Abiding In The Vine

It’s Independence Day in America, and I’m wondering how it got to be this late in the year. July 4th is kind of a big deal here. We are celebrating the “birthday” of our country, the day upon which our famous document, The Declaration of Independence, was signed. I grew up watching community fireworks celebrations, and I never missed a single year until recently. It was pouring rain in our town, so the festivities were postponed for a day or two a couple of years ago.

 

"Grapes" by Mollie Walker Freeman

“Grapes” by Mollie Walker Freeman

So, how did it get to be July already? The thing is, I seem to always be sideswiped by the month of May. Do the dozens of concerts, plays, induction ceremonies, awards ceremonies, graduation parties, bridal showers, birthdays, etc. in May make you feel your are on a carnival ride and cannot get off? That is how it can feel to me.

This May, we had a crisis thrown into the traditional mix. My husband, Scott had his appendix burst, and spent about a week in the hospital. The day of his surgery was the day of my kids’ dress rehearsal for a concert, as well as my daughter’s receipt of a “letter,” neither of which she was allowed to miss for any reason.

"True Vine" by Mollie Walker Freeman

“True Vine” by Mollie Walker Freeman

I managed to keep myself together, with the support of my family and friends, during this time. But, all the stress and insanity of schedule eventually took its toll. I was stressed out!

In times of intense stress, it’s good to be reminded that I am not alone. We are not alone. I had the opportunity to paint in a couple of church services during May and June. Both times, I felt inspired to paint grape vines. In the book of John, we are told that branches which bear fruit will be pruned, and this is a good thing. Come to think of it, it did sort of feel like someone was whacking away at me! Jesus also tells us that remaining (abiding) in the vine (God and His love) is the only way to bear fruit. He also calls us “friends.”

my grapevine

This is the grapevine in my garden, laden with small, still-green grapes.

Sometimes it’s not so easy to remember just how close God actually is. That He actually invites me to live “in” Him. Thinking about these verses and what they mean has helped me through this difficult time. Now, my grape vine is producing grapes. Every day as I walk through my garden, I can be reminded of the True Vine, my source of life.

 

 

New Paintings From Church Services

Can I be a bit eclectic today? There are a few tidbits on my mind…

First, I want to answer a question I am often asked. It usually goes something like this: “When you paint in a service, do you know what you will do ahead of time? Or do you wait to be inspired on the spot?” If you are familiar with more “charismatic” styles of services, this question will make sense to you, especially. It’s not uncommon for some pastors or worship leaders to be somewhat spontaneous in the context of a regular service. A song, a prayer, or even a whole sermon may be said to be “Spirit led,” and the implication is often that it was unplanned.

Mollie, painting at Resurrection Fellowship in Loveland

Mollie, painting at Resurrection Fellowship in Loveland

I want you to know that many of us Jesus followers believe that we are being led by the Spirit of God, even when we plan far ahead what we will sing, say, or create. However, what I paint in any given service may be more or less planned, or thought out, or not at all. Other artists will have slightly different answers to this query.

I think I can say that I always pray about the service, if given any notice that I will be painting. Sometimes, I have in mind a verse of scripture or a specific image. Sometimes, I have in mind more of a mood, color scheme, or general attitude. There are times when I am not at all thrilled with the outcome of my painting; sometimes these are the very paintings that seem to reach someone in a really deep way. I do not despair over the paintings, even when I am not so happy with what I have put down.

Also, the leadership (of the churches in which I have worked) seems to have an understanding that “worship painting” is an uncertain art, uncharted territory, if you will. The pastors and musicians on the various teams are extremely supportive of the artists, which I appreciate.

Now, I’ll show you a couple of new pieces. The first one, I have called,

"Yeshua, My Salvation"       "Salvation comes from the Lord" - Jonah 2:9

“Yeshua, My Salvation”  worship painting by Mollie Walker Freeman        “Salvation comes from the Lord” – Jonah 2:9

“Jeshua, My Salvation.” I was thinking a lot about the names “Joshua” and “Jeshua,” and how (I’m told) they mean the same thing, “the Lord is my salvation.” I love that  Jesus’s name says that He is my salvation. I have a strong awareness of my necessity for a savior, feeling keenly that I am unable to save myself. His very name is a reminder that He’s got it covered. The lamb in the painting was a reflection on the sacrifice that He made in order to become my salvation. The Hebrew word you see is my attempt to copy the word “Jeshua.”

The second painting here was painted this past weekend (September 7, 2013). The thought behind this one is a little more vague; I was drawn to the image, which I saw in a copyright-free reference book of old artwork.

"Take Aim" worship painting by Mollie Walker Freeman

“Take Aim” worship painting by Mollie Walker Freeman   “He made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in His quiver.” Isaiah 49:2