My Dream and I Have Grown Together
As a child I can remember loving to do what my daddy did-build things! My Dad is a carpenter. He makes things with his hands. My Dad and his Uncle Ralph could always make something from nothing! Their strong and gentle hands are full of creativity and they spend endless hours perfecting their craft. God the Father gave them this gift and they have passed it on to me.
At a very young age I learned to love the sound of the hammer striking the nail. WHAM! WHAM! WHAM!
The force of the hammer driving the nail through the wood, binding one board to another to build a sturdy house for us to live in.
Weeks went by and the walls went up, one by one. Before long we had a house to live in. When the sawdust had settled and the air became crisp; the brushes and paints came out and we began to color our house-making it a home.
I began to draw. My Dad made me a drawing table. I’ll never forget it. It was built from the scraps of wood that were left from building the house.
But-you’d never know it!
It tilted so I could adjust it to each project. I remember sitting in my room at night just drawing the hours away.
In high school I took art classes. My art teacher was my hero! He always encouraged me to keep looking and to keep drawing. He was a great man with a huge heart. He too could create something from nothing-he carved carousel horses!
My free spirit kept me from settling down at college. I took courses here and there but could never find my niche. I never quit, I just kept teaching myself new things and kept plugging away at it.
I was raised in the Methodist Church. I attended church and Sunday School every week. I accepted Christ at age 18 and was baptized. Looking back I realize that I had no idea what that really meant. We were a “ go to church on Sunday” only family. The rest of the time life went by.
It wasn’t until I was married and had my first child that I began to feel God really tugging on my heart to get back to Him. He was wooing me closer. All this time I am still drawing and taking classes and being creative.
I can still remember sitting in the Dublin Methodist Church hearing the Pastor talk about a painting during his sermon. It was a painting by the Flemish artist, Peter Bruegel. He painted the life of villagers along with many religious paintings.
I remember how interested I became because the Pastor kept referring to the painting during his sermon. I was hearing AND visualizing God’s Word. This was new for me. For the first time in my life I was realizing how art can be used to teach people about God. I sat there that morning drawing and listening. I drew a sketch of myself looking INTO the church door-
Almost as if I were seeing God for the very first time. I still have that picture in my portfolio. Nothing serious- just a sketch. I believe this was God’s way of showing me the plans he had for my life. Plans to prosper and not to harm. Plans to give me a hope and a future. ( Jer 29:11)
Not long after that I began taking an ART History class. I was amazed at all of the religious works of art that had been painted down through the ages. God was stirring my heart. I fell in love with my Father in Heaven through the works of Michelangelo. The sculpture of a young David and the majestic ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
I started collecting art books to read and study on my own. What I discovered there was the sharing of God’s Word through the art of those who have gone on before us.
I stand in awe.
By this time my oldest daughter, who is now 16, was about 3 years old! We moved from Dublin to Hillsville and I continued to study and draw-always feeling God pressing on my heart. We were invited to Dinwiddie Church and we went. They took us in like we were their long lost family. I became friends with the Slate family. We started going to SS and I began to use my art to share God’s Word. I remember doing a painting of an open bible, pencil and paper for our SS class. It still hangs on the wall today.
My daughter, Corynn began going to the pre-k at Hillsville Methodist and it was there that I met Sharon Gravley. We became friends and it wasn’t long after that Sharon discovered a lump in her breast. The news was the worst.
It was cancer.
One day I was sitting at the kitchen table working on some art and thinking about Sharon. I started to draw the word HOPE and before I knew it I had painted the scripture from Romans 12:12.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
When I sat down I had no plans to do anything like that. It just came out of my hands and flowed onto the paper. At the time I didn’t understand it-but now I know it was the Holy Spirit. It was encouragement for Sharon on her journey. It’s been 12 years and I am happy to say that Sharon is a cancer survivor. Her story is amazing and I recommend that everyone hear it. She is a gift from God.
Many more years go by and I’m still drawing, painting and sharing. Another dear friend, Karen Slate, was struck with breast cancer. In an effort to encourage her I did a watercolor of the word PEACE with a dove carrying away the breast cancer ribbon.
You see that was my prayer- that the cancer be carried off-leaving behind the peace of Christ.
I also made her a cross from my woodworking shed. Today it hangs in her livingroom. God spared Karen’s life too. She is an overcomer, a survivor. I thank God for these two beautiful ladies and for our friendship. We don’t see each other often, but when we do it is like a day has never passed. I love you gals and I am so thankful that God has allowed our lives and testimonies to intersect. One day we will understand it all.
Over the years I had become like my father making things from nothing. I collect wood. I like to take wood and let it speak to me. Sometimes it is walnut, oak, pine or cherry. When I’m working with it I pray. I pray for the recipient of what I am making. When I am cutting and sanding the wood I think about how God does that to me. He’s constantly chiseling, chipping, sanding, & smoothing my rough edges. Some of the pieces are rough and worn-like a favorite shoe. Others are smooth and shiny filled with color like a bright red pump. Either way they each have a purpose and that is to compel people to follow God. When we are comfortable in our walk with God we are able to share our knowledge more freely allowing others to see God for WHO he is and not who we are. When we are a shiny new Christian, we are excited and filled with a contagious joy that compels others to ask questions. God draws people into His fold in all sorts of ways. My way was through seeing God in art.
God began to show me that I was to become a holy and living sacrifice. But what did that mean? For me it means I am to spend my life on God. It has taken me 49 years to figure out my gift and how to use it. I may not be the best artist or speaker in the world-but God knows the desires of my heart and that is to be ONE with Him.
I am called to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with God. ( Micah 6:8)
I am to present myself as a living sacrifice-holy and acceptable to God. This IS on act of worship. My life is to be lived in worship to our Creator, Father God, Savior, Redeemer & Friend. Not just on Sunday-but every second of every minute of every hour of every day.
Do I do this well? No.
Do I stumble and fall? Yes.
Do I get back and ask for help? Yes.
Do I ever look back? No!
Do I quit? No!
Have I wanted to? Yes.
Do I look to Christ for my help? You bet!
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
ALL THINGS! Phil 4:13
I do not boast about myself-but about what GOD has accomplished through me-and that is to get me out of my comfy, warm seat and into the world.
God has used the people of First Hillsville and this District to do just that. 3 years ago I was asked to try something new. I said, “ who me?” Then I said, “ ok, I’ll try.”
So I sucked in my breath and said, “ here we go!”
Did it scare me? You bet!
Does it still? Oh yeah!
If it didn’t I would be in trouble. It’s been 3 years since I took a piece of chalk and laid a chalk line on a bedsheet to share God’s Word with people. Pretty weird, huh? It has been the strangest, most wonderful 3 years of my life. I’ve been able to experience God in a different way and God has put people in my path for me to encourage, to pray for and even to mentor. If you would have told me, 14 years ago, that I would be doing this today I would’ve laughed! I wouldn’t be doing it without God’s help or without the support of my family and church family. I am very thankful for the people that God has placed in my life for this journey.
Today people call me the “Chalk Lady” and I love it! Do you know why? Because I have realized that my dream and God have grown together.
I’ve realized that NO, I’m not the best at anything and that’s perfectly okay-why? Because God is!
My Dad wears BIG SHOES and they are hard to fill but today I am a little more like my Daddy and I love to do what he does-and that is
to make something out of nothing.
2 boards, a hammer and 3 nails. A drop of blood and a lifeline to eternity. A place to call home, but not an earthly home- a forever home.
Revelation 22:20 says, “ Surely I am coming soon.”
Are YOU ready?