God and His Surprising Gift of ArtGuest blog post by Toni McKinley
I am not known for my creative style. In the past you would not find me coloring, building, painting, or crafting of any kind. No scrap booking, not any interior decorating, and not even coloring with my own children. Nope! I did not enjoy art!
You may be wondering why I would even write on this subject. Well, God knew something I did not know. He knew that someday, I would love and need the gift to create art. In August of 2010 I began a rough journey. I decided I needed to face my past history of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. I needed healing in my life in order to stop the destructive patterns in my thoughts and actions that I was passing onto my children and that were hurting my marriage.
About four months into the process, I began drawing. It was suggested by my therapist and I agreed to do it only because I was a perfectionist and wanting to please my counselor. So I drew. Beginning with crayons I created my first masterpiece! It looked like a five year old got a hold of the crayons and canvas! My counselor loved it and still has it in his office to this day. But I wasn’t satisfied! I was going to master this thing called art and create a better picture for him. Moving onto colored pencils brought more creations; I then began to experiment with pastels.
Eventually, I became brave enough to use acrylic paint and that is where I grew. As I was painting I was healing. Healthy habits of coping with depression, pain, and anxiety, while I reflected on God’s word, were constantly filling my soul. I would stumble upon a verse from His Word and immediately the beauty of it spilled out onto the canvas. I had never taken a class, never had lessons, I just listened to God as he healed my wounds from the abuse I experienced in my life.
God’s surprising gift of art was changing me and the direction of my life. Seven months into painting I heard about a call for art. The theme was the resurrection of Christ. I submitted three paintings. Talk about SCARED! I was sure that I would be laughed at and turned away! But they loved them! All three of my paintings hung in a small Christian art gallery for a whole month!
Inspired, I decided to begin taking an art class. As I walked into my very first class I received an email stating that I had buyers for two of my paintings. I was ecstatic! I did not think of my paintings being worth much and thought I would be lucky if the buyers would give me $40 for each. I was told, “No way! Never accept anything under $100 a piece!” I thought for sure if I asked $100 I would be turned down. But I trusted God and decided to ask a little over that. Guess what?! I got it! From then on I began to continue learning more about painting and created more masterpieces led by God.
Painting has become a crucial part in coping with my healing from abuse. It is my favorite healthy habit that keeps me in tune with the Lover of my Soul! I am no Picasso, but as long as people can see God’s beauty and love from my works then I will keep displaying my art. As a result of this I began a non profit organization called Crowns of Hope. We had our first art auction last year and raised over $25,000 to fund therapy for sexually abused females who otherwise would not be able to afford it. I hope this encourages you to seek out journey’s that God is revealing to you. They may seem painful, scary, or challenging but I promise that God will have a surprise gift in store for you!
James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”
Toni McKinley is a child of God and mother of four beautiful children; two girls and two boys. She has been married close to twenty years to her husband, Craig, whom she met in high school. Currently, Toni home schools her daughters and is the founder/ director of Crowns of Hope. It is a non-profit organization that provides funds to females who have been sexually abused so they can afford Christian therapy. You can read more about it at http://crownsofhopetexas.org