We encouraged our children to draw and later to take notes during church. Our soldier was gifted as an artist at an early age. I have two drawings (a car and a cat) on a page in one of my Bibles he drew at age two.
Picture of ART NOT included....
In elementary school our son won the annual art award for his grade for several consecutive years. We received advanced notice of each surprise ceremony where he would be honored and we always anticipated it with joy. I once found $5.00 in his jeans when doing laundry. "Son, where did you get this cash?" "The school entered my drawing at the state fair. I won." "Why didn't you tell me? I would've gone to the exhibit and taken your picture." "THAT is the reason I DIDN'T tell you." With child-like confidence he enjoyed the "fruit" of his labor and that was enough.
I understood the concept of color and that was the limit of my artistic skills until 1999. My friend, Nora, a professional artist, encouraged me to try painting as a way of expression after a medication left me barely able to read, much less write. After years of writing professionally and 15 years of keeping a prayer journal I felt lost and very much alone. Because of Nora's encouragement I discovered there just might be some buried artistic ability in this frustrated writer. It was many years before I was able to write again but God opened the window for a new form of expression I never dreamed was possible. Ben's caricature was my first attempt at painting a likeness of someone and his much anticipated return from a year in Iraq was my motivation.
Jesus says that we are to come to Him as little children. A child's innocence rarely calculates what others might think. Our son's garden innocence at age five was in stark contrast to the adults sitting around him that night in church. It is in our adult calculations that we often miss God's blessings in our lives. Last week the owner of a local gallery thrilled me when she asked if I could have something ready this Friday, the deadline for an upcoming show. And then the what ifs kicked in. Can I possibly meet the deadline? What if I crash and burn?
I asked a few friends to pray for my decision. Then I poured out my concerns before the Lord in my prayer journal. Oswald Chambers', My Utmost for His Highest, frequently blesses me with a timely word from God. I read his devotional, What You Will Get, for that day (April 28). "Thy life will I give thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest" (Jer. 45:5). At first glance, that sounded like I might get eaten alive and so I looked for a modern translation of the verse. Prey means prize. Read the verse again.
Chambers asks, "Are you prepared to let God take you into union with Himself, and pay no attention to what you call the great things? ... (Completing the painting in time for the art show or producing art others deems worthy?) The test of abandonment is in refusing to say, 'Well, what about this.'... Abandon means to refuse yourself the luxury of asking any questions.... When you do get through to abandonment to God, you will be the most surprised and delighted creature on earth; God has got you absolutely and has given you your life. If you are not there it is either because of disobedience or a refusal to be simple enough."
Simple child-like faith. ... Letting go of any preconceived idea of success or failure and simply letting God be God in the circumstances of life.
Happy Birthday Bumper Car Soldier! Your life is a prize to God and to us. You inspire us in so many ways. We're praying for you and we love you and miss you!
Artist: Janice E. Gray
Original acrylic available in multiple sizes on wrapped canvas or canvas board.
For more information: www.jangraypianoartstudio.com
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pictures and text copyright Janice E. Gray 2013