1 Peter 3:15: “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,”

Attending a women’s retreat, one day our speaker invited us to paint a picture while listening to her story. I painted a cross with the Sun rising in the background and a bunch of birds soaring in the skies. My drawing was about freedom. It was the first artwork I’ve done in three decades and I remember how good it felt.

I’ve always been artistic. At age 11 I picked up my first instrument. At school I majored in fine art. My art teacher encouraged me to do something with my talent. I couldn’t see how.

My life’s journey has a lot to do with getting out from underneath a pile of rubbish. The first ten years of my adulthood I basically went undercover. I hid behind the walls of a religious community that dictated every aspect of my life and separated me from family and friends. After 12 years behind walls I was fed up and got out.

Here I was, 35 years old with no professional degree or experience. I didn’t want to be a starving artist. So instead of pursuing the arts I became an administrative assistant and worked myself up to payroll management. That’s as far away from the arts as I could get. In my private life I found happiness when I married the love of my life, but professionally I felt miserable. Three heart surgeries later, I am no longer a payroll manager; I am now a self-employed artist.

Looking back, I can say that major life decisions, especially in my early adulthood, were fear-driven. A fear-driven world is extremely small. It’s a world full of limitations. I don’t believe that anybody wants to live in such a world. We are created for so much more! Our world has a lot more potential when we are connected to the Creator of the universe.

Thanks to God I am where I am today. I know He is the reason for the hope I have. Without Him I’d still be stuck under a pile of rubbish. Inspired by His Spirit, the sky is the limit, and I am free to thrive.

God’s world is so much bigger than ours ever could be … “and I think to myself: What a wonderful world!”

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