An Art Journey
When I was growing up, my family rarely bothered with the newspaper. I remember as a young teenager, coming across a particular article that found its way to our house without being turned into fire kindling, or meat wrap for the freezer. When I found the article, I felt a part of my deepest inside come alive. I’d been introduced to part of my destiny. Ever experienced something similar?
The article was short. It described with an accompanying picture how a woman was doing breakthrough work in a prison using, “art therapy”. It all made sense to me. She was using creativity as a means to help inmates heal from their painful backgrounds, so they could be re-integrated into life outside prison with more hope for a better life. One free of crime and most of all, free of emotional pain. The results were being noticed. Hardened criminals were literally creating themselves to a better future. I kept hold of that small, black and white paper until I wore it out.
I found myself deeply drawn to help those in prison to better their lives and gain confidence to be upstanding citizens, who loved themselves and lived with integrity. I had also been creating and teaching others to create alongside my mom, since I was a little girl. I loved creativity. The idea that I could use what I loved, to change the lives of those I loved, seemed a dream come true.
I’d lost the article and to be honest, my dream, for years. I felt creativity was a fun hobby to reward myself after I’d burned out on more hard work than was humanly possibly. In short, I was minimally creative for a long season and it did me no good. In bible college, I got bored one day of studying and determined to do something “mindless”, so I went about sketching a self-portrait. I’d never sketched anything in my life. I’d always done other crafts and arts. I had no idea what I was doing and it took 13 hours with no previous instruction on what I was doing. Never mind I chickened out after so many hours and went to the dorm next door to beg my talented girlfriend to finish the piece with her insane eye-drawing skills. The portrait looked a million times better with her touch in my opinion. I’ve included the photo so you can see it for yourself below. Importantly, I sat back when it was finally done and silently had an ah-ha! moment. I had always considered myself to enjoy creativity but never allowed myself to believe I was an artist.
At that moment, I allowed myself to realize that at the very least, I had some artistic skills and talent passed down from my mom and also my grandma who was a fine artist by trade. I knew my piece wasn’t brilliant but it was at that moment, a sign that pointed toward the dream inside of me that felt most alive when being creative. I began to sketch regularly for a couple years as a hobby which I loved and the practice thankfully improved my abilities as does practicing any skill. I eventually found myself teaching on sexual purity in juvenile prisons, (and other places) for a living, while mentoring teens coming out of the judicial system. I’d finished that rewarding and memorable season of my life by the time I remembered the dream I had to impact inmates through creativity. I wanted to change lives and I had! Just not with creativity yet. Sometimes timing really is king.
Shortly after that season, I had a prophetic word that I would one day find myself doing, “prophetic art” and leading others in it. I immediately went to find out what on earth, “prophetic art” actually was, as I had no idea. It set me on a path to wake up my teenage dream and take it on a journey that surpassed where it had started. Later I was a student at Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry where I had the honor of learning more on prophetic art under Theresa Dedmon, author of Born To Create. After getting married and settling in England in 2007, I began helping local UK churches find their feet with creative expression in the church. I took a full break from life itself, when my health took a nasty turn. But… I was dramatically healed 2 years later and am no longer bed-ridden!! Praise God! (See my other post for that story.)
With all my rest, I did what mends the soul and makes me come alive… art. But, as I couldn’t actually DO the art being bedridden and ill, I learned about it instead. I spent hundreds of hours taking online courses on my laptop and watching others create to learn from them. It reminded me of the Holocaust prisoners who taught each other to play instruments in the dirt of their prison camps. They had to trust their mental intake would produce something worthwhile as there were no instruments to practice on. The very purpose of teaching and learning from each other was to give normality, joy, hope and rhythm to their daily lives during difficulty. I could relate. Once released, there were reports of those who sat in front of the piano for the first time and could play to perfection. I just prayed that while I felt utterly rubbish, at least some of what I was watching would be absorbed into my artistic skill bank.
As it happened, upon being healed, I did find myself far more able to put all my previous skills into cohesive work that makes me come alive. More importantly, I feel able to teach on the creativity that has been poured in to me over the years. Something clicked when I was bedridden and then healed. I had years of knowing how to encounter God intimately. I had years of practice and knowledge in various forms of creativity. Now I had a way to pull it all together.
I had a dream to help those locked in prison, to get out of their own captivity of personal torment. I now have a dream to help you encounter God through creativity and thus be free to live the life you dare to imagine. Creativity really is that powerful and full all at the same time. I want everyone to know how to encounter my loving Jesus the way He has taught me and to come alive with the passions they were born to set on fire. I want to be the one who helps others step into their destiny by finding the depth of relationship with Jesus they’ve dreamed of. We all have a unique journey which is beautiful. In this season, I have been working hard on a project that will help those who enjoy any level of creativity, to encounter Jesus in a deeper way. I am so excited to share more about it as it comes to fruition! For now, my secret remains as shared as I’m prepared to let out of the bag. You’ll just have to contain the excitement and curiosity for a bit longer! Pray God gives me speed and you’ll find out more, even faster! 🙂
You are loved,