Story behind the piece
I was truly honoured this week to be asked to paint on stage at the Randy Clark healing conference. Excited and yet fascinated about what I would paint, I had no inspiration at the time. A few days before, a friend walked up to me and encouraged me about the painting I would create that week. She had no idea I would be painting, yet she began to tell me how she believed it would be a really significant moment for me. I was touched in that moment, and knew the her words must have been straight from God’s heart.
Then that same afternoon I had another friend speak to me about my painting that week. He didn’t know I would be painting either. He told me he believed God would give me a clear dream that night that would reveal what I would paint!
That night I did have a dream. However I didn’t see the relevance of it until I read it a second time. There were a few significant parts to it that I wanted to somehow illustrate:
- I was singing over people in prisons.
- We were children again.
- Blessing single Mums.
- Speaking “life and destiny” over people.
- My big toe nail was broken and someone was praying life over it.
- This showed me that God was saying:
the balance to the whole church body is seeing us
dance upon disappointment and see beauty from ashes.
- Bringing back old dreams. Rebirth.
- Championing a little boy called “David”. Boys who are giant killers.
A friend then began to pray for me before I started and also had a few words about what she felt God wanted to do through my painting for people:
- Men will have their eyes opened to beauty again. Before they were colour blind, now they will see in colour spiritually and physically.
- Marriages restored.
- Dancing on disappointment.
- BEAUTY will be released in the room.
Just before painting I walked to the water fountain and had a moment with the Lord of singing, praying and asking for His help. I felt Him ask me to do something strange and put my water bottle into the water as if it was like the staff of Moses, splitting the Red Sea. So I did! A spontaneous song flowed out of me so freely as I did. I walked around the fountain, as if it was a runway and had dreams of heavenly runways hosting the presence of God. Then I walked back inside to paint.
When I was up on stage painting, I found the process surprisingly hard. I only had a 45 minute window and I felt an unusual amount of pressure.
Painting to me has been a process of letting go of performance. Now I simply want to paint with God’s presence and release Him while I do so. Yet in this moment I was struggling with thoughts of performance and shame about how bad I felt my painting looked. It did not look like the vision I had for it! When the time was up, we cleared the stage and I felt super disappointed and ashamed of my painting. While praying with the girls backstage, I couldn’t hold back my tears. Waves of disappointment hit me. I knew some of it was my own feelings, but a lot of it was also the atmosphere I could pick up from the room of thousands of people. I could feel this deep, deep sadness.
I let the tears drop and let my heart feel the ache of what felt like a failure to me. It was such an uncomfortable feeling, yet liberating to feel the depth of the pain and disappointment of the picture not looking like the vision I had had for it. The fact that my painting was about dancing upon disappointment, felt pretty ironic!
Just ten minutes later I was broken out of my bubble of frustration and shame when a sweet couple sitting behind me began to share their response to seeing me paint. Amazed, they shared with me that just an hour before the conference that night they were having dinner with a woman called Sophia, who had shown them a picture of a woman dancing just like the one I had just painted. I was in awe of God in that moment – that in my moment of weakness and frustration He had made a miracle happen! My mess was an untold story being told for many in the room I later found out too. The response to my painting blew me away. People from every direction began to share what it meant to them. One man even shared that from the back of the room he had thought it looked like Moses on the top of the mountain. I couldn’t believe this, as that was exactly what I had done at the water fountain just before. Someone else thought it looked like a little girl with a flag on top of a mountain. This too was beautiful to hear, as most mountains I go up, I’ll dance with a scarf at the top!
Then the next morning I woke up early and felt strongly to keep painting on my piece, to see if it could transform into the vision I had for it. I had the most beautiful time alone with Jesus in my bedroom, listening to songs that spoke straight into my heart and story. One song particularly hit home: “Neighbour boy” by Irea Marie from her album, Here we Begin. As I painted I was overcome by the presence of God and felt Him strongly reminding me of how 9 years ago was the first time I painted a large painting of a friend dancing and felt marked significantly by God that I would “paint stories of beauty from ashes”. Here I was again, painting a similar styled piece some time later with the same theme. I felt Him show me so beautifully through the process that He is restoring dreams in my life and showing me that out of what I consider to be a mess, He will craft into true beauty.
That night there was a gallery for all the art from the conference. So I took my painting and displayed it on one of the easels. I wrote out the poem (at the top) so people could read the meaning alongside the painting. Shortly after doing so I saw a woman rolling past in a wheelchair who had stopped to read my poem. She seemed touched so I went over to ask her what it meant to her. She began to share her phenomenal story with me:
On December 20th 1997 I went to Hawaii with my sister and we went out into the waves of the ocean. My sister asked if I wanted to ride a wave. So we did and it threw me about 40 feet into the sand, which was harder than concrete. I broke C1 and cut into the spine. I was conscience under water. Yet I had a vision of where the lifeguards were. I cried out to God “please save me before I drown out here”. My sister just rolled like a ball and eventually found the surface. She was was about 40 feet away from me. She got to me, held me and felt a crazy peaceful presence in the midst of the chaos. A man came running out to help. And eventually the lifeguards too. 5 days later my lungs collapsed from pneumonia. Miraculously I came back to life and when I did I was in awe of the beauty of people. It was as if I could see people through God’s eyes and see how people were made to be.
Your picture meant so much to me, as it felt like my life. Your poem firstly mentions, “waves” and it was waves what tried to shatter my life on sand. But God was so present. I often say my life is like an “accidental blessing”. So when you speak of the “grace, beauty and colour” – that’s felt like what my life has been – the people around me, supporting me and loving me. Rainbows have also meant a lot to me too ever since and the bottom of the dress looks like a rainbow.
This woman’s story meant a huge amount as I have just got back from Hawaii where rainbows were everywhere. Also this was a significant part of my dream I’d had and was basing this painting on. The fact also she had risen from the dead was life changing to hear, as this whole piece was about exactly that and seeing dreams come back to life too. Then lastly hearing her say “I started to see people through God’s eyes” was also wild, as I wear a ring all the time that is called “through the Fathers Eyes” as it reminds me that His lens is the best to see life through. Wow!
Another woman came to me saying how touched she was too as the painting was exactly like the vision she had of her daughter in the future of her worshiping.
Another story that touched me deeply was from a woman who shared in depth about the power of redemption in her own life:
I went to Uganda in October 2019. I was just going to support and yet was asked to speak four times. The last time, I went to a church that was in a slum that was known to be a red light district. Where a lot of prostitutes were. I was telling my story and how a large part of my story is about how God has restored me – as I’ve had a long sexual abuse history.
I had ordered a dress from a seamstress, who was the wife of one of our drivers. I’d asked her to just make me something. She made a dress that was like a ball gown. It was so out of the box for me. It was emerald green with big red flowers on it and split down the middle to wear with leggings. So when I walked it could caught the wind and looked like a ball gown. The children would follow me as they thought I was a movie star. God told me in that moment: “no you’re a Queen, you’re royalty. You’re going into these places where one day you felt you were one of the prostitutes, you’re going in there now and pulling them out into hope, to where they belong, as royal princesses in My kingdom”.
So with your poem where it says “covered in purity” – this resonated with me due to the ball gown and being a Queen and how God restored my purity – as it was taken as young as 3 years old.
“Pioneer of liberty” as I believe I’m meant to go out and set captives free.
“Becoming a work of art” – God has called me to paint, as I am an artist. He has told me to paint His love. Not sure what that looks like yet but inspires me to create.
One woman saw the picture as a girl on a rock throwing rocks into the ocean. Then today seeing it transformed was a beautiful transition from the rock to the beauty! This touched me a lot as it was from a rock that God set my life free too!
Jessica, I feel to tell you that you paint stories by chapters / scenes that tell someones story through various times and end up painting Gods promises and love for them.
Colours clashing, all around.
Wave upon wave of heavenly sounds.
Nothing compares to a moment with you.
Wild redemption, as through the ashes you move.
Piece by piece, they come back together.
A collision of grace is a knot that can’t be severed.
Making a rainbow of colourful story
Radiant in sight, spinning in glory.
Ashes to beauty, covered in purity.
Child of the King, pioneer for liberty.
Dancing upon injustice, hopeful in heart.
This captured moment, becomes a work of art.
Colour upon colour.
Wave upon wave.
A picture of grace.
A moment of glory.
A rainbow of hope.
A memory of heaven.
Holding trinity’s rope.
Dancing in prisons.
Made to be wild.
Changing history’s sight.