#14: Creativity and Split Personalities

I didn’t know I was an artist until months ago. I’ve been writing my whole life (fiction for half a decade), but after years of being told I wasn’t any good at art (What 5-year-old paints like Vincent Van Gogh?!), I was pretty shocked when God told me in November to start hand lettering.

The first thing I did was Google “What is hand lettering?” because I had no idea. Upon seeing the results, I thought to myself: Was that really God? I’m pretty sure He knows I’m not an artist. That night, the Holy Spirit woke me up: It was Me you heard, and here’s your first project. He gave me a picture of a canvas piece to make for my best friend for Christmas. I made it, and the lettering turned out beautiful. Turns out I can hand letter! 🙂

But I write this to say it’s tricky switching hats between being a writer and an artist. If a stranger walked into our office,  they’d think I have split personalities: My art desk is covered in beautiful paintings and intricately woven, hand lettered Bible verses, and my writing desk is covered in chicken-scratch notes about murder, WMDs, vandalism, fighting techniques, and various weapons. (I was waiting for a knock on the door from the FBI when I was researching lethal homemade gasses.) Sometimes it’s soothing to listen to podcasts while making art, but when writing, all the yapping can really mess up how you read the words.

Being that I’m a parent, I guzzle coffee as soon as my last child is down for the night. (Don’t worry: I pop melatonin a few hours later and still konk out.) I’m used to drinking coffee whenever I work, but–being an artist–I now have to take certain precautions that I hadn’t thought about before. Like last night. I was flicking paint on a project, and noticed that specks travelled a lot farther than they had in the past. I wiped them off the areas they weren’t supposed to be and didn’t think much of it . . . Until I reached for my go-go juice. Before the glass reached my lips, I panicked and lowered it to check for specks of white on a sea of brown.Yes, I’ll take my iced chocolate mocha with a side of paint, please. Glossy finish. Matte’s a little hard on the throat. Thankfully, it was clean. The paint says it’s non-toxic, and I think maybe an artist found that out the hard way. 🙂

(P.S. The picture shown was my second hand lettering project, and my first using watercolor. There are areas to improve, and that’s what makes creativity fun!)

(P.S.S. It should go without saying, but please don’t steal my work!)

image

Advertisements

#8: The Lazarus Pregnancy

image

“I raise the dead.”

Those are the words I heard almost every day for weeks in May of 2015. God would whisper them in my ear at the most random times and always when I was busy. (Not that I’m ever not busy, but I digress.)

“I raise the dead,” He reminded me during dishes and laundry and brushing my teeth. “I raise the dead,” He affirmed before telling me to read John 11:32. I opened my Bible to the passage and read about Jesus weeping and calling Lazarus out of the tomb.

My response was always “Yes, God. I know You raise the dead. It’s in the Bible.”

But reading about it and watching God live it in your life are two entirely different things.

While putting clothes in the dryer, I looked through the window and noticed a dead bird in our backyard. It was a beautiful robin. And it was dead, lying motionless on its side with a wing bent backward. It looked like it had been mangled by a dog. Right away, I wanted to host a bird funeral, complete with a robin-sized coffin and really sad music. (Okay, maybe just proper and humane disposal.)

I ran to my husband.

“Honey, there’s a dead bird in our yard.”

My husband, feeling a little less sympathetic than I was, responds with: “It probably just hit a window.”

“I’ve seen plenty of birds post-window-collision, and this isn’t it. It’s dead.” (The bird was at least eight feet from the window and under trees.)

Husband: “Okay. I’ll take care of it in an hour.”

I returned to the bathroom window and mourned my dead friend. The poor guy died a barbaric death and can’t even get a timely funeral.

I went back to putting clothes in the dryer when that whisper returned: “I raise the dead. Look out the window.” I shot to the window and couldn’t believe my eyes: The bird stood up and disappeared into the woods! Its wing snapped back into place without any hint of pain.

That was the last time I heard God whisper those four little but powerful words. . . for a while.

A week or so later, I found out I was pregnant with our second child. (I didn’t know it at the time, but I was pregnant every time God had said those words.)

I was expecting the child, as the Lord had told me previously about a little girl named Lydia who would join us in May. I wasn’t sure which year it would be, but I was ready in May and at the end of that month–ta-da!–we found out we had conceived her.

July came and we had a birthday party scheduled to celebrate our daughter’s first birthday. The day before, something went wrong. I called my doctor, and they said the worst: “It sounds like you’re probably having a miscarriage and you’ll lose your baby soon. Rest and take it easy. I’m sorry.” Their voice was full of compassion and sorrow, bringing tears to my eyes. I mentioned the birthday party we were having, and they suggested we cancel it because I wouldn’t want company when I hit the thick of it.

I hung up and told my husband. I could’ve swept the pieces of his heart off the floor. I rested on the couch and cried. I didn’t want to look outside, but I did and I saw a bird.

The whisper returned: “I raise the dead. You’re not losing your baby. Get up and get ready for that party!”

My husband’s jaw fell when he saw me get up and start cleaning.

“What are you doing?!!”

“Cleaning.”

“For what?”

“The party.”

“But didn’t the doctor just say? . . .”

“Yes, and then I heard from God. We’re not losing Lydia.”

His eyes filled with hope and he joined in the preparations.

The symptoms stopped and we had the party.

Three days later, I had a pregnancy checkup. They asked how I was doing with crestfallen faces.

“Good!” I said with a smile.

“The symptoms?”

“Stopped.” Still smiling and laidback, because God does this all the time. (Just read the Bible.)

“The baby?”

“Still in there.”

Confusion abounded, then–with a shake of their head–it was replaced with relief.

Later that appointment, through routine pregnancy blood testing, the doctor discovered I had a major illness–life-threatening if left undiagnosed or ignored.

If I had told God I didn’t want Lydia (my heart hurts just writing that hypothetical sentence; I can’t imagine never knowing her), there’s no telling when we would’ve found the disease.

This story is a large part of my testimony that I’ll be sharing soon, but I want it known now that God saved me and my daughter.

He is still in the business of raising the dead.