Have you ever had a dream or desire that started as a quiet whisper in your heart?
For me it was a whisper that started out so subtle that for days, weeks or maybe even years it was drowned out or pushed aside as I moved through life’s daily tasks.
I even began to wonderful if I ever heard anything at all.
A few years ago I found myself going through life unable to see clearly. I was blindly operating on “auto-pilot”. When asked how I was doing I would even catch myself saying, “I’m surviving” or “Just trying to get through this day”. I had gotten trapped behind negative self talk and even started to believe this was as good as it was gonna get. Have you ever found yourself there?
But that whisper… it refused to be silenced. Eventually it became so loud that I could no longer refuse it?
It became a craving that ached in my heart so badly that it could not be ignored. I could not find peace until I finally surrendered to it. It’s not only a part of who I am, but also Whose I am. It’s who I was meant to be and what I was meant to do. I could no longer deny that it was time to feed it… nourish it… to give it wings and let it take flight.
Have you ever had an aching desire in your heart that you knew you were meant for… something you were created to do but you weren’t doing it? Maybe you’ve always known… and just forgot… or you got lost somewhere along the way… or scared… maybe you were lied to… or you didn’t think you were enough… or maybe you are trying too hard yourself to make it happen.
It was during this time that the Lord brought Melody Ross and the community of Brave Girls Club into my life to help me find my way back. It started with taking her Soul Restoration online class. All I can say is it rocked my world! I started learning to be brave and to dream again. I didn’t know it at the time but, eventually I would step into this place… a safe place… and be forever changed.
The blessing of attending Brave Girls Camp in May of 2012 woke me from my life slumber. It was a dream in and of itself and I will share sometime in more detail about that experience and how I got there. But I do have a few pics and to share for now. It’s amazing how taking time for yourself to get away to a safe place with no phones… no internet… no daily routine can allow you the opportunity to hear those quiet whispers of your heart… above the struggles, disappointments and pain of life. This was a season when life seemed to be so difficult for me that at times I felt like I couldn’t breathe. This was just what I needed. I learned from a very special brave soul that I wasn’t alone, that I mattered and that it was important for me to protect my soul house.
Something very magical happened in this safe place. It’s hard to even put into words…
The time I spent with these girls who I had never met before changed me forever and I can truly say I love each and everyone of them.
Of course after a life changing experience like this I found myself back home and the daily grind of life coming in on me once again. It wasn’t until after I found myself on my knees crying out again and again, “I JUST CAN’T DO THIS!” that I was finally awoken and realized… it’s not about me. ” What? Wait? But God… I CAN NOT do this!” But He whispered to me, “Anita… It’s not about you. It’s about what I can do in and through you for My kingdom’s sake.”
So the journey of faith and obedience went to a whole new level. It’s about me daring to let go and let God. It’s about me believing He is bigger than my circumstances, my weaknesses, my fears and my pain. It’s about me waking up and not living life safe or on auto-pilot. It’s about me really believing that He wants the best for me. Not just good… or even better… but the BEST! He wants me to dream big and believe that nothing is impossible through Him. “He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to His power that is at work within us…” ~ Ephesians 3:20. It’s about holding tight to Him in faith and obedience and enjoying the ride. After all, this life is meant to be lived… not just survived.
Holley Gerth in her Book “You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream” says it perfectly when she writes, “I believe everyone has God-sized dreams. It’s not about how big or small they are, because he creates each one to perfectly fit the size of your heart.”
Don’t you just love that! It’s not anyone else’s dream. It’s mine… made just for me. It’s not me trying to “be” anyone else but me. Me being honest and authentic to who I am in Him. It’s about how He’s made my dream to perfectly fit my heart… for such a time as this. And at the same time it’s ALL about Him. I just needed to trust. I made this leather cuff while at Brave Girls Camp to wear as a reminder to trust God… in ALL areas of my life.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11
So you may be asking… so what is this dream of yours Anita?
In it’s simplest form it’s me getting back to doing art.
Art that is somehow connected to my faith. For the purpose of growing closer to the Lord. Art that touches the lives of others and shares His message of hope and love.
Like I said… it’s sized for MY heart. It may not seem like a big deal to some and for others it’s too big to imagine. I have always been a creative gal. My mom used to tell people I was born with a paint brush in my hand. I had heard her say it so much when I was a little girl that I actually believed it. She was my biggest cheerleader in life. I didn’t realize just how much so till she was no longer here on earth to cheer me on. I knew when I grew up I was going to be an artist… not really knowing what that truly meant. I’m sure at one point I thought I was going to be rich and famous. I kinda chuckle now… as starving artist seems to come to mind more.
We all go through different seasons in life and for years my art supplies had been packed up in boxes. Not to be mistaken, I was still being creative with all my papercrafting and Stampin’ Up! supplies as I scrapbooked, made cards and held workshops and classes and I will continue to do so. But my actual “art” supplies I hadn’t touched for years. And boy were they calling out to me. When doing SU! workshops I wouldn’t even let my customers know I had an art degree and had taught art because I didn’t want them to think they couldn’t do what I was doing.
But after this awakening I just had to get back to doing my art and was really drawn to mixed media. I began to read books and take on-line classes from my favorite artists including Melody Ross, Jeanne Oliver, Christy Tomlinson, Stephanie Ackerman and Kelly Rea Roberts and that along with seeing my daughter Natalie’s love of art grow I slowly unpacked those beloved art supplies and tools. It’s been fun bringing them back to life.
I have to admit it was a bit scary at first.
But I dug in and got my hands full of paint… and my heart full of joy!
I remembered how to live my beautiful life…
And then… this happened…
I got brave enough to share it with other women…
Other women that prayed for me and challenged me to take the leap. They became cheerleaders for me and refused to let my self talk my way out. It was such a blessing to teach these woman. I still don’t know where this is going to take me but I do know I must follow His whispers to my heart and soul. My hope is to, in addition to my Stampin’ Up! and papercrafting classes, to offer more art classes and even offer some art or journaling classes that are combined with a Bible study. There is just something about bringing our faith alive on a canvas that brings such joy not only to the artist but to all who see it.
At this month’s Mixed Media Art Class we will be making a beautiful pumpkin canvas just in time for your Fall decorating. I do want to add some words to these canvases below, but wanted to get the pics up to give you an idea of what we will be creating. I’d love to have you join us.
MIXED MEDIA PUMPKIN CLASS
Wednesday October 22nd
10am and 6:30pm
Class Fee $30
Please register by Oct 15th
Please feel free to Contact me if you need any more information about my classes or events.
Blessings and Happy Stamping!