Of Starfishes, Sick Parrots, and Sonship

As you know, friends, the Lord has blessed me with another beautiful gift and that is watercolor painting. Sometime last year, the thought of creating something pleasing to the eyes occurred to me and I thought that watercoloring would not be too physically taxing for my fragile health. And so, I ordered my Royal and Langnickel beginner’s set.

The very first thing I drew and painted was a sparse cluster of morning glory flowers. I was very conscious of exhausting myself (something that really scares me and is hard to recover from) that I couldn’t give it my best: the colors didn’t come out correctly and I didn’t have the energy to work on it longer than was necessary. The result was a sparse cluster of — starfish crawling on purple petals! I could see the many flaws but my joy and gratitude to be able to do it in the first place could not be quenched. Until Felix saw it.

My very first water-colour project that looked like starfishes crawling on purple petals.

The pitiful morning glory flowers I first painted.

eagle head

My water-colour panting of an eagle head where I wrote Isaiah 43:31.

bluejay

The admired bluejay.

UPDATE: My first 4 serious watercolor paintings.

UPDATE: My first 4 serious water-colour paintings ready for framing.

UPDATE: My first poppy collection.

UPDATE: My first poppy collection.

UPDATE: My latest project.

UPDATE: My latest project.

I eagerly showed it to him when he arrived from the office, expecting that he’d be happy for me that I was painting with joy instead of miserably suffering in my bed-bound state. But, friends, he criticized my work so severely that I was seriously hurt. Yes, he saw the “starfishes”, too, and didn’t have any qualms in mentioning them. When he left the room, I cried for my wounded pride, for his insensitivity, and for his not seeing and understanding the things that matter to me. (My husband is not even an artist).

But that is not the real subject of this post :) .

I continued to paint and the Lord continued to add strength to me. Gradually, I improved my craft. My husband’s hurtful criticisms were so ingrained in my mind that they helped drive me to do better. I had that full intent in my heart to show him that those unfortunate morning glory flowers weren’t my maximum potential. I knew there was something more beautiful, more wonderful coming up of which I could yet praise God even more.

But that wasn’t only the reason why I stayed the course. I enjoy what I’m doing. It gives me something to eagerly look forward to. The inspiration and exercise not only bring me joy but I believe, even healing as well. Watercolor painting is therapeutic to say the least.

So, I continued to polish my work. I had become more meticulous in mixing my colors and learned some techniques watching videos on YouTube. The rest I left it to instinct.

Through the course of a few months, I had painted calla lilies, tulips, strawberries in the vine, orange jubilee flowers, a bowl of apples, a branch of blueberries, a manger, cascading wisteria, a tree (an illustration of Psalm 1), sunflowers, peony spray, lotus, peach roses, an eagle head (an illustration of Isaiah 40:31), and recently (just before this writing), a bluejay perched on a branch (an illustration of Lamentations 3:22-23).

Beginning with the third painting, Felix began to admire my work. There’s still a lot of room for improvement but I’m thankful that the Lord Jesus continues to pour out inspiration on me: my romance with watercolor painting deepens each day and blossoms so sweetly that my life is certainly more vibrant and colourful than ever before! Isn’t our Lord and Savior wonderful?

When Felix saw the bluejay, he commented, “It looks so alive.”

Grinning with pleasure, I asked, “You really think so?” He nodded his assent.

“It’s no longer a ‘sick parrot’? So, I’m already far removed from that sick parrot of grade 2?” I insisted as he continued to gaze at my painting. He knows the story.

Well, there should be a world of improvement from my drawing and crayon-coloring of parrot in grade 2 to my 48-year-old watercoloring self! That was practically another generation!

When I was in grade 2, I was entered in an art contest by our school where we competed with other schools in our town. I know now why they chose me: my father was a known fine artist in our town (one or two of his commissioned works, oil paintings, reached even the USA) and maybe they thought that I inherited his artistic prowess and also because I was an honor student.

A drawing of a parrot in all its bright orange-and-green plumage was pasted on the blackboard. It was to be our model.

After the contest, our works were judged and I learned that I came fourth. But there was quite a stir as my Lola Atring (my grandmother’s sister), an elementary teacher at the time, vehemently disputed with the judges that I should be placed second. They argued back that my parrot looked sick to which my fastidious-yet-with-a-remarkable-sense-of-humor lola replied with pride, “Well, who can readily draw a sick parrot among you?”

When this story was told to my father (by the said lola, no less!), I remember him smiling, followed by his deep-throat chuckle. He didn’t reprimand me for my poor performance.

As for my part, I couldn’t care less. I was too young! Maybe I didn’t have a competitive bone in my body then when it came to art, much less an artistic bone! I didn’t have to inherit my father’s artistic ability, did I? I didn’t have to be like him, completing his first oil painting on canvas at 15 or 17 (?). I didn’t have to accomplish what he had accomplished. I was my own person, still learning to pursue my heart’s desires.

This may well be true and in practice in our families today. But should it be the same with our sonship (daughtership) with God?

The Lord Jesus consistently showed His intimate relationship with the Father when He walked on earth. He was never far from the Father’s presence. He Himself testified that He did what He saw the Father do.

Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. 20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. (John 5:19-21)

The Lord Jesus exemplified to us how to act as true children of God, how to live out our sonship (or daughtership): It is to do what our Father does and follow His ways and not our own. To be conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ (see Rom. 8:29) for He and the Father are one. What He told and showed us to do – to worship God in spirit and in truth, to love as He loved us, to heal, to pray, to share the Gospel, and many other things – that we should do. So that we are truly sons and daughters of the Father in heaven.

Who we are, what we do –  should not be different from Him. We are to be partakers of His divine nature (see 2 Pet. 1:4).

We are to reflect our Savior’s light and beauty, awakening in His likeness (see Psalm 17:15).

As long as the branch is attached to the Vine, the very life of the Vine flowing to it, it will be one with the Vine, all its parts bearing the appearance of it. A grapevine will produce grapes and not another.

I am a daughter of God and my desire is to be like my Father, bearing His Spirit, His life flowing in and through me, my life a shining testimony to that.

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Journey with Jesus,

 

 

Comments

  1. Betty Draper says:

    Beautiful story, sad in place but God took your sadness mixed with faithfulness and brought beauty out of it and a kind word from your husband. Keep it up, you are an inspiration.

    • RinaPeru says:

      Thank you so much, Betty. Indeed, the Lord is faithful even in the simple things, like our desire and prayer to hone our gifts. Blessings!

  2. Hazel Moon says:

    Our pride does get hurt when our splendid work is criticized by our family. I am happy that you took time to work better to improve and the remarks helped challenge you. I love your paintings. Thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story.

    • RinaPeru says:

      Dear Hazel, my husband is not the eloquent type :D, but he’s a very faithful husband and responsible father. I’m glad that you like my paintings. Blessings to you!

  3. Perla says:

    Hi Rina,
    Your testimony makes me ponder…how we live our lives. We usually please or try to please the people around us, and sometimes we are a little disappointed how we are been treated back, in short, the approval. In maybe work, relationships or just around us.
    I can relate to this revelation of yours… But at the end of the day, what matters , is , we do what inspires us, like the things that matter to us…most of all, that God approves what we are doing. And I am trying…
    By the way, as usual, beautiful drawings of yours are amazing! Keep it up!

    • RinaPeru says:

      “We do what inspires us, like the things that matter to us. Most of all, that God approves what we are doing” ~ very well said, Manang Perla. I love it! I also experienced ugly competition in the workplace when I wasn’t a Christian yet and it was hard and painful. That’s one of the reasons why I put up my own company at the age of 30 😀 . Mng. Perl, just look on to Jesus in whatever problems you encounter. Every hurt and pain, give it all to Him. That path that leads me to Jesus is a well-worn path as I always run to Him for whatever it is that’s weighing down on me. Blessings!

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