The Joy of the Lord Is My Strength
Our church nursery had plane walls. I had painted scenes on the walls of my house and our previous church so I approached Pastor Steve and asked if I could paint something to cheer up the nursery. He and the board approved and said you are the artist do what you feel is right. I prayed about it and felt to do cartoon figures. I had always wanted to do cartoons but my insecurity and fear of man kept me painting more realistic work. The mural I did in my previous church was an aquarium and I began there to get some cartoons going, such as lobsters wearing running shoes and octopuses talking on the cell phone.
I asked the church for help and Ursula volunteered.
Once a week and some times twice we talked, painted, talked some more, painted and mostly bounced ideas off each other, and laughed. A friendship had developed. I had recently heard that friendships in churches are developed more by working together than having social gatherings. This was true here.
I had decided from the beginning that I wasn’t going to let fear of man control what I did. I just wanted to enjoy the process and have fun. I wanted the joy of the Lord to show in these walls. After all it is for the kids.
I needed to get out of my box. This first thing that got me out was painting turtles purple with dark purple poke-o-dots instead of a green shell.
It was a great joy working with Ursula. It was also enjoyable watching her grow. I had grown full circle in my art and I wanted to pay it forward. In the beginning Ursula would ask me if her grass was to my liking. And it was. Quickly Ursula grew from asking to doing her own thing. She added flowers to her grass, painted over 70 bumble bees and even shading a some mushrooms.
Bouncing ideas off each other helped the wall to develop. When Ursula suggested we put in spider, I asked where? The walls were filling up, but why not a spider? I found just the right space on the door and the web could attach to the clay pot we had. It needed something on the other side so it wouldn’t flap in the wind. Ursula grew again. She drew a large lily which we could spin a web to.
Lot’s was going on in this room, lady bugs, spiders, caterpillar, worms, and bumblebees. Why stop there, some ants we did need, an ant worship band over the counter as a back splash, complete with worm singers.
Ursula and I painted around the room and we grew in our creativity. God is the creator of this universe. And look what he has created. He also created us in his image and since part of his image is a creator than we too are creators. The problem is this world in full of critics who tell us what we should do and how we should do it. These people had controlled me most of my life and I believed I had no talent.
God desires to bless us abundantly with everything including our gifts. Like the three men given the talents,(Matt 25;15-29) we too can choose what to do with ours. We can fear the master and bury them, which is what I used to do, or we can invest in them and God will grow them. Ursula and I started by picking up the paint brush and dipping it into the paint and God blessed our talent and grew us in it. If we hadn’t volunteered to do the nursery not only would the walls remain plain, but we wouldn’t have grown in our friendship or our God given talent.
If we feel a nudge to do something it can only lead to blessings if we obey that nudge.
Three months later we signed the wall and said ‘It is finished’, but not our friendship or talent.
Fear not for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Just do it.
Pastor Steve Barkley has posted my article on out churches website, www.wspc.ca, where you will find many other inspiring articles.