I have finished the eagle painting. It didn’t go very well at one point. I realised that I had made the rocks and ground to near in colour to the larger eagle. And there was a patch of the lighter background still visible. I felt discouraged but continued. Even when life is not encouraging we need to keep on going. When we do, it is often then that we are aware of God’s help.
During a walk by the river I notice the long grass and decide that might make a good foreground. Upon my return I do some more on the painting, including more colour on the birds. I am reasonably happy with it. I need to keep reminding myself that this is a sketch book/journal, not a piece to bring to perfection. Perhaps one day I will paint this as a work of art and put right the mistakes, and work on it in a more sensible order.
I decide to take a photo and print it out so that I can work out where to place the wording.
I put in the lettering, having had a practice first. I used a purple calligraphy felt pen but then realised that it didn’t show up very well on the darker parts of the painting, especially the grass. So I added some gold gel pen. On reflection, perhaps I should have used a different colour for the words on the grass. But then, sometimes we do have to look hard to see/hear what God is saying. His words are not usually written in bold letters in the sky but in the obscure and not so obvious aspects of life.
I have learnt over many years that when I feel week, faint, and unable to continue if I lean on Jesus and ask him to help, he doesn’t let me down. Doing this picture has reminded me of what happened in September 2009. I had been off work with stress and depression after my dad had died at the beginning of the year. I was considering going back to work.
Whilst walking my dog I picked up a pheasant’s feather. It reminded me of the uplifting words in Isaiah 40. “Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (vs31)
However, I felt more like a pheasant or game bird that’s hiding in the long grass, fearful that if I started to fly I’d be shot down. One of the images I’d had on a retreat the previous month was that of being a bird with a broken wing, unable to fly. This was added to when after a night of very little sleep – possibly the worst I had there – I opened my bible to pray using the lectionary for that day only to burst out laughing as I read from Psalm 102 – “I lie awake like a lonely bird on a house top.”
For many years I have found comfort in the image of God sheltering me under his wing. With these thoughts in mind I created a collage using feathers with these words:
I lay awake like a bird alone on a roof unable to fly with a broken wing. I hoped in God in the shelter of his wings my heart began to sing. I caught a glimpse of what will be – one day I’ll soar on the wind of the Holy Spirit like an eagle.
This ‘broken wing’ picture appears in my Are We There Yet? Pdf of pictures and poems that track the course of God’s work in my life through many a dark time of being unable to fly through to now, when I am well. Admittedly, most of life is not lived on the soaring highs, but in the ordinary everyday things. However, when I recognise feelings of tiredness and stress I have learnt to rest and wait for the Lord till he lifts me up. Writing this reminds me of the song, often requested at funerals:
You Raise Me UpJosh Groban
When I am down, and, oh, my soul, so weary
When troubles come, and my heart burdened be
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence
Until you come and sit awhile with me
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be
I pray that if you are ‘down’ that the Lord will raise you up. Thank you for reading this. If you found it helpful, please Like and Share. Thank you.