We're almost midway through this year and as I look back over the last four months, I can only stand amazed at what God has begun doing in my life. It seems a bit surreal to say this but I'm an artist. It still feels extremely new and sometimes I feel a fraud to call myself that but nevertheless the fact is that I've begun taking custom orders for watercolour paintings. And I've actually sold them! Miracles never cease!
How did this happen you might wonder. Well, the opportunity was presented to me in a very random, out of the blue kind of way (which is soo totally God!) and I said 'yes'. Despite my having no experience whatsoever, an aunt asked me if I'd be interested in painting some Bible verses for her to sell. It began with that simple request and since then I've been getting orders from friends and family for customised artwork that they can gift or have as home décor. Life has suddenly taken a novel turn and honestly I'm just enjoying the ride!
But what does all this have to do with God and faith?
As I pause to think about all that is unfolding in my life currently, a few things stand out.
A friend of mine who was recently congratulating me said something very profound. 'Ruth,' she said. 'there is something very cool about the fact that you started this in one of your hardest seasons.' I told her I had never seen it that way. But that statement stayed with me and I kept thinking about how I had begun painting during the lockdown to help cope with the situation at home. How God has given me something that was beautiful and personal in those bleak months to help me endure. Painting had been my retreat. But now it was time to share that with others.
I'm realising slowly that God never wastes even a single minute of our lives. He has planned for each moment to bear fruit. Especially those moments that seem the bleakest and darkest. That perspective fills my heart with so much joy. Knowing that something beautiful will emerge from the broken gives me such hope.
Perhaps you need to be reminded of this today. Jesus is the One who has come to comfort you. '... To give (you) beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness' (Isaiah 61:3).
The other thing that stands out to me currently is my willingness to say 'yes'. Ok, I'm not claiming to be a master or a genius. But even what I have today would not have occurred if I hadn't said yes. And I just want to encourage anyone reading this today, if you're being presented with an opportunity that might stretch you a bit out of your comfort zone, step forward and say yes.
If you had told me two years back when I was watching YouTube tutorials and making blobs and splotches with my brushes and paints, that someday someone would buy one of my paintings, I would have laughed so hard, I'd have fallen off my chair! But still, it happened, and not just once (so it's not a fluke... Believe me, I've pinched myself several times to make sure I'm not dreaming!). Don't let fear hold you back. Don't keep second guessing. Sometimes it is just that simple. God is offering an opportunity to you. Will you say yes?
And lastly, ok I warn you, I'm getting on my soapbox so brace yourself for some gyaan. Seriously though, I truly believe that God created each of us unique and filled us with traits, mannerisms, characteristics, and gifts, a one-of-a-kind combination that basically isn't a duplicate. He didn't mass produce us. You are unique. So am I. And the gifts that I have, I have to fulfil my responsibility towards what I've been entrusted with. Apart from the fact that I will need to give an account for them, I just feel it's such a waste if I ignore my gifts and my calling and busy myself with the cares of this life (which are innumerable and can be all consuming, believe me, I understand the struggle).
Nevertheless, I would rather use the gift than waste it. The beauty is that ultimately my using of the gift, while fulfilling me, also brings glory to the One who created me. The rest of Isaiah 61:3 reads, 'That they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.' We are created to bear fruit. And when we do, God receives the glory. There is a perfect connection to that.
So I urge you today, don't waste your life. Say yes to the opportunity that's come knocking. Step out in faith. And put your gift to good use. You won't regret it.