Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Because I can't hold a paintbrush and cameras as the same time

Oil painting truly feeds my soul.
So, last Friday I took my first real day off in I don't know how long.  Strangely enough, it just happened to fall on the 18th birthday of one of my art students who I have a very close relationship with.

For weeks, this student (and her best friend) have been talking and planning for the birthday and trying to come up with something really amazing and exciting to do. Some time along the way the offered me an invitation to be a part of all of what would be happening. I was hesitant to take them up on the offer for a myriad of reasons: I wasn't even sure I would really have the day free to spend with them... I wasn't sure I would really want to do whatever they ended up doing... If I did have the day off, (I was convinced) it would be better spent catching up on my non-teaching work and edit wedding and portrait shoots that I've just recently done in my (now defunct) professional photography career.

(Note: None of my reasons had to do with the fact that my school would "frown upon" or even officially disapprove of me spending time with my students in a more personal/beyond school type of thing. This is because my school strongly encourages and fosters an environment for relationships to both develop and exist that go much more in the way of discipleship than just being traditional teacher-student relationships. There are (of course) lines that can't and should never be crossed but for the most part? It's not unusual for teachers and students at my school to forge relationships with the kids that stretch far beyond the classroom and sometimes very much into our own personal time and space. My school is a school COMMUNITY and the community part is strongly emphasized.)

As I said last week, I have needed to make some changes and have a break from so many of the things that I have been doing with and of my life. I have been seriously dissecting it and seeing it for what it all is. The thing that I have come to is that I need to stop defining myself with what I do/can do and also by what I have. Why? Because all of those things easily negate who I am - a follower of Christ and His teachings - on any given day of the week. It's easy for me to say that I am a disciple of Christ but it's a lot harder to actually BE on. Why? Because that means that I have to put myself and all of my needs, wants, and deepest desires aside (and, let's face it) as far away from myself as possible. This is hard for me because I am so hard-headed and also easily distracted - which constantly draws my gaze, attention, and energy from whatever God is calling me to do. If I let Him though? He will scrape me clean and make me new so that I can be ready for whatever He wants me to do.

My very dirty oil painting palette that took me FIVE rounds of scraping in cleaning until it was acceptable to use. 

All of that being said, I have (obviously) felt convicted and struggled with the things I know He has called me to do with my life. I have had a very difficult time believing the fact that "If He brings you to it, He will bring you through it." (Irony of ironies, I preach this all the time.) I also have a hard time both hearing and BELIEVING the fact that the Lord surely knows me better than any other in the world and existence and so the yearnings and begging I have in my heart exist because HE put them there in the first place and if I get out of His way, He will indeed provide abundantly to not only quiet my heart's desires but also satisfy and nourish it so that it grows and thrives and exists solely for Him.

My brushes, lined up and ready to go like little soldiers.
I prefer Gamblin-brand oil paints and I will save up for them just so I have them alone for  my oil painting endeavors. 

So, all of this is my roundabout way of saying that last Friday I really REALLY took a well-needed and definitely used (to its fullest) day off. I invited my two beloved students to my home studio and (alongside my bouncy four-year old daughter) we had the grandest time painting together followed by a feast of Vietnamese cuisine (I am adopted and my dad is Vietnamese so I grew up with it) in the next state over!!!

To be continued...

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