16 May 2009

All Things New

So I've had that visual of a flower growing out of ashes stuck in my head, and I decided to do an art project for myself along that theme/image. I sketched out the rough idea on some paper and thought about the medium.

Now, I am not a visual art person. I have no skills or experience with painting or drawing or any physical craft. But I went to a store with a couple possible ideas in my head and ended up buying some paints and brushes and a couple ready-to-go 4"x5" mini canvases.

Last weekend, I painted the background colors and some texture and then set it aside and waited for that to dry so that I could finish it up this weekend. It turned out to be another rainy Saturday here in Nashville, so I took it up on the kitchen table and added the rest just now. I actually had two of the same thing going simultaneously--in case of catastrophic failure on one, I'd still have another to salvage the project. I rushed a bit at the end, since I was ready to wrap it up and didn't feel like waiting for some parts to really dry and have to draw it out into a third stage.

But they each turned out ok. By which I mean, of course they're terrible--conceptually simplistic with different flaws and clear lack of ability in both of them. But I'm still glad to have done the project. I had something inside me that I needed to see created outside of me, different from the usual musical sub-creation that I gravitate toward.

So there, my rainy Saturday project. Last night was a bit tricky for me personally at our church Family Dinner (pot luck+congregational meeting). I need to see Jesus all the more, need to be reminded that my screw-ups aren't the be all end all of my life, need to see beauty being redeemed from the ashes, even if it's just my sad little paintings with so many flaws themselves.

04 May 2009

It's True

A friend shared a bit of their testimony with me recently.

Thinking about it now, my heart aches.

But I also see a picture of beauty rising from the ashes. A flower coming up for air from cinders and soot.

Jesus is real. He is actually risen from having been actually dead. I don't know how often I throw myself into that freakish mystery without some sense of reservation in my brain.

But my friend's story reminds me that it's true. It's True--new life, joy, redemption, wholeness. The darkness is not the end of the story. It's terrible and painful and can steal so much life away, and no one goes through life unscathed. But it's not the end.

Jesus is the light in the darkness.
Jesus is the healing balm.
Jesus is comfort and help in time of need.
Jesus is beauty and mercy and grace and perfect love.
Jesus is the lover we long for.

Jesus will usher in a new heavens and a new earth, tangible realities for our resurrected physical bodies to enjoy and explore for eternity. All the darkness that weighs down our minds and spirits and bodies these halfway days--all the hurts we've inflicted on others and all the hurts we've suffered ourselves--will be left behind and become untrue.

Following him doesn't mean that life right now will be sunshine and roses from here on out, or that the scars from the past necessarily disappear overnight. But he does promise never to forsake us, never to leave us. And he bore our injustices, our falsehoods and sins, on the cross of his sacrifice in order to free us from the darkness and its suffocating chains.

Only he is able.

Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ, King of Endless Glory.