I recently shared about my participation in The Art of Faith class from Painted Prayers. But I feel God calling me to do more than just participate; I feel Him inviting me to bring you into the process so that you can see what praying through art can look like.
Though my usual prayer during this time is for other people, this specific project had me reflecting on what was going on inside of me. So… here’s an inside look at what I was going through and what I noticed as I created my painting.
This was a long-term project, meaning we would paint one layer of it, then let it dry and come back to it later–either a few days later or the next week. It was hard for me to not finish it all at once, as many of my projects are shorter and smaller. But that allowed God to do some work in my heart and share His Words with me as I went through the process.
One of the first steps was to choose what colors to use. If you look at my typical work, you see that I naturally gravitate toward bright neutrals, like white, beige, tan, and pink. However, I felt myself drawn toward the darker neutrals here: black and gray.
As I started putting paint on the canvas, I found myself drawn to a circular motion, so I just went with it. It kind of reminded me of a tornado.
Reflecting on why the darker colors and thoughts of tornado, I realize that I was tired. Physically tired. All I had to do was acknowledge it; not try to fix it. I named it and I sat in God’s presence with it.
After a bit, I decided to add some purple to the painting, along with some torn pieces of rice paper, and it changed my perception of it. I no longer saw it as a tornado, but a galaxy.
I didn’t do much else that day. I just sat for a few moments and acknowledged the work that I had done and continued reflecting on the images it had brought to mind, as well as the fact that I was tired. And that was enough for Layer One.
The next time I came to the painting, I felt the need to lighten it up a bit. So I brought some white paint to the canvas.
I found myself drawing an arrow up… which, again, is unusual for me. I typically stick with patterns in the background, not symbols. But I understood that to be God speaking to me, “Look at Me.”
I also added the dots in texture paste, which kind of stood for the “stars” in the galaxy for me. And I sprayed some dark blue paint in splurts to add some darker dimensions in places.
After a few minutes of drying, I decided the white arrow was too “bright,” and so I wiped some of the paint away. Then I added in some dark gray shaded circles, reminiscent of planets, and darkened the border of the canvas with black paint.
Whereas Layer One was mostly dark, the painting now had different textures and depths to it. Was I still tired? Yes. But it was okay to be tired.
To be honest, I wanted to finish the painting. It was hard not to find some way to wrap it all up, to strive to hear what God was saying to me and be done with it. But… that was not the project. 🙂 And so, I tucked it away for another day.
I knew the painting would be finished on Day/Layer 3. I just didn’t know how.
I went ahead and added some purple calligraphy to the background in a few places. Then I added some blue paint to the white dots. And then I just… sat.
I actually sat there for awhile, just looking at the painting and asking God how He wanted me to complete it. I didn’t know what to do. I thought back to the physical tiredness, to the arrow sweeping my gaze to the heavens, to the vastness of the galaxy portrayed… and I felt God whisper, “Rest in Me.”
And so that became the title of the piece (“rest in Him”) and the theme of the tags placed around it:
- calm your fears
- loving acceptance
For some finishing touches, I added in the ribbon, flowers, butterflies, and mini pearls.
What began as a dark and “tired” piece turned into a reminder to rest in God and know that He has it all under control.
If you ever have trouble sleeping at night because of the fears and thoughts racing through your mind, you can probably relate to how powerful this reminder can be.
Matthew 11:28 says, “Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.'” What a beautiful way to remind me of the rest that He offers.
Could He have shared this with me in another way? If I had simply turned to Him through the Bible or through prayer? Of course. But I find delight that He also uses creative processes like art to share His heart with us, as well.
Whether you consider yourself “artistic” or not, creative endeavors can be a spiritual practice God uses to draw us closer to Himself.
How do you create? Do you like to build things? Garden? Decorate? Invite God into that process and see what He has to share with you during that time. And if you don’t mind sharing, I’d love to hear. You can use the “envelope” icon at the top or bottom of your screen to email me.