"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him." James 1:2-4,12
In 2016, a dear friend of mine knew some struggles that I was going through which were medical and I was getting very frustrated over the issues. As we prayed, she also shared a song with me that she wanted me to listen to. It was by Casting Crowns and it was entitled "Just Be Held". As I listened to that song, the second verse really touched my heart.
(SECOND VERSE:)"If your eyes are on the storm, you'll wonder if I love you still, but if your eyes are on the cross, you'll know I always have and I always will. Not a tear is wasted, in time you'll understand. I'm painting beauty with the ashes, your life is in my hands."
"So when you're on your knees and answers seem so far away, you're not alone, stop holding on and just be held. Your world is not falling apart, it's falling into place. I'm on the throne, stop holding on and just be held."
"Lift your hands, lift your eyes in the storm is where you'll find me and where you are, I'll hold your heart, I'll hold your heart. Come to me and find your rest in the arms of the God who won't let go."
Through that verse, I was reminded that when I take my eyes off of Christ especially when going through a storm, I can doubt His love and whether He is there or not. Truth of the matter is, He is there and will not leave my side and it is during those times that He is taking those ashes of my difficulties, my pain or my sorrow and painting beauty from them. I have to remember to keep my eyes on the cross, on Him.
I also love the part of the song where it says, to lift my hands and eyes through the storm because that is where I'll be able to find Him. He'll HOLD my heart!!! Wow, our heart is so fragile and it is a reminder to me that even during my most fragile times in life, He is holding me close as I keep my eyes fixed on Him.
I experienced one of those fragile times that same year, when I had started to listen to that song. The LORD knew I needed that song in such an intimate way. It was the death of our granddaughter, Colette. As we drove 18 hours. straight through to get to our daughter and son in law to comfort their hearts and still cling to the promises that the LORD will work things out for good, I played that song over and over again. I asked Him, how was He going to paint beauty from these smoldering ashes of our lives. He did it by holding us close to Him to the point we could hear His heart beating so loudly that it drowned out all other noises that we did not need to hear.
In this painting, I wanted to display that thought of Him painting beauty from the ashes. This is the picture He gave me. You do not see much beauty after a forest fire. It's so sad because as you look around, all you see is gray, black, smoke and death. The last thing you would see is an orchid growing up through the ashes. Only it's CREATOR could do that and that is what is happening in this painting. The Master Artist is creating (painting) beauty from the death ( trials of our lives) that surround us. Just as an orchid is very fragile, so are our lives. Yet our Heavenly Father, holds us with such gentleness and paints beauty into our lives. We might not think at the time that there is any beauty but with time, we will understand.
When you go through a trial that you just can't see through it, look to the Master Artist, our Heavenly Father and let Him just hold you close, because He will not let go. He's "Painting Beauty with the Ashes"!
Karen's Artistic Thoughts
I decided as I was working on this website, that a blog would be a way to explain what goes through my mind as I work on each piece the Lord has laid on my heart.