Free to Hope

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
ROMANS 15:13

 

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“Free to Hope” 5×7 oil, Prints Available

Lingering darkness, broken promises and unmet needs can leave us afraid to hope. Here, we lose the ability to believe things will get better. But our Storywriter is the God of hope and He extends to us the freedom of an abundant life. A life not separate from pain, but a life lived believing He’s writing a story that will have an ending so beautiful we cannot yet imagine.

With Christ, we have the freedom to hope that the darkness will lift, that He will keep His promises and that He is the only one who can meet all of our needs. No matter what occurs, God is our constant source of hope, joy and peace and in believing Him, we can freely soar in that hope even during the midnights of our lives.

 

••••

I used to be two different persons and this is the painting that began the process of bringing my two halves together. For years, I used my art to block out and push away parts of my life that I was tired of dealing with. Becky {as my friends and family know me} was a broken woman and she was absolutely banned from entering the art studio. That room was Rebecca’s happy place, where only pretty things could enter.

Rebecca could not be bothered by Becky’s morose countenance. The fear, shame and all the other foul bags Becky lugged around ruined any chance for painting or graphic design work to be completed. Plus, who wanted to be around that? Not Rebecca. Having no shame, nothing to hide, no fear {aside from the fear of success, of course}, Rebecca was doing herself a service by providing some needed respite. She had healthy boundaries and the calm studio needed to be protected.

This seemed like a good arrangement. Becky stayed outside the studio walls and worked on her own healing in the trenches while Rebecca enjoyed the relief of escape.  Yes, this was healthy. Until it was not.

Rebecca became numb and her art started to feel shallow.
Becky needed an outlet to help her express and process what she was learning.
They were both slowly dying without each other.

One day while Rebecca was setting up a still life, Becky entered the studio and started giving suggestions. Before either of them knew what was happening, the first collaborative painting between the two began and in the space of a few sessions, Rebecca painted what was on Becky’s heart and Free to Hope was created.

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Setting up all of the still life objects in their intended frame helped me make sure colors and elements were right for each other.

••••

A simple key and feather suspended in front of a cautiously cheery fabric symbolized to me that God was doing a new thing. The key gave me freedom from the bondage of hopelessness and the feather implies moving on in flight.

During some of my darkest years, I noticed an unintentional obsession with some new colors: one being aqua. Soft colors were soothing and aqua was that one shade that continually caught my attention over and over. Smother me in soft aqua, please.

••••

As I painted, parts of me began coming back to life. I started believing that my midnight would one day be over. And if I decided, I could turn the key I’d already been given and walk out of that hopeless prison and soar. Not because my circumstances have changed, but because my trust was in Someone who keeps His promises. He had promised me abundant life – that’s not dependent on what’s going on in my life. He promised me joy in the morning – so I know it’s coming. He promised me His everlasting love and His unwavering presence – so I know I won’t be alone. While painting and thinking on what being free to hope meant to me, my emotions started lining up with the truth.

Hope came.

Now, my once “happy-place” has become one of my “healing places”. It’s hard work and it’s painful, but that’s healing for you, isn’t it? Often healing is harder to endure than the injury. But there’s a purpose and an end in sight, and now I see there’s reason to hope.

••••

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