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Advancing the Kingdom Through Art

by Diana Thomas


The best things we can know in life come out of knowing who we are in Christ and what direction living in that identity will take us.  The Bible tells us we are God's beloved handiwork (Poiema) created for good works since before we were born, but it still takes us a good long while to discover what all this means.  It takes day to day communication with God and the Spirit to learn how to live the kind of abundant life Jesus paid so dearly to give us.


Looking back to my innocent and unhindered childhood thoughts about what I liked to do and what I wanted to be when I grew up held clues to an early picture of who I was designed to be.  I hadn't had time to have harmful labels attached to me yet, nor to let my misconceptions develop into negative self images.  As far back as third grade, I knew I liked to draw and write.  In school I would make tiny books about 2.5 inches square out of colored paper, illustrating them and stapling the sides then giving them to my friends.  My third grade teacher noticed my budding drawing skills and asked me to help her make seasonal bulletin boards in the classroom.  I became known as that girl who could "draw good."


My dad was a graphic designer and artist, so I always had the materials and encouragement needed to propel me forward through high school art classes, then to the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and on into a variety of art based careers.


 The writing part of me developed much slower.  It surfaced again in earnest when I was going through some difficult life changes in my forties.  Being an overly busy mom with perfectionist tendencies I first began journal writing as a way to quiet and focus my mind in prayer and meditate on what I was learning as I went deeper into my Christian walk.  Being still with and listening to God became in time a necessity for my heart, mind and soul. 


 I also realized that the movement of a pen on the page each morning was a soothing and healing process not unlike the way I felt when creating a piece of art.  Before I knew it I had become a "journal junkie" regularly sketching and writing in differently themed journals; nature notes, day to day life, travel, and my garden.  Interestingly the sketching also became an integral part of my "prayer time."  

         

In his perfect timing God began to orchestrate introductions and events that  helped me see what he had been doing all along.  I had twenty five years of writings and art pieces that could be pulled together and shaped into a book!  It would be a reflection of the person God had designed me to be; an artsy writer who learned to see the beauty of life right in the middle of the ordinary moments every day brings. And it would be a reflection of how God moves us through the seasons of life and shapes us to be more like Christ.


 I was afraid at first that no one would want to read a book like this, but I soon discovered that people did enjoy reading it.  I have found a true blessing in watching my story become a ministry. 

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