I did not always consider myself to be an artist. Although I have always enjoyed arts and crafts, finding a medium I liked and finding a style all my own was always a challenge. If anyone ever asked me—and probably if they ask me now—”artist” is not the first word that I will use to describe myself. I would tell you that I’m a writer, but not an artist. To me, artists always seemed to be those people who knew what they were doing. I thought that when an artist picks up their paintbrush or pencil, they could express the image in their mind perfectly on the canvas or paper. However, as I’ve been on somewhat of an art journey with my Creator, I’m learning that perhaps art–and life–is about surrendering ideals, outcomes, and control to the King of the Universe.
My art journey began in the summer of 2013 when a desire burned within me to express my thoughts and feelings visually. Since the sixth grade, I had always expressed myself through writing. However, the LORD radically changed my life last year and expressing what I felt and thought about those changes often went beyond words. Visual art felt like the right outlet. I have always enjoyed drawing, however, I have never been able to get my drawings to align perfectly with what I visualize in my mind. Drawing was always a frustrating task to me. At the end of the day, I am just a firstborn perfectionist! I use to envy artists who could draw life-like pictures. Even watching my youngest sister, Emily, I would marvel at the acrylic paintings and manga drawings she produced. Why did I have such a hard time with art, when technically, I had the ability to draw?
One day, when I was just about bursting at the seams, the Father said to me, “Don’t try to draw like everyone else. Find your own style. Try to express what you feel as best you can.” He was encouraging me to think outside of the box, outside of the mold presented to me through high school art classes. I clearly could not draw life-like drawings. I could not paint what I saw in my head. There were only certain mediums I felt comfortable working with. However, what if I sat down to draw and just let go of the outcome? What if I went through an entire sketchpad until I found what worked for me? Not what worked for Van Gough, Picasso, da Vinci, or even my sister, but what worked for me. In retrospect, this is common sense, and in general has become the theme for these last few years of growth in the LORD. But in the area of art, this was brand-new territory and a life-changing concept.
As it turned out, it didn’t take an entire sketchbook to figure out a style I could work with. It took a few drawings for me to let go of the outcome and just produce something. Each page was a different adventure. With each drawing I learned something new—about myself, about the medium I used, and about God Himself.
The last six weeks have had a similar flavor. After a wonderful sister-in-Yeshua heard that I was going to follow the Creator’s nudge and let Him take my creativity in an exciting direction, she graciously sowed into my work. She sent me enough money to invest in some art supplies. It was a little daunting purchasing products that professional artists use. God was calling me to produce pieces which He could speak through; I figured I had better take that seriously. It was even more daunting to sit down and let the Father work through me to create pieces for other people. The Father had laid it on my heart that the first few pieces I produced would be gifts.
The first piece created was called “Shine.” A couple at my church recently got married and I felt led to create a shadowbox piece to visually express the prophetic word the LORD had given me for them. There were a few technical hiccups but throughout the creation of this piece I was surprised how I actually did not like what was coming out on the paper. The colors and design were beautiful but somehow, something in me felt like it wasn’t right. I didn’t feel anything was right until everything was glued into place, the artwork set into the shadowbox, and the entire piece anointed and prayed over. Once my hands were done working on the piece, I was able to step back and admire it.
The same feeling followed me while creating a ketubah for another couple at my church. A week before the wedding, I wondered what the LORD had gotten me into. The ketubah was a visual representation of the vows two people were making to each other. Who was I to be crafting their wedding contract? I had already prayed about the colors the LORD wanted me to use for the piece. They had felt right when I first chose them, but as the drawing was coming to life, the entire creation process suddenly felt so foreign to me. This piece didn’t find its place in my heart until the day the groom came to pick it up for the wedding rehearsal. As I handed the finished piece to him, I suddenly felt as if I was handing over a newborn child. Five minutes later, I found myself crying and wondering what I was feeling. It took some time for me to begin to see the impact of this journey that I have begun.
Butterfly Mind Designs is about partnering with my Creator–the first and true Artist. Every piece I make is about what He wants to express. It is truly an honor to just be a vessel and let the LORD teach me how to create. I can ask for no better mentor. It requires giving up control of what each piece of art needs to look like. It requires leaving my opinions behind and just being. Amazing things can happen when I actually humble myself and let the King of the Universe lead.
I think this is also true of our lives. Every day is like a blank canvas. What if we just let go of the outcome and let the Divine Artist decide what our lives are going to look like? What would happen if we let Him express some unique facet of His personality and creativity through us? We are made in His image and likeness after all (Genesis 1:26). What if we stop trying to fit into a mold, do everything like everyone else, and let our Creator show us how He designed us to live? He loves us, wants the best for us, but above all wants to speak to and through us each day. What if we actually let Him?