Plein Air Promises

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I’ve been hosting an art journal club for girls ages 9-12 for the past six months and what an adventure that’s been!  ;0)  We’ve been working our way through Genesis – getting to know God as He introduces Himself in the first book of the Bible, enjoying incredible discussions about how what we’re learning relates to our lives and has it ever been neat to see the pages the girls keep creating in response!  We meet approximately every other Saturday and it truly is one of my favorite things the Lord has me doing!  

This past week we were to dive into Genesis 12 and I was so ready for the discussion as I’ve been leading another Bible study that’s also been going through Genesis, but even the night before I was feeling rather clueless about what to do with the girls art-wise (this truly lets you see how much I fly by the seat of my pants!  And how all I do is only by the grace of God!!!)  As I went to bed Friday night I asked the Lord to give me an idea and promptly fell asleep!

The next morning when I woke one of the first thoughts in my head was “Plein air painting!”  And I was sooo excited!  I’ve never done this before but always wanted to.  This is where you head outside and paint what you see.  And since we live in Colorado and have a great view of the entire front range from our neighborhood and it was a beautiful clear day – and since Abram and Sarai had to traverse mountainous terrain when the Lord called them to leave Haran, I thought “this will make a great backdrop for this week’s art journaling and get our day off to an interesting start!

Since we had to hike a couple blocks to get the best view and I was going to have to carry whatever water we’d need I decided to have them do watercolors (believe it or not these take less water than acrylics – at least when we are painting!) and I loaded up my backpack with all the Nalgene’s I could find filled to the brim and crammed art supplies into whatever nooks and crannies remained.

I asked the girls to paint a full two page spread for their background and they dove in with gusto!

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As we were discussing Genesis 12 it hit me how the Lord commanded Abram to “Go!” and gave him five promises. To his credit Abram believed Him and went!  After painting mountainous terrain did it ever hit home how daunting God’s command had to be – especially as the Lord didn’t tell him how far or how long he’d be going!

But what a comfort those five promises had to be:

I will make you into a great nation.

I will bless you.

I will make your name great

I will bless those who bless you

Him who dishonors you I will curse.

If I was heading out into unknown territory, I would feel so vulnerable and scared. So when I art journaled on the left hand page about Abram and Sarai I wrote out those five promises across the landscape before them, imagining the comfort they would provide as they pressed on.

Then I asked the girls to take the right page and use that to represent their journey and what they could learn from this chapter in Abram and Sarai’s life.  As I sat down to create my page I drew a tiny picture of me in the lower left hand corner and the Lord brought to mind how lately I’ve been exclaiming, “I can’t do this anymore!”  over and over.  Honest, it’s been driving my husband crazy!  But it’s like an involuntary statement erupting from of the depths of my heart.  It seems the more I lose my hearing the more the Lord keeps asking me to go out of my comfort zone and do and to be honest at times it just feels overwhelming!  As I looked at the landscape I’d painted I thought what a fitting picture of how my life feels right now.

But then clear as anything I sensed the Lord say, “Just as I gave Abram five promises, so I’ve given you five.” And He brought to mind Isaiah 41:10

Do not fear for I am with you.

Do not be dismayed for I am your God.

I will strengthen you

and help you

I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

So just as I’d placed the promises the Lord gave to Abram across the terrain they’d have to cross, so I wrote them on the terrain before me.  And I sensed the Lord laying on my heart, “Every time you catch yourself saying, “I can’t do this anymore!”  I want you to quote this verse aloud to remind yourself of these promises I’ve given to you.”

And you have to know – the second part of Genesis 12 highlights the mess we can make – both in our lives and the lives of others around us – when we forget God’s promises!  So yes, I was very motivated to start doing this!

Has it ever been having a HUGE impact in my life!  Yes, I’ve quoted Isaiah 41:10 more times in this past week than I think I have in the past 30 years since I first memorized it!  But here’s the kicker – It’s one thing to have a verse memorized and periodically review it.  A whole other when you are actively applying it in your day to day life!  And has the Lord ever been giving ample opportunities to apply…!

A week and a half later, I find I’m not exclaiming “I can’t do this anymore!” as much.  But when I do, as I quote that verse and choose to trust what God has said for my journey, it’s amazing the peace that’s coming!

It’s not just the girls who are benefiting from our art journal club!  ;0)




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