It’s been a few years since I’ve posted anything on this site. My life has been busy with many other projects over the past few years. Nevertheless, once again, I intend to communicate, through art and creativity and words, what I continue to enjoy about art and love and beauty.
As I write this, I am finishing up a three-month sabbatical from all of my paid jobs. I’m so thankful for the gift of an extended sabbatical which was given to me by our local church community, the Duluth Vineyard, and by our national leadership team at VineyardUSA. The women and men I have the privilege of working alongside are people I continue to look up to, and learn from every step of the way. I’m honored to follow their example, and incredibly thankful for this season of sabbatical.
One of the invitations I believe God invited me into during this season, if I heard correctly, was to spend time painting and/or drawing everyday throughout my time away. I distinctly remembered how, when making art was my full-time career, I would spend long days alone, talking with God about every part of my life, as I was in the process of creating. I would talk freely about my struggles or frustrations, I’d ask questions about how to resolve creative and business and relational issues, and I drift into time of worship at the gratuitous beauty of the natural world around me. In fact, as one of my spiritual directors pointed out, those times of communion with God while making art seemed to be crucial moments of clarity and direction, key pivot points of my life that I remember clearly even today.
As I began to weigh this invitation to paint everyday, I longingly looked forward to the quite and contemplative nature of painting everyday over a period of ninety plus days; looking forward to slower pace this would require, and the joy I’d experience at seeing and experiencing and interacting with God’s love in an unhurried way. So I made a tentative commitment to slow down, to notice something beautiful each day, and begin to warm up my pencils and brushes.
One of the very first days I remembered this song from years ago written by an acquaintance called, Little Things…
Seems as though our lives are changing
They’re growing faster every day
As the pace of life grows stronger
It’s the little things I let go astray
But all the little things tell me of his greatness
All the little things reveal his love to me
All the little things show me his compassion
And I know the Lord loves me
Just today he said he loved me
As I watched the rain turn into snow
Every snowflake tells a story
They’re saying God is in control
Though consider now the sparrow
The Father feeds her everyday
He has told her that he loves her
But he loves me in a greater way
And I know the Lord loves me
I know the Lord loves me
Little Things, A Quiet Encounter
As I have spent the past few weeks drawing and painting, as I make art and reflect on the amazing beauty of the “little things” all around me, I’m continually drawn to trust and to rely on his love and provision in every single area of my life.
Here are a few of the pieces hanging in my studio presently…
Awesome, Michael. Slowing down helps us to hear God’s voice better. Slowing down is a daily practice, but extended times are rare and more acute. May the Lord continue to draw you even closer to Him. Enjoy!
So true! It’s great to hear from you, Alexi! I think that one of the reasons I found this such a wonderful time is that it is the culmination of daily and weekly practice of sabbath I’ve worked to incorporate all along. And the acuteness of this extended time has been fascinatingly glorious!!