It was May of 2014. We had just listed our "dream" house for sale, and the first open house was happening. Mark and I had attended a Generous Giving conference just a couple of weeks before where we were captivated and inspired by stories of people living radically generous lives. We both felt right then and there that it would be a good idea to sell our house. We had gotten pretty entangled in our lifestyle and it didn't leave much room for the kind of generosity adventures that we wanted to be a part of. We agreed that we needed to re-order our priorities and think differently about what had been given to us and what we were doing with it.
By God's good grace, I was at the More House that weekend leading a retreat with my friend Cindy. I think that it was the safest place for me to be in that moment, because the struggle to let go was being played out in real time. We Want More had become a refuge for me and I had experienced incredible growth and healing up to this point. (https://www.wewantmore.org) God was at work on my heart, mind and soul. I had not anticipated that letting go of our beautiful home near the beach was going to be so emotionally challenging, because I had agreed to let it go. I was excited to see what was going to happen as we extracted ourselves from the life that had become very comfortable for me.
As we were in the middle of our retreat, it dawned on me that realtors and strangers were walking through MY home, sizing up MY space, and probably judging MY stuff. I felt completely sick and overwhelmed. I found Ryan, Cherisse & Sunnie in the kitchen and asked them to pray with me that I would be OK with all of this. It's like the train was leaving the station and there was no going back. Reality had sunk in and my optimistic enthusiasm for these big new ideas just seemed to vaporize, leaving me scared and confused. What had we done, I thought. Those prayers were like giving me a dose of spiritual Xanax. I was able to find my composure and reengage the rest of the retreat. Don't be fooled, there were more tears and fears but more prayers, too.
I set up to paint during some contemplative worship time where everyone just relaxed and kept me company while I created something. This painting is mainly blue because that is my favorite color, and it calms me. It has different compounds mixed in to give it texture and grit, which many of my paintings do. I think that reflects life and the complexities of our day to day junk. I collaged in some Japanese paper that has cranes on it, because if you know me you know I love birds and all they represent.
In Japan, the crane is known as "the bird of happiness" and in Chinese culture the crane is a symbol of wisdom. In Greek & Roman mythology the dance of the crane is seen as a love of joy and the celebration of life. I find it fitting considering that the two purpose statements that resonate the most with me are "Celebrating Life" and "Inspiring JOY". Of course, this all occurred to me later as I stared at it and prayed for a name to come to mind. "The Master's Peace" fits this painting because that is exactly what I experienced over this weekend. His peace, so calming, soothing and comforting when I needed it the most.
My friend Crista was at this same retreat weekend and has a life changing story of her own, so this painting now lives at her house! It is a beautiful reminder that every one of us is a masterpiece, created by God, and that He is the ultimate Master who longs to give us His peace in every circumstance. I am grateful that this painting marks a moment in time where I chose to step out and trust. God gently pried my hands open that weekend and helped me embrace what we can now say was the beginning of a very crazy adventure!