Saturday, July 25, 2009

I Am Not, But I Know I Am

I promise to blog on this really soon. However I know so many of you are wanting to see the progress. So I am posting a picture now and will return to blog later on. My work is in the lower right hand corner under the slash through the middle. The top part is Melody. =) We decided to divide the canvas last Sunday and work on our own sections. It is really neat to see how it is coming along and ties in together!! This Sunday I will be painting ALL three services! So please pray for me!! I have to run now, but promise to blog later!!! Be sure to check back for the update! You don't want to miss this blog! The title says it all!! =)


In the book of Exodus, inside the story of Moses and the burning bush, for the first time in recorded history, God tells us His name. Moses asks when I come to the children of Israel and they ask what is Your name, what do I say to them?? God replies, "I AM WHO I AM". God tells Moses to say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you. (Exodus 3:13-15)

This was our message for the third week of "Canvas",I am not, but I know I Am. It takes us out of the picture and puts God in the picture. God wanted us to know His name and it is I AM. Since His name is I Am, our name is I Am Not. Who is going to take care of us? I AM When life gets hard and we want to give in, who is going to stand beside us to make sure we pull through?? I AM Who is going to be a father to my child?? I AM Who is going to take care of me when I am sick?? I AM Who is going to make sure we are fed?? I AM Who is going to love me?? I AM The list just goes on and on. IV explained this beautifully. It was what has been my favorite message in all the history of Epic.

Now the artwork. It has been very intense for me as this message has progressed. I have had to take myself out of the canvas and put God in. It has not been easy. Being sick, the focus has always been on my health, my entire life. Everyone I love around me is constantly watching and waiting for me to conquer my health. So often I pray to God, please make me well, please heal me, I know you can do it, please. However that is not making it about Him. My disease, although it doesn't overpower me, it still exists. Something I have learned in the past few years is my purpose for being sick. I don't believe I am sick by luck of the draw. It isn't an accident. Everything in His plan is perfect. There are no defects. God makes no mistakes......not even the scar on my lip. =)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Messing Up God's Plan

(*Note* I will be posting a blog soon with pictures of the progress from yesterday. I just really wanted to blog on this. God layed it on my heart. I hope you guys think about it for the next few days and it speaks to you in some way. Love you all!)

As most of you know from my previous post, I was out of town the second Sunday of Canvas. As I also posted earlier, the decision was made to leave the artwork freestanding, untouched for all three services. I finally was able to grab the message on CD that I missed that Sunday as well as see the canvas again. I was in for quiet a shock. As I turned the corner into Epic, I immediately noticed something horrible was wrong with the canvas. To my disbelief there had been red paint slung all in the middle of our beautiful art. The art was finally taking a direction and it was so exciting to see where it was going!! Yet there stood this giant piece of canvas I had been pouring my heart and soul into for the past two weeks, praying over, dreaming about, ruined. I was stunned, speechless. There were no words to express my emotions. I had a lump in my throat that felt the size of Texas. Someone in passing must have noticed me standing motionless in a gaze of fear and came to my side. They told me what had happened. They said I needed to listen to the message. The message. Hmmm....I had not heard it yet. I was suddenly so eager to hear what excitement I had missed. So I grabbed up one of the recordings and quickly ran to my jeep and played it in my CD player. It sounded so usual at first, IV coming on, welcoming everyone to Epic. Then he started speaking about God's masterpiece. The masterpiece He paints daily in our every day lives when we are so busy and unaware. I could hear him picking up the paint brush and then it happened. I heard the red paint slide onto the painting Melody and I had worked on. He told of how our sin and our plans for our lives ruins God's masterpiece. My heart was breaking. No longer was it because our artwork had a runny red glob in the middle, instead because I understood exactly what he was saying. Our artwork is no where near comparable to the masterpieces God paints every single day, however I knew just a teeny weensy bit, on a very smaller scale how God must feel everytime I say no to Him. The times He has already painted it in my life. It is already there, and I am busy trying to paint it in myself. What a mess I must look standing with all of that runny red paint on me in the middle of his beautiful artwork. I was touched. Something deep in my soul was awakened with this new understanding. I have always been one who loves everything life has to offer. The beauty and the chaos. I never take simple things for granted. Like the color of green the grass is after a hot summer Alabama rain. Or the way my daughter stares out the window while we are driving like she knows some big dark unkown secret. Or the way the sun shines on just the right spot of my yard at just the right time of day. Yet I now realize even though I take in every second of every moment that I am blessed with, how often do I find myself "telling" God how I think things should be. The perfect example.....Cystic Fibrosis. How many times a day do I say, you know, God I need you to do this, this is what needs to happen, I need to be well. Instead of trusting that God is the artist, and is painting something so unimaginable, so breathtaking that not I, nor you could ever even begin to wrap our minds around it. He knows the next brush stroke. He knows what I need and what I do not need. I think I need to be well, however He thinks I need to be sick. So this leads me to another idea, maybe the red paint, maybe it isn't always things that we do in our lives. Maybe sometimes it is misfortune, or illness that we stumble into with no fault of our own. But I ask you this....without the red paint, how beautiful would the world be?? If I was well, I cannot tell you where I would be today. I cannot tell you that I would notice the shades of the sky on a late afternoon, or the way the gravel crunches under my feet as I walk the trail between my dad's house and mine. I may not ever notice how beautiful it is to pull into Epic every Sunday morning, and see the most incredible people that I have ever met in my life. And to know they are all on my side, praying for me, and hoping and watching for my health to get better right along side of me. I may never notice the kindness of a smile. If I were well, things may swim past me so fast in a sudden blur. I would be left with the rest of society waiting to realize how beautiful and sudden this life is at an old age when I was wrinkled and tired. If that is how I see the red paint in my life, then I welcome it. Because even when there is red paint, there is also new beginnings. New beginnings for our lives. God can step in and paint over every last single stroke until all the red is gone. He can make it a masterpiece, His masterpiece. So I say to you today, no one is perfect. We as a human race will constantly struggle with messing up God's plan. We will always be red paint. Thank GOD we have a Savior who died for us, to make it right. Because I would HATE to know that I was actually in charge of what is going on around me. The one thing I have learned in my 26 years, sick or not, when I do things without God, all I end up with is a big red mess.

Monday, July 13, 2009

In Progress

30 Then Moses said to the Israelites, "See, the LORD has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 31 and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts- 32 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 33 to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic craftsmanship. 34 And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others.

Exodus 35:30-34 (New International Version)

We went to Tennessee this weekend to visit Sam's family. It is always amazing to be able to see them. Our adventures were many and our laughter was much. However I will have to write of it another time. As of right now I am simply just posting a picture of the painting we are working on in "Canvas" I actually missed Epic yesterday because of our trip. The painting was left untouched, and just stood during service in the spotlight. I have yet to hear the message. So I am going to leave a picture I took earlier in the week of our work so far along with a passage from the Bible that I found. This is truly what I am praying for during this series. I want God to use me as a beacon for his light. The work I am doing on the painting is His, not mine.

Peace and Love

Monday, July 6, 2009


We started a new series "Canvas" at church Sunday. It will run for the next three weeks. During the series the church has purchased an 8x4 (Yeah it's huge!) piece of canvas and set it on an easel to the right of the stage. There it sits spotlighted for the entire service. During the Praise and Worship, which lasts about 20 minutes at the beginning of service we have an artist come out and paint on the canvas, very abstract. We have three services for a total of three artists. No one knows what the outcome will be, not even the artists themselves. They are letting the message and God drive them towards the end result each Sunday. What I have yet to say is, I am one of those artists. I paint during the second service at 11 am. Yesterday was the first day and it was fabulous! I have been intensely praying about this project ever since I was asked to come on board last week. This was a spur of the moment idea our Pastor had so the artists were chosen at last minute. I have been painting for 13 years. I have been an artist for as long as I can remember, and I have never had the experience that I had yesterday with my art. This is a lot of firsts for me. It is my first time to paint in front of a LIVE audience. I thought I would be so nervous. But actually I prayed for peace and did God ever give it to me!!! It was like the audience wasn't there at all. It was me and my Savior and the music! Everything else just seemed to fall away. I was in my element. It just felt really comfortable for me. It was my first time to paint with other artists. Although we are not painting at the same time, we are building off of each other's work, which was liberating for me. I was a nervous wreck about it. I was so afraid of painting over someone else's work. But that isn't what we are doing at all. We are building on something. Layers upon layers. After the first artist was finished yesterday morning, someone had already offered a lot of money for the piece, and it was just a base coat! How awesome is that!! The church is going to auction it off when we are finished. I think if it goes at a good price we should do several. We are wanting to build a new building for our church, since we are growing so fast. I think that would be an awesome way to raise money and contribute towards that goal. It was also my first time to paint to Wojo. Wojo is our Pastor's best friend from Vegas. Him and his family are visiting from Vegas. Wojo performed the opening song. It was so easy to paint to him!! I could not have asked for a better opening!! I feed off of music when I do my art, and man did he have something to feed off of! He opened with acoustic and I loved it!!!! Wojo is this great big man covered in tattoos with curly hair. Our Pastor met him at a church out in Vegas when they lived there for a short period of time. I met Wojo for the very first time Saturday night at our Pastor's house for our Youth 4th of July celebration. How to describe Wojo.....hmmmm. You know how you meet someone and they look like they could kill someone, just have enormous strength, but wouldn't hurt a fly?? Okay that is Wojo. Not to mention he has the coolest name ever. Like seriously...I am thinking future baby name here. Seriously. On meeting him, I instantly felt the kindness of his spirit. He is just so peaceful. We stood together behind the curtain waiting to go out for the service yesterday morning. I noticed you can just feel his spirit. He is a man of God. Very amazing. I heard so much positive feedback about his performance yesterday!! People were saying they wished he would move here and be our Praise and Worship Leader. It is so awesome to be able to paint LIVE for the first time ever while listening to him play for the FIRST time ever. LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT! I have been praying over this series. I have prayed that God comes through me onto the canvas. The point is to realize God is the artist in our lives, painting an amazing masterpiece. I had been praying so hard for everyone in the audience to get something out of this. What I had not realized was what I was going to get out of it. God is doing amazing works in my life. He is the GRAND ARTIST and my life is the paint. How breathtaking is that?? Yesterday before I went out, as I stood behind the curtain with Wojo, I started coughing. Coughing a lot. Sometimes when I get anxious I cough. I know it sounds crazy but it is true. I just said this quick two second prayer in my head, God please, not now. Countdown was up, I come around the corner of the curtain and positioned myself in front of the canvas, a metaphor for our lives. I picked up a paint brush and grabbed my rag and began. Instantly the itching in my chest dissolved. God answered my prayer. What seemed like such a small prayer to so many, is such a big prayer for me. How often do I close my eyes, and say God, please, not now. But when the coughing stopped only seconds before I walked out, it was like God whispered deep into my chest, "Yes, Summer, now." Not now for coughing, not now for hospitals, not now for being sick, but instead now for painting, now for worship, now for serving, now for peace. I have learned with every stop in this life there is a go. A stop to be sick and a go to be well. I must say that I do believe that I am going to take away from this experience more than I ever imagined. God is the artist of my life. He is in control, and how awesome is that!!!!