Thursday, April 11, 2013

Beauty, Admiration and Collaboration

Beauty. Some say we find beauty in things (or people) that are most like ourselves. But I believe sometimes we find beauty in things beyond ourselves, or in something we cannot achieve on our own.
Isn't that why we find great beauty in God's creation?

Admiration. The same goes for admiration. Don't we spend hours scouring the internet  for ideas that we couldn't think of on our own? Pinterest for example, contains worlds and worlds of ideas, inspiration, and yes, collaboration from individuals across the globe. When we come across an idea we admire the person who first thought of it. Or when we visit a friend's house and see decoration they have put up we admire it either for the ingenuity they used by putting a certain two pieces together, or because we would never have thought of it. Or both.

I admire my sister. Well all of them actually, but for now I want to tell you about the sister I have only recently really shared a connection with. I see in her a beauty designed only by God and his work in her precious heart. He has given her such a talent for capturing his creation and putting his words together with it and her work has blessed so many people. You can view it at Created to Glorify or on her Rich In Blessings Instagram. I encourage you to do so, but hurry back because I have something exciting to tell you.

Collaboration. She has such a heart for God and such a heart for people that she's hosting a giveaway! Not sure when exactly but will definitely let you know when the time comes. She and I are going to collaborate and one of my prints will be offered in the giveaway as well.

That brings me to another exciting thing I have to tell you. This one comes with a story.

Several years back I was in a Bible study and we were learning about the power and blessing that can be found in obedience. That night on the way home, I felt God calling me to stop, pick up two canvases, and paint them when I got home. Here's the thing. Oils and I do not agree. While I have always admired (there's that word again) oils, and desired the skill to do it on my own, the oil I had tried to paint on my own turned out poorly. But God was clearly telling me to buy two canvases to paint with oils on. "Okay, God. You bless obedience. Time to strut Your stuff." I had no idea what I would paint but knew that if God wanted me to paint, then he would show me. And did he ever!

I reached for the brush- yes, He even directed me on which brush- He said, use red, to symbolize My blood.

And on and on. Tears flowed. I watched a picture take place. And, yes, God did bless obedience.

At the time, He only led me to paint on one of the two, and I knew He wanted me to give it to someone.
He was helping me practice listening to Him, step by step. He would only give me one step at a time. He patiently taught me patience.

Now stroke this way. Dip in gold. Paint for Me.
I love the sweet surrender.

It was finished by the next week's Bible study. God told me to bring it, so I did. I kept looking around all night at the sweet faces there. Most of them I had only met weeks before. None of them I really knew, except for my sweet friend who invited me. "Who is it for, God?" I kept asking Him. I confess I missed some of that night's study because of my anticipation. "Her?" I would ask as my eyes landed on a face. Wait, Daughter. I will show you. "How about her?" Didn't I say to wait? Don't worry, I will show you.

And, as our Faithful God always does, He fulfilled His promise.

I told this story to the sweet woman God directed me to give it to. He clearly wanted me to pay attention to the study that night, because immediately after the closing prayer, He whispered, Her. My heart danced.
When I finished telling her, and told her that she was the one, she began to cry.
"I was so hoping that person would be me! Do you know why? The picture you painted illustrates my favorite Bible verse. It is so much my favorite that I had it as the theme of our wedding." God keeps our prayers in golden bowls, and treasures them as sweet incense:
Revelation 5:8 And when he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.
God does bless obedience. Later another woman at that Bible study, actually another artist whose work I admire, requested that I make one just like it for her. And so I knew why God had me purchase two canvases.

Since that time, God has made a number of paintings using my hands. I know now not to fret, but to just let God have the brush. He knows what He's doing.
I love the sweet surrender.

The header on my blog, dear friend, features some of His work. Some of these paintings He has directed me to give away, and some of them grace the walls of our home. Every time I look at them I am blessed, because I know it was all God. He is wonderful.

He's been doing this a lot lately, and I love it. The day He told me to paint again, I watched a picture take form on the paper (this time it was watercolor.), I painted, and He told me to come back later and finish. I want My words on it this time, Child. Let it dry, and when you come back to it, I will show you which words.

I don't know why I thought I might be able to guess what He wanted, but I thought I knew which verse He would show me, which one would be just "perfect". I should have known better. I wasn't sure exactly where the verse was found, though, so was going to have to look it up.

Are you sure that's the one I want? "But God, it's perfect for this picture." Are you sure? Maybe My idea is better.

So I pulled out my Bible, and opened it up. I just knew God was going to direct me to the verse I had in my head. It opened up, instead, to Psalm 104:3
...He walks upon the wings of the wind.
Yes, I should have known better the first time. Thank you, God!
It gets better. This next part made me cry, and still does.

And not only did He show me that this was the verse He wanted me to use, He told me there would be more. One (at least one. He hasn't been real clear on that detail yet, but He will) per verse in Psalm 104. I wept. There are 35 verses in Psalm 104. I wept because I knew that was a lot of blessing coming this way.

He's done 6 so far. Every time, I purposefully don't look up the verse until the page is ready for it, because I don't want my head to get in the way of what should go on the paper. He will paint it.
There was one day I was having a particularly hard time surrendering the brush. My head was really wanting to take over, no matter how I told it that God was going to do a better job if I just let Him.

Just close your eyes, and let Me paint.
"Really? God, this could get ugly."
Who is painting here, Me or you? Just do it. Close your eyes and let Me paint.

So I did. Again I was blessed. This time He painted a tree. I'm so bad at trees. I love the one He drew, though. And I know it was Him. After all, I couldn't even see.

The list goes on.
Today, for example, I was letting Him do another, and was just getting to the point that I would open up Psalm 104 (He has told me that much, that these would come from there). A few touches, and I would be ready.
I had Pandora going on a station I started for mornings with my baby. We call it Praise Baby, and it has a bunch of praise songs, some of them children's songs, and some of them not. I push "thumbs up" on the ones Ivan likes, and have clicked "thumbs down" on a few that he seemed to dislike. So it's really Ivan's station. Well, two songs in a row were How Great Thou Art. I love that hymn! Singing along, and painting with Ivan in my lap, I said, "Wow, Ivan, two times in a row! I think God is trying to tell us something."

He was.
Because when I opened up my Bible to see which verse I had just illustrated, here's the one God revealed.

Psalm 104:1 Bless the Lord, O my soul!Lord my God, You are very great;You are clothed with splendor and majesty

Indeed. How Great Thou Art.
I love the beauty in collaborating with God, but more than that, I love the sweet surrender.

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.

Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
{ From: }
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.

Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.

Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.

Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: "My God, how great Thou art!"

Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.

Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!


  1. Lovely, lovely, lovely. You are just beautiful.

    1. Aww thank you, sweet sister! All praise to God.

  2. I've only just found your blog but what an amazing post- I love how God is taking over a natural talent to teach you more. I need some of that patiently teaching patience too!

    1. I'm so glad it blessed you, Claire! Indeed He is. There is such blessing in silence sometimes- just listening to His voice. Thanks for your encouragement!

  3. okay i am ashamed to say that i am only now reading this after i said i would so long ago.. but wow. <3<3<3 i am nearly in tears just reading about your tears of surrender and obedience and blessing.
    i love you sister!!

    1. Aw thanks, sweet girl- I'm blessed that it blessed you! I love you too!