Throughout the past few days, I’ve been working on an abstract painting. Though I should preface that statement by admitting that I’m not an artist, at least not in the realm of painting. I strive to see the beauty in the everyday, and I find immense joy when I’m stringing along words or pulling the viewfinder to my eye. But painting … let’s be honest, I barely know the first thing about it.
Nevertheless, we have a large wall in our dining room that really needed a statement piece of artwork. And when I couldn’t find anything similar to what I had in mind, I decided to try my hand at my own creation.
So I pulled out my set of cheap brushes, the handles splattered with paint by the hands of inexperience. And then I selected a few tubes of acrylics from my meager collection, primary colors that blend into subtle shades of pastels and earth tones when mixed with pure white.
I originally opted to recreate this abstract DIY, but it didn’t turn out as I’d hoped. My blending was rough and unnatural; the top three-fourths of my canvas flat and uninteresting. So I set it aside to dry, and then I came back, wielding a paintbrush once more in my inexperienced hands. And this time, I decided to approach the canvas with more of my own emotion, rather than attempting to mimic a formula. Slowly I dipped the brush into the paint and began layering on color, covering the old that was underneath. I rinsed the brush then reapplied, blended colors on a paper-plate palette and watched as they bled together, revealing subtle tonalities and interesting nuances. In some places my brushstrokes completely covered the original creation, and in other places the layers beneath showed through, creating depth and texture. The rhythm of it all was soothing—mix, dip, paint, rinse, dab, blend—and slowly a new abstract creation began to take shape.
And isn’t that kind of what God does in our own lives? The canvas of our life is marred with mistakes, feelings of failure, shortcomings, disappointments, anxieties, deep hurts, regrets. And the master artist, He who painted the flaming sunset in brilliant shades of breathtaking hues, He who splashed mountains out across vast plains, He begins to paint our canvas in shades of grace. In His hands, the marred ugliness that was within is transformed into a moving masterpiece. He paints over abandonment with the brushstroke of eternal adoption, over loss with new life, despair with hope, fear with protection, heartbreak with joy. The old passes away and the new is revealed. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.
I need to be mindful of this truth, committing it to memory, burning it upon my heart … this passing away of the old, this revealing of the new. I’m so thankful that He paints over the ugly, that He makes beauty from ashes, that He turns mourning into singing, that He transforms despair into joy.
If you’re hurting or discouraged today, this word is for you: In His hands, the old has passed away, the new has come. Behold the beauty of the new creation!
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.”
- Isaiah 61:1-3
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Curious about the final version of the painting? You can view it on my Instagram feed.