Amy Crews joined us for a meeting of the Church of the Highlands small group who are official ARTISTS.
She shared with us her journey, in the things she did to make ends meet while dreaming of and then pursuing her passion as an artist.
All along the way, she clung to the thought that “God is in control”, when she worked as a bank loan specialist to pay the bills, when she was laid off from Southern Progress.
But through it all, she saw God in it….the severance package that allowed her to pursue her study of art in Atlanta full-time…which helped her validate this “hobby” into a researched, dedicated career endeavor. She had gone 11 years without pursuing her art and because a lucrative door had closed, she was able to go through a more creative one.
She saw God in the timing. As she had just expressed to her boss through tears, the guilt of not being there with her child who was then one, the bottom dropped out around her, and whether by God or by coincidence, she and many others were sent home in the name of “profit margins”. From that time on, she was a stay at home mom, something guilt didn’t allow her to do when she was in career mode, but God helped push her into the door that said, “GO HOME!”
And that is what she has done. She has been able to be home with her children, Hamilton, now 7 and Sally, who is 4.
What a blessing to be a creative and productive mother who can be home and nurture the valuable developmental years of a child, not to mention TWO!
Because of her leap of faith, to listen to her heart, to hear her calling (which at the time she kept denying because she knew she couldn’t “really” be an artist), she is taking the steps, day by day to see that God continues to help her give back to the world through her hands.
God took her hands and had her paint words across the walls of a client. “All I have needed, thy hand hath provided”. There is was, in black, the first time she felt God had spoken to her through her hands. Her emotions were strong that day in her friends living room, on that ladder. It was then that she realized that God had not and would not let her down. She and her husband had cut back to one salary, but God had still provided. She had seen it first hand.
And God continued to wipe out the blackboard that Satan had written in her mind that she was “not an artist” but a “laid-off person” and with the help of a neighbor, her work began to sell. She entered shows, dragged her work from place to place, and again it sold. And as God does to confirm our paths, he sent people from her very company that she left, who had no idea s he had worked there, and THEY confirmed her as an artist by asking her to put her work for sale in the “Southern Living At HOME”.
Had they seen her work if she had not done those shows? Only God knows, but because she stepped out in faith, God was there.
We can all prosper from the lessons.
In everything she creates now, she tries to find a meaning as depicted in a recent painting of a crumbling leaf that shelters a fragile egg.
She describes it as “refuge” and links it to Psalm 16:1, “Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge.”
“Some of my most intimate moments with God are when I am painting,” she told us.
Amy shared a book called If You Want to Walk on Water You’ve Got to Get out of the Boat by John Ortberg. It is the book we will be reading for our next semester of our small group.
She told us about her classes in Atlanta, from Chris DiDomizio. He had them duplicate paintings from the Masters. She would sketch and paint for hours in a studio and lose herself in music and brush strokes.
She brought a small painting that had been in her childhood home for years. It had hung on a wall and was perceived to be of a tree in a field. She could not stop thinking about the oil painting that resembled those of the masters she was then studying. After getting it from a drawer at her mothers, she began finding treasures within the painting. She first noticed a small road reaching out from the tree into the foreground, then on the path she noticed a small red dot. After careful study, she realized that it was a bow on a bonnet worn by a girl. As she studied even further with a magnifying glass, she saw the figure of a man deep under the canopy of this old tree. She named it the rendezvous tree as she copied it.
How many times do we go through life and only see half of what God is really trying to do for us? He gives us tal ents and things we love to do as a child, like draw, or rearrange our rooms, or run, or make potions. But as we grow, we see only the reflections of what school teaches us to be, or our parents aspire for us to become. We lose sight of our passions to be artists, designers, athletes or chemists and pursue fields that we are lost in until God prods us and pushes us back to that thing that he planted deep within our hearts.
What are you pushing back today? What rendezvous are you missing? Get out your magnifying glass and find it! Don’t wait for God to have to do the pruning, it is right there in your heart. Just find it.