VIE Magazine Inspirational Column by Pamela Dowling, watercolor sunset by Lucy Mashburn


Artful Grace

When I hear the word art, my thoughts go to one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. It was nearly three years ago, and I lived in a third-floor apartment with a lovely balcony. I stepped out early one morning to see the most amazing sunrise, and it took my breath away.

But more important than what I saw, was what I felt. I had this thought: “Wow, God, you are amazing. There is no creator greater you!” I don’t think anyone would disagree. God says that we are created in His image, so could it be that we, too, have His artistic abilities? The answer may be in the eye of the beholder.

Qualifying as a gifted artist can run across a broad spectrum of genres and mediums. Some have the gift of painting; some write great books of intrigue, adventure, and love. Others seem to have a melodic voice or possess musical abilities that can bring listeners to tears. Sometimes these gifts can take years to develop; sometimes the discovery of an innate talent can occur very early in life. Consider artist Akiane Kramarik. At the age of four, she began to paint, and by age eight, she had painted what is now known as Prince of Peace, a depiction of Jesus Christ. Truly, Kramarik has a gift that others may not, but I challenge each of you to think beyond what you currently believe you can accomplish. My eleven-year-old granddaughter Bethany can sing, design clothing, and dance—I am in constant suspense as to what other artistic talents she might uncover.

In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. MATTHEW 5:16

You see, no gift is greater than the other. I often hear people say, “I don’t have a creative bone in my body!” But one’s metaphorical heart and spirit can be packed full of artistic ability. Most often we are simply too afraid to challenge ourselves to reach our full potential. We listen too much to self-criticism or negativity from parents, teachers, or peers.

Think of this: In 1919, Walt Disney was fired from one of his first animation jobs. His editor at the Kansas City Star newspaper felt he lacked imagination.

What if Disney had allowed his editor’s criticism to get into his heart and take root? The world might never have known Mickey or Minnie Mouse. We would not have the pleasure of seeing all the inspiring Disney movies or visiting any of the magical Disney theme parks. I am not saying that success came easy for Walt Disney, but in the face of criticism and adversity, he pushed forward, and I am so glad he did.

It is never too late in life to embrace all the talent that God has gifted to you. Just yesterday, I met Martha and her husband, Marion—a wonderful couple in their seventies who live in Huntsville, Alabama. Not long ago, Martha took up her passion for photography and now her work is being displayed in a Huntsville museum and other area venues. Martha embraced her God-given talent and because she did, many people get to enjoy her photography.

Matthew 5:15–16 says that we are to let our light shine. We are not to hide it under a bushel. Let your light shine!

You are good enough,

—Pamela Dowling

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