You might be wondering why, besides my journey, why anyone else wold want to paint their stories in a way that recognizes God's involvement?
Let's look at the Book of Joshua, Chapters 3 & 4. Just for a little context, at this point, Joshua is leading the Israelites as they follow God on their journey to inhabit the promised land. Moses had died, and Joshua is now their leader.
They are about to cross the Jordan River and the water is in the flood stage... God had told them to cross the river, but if they just looked at the river, they might get wrapped up in the situation of trying to cross a flooded river... all while carrying the Ark of the Covenant.
As soon as the Israelites take action, and their feet touch the water, the Jordan River parts, and they walk across on dry land.
After the last of the Israelites has crossed the river, then God stops the Jordan from flowing downstream, creating a wall of water, and tells Joshua to have a man from each Tribe pick out a stone, 12 stones total, and carry them to their camp for the night, as a reminder of what God just did in creating a wall of water of the Jordan River by cutting off the upstream water so that they could cross the Jordan River on dry land.
You may have your own journey where God has called you to across a flooding river, you may have already had that experience, or you may have and forgotten or you may think because you haven't, that this message or the workshop doesn't apply.
God can remind you in the workshop of your experiences with Him.
He designed us to be humans. He knows our strengths and our weaknesses, both individually, and as the human race. It is NOT A SURPRISE to Him that we tend to forget - just look at how many time the Israelites forgot!
Have you ever heard of muscle memory? My husband was a bodybuilder, so he likes to talk about muscle memory, and how over time, if you have been using your muscles, and then stop for a time, it will take less effort to rebuild those muscles to what they were before because you have build the memory of exercising into those muscles.
In the case of this workshop, what you are building is memory muscles - memory muscles of God's perspective, or involvement in your life.
God provided to us a way to remember through having physical reminders of those experiences, as well as taking opportunities to remember and share with others, just like the Israelites' stones that they gathered from the middle of the Jordan River, and God's command for them to tell each other, their kids and grandkids about what God had done... in their lives, specifically. In fact, the physical reminder, via the stones, was a way for their children in the future to ask them what those stones mean, so even if the Israelites forgot to tell their children, there was a physical memorial to trigger that question!
Some people call these "Stones of Remembrance".
And the paintings that you create in the workshop will be your stones.
To remind yourself, to tell others, for people to ask about, to have something to remind you when times get tough, or to encourage others, when they are going through tough things... that God IS involved... and not just one time, but over the course of our lives...
Here's the thing, you may not be able to remember His involvement in a particular story in your life right now. That is Okay! Sign-up anyway and you will find out what it is during the workshop!
Maybe you think you have a preconceived idea of what it will be, sign-up and find out what it is for sure!
And maybe you can only think of one off the top of your head, you can have three by the time you leave the workshop!
And why do we paint three paintings, and not one or two? To remind you that it is more than a coincidence, more than the beginning of a trend, it happens over, and over. And after having experienced this workshop, then maybe you'll have clearer eyes to see in the future His involvement when it happens again!
You may think... "Oh, I'm in a good place right now, I don't need this... I'll come back when I need it.." Think about the Israelites - did God tell them to do it while in the midst of the story? No. Afterwards, when they were back in a place of comfort is when He told them to pile the stones.
What about those of you that have come through the fire and out the other side? You may think "I have such a close relationship with Him, I don't need that to remember... we never know what the future may hold, but also, it's not just for you! God told the Israelites to remember to retell the story, for them, for their kids and grandkids. So it's not just for you, it's for others as well - maybe to encourage your actual kids and grandkids, or maybe your friends, your co-workers, or spiritual kids, or maybe you teach Sunday School, or a home group, or maybe you end up in a conversation in a coffee shop, or at the gym, or in the grocery store, or at the playground, and you realize that if you told your story, that they might be encouraged by that.
So this is your opportunity to encourage yourself and others, maybe they are not as far along in their journey with God, or maybe they are in the midst of the fire... this is your opportunity to be a good steward and help others. Because you never know how God will use your story in other people's lives.. and maybe it's a phrase, or what you paint that resonates with them. God can use ANY OF IT. So don't prejudge what story, or what it needs to be for Him to use it. What He first needs is your willingness, and He will provide the content and the opportunity.
So sign-up and come, and paint those stories! If this resonates with you, sign-up!
If you feel nervous, excited or scared and want to run the other way, acknowledge that and sign-up anyway! Sometimes what we need the most we resist. God can meet you where you are at, He is big enough. So risk and sign-up. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
And in case you need a visual of what it might have looked like to cross the Jordan River, see below... I painted this painting "A Path Amidst the Waves" back in July 2018. I will tell that story on another day. But the basic premise is that God was not getting me out of a situation I wanted out of, instead He was cutting off the water, and creating a path for me to follow... and as I was writing this, I realized that painting could be a physical representation of the Jordan River!
And no, your paintings do NOT have to look like mine! (And you should have seen mine when I first started! And there are many accomplished artists further in their journey. NO ARTISTIC TALENT OR PAINTING EXPERIENCE IS NEEDED to accomplish your paintings or determine the meaning behind them.) Each person's paintings and their experiences are unique, come find out what yours is!
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Let's see what stories God reminds you of and where He was involved or what He wants you to remember!
Looking forward to seeing you at my next Art Workshop!
Originally Published Oct 30, 2018