I am off celebrating the New Year, my anniversary and my birthday. This post was one of the original posts we used to kick off the blog and it seemed appropriate to re-share it here as we start off a new year – new beginnings, new dreams, new opportunities. I hope you enjoy and are encouraged!
I sat sipping my coffee, just finishing a gooey slice of chocolate cake swimming in a strawberry sauce and talking to a well-known watercolor artist in the DC area. “I love the transparency of watercolor, the way light seems to shine through every smear it’s mysterious how it somehow creates a beautiful picture.” Then I told her “I always thought it would be great to try my hand at it.” Jerry had painted all her life and I brightened as she encouraged me, “You really should try, you can do it, you can learn.” Just then my mom who was sitting with us at the table turned and laughed. “Laura, has no talent, she can’t draw a thing, she’d never be any good at it.” Jerry looked stunned. As I got up to put my plate on a tray, I felt pain, pain is the only way I can describe it. I worked hard at that moment to forgive my mom, after all, we were here for a Christian conference.
That was years ago, but I still remember her being disappointed at my finger painting attempts at age 4. Mom was a natural for color and design. She had a “great eye” for putting things together. She devoted her life as a decorator to making things lovely and she really knew how to do it. She also had done a couple of oil paintings and some pastels, she was known as artistic.
She and my dad devoted themselves to raising me, my brother and sister to do everything as perfectly as possible.
I was never a doodler in school or out, never tried to sketch. I always found art interesting but mine was the verbal and written world. I loved to read and write. Drawing, painting, sketching was something I couldn’t do perfectly, so I didn’t do it at all, actually I never tried or gave it much thought. I had this yearning though as I turned 50 that was like a mist in and out it would go. Yet my husband urged me lovingly, “You can, you can.”
The pain would swell like a wave on certain occasions and I finally asked the Lord to heal me completely. A year and a half ago I heard in my heart that urging: “I want you to draw, to paint watercolors.” “I can’t Lord, I don’t know how, I don’t have any talent,” I shot back quickly. “You can and I will show you, I will teach you.” Listening, hearing and obeying was what we were learning in my Bible Study. I gulped, asked for prayer from my women’s study group and my Ken gave me heavy doses of encouragement.
As a learned from God my heart became softer, I released the pain. With every stroke I became more confident in Him and trusted Him more, as I knew it wasn’t me. I would have never have had the courage to try after that day at the conference. But He spoke through His word, “It’s not who you are Laura, it’s who I AM that matters.” he proclaimed to me and I held on to that.
Several days before my mom died, I told her that I had begun drawing, she wasn’t able to open her eyes, but she kissed my hands and smiled. It was nice.
I didn’t ask to learn to draw, I asked for healing of my heart and hurts. He gave me so much more. But He gave it to me when I stepped out in faith and obeyed His direction. I believed that only he could teach me and He did. I trusted and obeyed.
I learned a lot more than drawing during this time. I learned that you won’t get anywhere if you don’t ask. Jesus said, “ask, seek and knock”. So I asked, knew that He heard my prayer and expected an answer. My answer didn’t come quickly, so I waited. I didn’t forget my prayer and neither did He. Jeremiah wrote that the Lord said: ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’
I made a conscious effort to forgive, how could I not? Jesus died so that I might live forever, I was forgiven and I needed to pass it on. My mom was a very good mom, but I learned that everyone, no matter how “good” is not perfect. I heard a little saying, Christians aren’t perfect, they are just forgiven. Now, I’m more careful with my words and try to hold on to the great Apostle Paul’s advice, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
My spiritual support was God, He was all over this journey, and it was His making. But, love from others gave me an outer, motivating confidence. It would have been much harder without my husband’s loving insistence and effusive compliments, no matter how my drawings turned out. I also knew that my Bible study friends were praying for me and holding me accountable.
Have I learned to draw? Well, you never stop learning to draw. I did 5 or so drawings and a watercolor or two the year after my mom died. The year after my mom died, I stepped forward and registered for a class. Unthinkable, that the perfectionist would expose herself to others. When the teacher saw me gazing at the apple I had drawn and said “I know you like your apple Laura” but I want you to trust me and apply this next color…” She didn’t realize that wrapped up in that apple was the miracle of God’s healing for me. That apple was an incredible symbol of His redemption of my pain and true forgiveness. So when you pray remember that you are the apple of His eye and He hears and wants only good for you too. “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and abounding in mercy and lovingkindness. The Lord is good to all and His tender mercies are over all His works.” Ps 145:8-9. Thank goodness I am one of His works!