While we were in Australia, I started taking an art class. I have always wanted to, and it is the biggest regret of my life that I never studied art in college. Having misplaced so much of "me" during our first 3 years on Thailand, I thought perhaps bits of "me" could be recovered by returning to my long latent love of art. (I had always wanted to be a missionary, and was also sure that art was never going to be of any use, and so never pursued it.)
I found a class not far from me, and enrolled, just for the pure hedonistic joy of learning something as frivolous as art. In that room surrounded by the incredible talent of the other students and teacher, the scent of turpentine, colors, canvas, paper and pencils I found a window into myself. God used the art to show me so many things.
He showed me, that anything, anything given to Him can be useful. I don't have to be the most amazing artist on the planet to paint. I learned that it is so so hard to see a whole flower when you have been focusing on one petal. I learned, a little bit, to swallow my fear and TRY. An to keep on trying. I learned that art can be a safe voice to have a conversation or to tell a story. I learned that we worship God by creating, and even if my paintings don't change the world, I spent time creating like our Almighty Creator.
And now I am learning to loosen my grip on my paintings. To not let fear of them not being any good, or people thinking I'm bragging, to keep me from sharing them. Recently, I decided to paint several little paintings for people to use as postcards. I thought it was a most excellent idea, and I assumed that God would imbue me with great ideas and extra skill. Sadly, He did no such thing, and so I ended up with 4 blah paintings. I had decided not to use them, but then it occurred to me that I needed to exercise humility. I needed to offer up what I had as it was, both as an act of worship to God, but also as an act of love to my community.
I think pursuing art has taught me so much grace. I HAVE to be willing to make mistakes. Some can be erased, some have to be scrapped. But I have to try. And acknowledge that I will never "arrive" as an artist. I will never be the best. But I am learning to do something I love. I hope I can use it, such as it is, to encourage others, and maybe even turn their eyes to God. This is my hope.