The Wearing of Water

Have you heard the phrase used to describe a particularly difficult time, "I'm walking through fire right now"? I thought about this phrasing quite often over the last few years. It seems to me that everyone feels exhausted, walking through their own version of fire. I'm no exception and have caught myself growing bitter towards certain circumstances in my life, claiming them fire. It took me a full year to examine my so called "fire". I realized my perspective has been wrong this entire time. Sure, there have been challenges, some more difficult than necessary due to the quantity of challenges, but my wallowing in the hard gave me this image that I've been burning. Abandoned and burning, almost all ash.


This is not actually what was happening at all. If I had remembered truth deep in my heart, not just logically in my head, I would have seen the slow change all along. The Lord meets us in the tension. He uses the challenges, uses the difficulty, uses the hard. It was not fire at all but water.


Around this same time of my perspective shift, I started exploring with water more in my art. I became fascinated watching the acrylic paint dissolve and break down as the water revealed it's power. I inevitably drew parallels to the Holy Spirit and the concept for this series was born.


I cannot claim credit. Once I began creating these pieces, eerie coincidences appeared all around. The topic of a Sunday sermon seamlessly converging with my focus, our life group's book study expanding my understanding, conversations with loved ones recalling lessons I had previously learned but forgotten, all centered around this ever appearing theme. The Lord was obviously talking to me. I meditated on water portraying the Holy Spirit and five paintings came together.


These landscapes that let the water slowly break down the pigments in the paint represent the way we are made new in Christ. Sometimes slowly, sometimes all at once, but never ending and never complete in this lifetime. When I fixate on the fire, I ignore the wearing of the water.





"I Cannot Claim Credit"

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Sanctification is not our doing. It is the work of the Holy Spirit in me. In fact, most times, I get in His way. It happens slowly, over time, making subtle changes as I resist or try to do it on my own. But the Holy Spirit transforms, like water wearing rock over time.



"Submersion and Erosion"

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Water symbolizes a big change, like a baptism, a cleansing. But water can make even greater change over time, forming Canyons, altering landscapes. I've been thinking a lot about justification and sanctification as I've used water as much as paint in this series. I'm thankful for the work of the Holy Spirit, that submerged me and now erodes.



"The Active Pursuit"

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"While it is the work of the Holy Spirit that does the work as we are slowly sanctified, we are also called to the active pursuit. In Philippians 2:12-13, it explains this wonderful duo concept. We must "continue to work ... with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you." --paraphrased from The Fruitful Life by Jerry Bridges



"Goodbye to the Old Self"

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"As the Holy Spirit works in us, like water washing us clean, slowly transforming us, we are saying goodbye to who we were. I want to welcome the space to be made new. I will let the water dissolve the old me bit by bit."



"Prayer for Dependence"

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In hopes of remembrance, to actively pursue, to acknowledge it is not my doing but His, to become more like Christ, and to nourish this relationship, I will pray the prayer for dependence mentioned in The Fruitful Life by Jerry Bridges. In Psalm 119:33-37..

'Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees, that I may follow it to the end. Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law and obey it with all my heart. Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word. '"



These landscapes that let the water slowly break down the pigments in the paint represent the way we are made new in Christ. Sometimes slowly, sometimes all at once, but never ending and never complete in this lifetime. When I fixate on the fire, I ignore the wearing of the water.



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