"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." John 3:16-17 (KJV)
When I first set out to create this painting, I knew it would be the story of my salvation. I had put my faith and trust in Jesus Christ as a child. I never felt my story was anything big because I was a kid when I got saved. Yes, He saved me from a lot of the horrors that others have gone through before getting saved when they were adults, but none the less, as I look back, I do see how I was broken. Maybe I didn’t look broken on the outside, but on the inside, I was a vessel with so many cracks, it was a wonder that I didn’t fall apart! Let me tell you my STORY OF REDEEMPTION!
In July, many years ago, a nine year old girl listened as her mother shared the Gospel with her family that she was visiting with. This little girl was me. As I listened to my mother share her faith and stating that my brother and I were also saved, it was at that moment, my eyes were opened to the fact that I was a sinner, in need of a Savior! Unfortunately, I allowed fear to keep me from going to my mom to tell her that I was not saved. I was filled with guilt not just because of the realization of my sin but with the feeling that I had made my mother lie to her family, even though she had thought that I was already saved. I kept this fear hidden in my heart and did not share it with anyone.
I had the opportunity to go to a Bible camp that summer and the LORD placed me in the right cabin. In this cabin was another girl that was searching also! Not only did He put me in the right cabin, but He had been preparing my heart all summer for the messages I would be hearing that week as I had been reading the book, "Pilgrim's Progress" by John Bunyan. The evangelist talked about Pilgrim's Progress and tied in the salvation message at the end.
As we were all sitting on the bunk beds ready to pray and talk about the message, our counselor asked if anyone had any questions. I wanted so much to know how to be saved but was afraid to ask. That girl that was also searching, raised her hand and asked how to get saved!!! I couldn't believe it! Someone else wanted to know too!!! So our counselor shared Romans 3:23, that "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Then she shared how God loved us so much, that He sent His one and only Son, Jesus to be born here on this earth so that He could take the punishment for all our sins. All we had to do was admit that we were sinners, ask for His forgiveness and accept Jesus as our Savior. That night, on August 9th, many years ago, I admitted that I was a sinner in need of a Savior and asked Jesus to be my Savior. Life has not always been easy since then, but He has been there with me every step of the way, being patient with me and showing me His truths. There have been times, that He has had to hold me so close to Him, that I could hear His "heart beating"!
Several years ago, while my church choir was singing a song titled, "Power of the Cross", I saw a picture in my head and knew the LORD wanted me to paint it! It's amazing how the LORD leads me to paint or draw something to tell His story. This time He wanted me to tell my story of redemption. I was excited but nervous. I went and bought the canvas and then it just sat in my studio. I would look at it and knew that at some point I would need to work on this painting.
I had envisioned a cross with my hands in shackles in a position as if I was kneeling on the ground with my hands outstretched. Every time I thought about working on it, I allowed fear to set in and put the canvas away. Finally in the spring of 2019, the LORD in His still small voice told me that it was time for me to paint it. I had to get down on my knees and ask the LORD to forgive me for allowing fear to grip me so tight and to help me paint what HE WANTED me to paint.
I started sketching out on the canvas what I was to paint. I was still going to paint the cross with my hands in broken shackles. The LORD, though, had other plans. After I had painted my hands, I started to work on the shackles, but had no peace. As I sat there looking at what I had already done, I started praying. I felt such brokenness AND that is when the LORD laid on my heart what He wanted me to do. I started to paint cracks in my arms going up to my hands as if my arms and hands were clay vessels. I then thought how Jesus reached down from the cross with His hands as His grace embraced me and how He has never let go since that moment.
My thought was to hopefully sell it at an art show I was in, but the LORD once again had other ideas. Three months after I had painted it and had shown it at the art show, the LORD laid on my heart to donate it to a place that dealt with addiction and healing. I had gone to a meeting to encourage a friend of mine and instead I was encouraged in ways I never thought possible. That is when the LORD showed me that this painting was not meant for a private home, but for a place where the broken come, giving hope to all who see it. This painting depicts the truth of salvation. It doesn't matter what we have or have not done, salvation is for ALL!!! The nail holes on the cross represent the depth of pain He went through for us because of our sins and yet He reaches down to us in all our brokenness. In His grace, He embraces us with His redemption. We come Broken, but grace holds us now!
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.