I used to be lost in many regards . I was expecially confused as to what I was “supposed” to do with my art. In my adolescence I was urged by my art teacher to “stick to sculpture because portraits were not my forte’.” Ironically I agreed because drawing people has never come as easily to me. I depend very heavily on using mixed media tracings and erasers to get me through each piece. Ultimately it’s just a fancy coloring page. Despite this, I began to create portraits back in 2006. I had some people tell me I should start selling them but I didn’t know if I was supposed to turn it into a career or what. I recently had a life changing experience that told me what my art is for and I’d like to share it with you.
It was fall 2010 and I starting feeling the urge to make a portrait drawing for my dear friend, of her two beautiful angels Melissa and Andrew. They sadly went to be with the Lord as children due to cancer and I wanted to memorialize them for her. I started Andrew’s drawing and stopped after just doing his hair. This was VERY uncharacteristic for me as I NEVER can put down a drawing until I am finished with it. I was exploding at 9 months pregnant and never made time to continue. Queen excuse maker, procrastinator that I am, set them aside and didn’t look at the pictures again for over a year. During that time my dear friend found out that her husband’s cancer was advancing. We spent her birthday in fall 2011 together and the day turned out to be hard for many reasons. I went home after mid-night and fell asleep snuggled up with my then 10 month old baby laying on me. Suddenly I felt God telling me to get up. It was now past 1:00am and I argued with God for a bit, but I kept hearing… Get up.
Reluctantly I obeyed and went to finish the drawing of Andrew as well as complete Melissa’s. Now to give you some insight into how crazy this was, I had no sleep the night before. I normally take at least 4 hours per drawing and I was teaching in the morning for our church’s children’s ministry. Clearly the math did not add up. Nevertheless I sat down at my computer desk, which was also crazy because I have always drawn sitting on the couch (with lighting just so, behind me, and in front, pictures perfectly propped in front of me, pillow in my lap etc.) I taped the picture of Andrew to the monitor and started drawing. I distinctly remember drawing him and I was pleased with the result when I was done. Then I went onto Melissa’s drawing. This is where things got weird. I don’t really remember drawing her other than a few key moments and I don’t remember looking at her picture constantly as I should have been doing (for accuracy) Fast forward to 4:00am and I was done! Now normally like I said, this would have taken me 8 hours to do. I was so out of it that didn’t realize how little time had actually past.
After just a few hours of sleep I had a remarkable amount of energy and went onto church to teach my class. I really felt the presence of the Lord throughout the whole lesson, and things went much smoother than they usually did. On the way home, I went to get a frame for the drawings, and then headed straight home to wrap them.
When I gave them to my friend she was very thankful and actually said she felt that she could hear Melissa’s voice and laughter again for the first time in many years. We cried together and in my flesh I actually wondered what I had done “wrong” to Andrew’s drawing because she seemed so drawn to the one of Melissa. Some weeks past and we were talking about the drawings again because she just couldn’t seem to understand why she really felt like Melissa was with us when she looked at her drawing. We took it off the wall, held it next to the original picture and low and behold we saw something strange. I had drawn some wispy little hairs near her temples that did not exist in the original picture. My friend asked me why I had put them there, and now mortified I quietly said I didn’t know. This was a HUGE deal to me because I never draw anything that I don’t see in the photo for fear of not capturing exactly what is shown and ruining the connection someone will have to the drawing. She proceeds to tell me that Melissa had these pesky hairs she HATED that she would always beg her mom to hairspray down, and annoyingly they would always pop back up again. So as it turns out I had drawn this detail without ever having met her or seen them in any other picture. I began to tell her how strange that night had been. At that moment my friend and I cried and hugged because we realized that it was God that had guided my hand. My friend added that knowing Melissa she probably offered to just come down and do it for me already because it had taken me so darn long to finally get around to drawing them. We laughed and in that instant I finally realized why God gave me this ability.
Unfortunately, it took me so long to continue that her husband never got to see the drawings I made, because by then, the cancer had taken his sight. However, he did get to hear how happy they made his wife after the rough birthday she had. I will never forget what a smile that brought to his face. Although my timing is off, God’s timing is perfect. Her husband is in the arms of Jesus now. Infinitely better than any drawing, he has the real thing. His angels Melissa and Andrew are right there with him for eternity. I did Andrew’s drawing in my own strength just as I always had. When I was empty exhaustion had set in. God took over, and gave me what I needed to finish. I now know I am supposed to use my art to bring God glory, to bless others, and to honor loved ones through HIS strength in me. I get chills just thinking about this. I am actually glad to hear compliments on this drawing (which normally makes me uncomfortable) because I know I did not do it on my own.
…“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10