Life doesn’t always go how we plan. Last year had been a rather difficult season for me. The breakdown of my marriage had ended in divorce and I was embarrassed by this failure. I was overcome with grief and I cut most my friends off Facebook. Previously moving to another country made starting over again much easier, but I had lost hope. I had been running a business / ministry called Colours of Hope, but this I packed up, closed down and deleted, because I had no hope left. I was so discouraged and disappointed with life itself. Things just had not gone the way I had planned, I just wanted to crawl under my bed and stay there.
It was during this stint under my bed, that an email came about a possible painting commission. A friend of a friend contacted me about creating a painting as a gift for her friend's birthday. This friend had helped her tremendously through a difficult season and she wanted to acknowledge the importance of this love through the creation of a painting. She had a set budget, but no restrictions other than that. The commission was entirely left up to my own interpretation and creation. The only thing was, I didn't think I could paint like that again. Didn’t she know I had given up on hope?
I didn't think I could encourage anyone with anything. My paintings had become quite dark and I didn’t think I had any hope. But something within me wanted to find my way out of the dark and I thought I may at least try. I started the painting commission and as it had been some time since I had painted with this particular style of application, I forgot one of the vital steps in the process. The whole painting cracked, a complete failure, entirely. I stormed around the house, mad and fuming. I knew I couldn't do it, I knew there was no hope.
By nature, I am not good at giving up. I considered the painting brief, the way the person had felt about her friend. The love and faithfulness she had been shown and I decided to try again. This time I would start two paintings, then I would have more chance of one being successful. I looked back through photos of my paintings over the years and realised that all my favourite ones were a particular colour palette. All the paintings that represented hope to me, were similar in colour. So I decided to start with what was obviously MY colours of hope.
I set out all the colours that represented hope to me and tried again and this time the painting was just beautiful. Feeling encouraged from the colour and beauty of my painting and the feeling it was radiating, I created another one. The person commissioning the painting could then choose which one she preferred and I would then have one in my house to encourage me.
This is the message that goes with the painting - Sometimes the roads we travel are rough, the path becomes hindered by obstacles and we feel we can never get through, but the faithfulness of friendship endures through all things. It is the love from fellow travellers that keeps us going. 'Love puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end’ (1 Cor 13:7 Msg). Love wins, faithfulness is the currency.
This is the second painting I created, ‘Finding Faith’. Creating this painting helped me to find myself again and to find my way out of the dark. But I really had to push through all the self doubt and heartache that I was feeling, especially when the first attempt failed so miserably. The lesson I learned is to just not give up! Some seasons in life can really be devastating, but you have to find within yourself, the faith, the strength and the hope to not give up, to keep believing that things will get better and to reach out to friends.
We all struggle, but we have to help each other to keep getting up. We have to celebrate each other's lives. Tomorrow could be better, you were created to be successful and your success could be the catalyst to inspire someone else, just don't give up!
Much love & strength to you