful dreams were formed by His hands, and that is the reason we desire to be world changers.

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My Endeavors: An Artist’s Raw Journal Entry

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Let’s get upfront and honest here. It’s been awhile since I’ve opened up in my writing. Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve written at all. My life has been completely altered in this past year and I thank the Lord for everything that has happened. It has been extremely busy; from watching my nephews while their dad was deployed overseas, to moving my hoarded belongings from my parents house and finally moving out on my own, to starting my very own Etsy shop! But here I am again, endeavoring to use every free second I have to create new things and new stories.   First of all, I know that I am never truly happy unless I am satisfying my drive to create, to communicate emotions and stories. This is what I was made for and every part of me thrives off of that passion. I often have trouble finding meaning and purpose when I am not actively pursuing these things that I love. I have big dreams that can never be fulfilled if I am not willing to give everything I have. Now to where it gets raw and honest….

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The past couple of months I have been working on building my Etsy shop as well as sharing my art more and trying new things. Social media has never been my strong point as I sometimes feel that I could be happy secluded in my room with endless art supplies and journals. But of course then, the purpose of my art would never be fulfilled. Many artists are plagued with discouragement and feelings of inadequacy. I have too many times allowed my momentum to slow because of these feelings. Too many times I have given up on ever making it as an artist. The last two years I have hidden behind a desk, unsatisfied with what my life consisted of. I gave into the lie that so many artists face every day; that I am not good enough, that my work and my talent is too small to make any difference. I still sit behind adesk (so that I can fuel my passion), but my spare time is now filled with what I love to do most. The hurdle that I face now is self promotion and all that it entails.
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I think my biggest fear in my self promotion endeavors is that I get too overly focused on it instead of the purpose of my art.

I Corinthians 10:31: “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

I do not wish to create art for myself and for my own ambitions. Yes of course it feels good to be recognized and to have your talent praised, but can I take all the credit? These dreams and desires came from somewhere and the gifts that facilitate them could only come from the One who created my being. So I can only conclude that their purpose is not for me. This isn’t to say that I can only draw crosses and pictures of Jesus, but shouldn’t my focus be on His will and His direction?
So when I look at where my focus is at, it should not be consumed with earning fame and fortune, but how my art can touch people.

A quote was shared with me, touching on the subject of Christians who are artisans.

“The Christian shoemaker does his duty not by putting little crosses on the shoes, but by making good shoes, because God is interested in good craftsmanship.” -Martin Luther

As a Christian artist, it isn’t my duty to see how I can make every piece look “religious.” It is my job to work at my art to the best of my ability; And as my heart is open to the Lord, listening for His direction, I will be fulfilling His purpose for my giftings one day at a time.11350426_841376842621696_7777182159359114024_n

Offended By Water

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I recently finished reading Ted Dekker’s new book, Water Walker.  Here is my perspective on his main point:

At one point in the story….the protagonist is in a dream; or is it a dream? She’s in a boat in the middle of a body of water.  It isn’t a very large boat, more like a row boat.  At any rate it isn’t a boat that can withstand the raging storm that is blowing with such a mighty force.

She clings to the boat in terror as the waves tower higher and higher above her head, tossing them side to side.

It takes her a moment to realize the impossibility of what she witnesses as she cries out to a figure in the distance. The strange man is walking towards her as if she was his destination

“Help! Please help me!” she pleads.

The man is walking on water. He beckons to her to come to him.

“But don’t you see, the storm?” she asks.

“There is no storm” He states simply.

“Of course it’s there! Can’t you hear the wind howling and the waves crashing around me? Can’t you feel the rain chill your skin?”

“The waves tumble and toss because you are offended by the water,” he replies gently.

“Let go of your offense, step out of the boat and you’ll see that the storm is in your mind. There is nothing to be aggrieved by”

“This man is a lunatic,” she tells herself gritting her teeth from the cold.

“The storm is not there. The storm is in your mind.  Repent, change your thinking. Forgive the water, step out in faith. What is your defense?  That boat?  It will sink before long.”

You must step out of the boat soon.

Unable to fight the fear, she closes her eyes as she hurls her body over the side. She feels a warmth as she flies through the air and lands on…not in the water.

The warmth was the sun that was revealed as she let go of her offense, her fear of the water that surrounded her on all sides.

She opens her eyes and watches the reflection of the sun sparkle on the water. She looks up at the man, feeling a little foolish.

She looks at him with a crooked smile that doesn’t reach her eyes.

Grabbing her hands, he swings her around, producing a chorus of laughter from the both of them.

Dancing on the water that crippled her only moments before.

 

So this I must ask you now.  What are you holding onto in defense from the thing that offends you?

Whether it is fear or anger

Are you clinging to a boat in a storm that will only sink and drown you the same as the offense will?  Or will you step out in faith, recognize that your defense is just as dangerous as the offense and forgive the water that rages in a storm created in your mind.

Because you can be a water walker….you can cross boundaries and build bridges.

You can step out in faith and change your thinking; change your mind.

Forgive

Repent

Let go of your offense

And walk on the water

Endurance

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A word has been on my mind a lot this week; endure. I have been tempted to feel like a failure…and I try not to give up as the pain tears me inside silently as I grow sicker and sicker. I have no memory of what it is like to be healthy, for I’ve been sick for so long this time. But this word has come up so many times in my thoughts for the past few days. Endurance….to endure.

 

Endure:

  1. to hold out against; sustain without impairment or yielding; undergo.
  2. to continue to exist; last.
  3. to support adverse force or influence of any kind; suffer without yielding; suffer patiently.

Matthew 24:13
13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

 

2 Timothy 2:3
3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

 

James 5:11
11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

 

Romans 5:1-5
1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

 

Where does the patience and the humility that encompasses love, come from? Endurance is one of the most important things that precede the characteristics of one who is strong. Endurance is what drives us to live. For life is worth the cost of enduring the pain that is part of our time here on earth. We can also have measures of endurance. Some are able to run longer than others, some can endure more pain and discomfort. How much hardship can I endure? How much of this internal pain can I handle? I have had to be strong to endure the amount I have though sometimes I fear what additional pain I must go through until I start to heal. But I know that if I have lived with this for eleven years, I can continue on.

Its like a constant whisper that has been in my ear for this past week….endure.  A few very hard things have had terrible timing, almost unbelievable timing. But if I can’t endure this, I cannot gain strength for the things ahead. I cannot gain the tools I need and I will be stunted.            In everything that we go through, we are to gain what we can from our trials…and rejoice for their presence in our lives. For growth is in the valley, not on the mountain. We are not to stay in the valley, we are to endure it and keep going through it until we reach a place of rest; for the Lord will never give us more than we can handle and He is always there to help us along the path. So when you are tempted to give up, or take the easy way out of a situation, think of a runner who is training for a marathon. He/she grits their teeth as they fight the burning in their legs and their lungs screaming at them to stop and rest or to take the easier path. They’re building the endurance it takes to win the race well, to make it to the finish line. I do not wish to be weak so I must endure. We wish to fight the good fight…and so we endure.

The Creator’s Painting

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I see you there with a smile on your face watching Me paint on a white canvas.  Your eyes are locked on the brush as it moves and swirls with the movement of My hand, completely captivated and awed.  I continue talking to you as I have all this time, but you no longer seem to be listening.  Your fingers tap your leg and you tip your head.  Your breath quickens as new thoughts enter your mind.  The contentment to watch begins to fall away and you slowly stand.

You do not even look at Me as your fingers grasp the brush in My hand, taking the palette and the colors.  I tell you the mistake that it would be but you are deaf to my words.  You mix colors and hues spreading them over the beauty I had already begun.

The ache in my heart grows as you try to replicate what I had done even try to paint it better, but your frustration grows at the grotesque shapes and unsightly colors that spread across the surface.  It becomes hard to look at as a tear slips down your cheek.  Faster and faster you spread more colors to cover up the others that spoiled the beauty, but it only makes it worse.

You sit down, paint all over your hands, facing the painting now ugly and unlovable in your eyes. How could this be fixed? “It’s beyond saving,” you utter in regret. You look at me and tell me to throw it away; it was never very beautiful anyways. I put my hands on yours as you begin to lift the canvas from the easel.

“Wait.” I whisper.

You glance in my eyes, shame emanating in yours, with a puzzled look, and then quickly lower them again.

“Will you trust me?”I gently ask.

With tears in your eyes you nod your head and release your hold. Your head bowed and eyes closed, your heart finally breaks. You feel My hand on your shoulder My work now done. Slowly lifting your head, your eyes, the easel stands with a new white canvas resting in the place of the ruined.

You look closer your heart quickening seeing lines and shapes forming with colors so beautiful, colors you have never seen them before. Tears shine in your eyes my heart swelling for you as My joy fills you up. You look at the canvas in awe and in joy as a smile spreads across your face.  And the love that pours out is enough, it is everything to Me.

As the days go by you are tempted to pick up the paintbrush again…and sometimes you do as you start to think you know better than I. But it is not long before you see the muddled colors that appear when you do not let me paint the picture; paint your life in the love that I am.