|"Stylized Portrait of Adabelle" 8" x 10" Mixed Media on Bristol Board|
YAY!!! You have no idea how much I worked and reworked and then reworked again on this particular piece! I had so many difficulties with it, mostly with the scaling/drawing stage as well as with the pastels, since I very rarely use them and honestly am still in the beginning learning stages for that medium, which meant I had to draw and paint this numerous times to get it how I wanted it, and I still wonder a little if I could do more. Sometimes I think I have something just right all along, only to look at the finished work with great disappointment over the fact that it looks nothing like how I intended. I struggled getting the proportions of this piece to match it's companion piece, but in the end, it was worth the extra effort. You might remember how one of my attempts ended up being a caricature rather than a loosely based portrait with a vintage fashion flare... If not, you can click here to see it.
But yeah, this piece was definitely a learning process piece for me. One that I just had to put my full strength into just to keep from giving up, and I'm all the stronger for it! I had the choice to leave it be, and just let my first attempt be my final, or to keep trying and trying until I succeeded. I chose the latter, and hope that you agree that the choice paid off. =)
Here it is side by side with it's companion, as they appear cropped within their frames:
I've been thinking a lot lately of the fact that we all face difficulties in our lives that are there to shape us and stretch us beyond our means. You know, the ones that stretch you and shake you, and all you want to do is run and hide and throw in the towel, gasping a feeble "I'm done," as you fall to your knees in tears. I know you know what I mean. I feel like our family has faced far too many of these in the last few years, especially since deciding to have babies. Apparently my body just isn't very fond of harboring other individuals inside it... Anyways, one of my flaws, probably one God is trying to break inside me, is the desire to quit. To say "I just can't do this anymore. I'm sooo beyond done Lord!" I don't know how many times I said that while pregnant with Owen. But God is faithful and He has always gotten me through, and I'm always stronger for it in the end. More trusting in God, more awed by His power and grace, more captivated by His love, and more persevering than ever.
As you know this last winter was dark for us. Too dark. Terribly and frighteningly darker than dark. I am still terrified by the memories of how bad things got. Words I wish were never said. Pains I wish we had never felt. The love of my boys lost because I had nothing to give them. I couldn't play or laugh or love on them. Everything hurt. And every part of my life was damaged by that hurt. Even now we're still struggling to pick up the pieces of what was broken in that wildly forsaken winter. I'm finally starting to earn back the love of my little guys, and they are just now starting to open up and let me love on them again. They were injured by my injuries, and there was nothing any of us could do to make it any better. To say we were just surviving by the skin of our teeth is a vast understatement of the truth. I wish you all could have seen how bad it got. How dark and desperate and just plain scary it was for me and my family.
But, we didn't lose all hope. We held on to the threads at the hem of Jesus' robe, hoping with all desperation that God would get us through. And knowing with a strange sense of certainty that because God is faithful, so perfectly and abundantly faithful, that no matter what we faced, He was there for us and it was His will for us to face what He put on our plates, and we would never have to face it alone because He was always there, carrying us with the gentle hands of a shepherd, leading His lambs to safety away from the storm. God is ALWAYS faithful. "He is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He." (Deut. 32:4)
So after this storm, we are here, picking up the pieces, and trying to put back together all that was lost and broken in the last few months. It hasn't been easy, in fact, it's been downright stinkin' hard, but the fact we've had to face is this: God gave us this challenge because He knew that when we were tested to our max, pushed ridiculously beyond our means of coping, honestly, probably beyond anyone's means of coping, that even then we would still remain faithful to Him. He knew we could handle it and become even stronger for it, even if we suffered greatly; He knew we wouldn't turn our back on Him or forsake Him. And you know why? It's definitely not to our credit. It's to His. Because HE is faithful and right and true, and He loves us and carries us through everything, so long as we let Him.
I've always wished I could just touch the hem of Jesus' robe and be healed. I've prayed and cried out and pleaded for that kind of healing. And some day I will be healed and restored to a kind of health I've never felt before. Some day God will bring me to Him and I will see Him face to face and fall down in overwhelming awe of Him, and be allowed to touch His robe. But until that day, I will remain faithful to Him. Because He is faithful. He is ALWAYS FAITHFUL. Don't ever forget that. I sure know I won't.