I’ve taken an extended break from blogging over the summer. Not for any reason other than I’ve been enjoying spending time with family and doing some personal reflection.
But I’m back again thanks to some encouragement from my friend Chris whose fabulous blog you can find here 7minutes.net. Each article takes only 7 minutes but of course you can lose yourself for hours as there’s loads of interesting stuff.
I have recently met and started to get to know some new people in my life. People who have struggled with some of the worst things imaginable and which continue to affect their lives long after the acts or situation have been left behind. People who themselves may have committed deeply disturbing acts on others. It’s a new experience for me to hear their stories, to listen to them, and to try to bring the love of Jesus without judgement or condemnation.
But I am compelled to do this, because I too have a past. I too have been hurt by others and have hurt others. And I, and they, carry the scars. We all have a past; we all hurt and have been hurt. It seems, for the moment, that it is part of the human condition.
But I found my redemption in Jesus.
These pages in my altered art journal illustrate the bible verses given to me on my baptism as a believer in 2001. They depict the person I was and the person I am, through Christ.
This page is the former me; the me that carries the burden of the people I’ve hurt and those who have hurt me. But as the verse says, through my baptism, that person has died …
… and now that Christ lives in me, I am a new person. Forgiven and redeemed by the amazing heart of God who loves us all unconditionally.
God’s unconditional love can be a difficult thing for many of us to accept. And the reality is that we don’t deserve this unconditional love, but it’s still available to us anyway. In my art book, the heart of God sits between my old self and my new self, covering both.
And it’s this conviction that gives me hope for my future and for the future of every single one of us so that though we have been scarred, those scars may no longer be what defines us, but may be the evidence that shows that no-one is beyond hope.
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
This is a page from my altered book. You can see the pages peeking through the paint which I love as it gives it texture. After a layer of Gesso I used acrylics and a black sharpie outliner and I chose to write the words on white paper to make them stand out. I find it helps to colour the edges though, otherwise they don’t integrate very well with the painting. I also used a white marker to pick out highlights. I liked the idea of the middle page being cut into a heart shape to represent the heart of God sitting between my old self and the new.