This image was in my mind for many months before I had an opportunity to paint it at our annual church conference. There have been several times in my life when I believe I head God speak to me, usually in the form of a fully formed thoughts that comes to me complete and completely unbidden.
Usually, when I create art, I see something that inspires me, or I have a concept that I try to think through development. This was the first time an image came to me like a whisper from Heaven – complete and completely unbidden.
Evidence of God’s blessing were on it before it was even completed. Numbers of people came to me to tell me how it spoke to them, each believing it was a message just for them.
Two weeks after the painting was finished, my church received an email from a mother who had lost her daughter the year before. She said that a photo of her daughter, who loved lions, had come up on her Facebook page that morning. She was holding her favorite toy, a stuffed lion, and the mother felt that God was telling her that her daughter now had a different relationship with “The Lion”. She then came into church and saw this painting. In her email to the church, she included the photo. The girl in my painting looked more like her daughter than the photo I had used for reference. I was thrilled when the church asked if we could gift the original painting to the mother.
I call it “Sheltered”, as the concept spoke to me of where I want to be in my Christian life, sheltered in the love of Jesus. But in it, I believe God also has a message for the bereaved parent. This child that was entrusted to your care for too short a time may now be entrusted to his care.
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