Please bear with me as I set the stage for something amazing. Some of you may know that I’ve been taking oil painting classes since 2010. It has been an adventure, for sure. I’ve seen my artistic ability soar under the tutelage of a master painter trained in Florence, Italy at the Accademia. This is the home of Michelangelo’s sculpture of David. I have had life lessons on top of life lessons. From submitting to authority to being released from a spirit of perfectionism, this weekly class has been for me much more than oil on canvas; it’s a spiritual journey.
Painting of Lady Agnew
Currently I am painting Lady Agnew of Lochnaw by John Singer Sargent. If you remember, we spoke about this painting on the Shulamite Podcast. Martha and I flew specifically to Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas to view her. We spent all day with this one exquisite piece of art. Lady Agnew is utterly captivating and the Spirit dramatically impacted both Martha and myself when we viewed her. And currently I’m enjoying painting her.
Part of my painting process is to display my work on an easel in the center of my house so I can look at my painting all week long. I do this to try to get a vision of where I want to go. I literally look at my painting every day to see what needs to be developed. It’s really helpful. And Lady Agnew is no different. She has sat propped up for me to view, from my first drawing of her until now.
While I was editing Martha’s newest series, Experiencing the Depths of the Lord’s Prayer, I couldn’t help but look over at Lady Agnew constantly. She’s just so beautiful! Though I don’t have a perfect likeness yet, I am so pleased with what I have accomplished. I literally couldn’t take my eyes off of her. And with that I felt the Lord whispering to my heart. It was one of those whisperings that makes you reflect, more than know. It wasn’t like I heard a specific word; it was more like my heart was pricked. I then asked God, “Do You look at me like that?”
Lady Agnew: Do YOU Look at Me like that?
This painting is my creation and I am God’s creation. Does He look at me like I’m looking at my painting? Does He stare at me fondly, treasuring me, and delighting in my process, the process of His creation? My painting of Lady Agnew is a two dimensional oil on canvas which I’m delighting in, but I am God’s living, breathing creation. I am formed and fashioned by Him. His Life sustains my very breath. So does He not delight in me even more?
Then I got convicted, because here I am staring at an unfinished painting, rejoicing in the process and delighting in my work so far. Yet how often do I believe that God isn’t doing the same about me? Why can we more easily believe in His disappointment over His delight? Why can we more readily imagine His frown than His Fatherly pleasure? We focus on our flaws and on what we lack rather than rejoicing in our “now.” But I shouldn’t attribute these characteristics to my Heavenly Father. They aren’t His.
God didn’t create me simply to exercise His frown. He created me because He delights in me. He rejoices in my process, in the working of His Life into mine. The Bible says, I am His masterpiece and you are His masterpiece. He takes great delight in every stroke He paints into our lives. He is not our critic, He is our loving Father, a Masterpiece-Maker.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.
Ephesians 2:10 NLT
Let the King be enthralled by your beauty; honor Him, for He is your Lord.
Psalms 45:11 NIV
I am my Beloved’s, And His desire is for me.
Song of Solomon 7:10
I will never be the same! This whole experience has rocked my world. Love it!
What a captivating story John. Ephesians 2:10 is one of my most favorite verses and you have opened up so much treasure from it. I’d love to see your interpretation of the Lady.
you…have moved me
Simply beautiful and music to my heart.