Finally I am sitting down to pen the final chapter in this saga. It's not that I'm tired of writing about this, but I'm sort of afraid you might be tired of hearing about it. Every time I write about my art projects, I worry that they will be sheer boredom for anyone but me--but that's when I remind myself that I am writing, in large part, for my own benefit. I want to remember my process, my challenges, my lessons learned. I want to remember what inspired me in the first place, what I discovered along the way, what I hope to do differently in the future.
And if you aren't that interested in all those things, that's perfectly okay. I'll just continue on as if I'm talking to myself. I do that in real life anyway. Don't you? No? Oh. Well, that's perfectly okay, too. We can still be friends.
Where was I? Oh, yes.
When I first had the idea for this collage, way back in the beginning of 2009, I thought I wanted to attempt some kind of artistic representation of who God was to me. At the time, I was in the midst of a spiritual reconstruction project. Which is a nice way of saying that God had successfully torn a part my life and I was standing in a pile of ruins, trying to figure out how to rebuild--or, rather, how to be rebuilt.
Because even then I knew I wouldn't be the one to bring something out of nothing, to turn ashes into beauty and loss into gain. I knew it would be Him. The One who had brought me to that place. The One who had promised to carry me through.
The only problem was that I didn't know who He was anymore. Everything I had previously thought or believed about God had been challenged and, for the most part, blown out of the water. I was hurt. I was scared. I was angry. And oh so lost.
But when I sat down to try and generate some sort of "picture" of God through words and art, I knew right away that I wasn't ready. Yes, I needed to process. Yes, I needed something to help me move forward. But I wasn't ready to redefine God. I was still trembling and grieving from the loss of the God I had loved and clung to for most of my life.
Instead, I decided to create a reminder of the truths I still knew, the things I wanted to remember in the midst of so much struggle and loss. Simple things. Little pieces of hope and aspiration for a very weary soul.
And these are the phrases that spoke to me:
And suddenly, it all becomes clear. Growing is beautiful. Because it is God who does it.So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. (1 Corinthians 3:7)
I am still working on this, still needing to be reminded. And thankfully, after 18 months' time, these words now hang on my wall to help me remember.Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God. (Psalm 42:5-6)
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)
Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. (Psalm 46:10)
The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
Now doesn't that sound like an extraordinary adventure?But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9)
I hope someday I can say with every ounce of my being, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I know that full well."For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139:13-14)
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Phew! Not even I expected to have that much to say about one piece of art. I guess it's a good thing I don't make things for myself very often. I seem to have a lot less to say about the ones I give away!
And for those of you who are still listening, don't tell anyone I talk to myself, okay?