This 'art friday' thing is something I started for myself at the beginning of this year, based loosely on the idea of Illustration Friday…but I knew I wanted it to be low-key. Calling it work-in-progress Friday made it easier (in my head) to commit to, because I tend towards perfectionism. The main point of it is for me to take a few minutes each week to try new techniques I have been curious about. The ATC card size made it easier (in my head) to approach, because there is not a huge expanse to 'make mistakes on'. (Can you tell that silencing my inner critic has been the hardest part of this little adventure?) At the other end of the spectrum, it was also meant as a sort of art journal where I catalog, through artistic techniques, some of the feelings and thoughts within my heart. Naturally, many of these have seemed to turn to expressions of faith, or 'working out' an aspect of faith I have been considering in prayer.
My husband has told me more than once that I turn into a whole different person when I have a chance to play and create…more peaceful, serene, at rest. (With four kids, no way, right? *laughter*) He called attention to something that I've come to realize- that creating art is truly, 'what fills me up'. I never feel more joyful when I have had a chance to piddle around, and never am I more sad when the chance to create goes too far between times. It's truly my form of 'language', my form of 'worship'. When I have the chance to scribble out poetry, paint, piddle, cut, form…there is this place inside of me that just rejoices, and I feel at peace.
Alas, this has been a hard thing for me to accept. (Remember that inner critic?) I find I've been playing this balancing act, trying to say, well, I can't be an artist and a mama. I can't be an artist and a wife. I can't make money doing this, this has no 'value'. How unfortunate this fight within me has been! It is not the dichotomy I make it out to be. And it does have value, even if that's not what the world thinks or I think. I've slowly been realizing that this create-ing thing, this artist/writer/piddler thing is the dream God has for me, that I've been called to (in addition to being a wife and mama, don't get me wrong). Not very long ago, I finally had one of those conversations with God: "Uh, God? You see, I've been a bit stubborn about this…and I feel a bit sheepish, and well…..I'm sorry, Abba Father. Would You guide and direct me in this? Will You use it to Your glory? I'm gonna get out of the way now. I'm sorry I've been so stubborn and opinionated." (And, have mercy, how many times must I confess I've had to pray this prayer over so many aspects of my life? Being strong-willed is a blessing from the Lord, but at the same time, it can be a curse if we don't keep handing it back to the God that designed it that way!)
Fast forward a few days. Nothing had really 'changed'- still piddling when I could, fitted around my days as I have time. But allowing myself to rejoice in the gift, if you know what I mean?
(tongue in cheek) Beware of what can happen when you tell God to have His way with you…
I was approached by the creative arts pastor at my church, and he asked if I might create a big sort of 'art installation' piece of all the cardboard testimonies from Easter. (I blogged about it here.) He wanted me to include some aspects of the cards I've been doing over the last five months, to make a big piece that people could walk around and absorb, that includes pictures of the 'story' tellers…
Could you imagine anything more perfect for me? That uses all my skills as both a scrapbooker, writer, photographer, mixed media artist? God sure does answer questions and dreams of the heart in a big way. I am still a little flabbergasted, and working on picking up my jaw off the floor…and walking into this commission with quite a bit of fear and trembling. It is in the beginning stages, being pieced together across the garage floor (I promise I'll post pictures as I go) as I figure out the shape and form of it before I begin adding all the other elements. It'll be pretty big- we're talking 12 feet by 12 feet or so. Please, will you pray for me as I work on this piece?
Back to the card for this week. Ever since Easter I have been dwelling on the need to tell the Story. His story. Our story. How He saved us, how He redeemed us, how He has been working in our lives. We don't do that much- it's hard, I acknowledge. It means being vulnerable, of letting the world really see how broken we were and are, and how desperately we need our Savior. But it is necessary. So I made this card to remind me…to tell the Story. It is also a way to focus, as I have been entrusted with the stories of others.
I just never would have dared to imagine that dreams like this could culminate in such a way…