This painting almost didn’t make it. I was trying all sorts of things here. I collaged some handmade papers, used sand paste for texture, and was playing around with glazing. I was growing more frustrated as every layer seemed to go from bad to worse and this thing was getting uglier by the second. Nothing was bringing it together. I was praying for inspiration and wisdom for what to do next…but was ready to completely cover it and start over. I had to take some time out and come back to it. When I did, the next thing I tried was the secret sauce. I’m still not sure how, but this thing was redeemed. I went from hating it to loving it! The name Redemption came to me immediately.
So much frustration went into this piece, yet what evolved in the end was nothing short of miraculous considering how bad it was going. What a reflection of where I was at that time too. God had been working on me and had been pulling me through some really hard stuff. My soul was starting to heal, but it wasn’t an easy process. I grew up collecting a lot of junk that had comfortably lodged itself in my heart. That dusty corner wasn’t going to be cleaned up overnight. You see, I had firmly placed my faith in God at a very young age but became cynical over time as I experienced Christians and communities that didn’t represent Jesus very well. There were bright moments along the way, but my heart and mind tended to retain the bad stuff and push out the good.
I can testify that I am a redeemed human who now understands that people will inevitably disappoint, but God my Father never will. My focus was off. God has redeemed my vision and pointed it in the right direction. It is so much easier to love broken people when you stop expecting them to be God in your life. They can try, and so can I. But we will always fall short. The beauty of redemption is that its available to everyone, no matter their story, no matter their baggage. We all look the same standing in front of the cross. How grateful I am for that truth.
So in the very moments I was finishing this painting, my friend Cindy brings this gal over to see my artwork before she leaves town. She was moving from Greenwich to L.A. and came to say goodbye to Cindy, so I got to meet her quickly. She saw this painting on my easel and had a pretty obvious reaction to it. She asked me what I was going to do with it. I told her it was going to be put up in a local art show in Westport in the next month. They left and that was that.
Fast forward a couple of weeks later. This gal emails me from California. She tells me how she had this dream and “please don’t think I’m crazy…but God told me in a dream to buy that purple painting from you.” Turns out the home this couple bought in L.A. had previously been filled with some very disturbing artwork. One in particular hung in the middle of this house right over the main fireplace. She could not get the negative image out of her mind. God told her to hang my painting there, and his Holy Spirit would be there in the center of their home and would redeem the space that was so dark before. He told her to offer me $10,000 for it, and that I would know what to do with the money.
I was floored. We had spent just 15 minutes together and then this happens. It also turns out that I had just opened a donor advised fund with the National Christian Foundation so I could give away any money I made from selling my artwork. The fund went live just as this gal was reaching out to me!
I wrote her back and told her this…and all my grand plans for giving away the proceeds to charity if and when I sold my stuff. I already had an idea about where that 10k would go! I told her the painting was named “Redemption” and shared the story of its creation with her. I thought God was definitely up to something amazing by connecting us when He did.
I sent her the painting and it now hangs in the middle of her house in L.A. His Spirit is ever present. I believe God knew she would need that painting with that story. The timing of it all still gives me goosebumps. Our awesome Father is SO aware of who we are and what we are about. He is speaking to us all the time, in all kinds of ways. The question is, am I listening? I believe that the more I do, the more stories like this will become normal occurrences in my life. That is my hope!!