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Claim New Ground

Updated: Dec 11, 2021

After sharing stories of my journey into the art world, a friend said I needed to tell my stories because they are encouraging and people need to hear them. I said, I’d think about that…

Remember the past, but forget going back to it. Forget about going back to the pre-Covid-19 days, forget about going back to the days when you met your spouse or when your kids were young, forget about going back to the glory days of high school if that applies to you. I must forget about going back to the days when I was young and skinny. Oh well, you get the point. Don’t forget about those past times, just forget about going back to them. Apparently, we are called not to lay claim to ground that has already been conquered so to speak, but we are called to claim new ground, all the while remembering the past.

This was the message from a guest preacher at my church. He did a great job of confirming this message with passages from the Bible. My favorite passage was from Joshua, where after the Israelites crossed through the Jordan River, the leaders of each of the twelve tribes were commanded to take a stone from the river, which in turn was used to set up an altar of remembrance. These stones were set up so future generations could look back and remember God’s provision and his faithfulness to his promises by allowing Israel to pass through the Jordan on dry ground, just as Israel had done when crossing the Red Sea in the time of Moses. Remembering God’s faithfulness to his promises was important, because what lay ahead of them was going to take courage. After all, they were going to claim the land that God promised them. Scary stuff ahead, and lots of unknowns. God kept telling Joshua to be strong and courageous. Specifically he told Joshua, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

And of course, the inevitable question that comes when studying Scripture: How does this passage apply to me? What new territory is God calling me to? I knew the answer, it’s just that I’ve been delaying my obedience to that call. I am not Joshua, I am not called to conquer the Promised Land. I have been called to write a Blog, in addition to creating art. My reaction: Nooooooooooooooooooooo! I am not a writer, as you have probably guessed by now. What if people hate what I write? What if no one reads it? Oh, how crushing! What am I going to say in a Blog anyway?

About four years ago, my daughter first said "You need a Blog". I thought, Nope. After sharing stories of my journey into the art world, a friend said I needed to tell my stories because they are encouraging and people need to hear them. I said, I’d think about that. I’ve been thinking and avoiding for quite some time now. What do I know about Blogging anyway? But the sound of my call is almost deafening. Everywhere I turn, there it is, that word again, blog, Blog, BLOG… always used in a context of needing to tell my story. I need to trust that God knows what He is doing, and why He is calling me into this unknown territory. I need to remember past times I was called into new territory (engineering, management, homebuiding, having a family, etc.), and that He was with me the whole time. Not only that, but there were blessings in my obedience. So here I am with my, long overdue, first Blog post!

I plan on blogging once a quarter. The content will be about my journey with God through his calling me to be an artist, and the next post will be about the actual call. My hope is that you will be encouraged no matter what your calling is in this life, since we are all a part of a bigger story that God is in the process of writing.

"Spiritual Journey" (24" H x 40"W) represents the journey of life. It is a journey of self-discovery; of pushing beyond self-imposed boundaries; of overcoming fear; of finding true freedom. As if crossing a thundering waterfall on a footbridge without restraints, it requires faith that I am on the path chosen for me, and not just one of my own making. It’s a spiritual journey where each step both tests my faith, then grows my faith in the One who has given His life that I may have life. This crossing is perilous… impossible I think. I take comfort from Matthew 19:26: “But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Created with paint and chemicals reacting with a metal substrate, the intimidating journey in this abstract painting is represented by a footbridge that traverses a thundering and awe-inspiring waterfall. The animal print footbridge suggests the location as being, The Smoke that Thunders, otherwise known as Victoria Falls. “Spiritual Journey” speaks to overcoming fears and living in hope, by putting faith not in science, nor governments, nor self-effort, but by trusting the only One who works all things together for good to those that are called according to His purpose.

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