I have to tell you about an experience I had a couple days ago, it took some time to write it down. I spent some time in the morning reading the Bible, and then came across a really beautiful testimony on someone’s blog I came across looking up a verse to put on a card for our neighbor. Later I read part of a book on my Kindle at the gym “Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus”, then said a prayer after leaving that I would follow God’s plan for whatever he had in mind for me today. My mind and heart were filled with the Word. My son William and I went down to Zilker Park and spent a wonderful afternoon enjoying the weather and noticing all the things God made, the rocks, grass etc.
We walked down a path that we’ve been on many times, and I noticed some stone steps below the path I’d never seen before, with a young man sitting working on a beautiful sketch of the bridge above us. It looked like a perfect spot to relax and as an artist the perfect way to spend an afternoon. I thought “That guy has either found the secret of life… or he’s looking for it.” I felt compelled to go down to take a closer look at his drawing and let him know I thought he was very talented, although at the same time I also thought I could be intruding on some private time he might be needing. I pushed it aside and decided I would be able to tell if he wanted us to go away, it wouldn’t hurt to pay him the compliment. We crept down and he took off his Ipod and said hello. I told him we didn’t want to interrupt his time, but that his drawing was wonderful and asked if he was an artist. “Well…I draw and play music...but ...I’ve been struggling a bit.” William asked for some paper from his sketch pad and the man gladly obliged him, and William set to work on his own drawing (this made it possible for the man and I to have a conversation!).
Since he’d opened up I told him I was an illustrator, and a little bit about the kind of art I did. He seemed very interested, we chatted a little about our work and styles, and then I asked what he had meant by “struggling”. He went on to say although he was commissioned from time to time to do portraits, he’d had a very rough past two years, having lots of problems in his personal life as well as not really sure what direction to go with his art. “Have you prayed about that?” I asked. “Well, it’s funny you should ask that. I actually started dating a girl about a month and half a go who’s very religious, and she’s been taking me to church. She bought me a Bible and I’ve been going. I grew up Catholic, but... kind of lost my faith a couple years ago.” I told him about how I’d grown up drawing but how I’d had trouble in my teens and 20’s , lost my confidence, and put aside my gift for a long time. I could tell from his comments and body language he was very engaged and probably related to a lot of what I’d gone through. Then I told him a few years ago I went to an art & faith class I’d been attending at my church, and realized what an important expression of our faith art was, and began earnestly praying that God would show me what he planned for me when he gave me that gift. Then, almost immediately after a door opened for me to start illustrating for Gina K Designs, an opportunity far better than I had imagined for myself. He seemed really encouraged by that! He went on to explain that he’d gotten kicked out of his parents house for not making all A’s in junior college, been staying with friends, totaled his car, and lost his job in the past year. But that things were starting to get back on track, with going to church, meeting this new girl, found a new job, new car, living at home again (although things were still tense). I asked him his name and after he told me, I told him I would pray for him. I also said his girlfriend sounded like a really nice woman. He said she’d actually just left for the UK and would be gone for 6 months, but they were going to try to keep things going between them. (He was clearly missing her already) I said that would go by in no time if it was meant to be, and that he had so many things in his life to focus on here in the mean time and he agreed.
After several more minutes of chatting about his church, art, and life, I felt it was time to go. Before I left, I told him I didn’t usually (well, really never) approach someone about their faith like I just did or offer to pray for them, and he laughed and said that he didn’t usually tell his life story to strangers either! I explained that the more focused I’ve been on God, when I feel the urge now to go somewhere or do something without really knowing why, it may be God wanting to reveal something to me or maybe use me for something, and when I saw him under the bridge I felt I was supposed to be there, and I was supposed to talk to him. “Well, I’m really glad you did", he said. “Keep drawing, I said with a smile. “Pray that God will lead you." “I will!” he replied with hope in his eyes. His energy was completely different from when we’d arrived ( He’d been very kind but seemed “at sea”, or in his own words, "struggling".) We thanked him for the paper he'd loaned William and turned to go.
“Thank you!” he called after me as William and I walked back up the path. :)
I felt overjoyed on the way home that what I shared might have been exactly what he needed to hear, and very blessed, that talking with him that day was exactly what I needed too! Giving me the courage to put myself out there more, showing me that He will speak through me, and healing the tiny places in my heart from trials I suffered long ago, in many ways it was like sharing hope with a younger version of myself. Later I thought of many other things I could have told him about, more parallels I could have drawn between our experiences that could have helped (as well as realizing a sort of strange siginificance about his drawing of a bridge, that's he trying to go somewhere!! but anyway! LOL) but, I trust that feeling I had that it was time to leave. I'll just continue to pray for him. And I pray that reading this will touch your spirit today and believe that God has SO many plans to use your life, the blessings you receive for letting Him work are beyond measure! God is good!
Have a blessed Easter weeekend!