Monday, February 24, 2014

Redemption Stories Series with Guest Artist Jan Avellena

Redemption Stories Monday: For the next ten Monday's join me in welcoming 10 guest artists as they share a story of redemption from their own life or work. These stories may be a broad overview or observation, or they may be very specific, deep and personal. The post may be very short or very lengthy. I have left the specifics up to each of the ten. View images of their work as you read their words, and bios. Be sure to check out the links each one will provide to learn even more about them. 

To kick off our series, please join me in welcoming Jan Avellana. Jan is a proliferate artist whose mixed media work ranges from digital works, to painted canvases and paper mache sculptures, all with the mission to shine her light into the world through her art. She has been published in numerous mixed media magazines and publications, and was a top 50 finalist in the Lilla Rogers global talent search last year. 

Redeemed through Grace by Jan Avellana

“Each time he said, My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”  (NLT, 2 corninthians 12:9)

Before I was 12, I experienced growing up with an alcoholic and manic depressive parent, endured both mom and dad in the hospital—dad survived a mugging and severe beating and mom had triple bypass open heart surgery. I also knew first hand what it was like to be homeless. It would be wonderful to say that this was all just the unreality of a nightmare, or  that in some seamless grand design, God somehow erased all of those traumatic happenings and I now live happily ever after.

It would be wonderful, yes, but it isn’t the truth.

The truth is I live with the scars of the past. I still live with the memories and the fears that I collected and stored deep inside my bones as a child. As an adult, I continue to struggle with depression. You may be asking yourself, “Isn’t this supposed to be about redemption?” And it is, because of grace.

Yes, it all went down that way. Yes, there are some hurts that never fully heal until we are in the very arms of Jesus in Heaven. Yes, there really is nothing I can do to make the past the way it should have been.

And through it all, there is grace. Grace is a gift. It is like mercy on drugs. Grace brings comfort and meets me in the midst of the mess—takes away the shame of it all—and lets me stand in the truth, brave in the fear and unashamed to bear witness to what it’s really like. Grace empowers me with freedom. Grace enables me to speak the truth in love, to forgive and to accept forgiveness. Grace gives me the power to rise up over all the junk and know that I am made for blessings and to be a blessing to others. Grace lets me shine my light and testify to others that God loves them too.

Grace coats everything like a healing salve. Grace says, “I see that wounds you have and I weep over them with you. I love you, I see you, I feel you.” Grace fills my soul up with hope and encouragement. Grace brings abundance when I have lack. Grace looks squarely in my eyes and tells me, “I have your back. Whatever you need, whatever your weakness, whatever your brokenness, I will take it and make it enough, and in time, even good.”

Yes, good.

Redemption is a process that continues moment by moment, never fearing that grace will run out. The more I have need, the more grace there is. In this truth I stand, imperfect, unfinished, broken, mended and beloved, in the process of being redeemed and dripping from my head to my toes with grace.

I am a late-bloomer, a water woman, a deep-conversations-about-faith-over-dessert-and-hot-cocoa kind of girl. Art is my play and my passion. Art is my way of shining bright. Hello!

My name is Jan Avellana and I am a mixed-media and digital artist with a passion for art, books, deep conversations, and seaside adventures with my three favorite men (ages 7, 9 and 44). With both a Bachelors of Fine Art in Graphic Design and a Master’s of Education in Teaching, I spent the better part of my adult life trying very hard to be a grown-up with a traditional job. After the birth of my two sons, my newfound-mama-love released me to follow my heart, reclaiming the artist that I have always been.

Today, I revel in mixed media and digital illustration, making heartfelt connections with others through art and words.


  1. Anonymous7:14 PM

    Wow. Very inspirational post! Thank you for your vulnerability and brutal honesty. So refreshing and comforting. We can all truly experience redemption each day with grace!

    1. Yes we can! I too, was so comforted by Jan's post. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment to encourage her!

  2. what a great and real story! life is not always a bowl of cherries as jan shows us, but we sometimes get thru it and can even come out ahead of this life game! tx jan for sharing and inspiring us and thanks crystal for doing all these awesome upcoming events with us bloggers! aloha, angi in hana

    1. Thanks so much for stopping to leave a comment - I so appreciate it!

  3. Touched my heart. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Mine too Chrystel - thanks for leaving a comment to let Jan know!

  4. Hi. I found this post very inspiring. Thank you for sharing. My response to this is a gift song from the Lord for Jan Avellana. You can listen to it at Scratch requires Flash player or you will not be able to hear it. The Lord bless all of you.

    Redeemed through grace

    Is a process
    Moment by moment
    It brings healing
    Through grace
    Moment by moment
    It touches my
    Moment by moment
    It mends
    My brokenness
    Moment by moment
    Grace flows in

    And I hear my Lord saying,
    "I have your back
    Whatever you need
    Whatever your weakness
    Whatever your brokenness
    I will take it, my child
    I will make it enough
    And in time
    It will be good
    I will empower you
    I am your Redeemer
    I am your heavenly Father
    My grace will be sufficient for you."

    Thank You Lord!

    1. This is beautiful. Thanks for taking a moment to leave your kind words and song.

  5. Touching and powerful story!
    I love the ASL sign for Grace, hand above the head, 'sprinkling' down BLéSSïNgS!
    BLéSSïNgS to you and to Jan!

  6. "Grace coats everything like a healing salve." Thank you for sharing your story, Jan. It moved me and encouraged me, too! ~ Karen