Sometimes it takes longer to process the meaning that a painting holds, than it actually takes to create the piece.
After several weeks of mulling this one over in my head, it has finally become clear to me what this little Primrose Painting has to say.
This painting is the third in a series of three botanicals pieces which are snapshots taken from inside my painting studio.
The flowers in the bowl are a little primrose plant I found unexpectedly while getting groceries in February. I brought home this living bouquet of spring during the same week I learned some heartbreaking news. A dear woman I had admired from a distance — had finally completed the endurance test that had been put before her over the past two years.
Her story has the most bittersweet of all possible endings. She left behind her a hole in the hearts of so many; a hole that will never be filled here on earth. But for this strong, amazing woman — HER final story ends with a complete happiness and true LIFE we will never be able to comprehend until we ourselves arrive in heaven too.
What was it about this woman that was so attractive?
I only knew her from a distance, but from what was confirmed to me at her memorial service, she lived life spending her heart’s energy on nurturing those who came across her path.
Knowing the little that I do about her and her beautifully fruitful life, I am confident she would deny any accolades.
How is it that some people just seem to exude characteristics which are so appealing to so many?
[And so often, without even trying?]
A very wise person once told me, “these unexplained happenings are visible pictures of God’s grace.”
This one woman, who touched so many lives in her short 60-some years here on earth, was far from perfect. She was a regular person, with regular frustrations, unmet needs, and real fears. Yet she CHOSE to open her heart and mind to God, by investing her time and energy into a life-long pursuit of learning more about WHO he is and WHAT he is like.
As a result of her persistent pursuit to KNOW God more, his love flowed into her. And then flowed out her. Touching those around her with the kind of NURTURE that can only be described as “from above.”
Imperfections and all, she was used by God. In ways she probably didn’t ever comprehend.
I don’t know this woman well enough to even want to guess as to which was her favorite flower here on earth. So to name this little Primrose painting after her feels much too forward of me.
But I do know enough of her to say with confidence — she would love for this flower to be a reminder to me (and YOU) of the importance of taking the time that is needed to nurture your soul.
I am also quite sure she would give all the credit to any nurturing she may have inadvertently did for others, as a direct result of God’s power and goodness in her life.
Even in her last months of life, when her mind wasn’t fully what it had been before her illness, the love of God was still flowing out of her. Touching those who cared for her as a visual picture of God’s grace. A residual effect from decades of nurturing her own soul with deposits of new-found knowledge she intentionally sought to learn about her creator.
This painting poses a question.
[Both to myself. And to you.]
“What can I do to nurture my soul TODAY — so that it is ready to nurture those around me?”
For me, in this season of life, it looks like stopping all the mind-sucking planning which is the default setting on my over-active, creative brain. And then stopping all the “doing.” Both of these with the intent to LISTEN to what God has been trying to teaching me.
These days I don’t feel like I am even remotely close to being able to nurture anyone. Especially not in ways that would have a lasting impact. But for that life-changing kind of nurture to be real, and true, and timeless — it probably isn’t my responsibility to orchestrate anyway.
My responsibility is to prepare my soul by feeding it from God’s word. And then having a willing heart which is open to the opportunities he places in front of me.
[Big OR small.]
Fortunately, the size will always be in tune with what God knows I can handle at the particular stage of life I am in the midst of.
So to those of you who are now left with a gaping hole in your hearts from the loss of ANY amazing woman (or man) who has touched your life with the love of Christ, my prayer is that you would follow her example. And do this…
Prepare your mind to be ready. And guard your heart.
“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’” — I Peter 1:13-16
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.” —Proverbs 4:23-27
Just like the daily effort it takes to create a painting, so it is with the heart. “Little by little” is all that the heart needs, to eventually make big changes.
[Here it is in progress. My painting called “Nurture.”]
If you would like to have a copy of this little Primrose painting as a calendar to be used during the month of May, click here to download your own copy.
Until next time…
To see my entire gallery of paintings, visit www.mariescottstudios.com