Hiking Toward Home » Hiking In Grace & Capturing My View

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A few weeks ago my teens went to Youth Camp with our church.

A friend of mine and I decided to go up and visit camp for the day and stay for the evening preaching.

I was looking forward to seeing and hearing JC Groves preach again.

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The sermon topic was “Consuming Worship” and how worshiping God was not just singing praise and worship songs at the beginning of a service on a Sunday but it is something that we are to do with our whole life. God blessed each of us with specific talents and we should be using them to bring glory to God.

“You can ACT at worship one hour a week or you can ACTUALLY worship God with your life.” -JC Groves

We need to: 1. Reflect on God’s Love and 2. Respond to God’s Challenges by 3. Surrendering to that challenge, which isn’t easy but it is rewarding.

When you surrender to the challenge, the Lord can give you a platform to share the gospel and glorify God, …using the talents God has gifted you with.

Sound familiar?

We are God’s masterpieces. (Ephesians 2:10)

A masterpiece isn’t something that you hide. You hang it up for all the world to see. You don’t hang it in an outhouse. (but then again there are those outhouse toilet seats that Willem de Kooning painted.)

As God’s masterpieces, He wants to show himself off through you. When we do what he created us to do, he can display his glory through us.

“You don’t hang a DaVinci in an outhouse.” -JC Groves

JC then went on to talk about his wife, who is a painter but all her paintings are in the basement, unseen, not hanging on the walls. A masterpiece is to be displayed for all to see not hung in an outhouse or left hidden in a basement.

At this point in the sermon my daughter turns around and glares at me. (Which JC noticed, while preaching, and commented on later.)

The same message God’s been preaching at me for several years now smacks me upside the head. Again.

I’m trying to obey and paint more and work at my art more but it is always sequestered at the bottom of the to do list, even though I know I should carve out time to work on it every week, if not every day. (Of course at the moment, I have to clean and declutter my studio because it recently became a dump zone when preparing for company a few days ago.)

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(Sketched while waiting for dinner at the camp.)

Is the reason God is still sending the same message because I am not putting the effort in to it the way he wants me to? I am not good at balancing the spinning plates of raising kids, keeping house, and homeschooling. How do I add one more spinning plate of “a set time for pursuing art”?

If this wasn’t something God wanted me to pursue… why would he still be sending me the same message? For six years?

One could say I manipulate the message I’m hearing by the books I choose to read, however I have no control over the sermons others preach or the encouraging words others say to me. I had no idea that it would be a topic in the Truth Project video series bible study and other bible studies I’ve done.

I need to:

  • Paint more.
  • Post here more about it.
  • Post here to encourage others to be the Artist / Masterpiece that God is calling them to be.

and

  • Put my art out there… somehow.

 

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  • Bethany GossAugust 13, 2015 - 3:33 PM

    Good for you! Sounds like God is getting his message across loud and clear. :-)ReplyCancel

    • SharonAugust 15, 2015 - 2:05 PM

      Thanks Bethany! Thank you also for stopping by and leaving a comment. Good to have you visit my little corner of the web.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa MAugust 13, 2015 - 6:57 PM

    Sounds like you know what you should do, and it’s obvious to us who know you that you have a great talent, so schedule it in and just do it! Love you!xxReplyCancel

    • SharonAugust 15, 2015 - 2:07 PM

      I am trying!! It is so good to see you comment here. I wish it had been more obvious to me a long time ago. Hold me accountable, that I keep at it.ReplyCancel

So that guy I had a crush on that didn’t like me too much… well, lets just say I changed his mind. 

And he helped to change mine too, but I will get to that later.

Though he may have thought me to be a monster while helping to get the Student Art show juried and hung, by the time the show opened I knew his name and by the time the show closed in May, just a few short weeks later, we were dating.

How did he help me change my mind?

He took me to church.

In October, 1991, we visited his dad’s church and I liked it and wanted that hope and peace that trio of ladies sang about. I wanted to have the secure anchor that guy sang about. I stood there with white knuckles gripping the pew but I came back week after week. Finally, on Christmas Eve, I accepted Christ as my Savior. I felt such a huge weight lift right off of me. I was ‘saved’ and on my way to heaven, I had become a Christian.

The church wherein I received Christ however was rather legalistic. If you were not doing A, B, and C then you better “check your salvation”. Even though the doctrine of Eternal Security was preached, it was overshadowed by all the legalism. Though I was now a follower of Christ, I was trapped in a box of legalism and it would be 18 years before I would realize I was inside a very small box.

I sat as a new Christian and listened to someone preach their personal opinions, which regarding art and literature were very slanted, and I was very influenced and being immature in my faith took everything in as though it were solid doctrine.

His negative opinions in the areas of art and literature were taken in and it changed my thinking hence putting me in a trap in which I was caught until 2009.

I loved the pastor who lead me to Christ and when he taught the Bible, without his opinion mixed in, he was a fantastic teacher. I learned so much sitting under his teaching and it did give me a great doctrinal foundation. He influenced me for a lot of good. He gave me a thirst for reading biographies of great men of the faith and missionary stories and the like.

However when it came to art he could only see the negative in all of it and would only refer to that. For him all art was bad and something to be avoided with maybe the exception of Albrecht Durer’s Praying Hands.

When it came to the subject of literature he did not read anything fictional. He had a disdain for C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien which I never understood. He loved Bunion’s Pilgrim’s Progress but had nothing but negativity for Lewis’ Narnia.

When it came time for me to transfer colleges to finish my Bachelor’s degree, I was intimidated to try something new. Going to a big university as opposed to the small community college I was so comfortable at was overwhelming to me. So I just didn’t. I stopped my education at an AA degree. I decided that I didn’t need a college degree to get married and have kids. I don’t regret my choice either, I couldn’t imagine life without my wonderful husband and fabulous kids.

What I regret is shutting down to art. Even though I hoarded art supplies and dragged them half-way around the world, and desired to instill a love for art in my kids, I seldom did anything except snap photos. I didn’t even doodle.

When the kids started having drawing assignments in their art books for school, I dabbled a bit with them. I wanted them to be creative and I wanted to still do creative stuff, just not as a career. Though I craved being creative, art had been lowered to not even a pastime or hobby and I made no time at all for creativity.

When we first arrived on the mission field I drew this as a card to send to a friend who was about to become a mom. It was the last thing I drew for a long time and it obviously was never sent.

 

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I did very little art-wise for 18 years.

::

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Part One

Part Two

Part Three

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I shared some with you all about my college in my last post about how much I hated high school.

Though I discussed college a little bit.

I ran across some old photos from that time that I have decided to share.

This is the first painting I ever sold. I painted it while taking Painting 1 at the University of Maryland during the summer semester of 1990.

 

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I sold it for $75.

It was for an assignment that we had; to do several paintings influenced by different Masters of our choice. I did this one based on Jackson Pollock.

This is me when I was the Vice President of the Student Art League of Prince George’s Community College, Fall 1990…

 

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One of my favorite teachers was my Watercolor teacher. She is the one who instilled my love for watercolor.

 

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In the Spring semester of 1991, I became the President of the Student Art League. The Advisor for the Student Art League was the Sculpture and Ceramics Professor, John Krumrein. He was another one of my favorite teachers. He was a bit crazy which made him all the more fun.

 

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As the President of the SAL, I had to type all 250 labels for each of the pieces that was accepted into the exhibit. On a typewriter. And I could not use whiteout to fix my typing mistakes. So I had to type some of  them more than once. There was one in particular that I kept messing up. I typed the title wrong or forgot to capitalize something or misspelled his name. I was getting really mad. But whoever he was, his photo had won first place in the Photography category.

 

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As it turned out the guy who’s name I had to retype so many times… was also the cute red-head I had a crush on. By the end of school that semester we were together every. single. day.

 

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I’m so glad I was able to change his mind about what he thought of me.

If you missed the beginning of my Art Journey you can find them here:

Part 1

Part 2

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In 2007 the Lord started opening our eyes.

It was a long slow process but as we came home on furlough we started to see our home church and certain supporting churches with different eyes. Or rather we started to hear the messages with fresh ears and comparing them to scripture and finding that so much was taken out of context that the messages were more opinion and very little biblical doctrine. We started praying about how to disconnect and it wasn’t until 2009 that we did finally disconnect. There was a change in leadership and it became more plain that it was time to make a more drastic change.

Disconnecting was an emotionally painful process because we loved our home church congregation, we loved the new pastor but could not abide with his decisions that were based on opinion and not scripture. Disconnecting could only be done by leaving the mission field. God’s hand was in it as the national pastor, who had been pastoring the church while we were on furlough, was ready to step into position and lead the church.

In February 2009, before moving to the states, I had a counselor friend ask me about my art and why I had stopped creating. As I answered him he said he wanted to cry. It was heartbreaking to him to think about the loss of all that I could have done with my art to glorify the Lord in the last 18 years. How much the world missed out on…

That really got my attention. It made me stop and think and to begin to consider what place art might have in my life again.

We moved stateside and my husband took a pastorate at a church that turned out to be extremely dysfunctional. Around the same time, I was diagnosed with severe clinical depression. Extreme amounts of stress had taken its toll on me. But our being at that ‘dysfunctional church’ is how the Lord brought me the help I needed. So though it was hard to be a pastor’s wife in that situation, God meant it for good.

In March of 2010, another counselor who has become a very dear friend asked me the same question and suggested I get my sketch book out and start creating again.

 

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The sketchbook came out along with the pencils and a move to another faith community, one that breathed life back into our family instead of sucking the life out of us. Our new church also helped to heal deep wounds and still continues to do so even now.

 

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Around this time I had “met,” through blogging, several ladies that influenced me to get back to art. I wrote a post about them and how their posts had influenced me to actually go out and buy and stretch some watercolor paper in 2011. The paper sat stretched behind a door for a long time.

I even wrote a blog post about it for (in)courage. Part of that post ended up in a published book. (But you can read about that in my sidebar on the right. If you click on the photos it will take you to the posts that discuss that part of the journey.)

I applied paint to paper and faced my fear.

For one painting.

That was back in 2012.

I set the brush down and didn’t pick it back up until this past May.

Though I was not using a brush I was creating art in colored pencils, but longed to have the nerve to pick up the brush again and squeeze brilliant colors out of tubes and onto a palette.

In the last three years, the Lord has brought several books, encouraging people, bible studies, and sermons across my way to lead me back to the brush and pigment.

But those are stories for another day.

Is there a box you need to step out of? Share about it in the comments below.

Do you have a creative streak that you have been keeping under wraps? Is it time to let it loose and create again? Tell me about it in the comments below.

::

Don’t miss out on the rest of the story! Put your email in the subscription box at the top of the right side bar and the latest from Hiking Toward Home will be slipped into your email so you don’t miss a post.

If you have missed the first two parts of this story you can find them by clicking the links below:

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

 

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  • Dottie SimonidesAugust 19, 2015 - 11:30 AM

    Sharon, your art is so lovely. You have a keen eye and a steady hand. I’m glad you can now find some time to exercise your special gift. We know the Lord has a sense of humor, and chuckles at the plans man makes. My retirement party was two months ago. I have several projects I need to tackle. Enter two opportunities: one is the availability of a Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) satellite class only five miles away. I learned so much in BSF between 1984 and 1991, and am happy to have the chance to learn and grow again. In addition, I’ve wanted to return to my music, especially singing with guitar. I have spent decades as a Sunday School Opening Music leader/devotional message giver and retired a few years back. Well, I am needed again, and look forward to calluses on my fingers, a song in my soul, and the chance to tell a new group of children how much Jesus loves them. Maybe I’ll retire when I’m 70.ReplyCancel

    • SharonAugust 24, 2015 - 9:44 PM

      Use your gift!! An Artist For God’s Glory. Musical artists too. Congratulations on your retirement too! I’m so thankful to have your reading along here.ReplyCancel

In High School I didn’t end up taking an Art class with the exception of a single semester of Photography in my Senior year. In High School I focused more on the music (instrumental and vocal); choir, chamber choir, county honors choir, marching band and concert band. In my senior year I was the VP of Tri-M, which is the music honor society. Being in Tri-M awarded me the ability to wear a pink tassel at graduation, which, at the time to me, was very cool; as it meant I had done something different and wasn’t wearing the same tassel as everyone else.

 

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In my Junior year, I disliked High School so much that I wanted to sign up for concurrent enrollment for my Senior year. Attending High School for the first four classes of the day and then going to take classes at the local community college for the remainder of the day seemed like a great way to escape the High School social scene. I worked hard to maintain the necessary GPA to attain the concurrent enrollment status for my Senior year. Besides, if I did concurrent enrollment then Mom and Dad would have to provide me a car of my own to drive from the High School to the college as they could not possibly taxi me around. (Okay, so I had some ulterior motives for doing concurrent enrollment other than just getting an education.)

 

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In High School I had what my kids now call a Padawan braid. (Any Star Wars fans out there? We just called it a rat-tail.) My best friend and I both had them and I kept mine well past my senior year.

As my Senior year began, I had a friend who was in Art School. A whole college devoted to nothing but Art I thought that was pretty ‘out there’. I thought it was so cool to be able to pursue a life as an artist but never thought of myself being “qualified” to do such a thing. I was encouraged to at least take a Drawing 101 class at the community college in my spring semester. I loved it so much that I declared Art as my major and worked toward a degree in Fine Art.

 

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I loved all my art studio classes and my art history classes. Taking Art History finally made me appreciate my parents dragging me kicking and screaming taking me to Europe and forcing me to walk all over the place to look at boring old paintings and museums and architecture enabling me to see first-hand; great works of art, beautiful buildings, and captivating cities all over Europe. (My Aunt and Uncle living in Europe at the time made it possible for these trips as I was growing up.)

Again, in college, my favorite teachers were my art studio class teachers. I don’t remember any of my other teachers’ names but I could name for you all of my Art teachers. I lived for my studio classes. I got to be good friends with many of the “Lifers” too. Those were senior citizens that would audit art classes over and over just for the instruction and the fun of it.

 

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In my second full year of college, I ended up following the same type of path as in my high school senior year of “doing something different” and attended a meeting and ended up as the VP of the Student Art League, then as the President of the Student Art League the following semester. (The guy I had a crush on described me as the “Art League President from hell”… but I got the job done. Let us remember that I didn’t come to know Christ until a bit later. We were different people when we first met. I am glad I was able to change his viewpoint as he is now my husband and best friend and we have four gorgeous kids.)

 

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While in college I found that I really like watercolor. I had not painted much since childhood, most of my work was done in pencil. Pencil is cheap. I had never taken a painting class before college. Acrylics were okay but I enjoyed watercolor much more. I still have never worked in oils. Maybe someday I will become a “Lifer” at a local college and then I will take a class in oil painting. For now, Watercolor is my preferred medium when painting and I still work a lot in pencil.

 

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If you haven’t read part 1 of my Art Journey, you can find it here.

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