I grew up in a home with a lot of pain and hardship. I clung to storybooks, music, drawing, writing and praying to keep me believing things would turn around, miracles would happen and I would be like any other kid I admired, living in a house with happy parents and contented children. And great peace.
It never came to be. My parents divorced when I was almost 14 and for years. Disappointed and devastated, I saturated my shattered dreams and hopes with friends, popularity, work, music, being the center of making people laugh and unhealthy relationships with boys. I gave up on praying and peace. I just wanted to feel good now. Storybooks, art and praying were things of the past. I found my own ways to deaden the pain and answer my own prayers. But it didn't work for long. I soon became empty, bitter and the holes in my heart grew bigger. Nothing and no one could really fill those sore spots. Thats another story of all the ways, places and people I used to medicate and mend.
Today, as I read this old familiar text, most people know and use around this time of the year for graduations etc., it continues to rings true for me. God does have good thoughts toward me. For good. Not evil. I rely on promises like this while I am still mending, healing, and dealing with fear and worry. I am a scaredy cat by nature. I have never been very brave. I expect the worst even when I wish for the best. I have found God has better ways to give me peace and fill these large holes and scars in my heart. I am learning to take Him at His Word too, which is powerful, alive and true. I surrender my holes to Him. This promise is for everyone. Good, not evil, are God's intentions for us.
"For I know the thought that I think towards you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil..." Jeremiah 29
I can't tell you how many plants I've killed, or how many times I moved my poor plants around the yard, rearranging and driving my family crazy sometimes... often, but gardening is healing and an art I seem to need to do.
I have been digging and planting ever since I was a toddler at 5 years, begging to plant something in the back of our apartment building and then again when my parents bought our first house when I was 9 years old. Both of those requests and plans to plant didn't go so well. I learned plants need a lot more care, water and sunshine and good dirt and nutrition. I also needed a place of my own to plant.
When I was 25 years old, I fell in love with a man who had an old house and and old yard, and I have been digging and planting it with him when we first got married and then with our two sons, and most often, the next 23 years by myself. It was one of my passions and I was full determination with my gardening books in tow. Sometimes, maybe often, I created a bit of chaos and concern and sometimes exasperation from others, as I blocked sprinkler heads and planted roses where the thorns could snag you, and I whined for more space and places to grow.
Like the rest of my life, gardening reveals my heart and mind. Wanting to cram as many wonderful things and happenings into a space. Never really content to let things be. Always thinking of another wild idea. Sometimes failing, forgetting, taking on more than I can handle. Not wanting to leave a plant out, believing there's always room. Determined. Persistent. Stubborn. I believe somehow it can work out. I hope. I fail. Things sometimes work out and sometime things just don't.
So today I am grateful for this time of year, when everything is bright green and fresh. New flowers and colors are clear and lovely. As I garden, this form of art does healing things in my heart. I think, daydream and recall old memories. I grieve and pray deep sorrows. Heartaches that sometimes fester get worked out in the dirt. Happy and grateful feelings too. Content by the way some of my life has gone and decisions I have made. Daydreaming of better days. Outside there in this therapy I do all these things. Covered in dirt and water. This is an art I seem to need to do...
Last evening I picked up this painting called, "She sang out loud..." and some other paintings I had taken to be reprinted and scanned. I painted "She sings out Loud" with feelings and thoughts about beautiful people who struggle in this world. Those who are hard pressed. Not always living a easy life. Often pressed on every side. About those who are touched deeply by sin's hard blows, but still walk tall, their heads in the clouds, singing out loud. They make the days brighter wherever they go. Creative, strong, imaginative, beautiful, powerful and brave. Even when they are cast down, they are not destroyed. They rise up. They sing again.
I believe this is how Katelyn Luce Wilson was. I didn't know her. But I feel I knew her somehow through her parent's and other's testimonies. I read her words, watched her faith and witnessed her clinging onto Jesus. I saw photos of her loving and holding her little daughter. I saw she was surrounded by many who greatly loved her. She was a new young mom. A passionate, brilliant, loving, young, spiritual warrior taken so soon. Leaving family and friends to grieve.
Around the same time Katelyn died, so did another vibrant young lady, Maddy, and a strong, young man,Fisher, then my brother-in-law, Tag. I was shocked and saddened. Their voices silenced by death. Their loved ones left, crushed by pain.
So on this Mother's Day, this painting was given to Katelyn Luce Wilson's mama. A mama left to sing where Katelyn left off. She grieves, but I bet she lifts up her head to Heaven, praying for a song to sing as she longs for her girl. A song for Jesus to please come soon. I think it is hard to sing when your heart is broken, so with this loving, grieving mother, we join to sing with her, and soon the angels will sing with her too when Jesus comes again. When He will breathe new life and new songs into her, and into all the others, who have been sleeping as well. The crying will be turned to laughter. All the mourning will turn to joyful singing out loud. Forever.
My mom goes about her days mending, hosting big meals for family, sewing, cooking, baking, weeding, ironing, cleaning, planting and tending her plants,flowers and roses, and she says she isn't artistic or creative. I so disagree with her! She is very artistic. What she is and does are very creative, artistic skills and today, if her Mama, my Grandma Amelia were alive, and she'd be doing these amazing, beautiful, creative things along with her. What a treat that would be!
I don't like when people are so quick to dismiss their gifts of creativity and artistic expression. What makes only drawing, painting, acting etc. art? Who makes the rules what art is? What would the world be without other sorts of art? There are so many forms of art!
I know my son gets frustrated when I down play, apologize and discredit the art I do. It is hurtful as it blows out a candle of my spirit and hurts others who believe and value me. And what does that say about other's compliments, their opinions and their own art if I am dismissing mine and/or I am ashamed of it? I need to remember the frustration and hurt I feel when my mom discredits her art. I need to learn to be gracious and say thank you more.
And allow others to appreciate and value my art. I have to work on valuing my form of art. Even if others hate it
I hope you value your art. It might be the way you arrange your furniture and paint your walls. How you set your table and do your hair. It might be how you dress and the way you sing. It might be the work you do and the way you write, talk and live. Art is all over your life.
Thank you for your art!
Artist & Storyteller
"The grass fadeth and the flower, but the word of our God shall stand forever." -Isaiah 40:8