Sunday, January 3, 2021

"You're an Artist! You're a Real Artist!"

Months ago, I was contacted by a woman I'd met on our trip to Israel. She explained she'd started a tradition of gathering family members together and having them participate in some sort of art project. She'd only done it once before, but thought it would be something worth continuing after last year's success. I thought it was a neat idea and immediately agreed to be the 2020 artist.

After agreeing to lead the class, I asked for details. What did she want me to do? How many people would be in the class? Etc. Etc.

I came up with a lesson plan and purchased supplies.

As the time drew near for teaching the lesson, I became very fearful and felt ill equipped. Satan was doing a number on me and I asked some of my online friends to pray.

The day of the event, my husband I drove to North Georgia, van loaded with easel and boxes of art supplies.

Arriving at the church, we set up in the fellowship hall and watched as her family members began to arrive. I knew the group would be composed of adults and children but was surprised to find we had people from 4 to 86 and the 86 year old woman had Alzheimer's disease.

As the class members took their places at the tables, I passed out supplies and we got started.

I was nervous as I began to paint. As I worked, I explained each step of the process having the people in the room attempt to follow along, but it wasn't that simple. In between painting, answering questions, and resupplying medium, I was also trying to keep my composure and train of thought. I'd never taught a group before. The span of ages was also a challenge as I tried to make the lesson simple for the children and keep the adults on track at the same time. Somehow, I worked from 10:30 until 2:30 and we got our paintings completed.
Rose, 86 with Alzheimer's

I wanted to thank those who prayed for me. Your prayers undergirded me that day and helped me remain calm. I think I held my breath those 4 hours because when we got into the car to leave, I broke down sobbing.

You see, I've never considered myself an artist. In the first place, I've never had an art lesson. I taught myself everything I know by reading, watching, or observing others. But God must have wanted me to do this project because I needed to be taken out of my comfort zone.

I'm not an extrovert but by agreeing to teach the class, I was forced to be one. And, I don't even know why I accepted the offer anyway. Normally, I would have said, "Let me think about it and I'll get back to you," but that day I said yes immediately.

God taught me somethings about myself that day. He made real to me the verse that says "when I am weak, He is strong." He also extended me plenty of grace that day as the woman who asked me to teach and all of her family members sat patiently and willingly as I tried my best to led them in a fun project.

The day turned out to be a success, but boy was I glad when it was over! A professional photographer had been hired to document the day and although I haven't seen any of the photos yet, I'm sure she got some doozies.

Right before I left the building, I decided to make a pit stop. As I was coming out of the restroom, one of the students, a cute, long haired 4 year old girl came skipping toward me saying, "You're an artist! You're a real artist!" I couldn't help but smile at her proclamation over me.
My little encourager

I wonder if God knew I needed to hear those sweet words just before leaving? I think He did and he used that beautiful, inquisitive little one to speak truth into my heart.

Bottom line and lessons learned that day -
1. God had already equipped me to teach the lesson! I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. (Phil. 4:13)
2. There was no reason for me to be afraid! "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.(Isaiah 41:10)
3. Obedience always brings blessing.

After I'd gotten home and we'd unloaded the car, I had time to revisit the day's events. Although the lesson didn't go as planned, I did have fun and think the students did, too.And just think, if I'd said no to the offer, I wouldn't have received the blessings God had in store for me. The best part of the day was seeing that sweet little girl, with her bright pink headband, skipping down the hall and hearing her words drip with honey as she said, "You're an artist! You're a real artist!" 
You know, I think she just might be right. Perhaps I do have a right to claim that title now.

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