Matthew 28:5-6 (NIV)
5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.
Easter is obviously a very exciting time in Christianity. I created the painting, “Risen” this week to express my ideas on Easter in general and especially during our trying times of Covid-19.
The painting, “Risen,” has the three crosses to represent Jesus being crucified on the middle cross with the two thieves on his left and right. The sunrise in the background shows the hope in Jesus in his resurrection on Easter Sunday. The sunrise symbolism gives so much beauty behind the darkness of the awful death of crucification. This juxtaposition of death and life, mourning and celebration has always intrigued me. The contrast between hopelessness at the Messiah’s death to overjoyed relief and sense of security really makes me think about the times that have quickly had drastic changes in emotions.
I can recall when I was about 8 years old and I was traveling across Wisconsin with my Dad and younger brother. We were driving from our home in northern Wisconsin to visit my uncle and his family in the Milwaukee suburbs. Growing up very poor, we never had nice vehicles that would be considered reliable . In this trip, an old four door Chevy was our trusty ride that was our hope of making the long drive. Even in that old car, I will never forget the feeling of safety I had with my Dad behind the wheel.
I think that in times of uncertainty, like we are living now, we need to have that same sense of safety and hope for our trip in life. We need to trust our Father to guide us on our path no many how many speed bumps and breakdowns may happen.
On that journey to Milwaukee as a boy, our trusty Chevy had engine problems and overheated just north of Madison near the small town of Lodi. With our car being out of service, we were stranded. Fortunately, my dad had a good friend living in Lodi who was available to pick us up and generously offered us a place to stay that evening. My dad and his friend had a great time visiting and the next day, we were able to finish our journey to Milwaukee as planned with a new thermostat being installed in our trusty Chevy.
As Americans, we have survived stock market crashes, wars, terrorist attacks, polar vortexes, and many natural disasters. Today, it seems we need this hope in our Father more than ever. Our plans may change, but through generous friends and faith, we will finish our journeys as God planned. As Covid-19 rips across the US, please keep or find your faith in God and you will come out of this stronger than you ever thought possible.
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I am going to be the first one to admit that Covid-19 has not been easy on me. I would consider myself an introvert by nature, so social distancing in the beginning was okay. The longer social distancing happens, the more I realize we all need other people. I have struggled over the past couple weeks with the uncertainty we are all facing. My mind weighs heavy with an illness bulldozing its way across the world threatening to take as many lives as it can. My mind weighs heavy with the massive change to the world economy due to Covid-19’s bulldozing path. No one knows how long all of this uncertainty will last and that is scary to me.
A song that I can’t get out of my head these days is “Sparrows” by Jason Gray.
“You can't add a single day by worrying
You'll worry your life away
Oh don't worry your life away
You can't change a single thing by freaking out
It's just gonna close you in
Oh don't let the trouble win
You may feel alone
But you're not on your own
If He can hold the world He can hold this moment
Not a field or flower escapes His notice
Oh even the sparrow
Knows He holds tomorrow”
When I think what Paul wrote in Phillippians 4:6-7 and Jason Gray’s song, I try to put my worries at ease. I know that is often easier said than done, but worry will get you no where, sort of…
I recently listened to a podcast that was talking about worry in the business world. It seems that having some worry about the future could be a genetic trait that was passed down over time to help our ancestors survive. It seems that worrying about the future can be a good thing if you are thinking of the future of your family in terms of making sure you have enough food and protection from the elements. Just think about early cavemen survival rates based on their planning for basic needs. If they had enough food and didn’t get eaten, it was because they were prepared by having some worry and thought to the future and those characteristics were passed on to the future generations.
When I think about this in modern times, yes, planning for the future is a good thing with maybe a little worry behind it. We all should be thinking and planning for the future to a certain extent. It’s why we study in school and go to work to earn a pay check to provide for our families. But what do we do when a pandemic sweeps across the world providing so much unpredictability to the health of our loved ones and the global economy?
It really is when these worries take over our lives that we need to take a deep breath and look to God and others around us for help. When you put your faith in God, we can be a little less anxious for all the uncertainty around us right now. Give thanks to God what you do have. You might think there is not be much thankful for, but I have seen so many great things. I have noticed my own family have more time together and slowing down our lives. I have been able to take on some new learning both in my work and personal growth. I have heard and seen many acts of kindness across my community. Take a look around for some good and create good some where you can.
“23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”
Welcome to my blog! My goal is to give you inspiration in your life through my art, teaching, and words. My passion is oil painting and the goal of creating art to address the human need for hope and love giving you inspiration in your daily life. With a deep passion for God, I enjoy painting a variety of scenes that evoke emotion through dramatic lighting, sunsets, atmospheric effects, and Christian symbolism.
I was raised in a small northern Wisconsin town of Glidden. I learned to appreciate nature through my father and relatives who worked as lumberjacks and farmers. My grandmother encouraged my faith in God, strong work ethic, and love for art. I began oil painting at the age of 14 and was an outstanding art student, but my first oil painting was a complete failure in my eyes leaving me frustrated; and literally breaking the painting in half! At that point, I realized that I was going to have to accept not being an oil painter or learn how to do it well. This frustrating beginning and strong work ethic fueled my fire to learn how to be the best painter I could be!
I began my education in the field of wildlife biology at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. During that time, I worked for the Forest Service in the Chequamegon National Forest and the Elk Reintroduction Project in Clam Lake, Wisconsin. The desire to make art became overwhelming for me and lead me to pursue a career in art. I transferred to UW-Madison to study art and learned painting techniques to express my ideas.
My story of becoming an artist is filled with many hardships. Beginning in my early childhood, my mother suffered from debilitating depression and agoraphobia. I looked to art to find ways to bring happiness to my mother’s condition and joy to my own heart. As an adult, I battled my own demons. As a recovering alcoholic, I look to God and art for peace and positivity. I strive to use my gifts and abilities to share God’s love and beauty with others. In a world filled with anxiety and sadness, my art transcends the viewer to a place of calm bringing peacefulness to their mind and souls. These qualities make my art sought after by art collectors and enjoyed by thousands of people across the world.
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