Wednesday, February 13, 2008

To A Wild Woman of Strength - Happy Valentine's Day

A Wild Woman of Strength, not much to make one think of Valentine's Day at first glance, but under the surface her story comes straight from the heart.

Born from the words of a fellow artist that were rolling around my head as I worked and prayed:

You gotta Believe-
And Stand Strong.

I thought of this artist's story, her pain as well as her love for others and I kept thinking of these words she posted that gave strength and encouragement. And as I prayed for inspiration I began to think of the number of times God encourages in the bible with the words:

"Do not be discouraged, Do not be afraid, for the Lord your God is with you."

I thought of the number of other artists & women friends I knew who had suffered much pain over the past year and still stood strong, still managed to encourage others with their own messages of hope.
Women who were suffering financial loss, death of loved ones, depression, personal illnesses and cancers. Women who were going through divorce, or seperations from men they thought they would spend the rest of their lives with, who were finding life was not at all what they had believed it would be.
I thought of my own journey and my own trials, especially over the past year. I have endured so many of these trials all at once. I thought of how God had pulled me through in a way I never thought possible. Sometimes seeming that He was the only reason I could stand. The only reason I had any strength or desire to go on at all.

And then I knew where this Wild Strength came from. This ability to believe, to trust, and to stand strong.
It came from experiencing the greatest love one could ever know. One that went deeper then any human love ever could.
"The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Deuteronomy 31:8

A Wild Woman of Strength can lift her head and stand in the face of trials because she is rooted and grounded in His love. She doesn't rely on her own strength to endure, she knows where her strength comes from. She reaches deep within her heart and holds on to the one who gave up all so that she could live.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

This Wild Woman of Strength was created for my Valentine Swap gift for these talented artists:JoAnna Pierotti, Lou McCulloch, Jackie Allison, Jennifer Rowland, and Melissa David.
Update: my post previously included an offer to win one of the "Wild Women" by visiting my Art Pub Blog, but the group is going through an unexpected transition so please stay tuned...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Won't You Be My Valentine?

I almost started this post by saying I can't believe it's the middle of February already. But then I realized I spend a lot of time marveling at the passing of time. I guess it is true, the older you get the faster time seems to pass.

Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12

When time seems to slip through my fingers I do need to use it wisely. It's easy to lose sight of my priorities and get caught up in mindless busyness. Working on art is one way that I have of helping me to slow down and focus on the things that matter to me. When I work away on a project I know the Lord is with me. He is The Creator and has put the desire to be creative in me.

As I work I often find myself praying "Lord show me what you want to say, help me to have your vision". This little Valentine's swap I participated in is no exception. It began with a certain element that I had been wanting to try in a project for some time so I decided this was the perfect opportunity. Unfortunately no matter how often I sat down with it and pushed it around the work table, I couldn't come up with a thing.

But one night a few weeks back I was reading a post in my Art Pub group from a fellow Pubster that really struck a chord with me. She has been experiencing a tough year and Valentine's day will be a particularly tough day for her.

Her words stuck with me for a few days, until I found myself mulling them over and praying as I sat and tried to pull something together for the Valentine's swap once again, and just like that the inspiration hit. I saw this woman as a WILD WOMAN OF STRENGTH for all that she has been through and still has the ability to reach out to others with laughter and encouragement.

This past year and a half has been quite a rough year for me as well, with days where I felt I could barely hang on. And days when I knew if the Lord didn't have ahold of me I would have given up.

It seems so many women I know have gone through a very rough season in there lives over this past year or so. Some with physical illnesses and cancers, some with losing parents, spouses, and even children, some have suffered job loss or tremendous job stresses. So much pain in these women's lives and yet when I think of them I see them also as being incredible WILD WOMEN OF STRENGTH.

And so that is what came together on my work table for the Valentine's swap. Little works of art that reflect this strength that I have seen in so many women friends this past year. They are aptly titled WILD WOMAN OF STRENGTH and that's the only clue you'll get. I've wrapped them all up and sent them out just in the knick of time to the other 5 women in the swap and I will post pictures on Valentines day along with the words that inspired the work.

Now it just so happens that I may have put 1 or 2 extra packages in the mail for a few women who God really laid on my heart. WILD WOMEN OF STRENGTH who have had the courage to face their difficulties this year, standing strong and encouraging others along the way.

I wanted to send one out to just about every woman I know. So many of you are incredible WILD WOMEN OF STRENGTH and have been through so much. So watch your mailboxes and see if it is you because you know that inside you really are a WILD WOMAN OF STRENGTH too.

But don't worry, if it wasn't you then hop on over to my Art Pub blog on Valentines day and sign up for a drawing to win one of your own!