No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for
those who love him.
1 Corinthians 2:9 ISV
Artist & Author
Mixed-Media Oil Paintings
Once my vision is honed, these paintings begin with many options: mark-making, spray paint, written prophesy, bible verses transcribed into Hebrew, collage, acrylic inks, acrylic paints, graphite, charcoal, gold leaf — the list goes on. I love this part of the process. I know where the piece is headed and I'm choosing to embrace the process and to simply trust. The next steps include applying translucent oil glazes, opaque oils, and sometimes oils mixed with cold wax, solid oil sticks, and pastels.
While I work I'm spending time in the Holy Spirit — with worship music playing, singing, sometimes dancing, speaking my prayer language, praising, and just visiting with Father God. "Total immersion" describes the way I interact with my process, embracing every single step. It's more than simply painting — It's documenting a personal experience.
Live Worship Paintings
When I paint "live" in front of an audience, the process begins much like my oil paintings, only I work in acrylics because they allow me to work much faster and they dry quickly. These paintings usually take me more than a day to prepare, as I visit with the Lord and hone my vision. My desire is to bring excellence to the worship experience, so I prepare them carefully. When these paintings are being painted, I can always tell a difference in the overall atmosphere. When the worship is over-the-top and uninhibited, the paintings flow in a way that I wish I could capture always!
The first time I painted "live" was for a mostly African American Pentecostal church conference at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex in Alabama. The worship was OVER THE TOP!!! If you can imagine over 400 people shouting at the top of their lungs in their prayer language, worshiping with all their might, and birthing their destinies....the atmosphere was so thick with the Spirit!!! I finished my painting ahead of time, and I danced and shouted and sang right along with the congregation — It felt better than a wedding day!!! That night, I heard the Lord say to me, "I'm going to protect and restore your vision." And He's been giving me more and more spiritual vision ever since.
Born This Way
The Early Years
I was born an artist child, spending many hours alone at my little drawing table. I didn't grow up with siblings so I learned to entertain myself with art-making and enjoying nature and my animals. I always had this sense of "not fitting in" with other children, and wanting to find a higher meaning to what I was experiencing in life in general. I didn't grow up around other artists, so the adults didn't quite know what to do with me. I was highly independent, curious, and creative. Some of that creativity was stifled in later years, while I was trying to figure out how to fit in. No other identity that I tried on worked for me. It only lead to profound disappointment and sadness. Fortunately, in early childhood, I had plenty of exposure to Christianity and a grandmother who prayed for me often. The seeds that she sowed all those years ago continue to bear fruit today!
I did get off-track for some years, after experiencing some of the negative things that can happen at a church. Not everyone loves like Jesus and that's why so many people have fallen away from the church. But, after being immersed in the world and reaping the consequences of trying to do things my way, I finally came back to my faith when I was around 34 years old and just in time, too!
A Pivotal Moment That Changed Everything
When I was 39 years old and living in Alaska (I lived there over 20 years) I was driving down the Glenn Highway towards Palmer when I clearly heard the words "You have breast cancer." I almost swerved my vehicle off the road. I hadn't even been thinking about that. So, I made a pact with the Lord that I would see a doctor as soon as I put my house on the market, which I had been working hard to do. So, I had two full-price offers in less than 24 hours of my house being on the market and I made that doctor's appointment soon after.
I was not old enough to have been scheduled for a routine mammogram, but after I was examined the doctor ordered one. I'll not go into great detail here, but it truly was the most terrifying time of my life. Every test they did lead to more tests. And the results were horrific. They determined that I had the most aggressive, stage 4 breast cancer. It was dangerously close to my chest wall and was down in my lymphatic system. They also saw some spots on my sternum and one of my ribs. During the testing period, I remembered when I was alone in the house I would be balled up in a fetal position, wailing. The worst was not knowing what all this meant for me. What kind of life was I going to have? I didn't want to be a "cancer patient"!!!
The time came where I had to have a radical mastectomy, meaning they also took my pectoral muscle and 20 lymph nodes. When I was recovering from the surgery, as I was lying in bed and contemplating chemotherapy I asked, "Jesus? Please come dwell within me and help me through this." I was not familiar with His Holy Spirit at the time. All I knew is I wanted to feel His presence within me always. He began to send me dreams, which I will be writing about later. And, most of all, He HEALED ME!!!
By the second PET scan, there was no evidence of disease. The doctors thought they were buying me a little more time with all the chemo and radiation they prescribed, but the Lord had already healed me. One year passed. Two years passed. Then Five. Now, it's been over 13 years as I write this. I still follow up with oncologists, like a good steward, but I am healed. I remember the head oncologist at Vanderbilt Center for the Breast reviewing my case after I moved back to the South, saying, "Very unusual!! Very unusual!!! You should be having recurrences of breast cancer!!!! You could get leukemia with all the drugs and radiation you've had!!!" (This came after my friends in Tennessee helped deliver me from the fear of it coming back.) I looked him straight in the eyes, put my hand out in front of me and said, "I REBUKE THAT IN THE NAME OF JESUS!" He looked a little confused and walked out of the exam room. At that moment, I started laughing and crying. If the head of Vanderbilt Center for the Breast can't shake me, NO ONE CAN!!!
More Than Just Healed
There are places in the original text of the bible where the word SOZO is translated into the English word "healed". Matt. 9:22 – Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Daughter, take courage! Your faith has made you well (sozo)!” And the woman was healed at that moment.
Strong’s Concordance defines the meaning of the Greek word ‘sozo’ as follows: to save, deliver, make whole or restore, heal, be whole. The word ‘sozo’, or one of its grammatical forms, is used over 100 times in the New Testament, especially whenever Jesus heals someone, be it physically, emotionally or spiritually. Sozo, then, is the ‘full package’ of salvation, healing and deliverance that Jesus came to give people!
When I received the Holy Spirit that night, I was more than just healed. I was made SOZO!!! My physical healing came first, but the rest of me has taken years to heal, through cooperation with the Lord. Spiritual healing is the hardest, I think — at least it has been for me. It requires that you let go of people and things that are hurting you in order for God to be able to give you His best for you. It requires obedience and discipline. It requires learning to walk in the Kingdom of God and not the world's way of doing things. It requires trust, and the currency of Heaven is FAITH!
Spiritual healing requires you to let go of some people and things that are hurting you, in order for God to be able to give you His best for you.
For Everything, There Is A Season
In my professional life, there have definitely been distinct seasons. I spent the first 15 years focusing on graphic design and still integrate those skills in my work today. In 2009, after I had been in cancer treatment for a year, I got back into art and did scratchboard engravings of Alaska birds and wildlife for over a decade. Later, after I moved back to the South, the Lord put on my heart to start painting. I had learned to work quickly when I engraved, and I believe those skills have enhanced my "live" worship painting. Every skill you master in life is just another tool in your toolbox that you can use to serve the Kingdom. Remember that! I'm so grateful for every tool in my box and am looking forward to my next assignment.
In my current season, I'm enjoying doing mixed-media oil painting, traveling to paint "live" at conferences, and teaching & mentoring. It's such a privilege to be alive and serving the Kingdom of God! Stay tuned — I'm looking forward to sharing more with you!