This painting titled “Never Give Up” only took a day or two to finish. This is an example of what I call my “emotional landscape art.” Its art I make just for fun, or to de-stress, or express feelings with no particular objective in mind. These “emotional landscape” art pieces are made intuitively and spontaneously. I keep working until I feel satisfied. It’s more about the process of working through emotions, but also just being able to play, have fun, and take risks without worrying about the outcome too much.
Emotions that are bubbling through in this art piece include feeling excited that I will be ordained as a minister on October 1st. This is occuring just slightly over a year after buying my first home at age 52. I now just turned 53. It’s like dreams I have waited years for are finally arriving. It feels like the appointed time. At the same time there’s other dreams that I’ve had to let go of, such as getting married again in my youth before menopuase, ever having more children, etc. The prevailing message in this piece is that you should never give up hope. You should keep persevering no matter what. But you must also take an honest look at your feelings and allow yourself to process your emotions and grieve the losses. That’s part of the healing process.
The sexual abuse that occured to me as a child and young adult slowed me down and robbed from me. It robbed confidence. It robbed my ability to follow a normal timeline or succeed in marriage (as of yet). It also made it harder for me to have my own healthy (well-functioning) family. The trauma doesnt just impact you, it impacts those around you and the family you build. It causes devastation that wrecks through generations like dominos. At the same time, healing is a life force that releases generational blessings. The healing journey involves a collision of life forces, both light and dark. I have managed to salvage alot of my life thanks to God’s holy spirit working in me. God has managed to create meaning out of my tragedy. Although I’ve come a long way in my own individual healing and feel close to the end, the family impact healing is just in the beginning stages.
It feels very satisfying to share my journey of healing and the wisdom gained with others in the mental health workshops I lead once a month along with Wendi Nixon. Since February I’ve been teaching and preaching about what the Bible has to say on the topic of mental health followed by art making. I also include many of my own art pieces for illustrative purposes as slides during the teaching. That also feels very satisfying. I usually make new art for each presentation, but I also have plenty of old art pieces which lend themselves well to the different topics or to becoming scripture art. These workshops are what is leading me to be ordained in October. I also happen to be an art therapist at a psychiatric hospital, which I’ve been doing for 22 years. It feels like a synergy of my life experiences are coming together and cullimating into my destiny and purpose. I remembered recently as a child at the age of 5 that I was preaching and teaching to my stuffed animals in the basement. So it feels like I’m just now embarking on the journey God set out for me since the beginning of time. The best part is that I can just be myself, and be honest about my life and struggles, and where I’m at. It feels very liberating. No longer do I really compare myself to others on a different life course or trajectory or judge myself for how long the healing has taken. Perhaps God knew all along, and planned all this out according to this very time table He saw in advance? I’ve learned to be gentle with myself, to forgive myself and others, and just let go of what cant be fixed, what I didnt get, the ways I was robbed. I saw they were bitter roots that just needed to be grieved and let go of. Life didn’t happen according to my own time table, but it happened according to God’s.
My life feels like it’s a very good fit for me. I’ve always just followed my heart and have strived to just be authentic because thats the most satisfying thing anyone can be. The other best part is that now I feel loved for just simply being me. For so much of my life I struggled to love myself and receive love; I hid myself in shame. I was afraid to step out. So the joy and satisfaction I feel in this moment in time is not just about what God is doing with my life right now, but it’s about how I was able endure the hardships and overcome through the power, healing, and deliverance of God who has always been by my side and never failed me. I owe my whole life to Father God.