“Cashiers and cellists are capable of making art because they both have the power to influence, to be fully awake to their Maker, and fully aware of his making of them.
I can’t imagine anything more dangerous to the enemy of our hearts
than people who know who they are.”
~ Emily Freeman, A Million Little Ways
A few years ago, both my husband’s parents and my father were hospitalized for many months, fighting hard battles. My heart was heavy, my ability to be rational was teetering on the edge. As I stood in the grocery store line with our three children, all of us looking disheveled but doing well to have survived the visual over-stimulation of the glass candy jars surrounding us, an older man looked at me and said, “You’re a horrible mother.”
I looked around, hoping this was a hallucination caused by the exhaustion of motherhood. He carried on, “Teaching your children to steal! You’re a horrible mother!”
Anger and hurt and bewilderment made my eyes sting. I turned around and my curious six-year-old son had his hand in the open basket overflowing with every color of taffy. I looked closer, seeing a lump in his little pocket, and reached in to find a piece. He whispered, “Mom, the worker said I can have one piece as a sample.”
The disapproving man, shaking his head, went to the register beside me. As I got to the register, baby on hip, the other two children hanging on my pockets, the cashier said, “Know what, honey? Some people are just miserable and don’t feel better until they’ve brought someone else down with them. I’m sure you’re a great mom…don’t you let him steal your smile.”
You know that feeling where you think you can hold it together? That fled quickly. The cashier made me cry, not the disgruntled old man. Why? Because she spoke truth and encouragement and love into my hurting heart.
She was living out the art God made her to be in the exact moment I needed it.
She is God’s art. She used a word of encouragement as she scanned some chicken and vegetables. She is a part of my memories and life story, because she made a choice to use her gift of uplifting speech to breathe life into my weary soul.
God gave you an art. And he gave me one, too.
Three years ago, the Lord spoke to my heart that He wanted me to use the painting gifts He gave me to reach other women for Christ. Sound exciting? It did to me, too.
Until I thought about it.
My parents gave me art lessons for ten years, but I always considered art as a love and a hobby, not something I could do professionally.
But God tenderly spoke three words to my heart: Truth Be Told. Through many months of prayer and heartbeat-fast moments, He clearly revealed that I was to teach “non-artists” who thought they didn’t know how to paint, how to paint, and get God’s Truth on it.
But how, God?
And, Lord, you do know there are far better artists and teachers out there than me, right?
I think you may want to pass over me and choose someone better qualified for this job.
Making decisions is not my strength, and you know that, Lord.
Start my own company? Now this is funny.
Lost peace. Lost sleep. Snapped at my husband, our children. Why? Because I had a clear calling on my life and I pushed it away because I felt incompetent. Fear of failure, embarrassment, rejection. Better to not try and stay comfortable than try and fail, right?
Of course not. On July 20, 2011, I invited eight friends into my home to attempt to teach them how to paint and get God’s truth on it. I posted it on Facebook. Since that day, we have added 11 artists to our team and have painted with thousands of women and children.
Truth Be Told Art is also at times a free ministry for hurting people in our communities. It’s been to Haiti and helped orphans become self-sustained.
To my credit? Not an ounce. All glory to God. It was His Idea, after all. And I tried to say “no” when God revealed to me this was my art in and through and for Him. He blessed it despite my reluctance.
God showed me that when I know who I am in Him, he can use what I consider to be “small gifts” in comparison to others, for His Purposes, far beyond me.
I learned to look up for the measure of my worth, not around.
I am God’s art when I am operating in the gifts He gave me. You are, too.
By Elizabeth Bass Hilliard, www.truthbetoldart.com
Editor’s note: I had the delight of meeting Elizabeth at a recent Fall Festival, first stopping at her booth because her artwork caught my eye. But when I learned her story, I invited her to guest post for Bloom. What she is doing through Truth Be Told Art – teaching women to paint who didn’t know they could – is a perfect example of living A Million Little Ways! ~ Robin
ART IN COMMUNITY ~ A ROUND-UP OF YOUR ARTISTRY!
1. Alissa, Ella & Ruby’s
2. Angela, Waves of Grace
3. Becky, Buckets of Burlap
4. Sara, Castles in the Air
5. Ashley on Twitter
6. perumama on Instagram
7. Sarah Jo, Sarah Jo Knits
8. Kelli, Sunflowerlayne on Instagram
1. Jennifer, Joy Filled
2. Becky, Buckets of Burlap
3. Barbara on Instagram
4. Elle at Being Stepmom
5. Robin on Instagram
6. Jenna, Our Adventure with Boys
7. Kristin, From the Stacks
8. Teresa Dunham on Facebook
If you haven’t yet, would you please take a few minutes and review Emily’s book on Amazon and/orDaySpring? This is like your Thanksgiving gift to her; she’s been such a delight to host for Bloom’s fall selection, hasn’t she?
And our Thanksgiving gift to YOU on Monday is filled with laughter and smiles. Check back then. It’ll set your week on a very merry trajectory.