(Some details have been changed for privacy.)
Today I was privileged to host Open Studio. Sometimes we get around 15 people. But this time, God sent only four.
Michelle came in.
I first met Michelle last year. She was asleep on the floor by the church receptionist desk, exhausted, forsaken by the world. Counseling with our pastor it was soon discovered that she loved art, so she helped install our new exhibit and we spent the day together. Soon she became a Christian. In the months since, she’s been in and out of our lives. Mostly out, lately.
Today when she came in, our conversation quickly went deep. She’s been hurting herself again. I asked to see the marks. In wonder she showed me. We talked about worth, love, and being set free. She didn’t want me to pray for her, so I blessed her instead. With charcoal she spent a long time scribbling a small planet enveloped by a dark universe. “Look,” she told me, gesturing toward a faint glow. “This spot of light means that there’s still hope.”
On her way out the door, she asked if we can meet for coffee next week.
Of course we can.
In walked Alyee.
The first time I saw Alyee was during Open Studio two years ago.
I had been walking around the studio, which had about a dozen guests at the time and was buzzing with activity. Alyee had painted a geometric composition and sat glaring at her work, visciously fending off compliments. I remember thinking, “Wow, she’s the most negative artist I’ve ever met.” I found out later that an eating disorder was her only refuge.
Some months later, our art leadership team gathered in the studio to pray over Alyee as she embarked on a four-month stay at an eating disorder clinic. She experienced much healing there, with more healing to come. Alyee returned to us three weeks ago, and the transformation is astonishing. She just glows.
Today Alyee drew a joyful old man playing guitar. On her phone, she updated her Facebook status: “Sketching in zee studio. I love this beautiful place.” Heart.
Randy didn’t create anything.
He walked in with his wife and two toddlers, looked around, and told me he was getting up his nerve. Randy joked that in three months he might be brave enough to sit in a chair; in six months he might even open the oil pastel drawer. I suggested drawing with his eyes closed to start.
He told me he used to enjoy drawing people’s eyes when he was back in high school. Lots of eyes.
This past weekend Randy make a huge decision, exposing his secret life of drugs and consecrating himself to God. Someone praying over him had told Randy that God admires his eyes. They didn’t even know he’s an artist. Randy wept in gratitude.
We watch as a miracle unfolds.
Sandra, our last visitor of the evening, came in 45 minutes before we closed.
She’s a professional actor, recently divorced. I gave Sandra a 5-minute run-down on acrylics, and by 8:00 she stood weeping over her completed painting. Gesturing toward a colorful, graceful shape in the center, she choked, “That’s me.” Violent black strokes threatened in the margins. I asked if she ever felt trapped.
“Sometimes.” She paused. “But… see this pathway? Even though I’m surrounded, I always stay connected to God.”
My friends, after sharing the evening with these four souls, I wanted share with you, too.
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow!