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Sunday, February 17, 2019

"Love in all sincerity loathing evil and holding fast to the good. Let love of the Christian community show itself in mutual affection. Esteem others more highly than yourself.

With unflagging zeal, aglow in the Spirit, serve the Lord. Let hope keep you joyful; in trouble stand firm; persist in prayer, contribute to the needs of God's people, and practice hospitality. Call down blessings on your persecutors - - blessings, not curses.  Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in agreement with one another. Do not be proud, but be ready to mix with humble people. Do not keep thinking how wise you are." Rom 12:9-16


When I was in grade school my parents paid hard-earned money for me to attend a weekly art class at Mrs. Gilmore's house. The Gilmore's lived on the 'Mountain Road' up past the church and the room where we toiled away had large windows that let in a plethora of sunlight.

Mrs. Gilmore was an Artist, advanced of years and of diminutive posture. Stern but never mean. I remember her hands, her scissors, and lots of color. She taught us art. We worked in every medium, learned all the rules, and when to break them. I loved every minute of it!

I still have most of the art produced over those two or three years. The pages are, somewhat stuck together, in a large portfolio that I pull out and look through about once every ten years. There is maybe one piece in the whole portfolio that I look at and think, "I like this one."

I can't remember what Mrs. Gilmore thought of my attempts at art. But I can tell you with certainty that one word of discouragement never fell from her lips.

I was bitten by the watercolor bug after ordering a couple of kits from Lets Make Art. An afternoon of fun with my mom has turned into a new creative outlet for me. On a whim, I joined the Lets Make Art Facebook group and have discovered that Mrs. Gilmore's spirit lives on. 

The Lord calls us to humility. To esteem others as better than ourselves. This can be a slippery slope sometimes, especially for us women. Some Most of us tend to be overly critical of ourselves. Do guys do this? I've known a few. But as a rule, I think it is women who are most afflicted by this tool in the enemies toolbox. The 'harpies' as my friend Kimberlee calls them.

The challenge, as always, is light or darkness. I can scroll through LMA's FB group and compare my work to what I see there and decide that I will never measure up and therefore never paint again. (Or if I do paint, keep it to myself, hidden away, safe.) Or, I can scroll through looking for inspiration. Being blessed by the encouragement given and received. Filling myself with the light that is offered, allowing God to work through that light and, ultimately, pour out that light into my painting. 

The choice is mine. In everything I do I can, "With unflagging zeal, aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord."

Or not.

The harpies are gleeful when we reject the gifts God has given us and refuse to use them.
"Let us use the different gifts allotted to each of us by God's grace: the gifts of inspired utterance, for example, let us use in proportion to our faith; the gift of administration to administer, the gift of teaching to teach, the gift of counselling to counsel. If you give to charity, give without grudging; if you are a leader, lead with enthusiasm; if you help others in distress, do it cheerfully." Rom 12:6-8
Yes, it's true. Watercolor painting is not listed here as a gift of the Spirit! But consider this: the Greek word parakaleō, translated here as counseling is translated elsewhere as exhort or encourage. How often are you blessed or encouraged by the creativity of others? Whether it be a photograph, a paragraph, or a painting? 

I am. Every.single.day.

Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. ~ Plutarch

And what we say matters.


PS After writing this I learned that LMA truly does have a heart for encouragement. You can learn about how they're encouraging others here:  Let's Make Art: Matter

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If you read something here that inspired you, I’d love to hear about it. Please know I appreciate every comment! Thanks so much for stopping by! Blessings, June