Have you ever been so enamored with the vibe of another person that you can’t help but obsessively wonder about the kindred connection you might have if you ever had the chance to sit down and talk? Well, your vibe definitely does attract your tribe because that’s exactly what transpired in the session I had with this certain person I am showcasing.
I cannot explain the honor and pleasure I feel in treasuring this person’s heart. This exceptionally special person desires to remain anonymous in this showcasing, but the crux of her beauty is no less powerful detached from a name. She has agreed to everything I am about to share with you about her, and has endorsed this project as a dedication to any woman who has ever felt “less-than” and struggled to know her own worth. Though I cannot publicly praise her name, I would like to adamantly express my deepest, deepest affection in who she is a woman, dreamer, lover of people, and “gardener of souls.” In a span of 10 days, over 24 hours of painting, I had the most exhilarating privilege of intrusively peering into her innermost self, staring at the details, while listening to God express His heart in the exposure:
“See this, see that, I made it… And here is why… Her design is for this purpose. This detail is for this reason.”
Oh my stars, the love He has for her is outrageous, AND I got to feel every violent wave of its intensity each time I scraped colors and blended shades just to get the right tone for her skin, hair and each allusive symbol of this painting that prophesies who she is. Every fiber of who she is in on purpose. Every nitty-gritty thing and every intricate complexity is intentional and wrapped up in so much grace. Her gala-smart giftedness to magnify the beauty around her is impressive, but it’s in how she beautifies the overlooked and obscure that’s truly moving. It is innately God-given. Her eyes are wide-open with wonder. You know the kind I’m talking about? They have that mystifying twinkle in them. She’s a quiet listener and she can afford to be, because her eyes do all the talking. She explores the silence of savoring people, but those sparkling eyes give away the secrets of the beauty she’s collecting in her heart. She’s a lingerer and a listener, a modern-mystic who ministers through gentle musing. (SO many M‘s in that sentence. Wow…)
I pray with all my heart that she feels the weighty warmth of Love pressing against each detail of her being. I also wish this for every single person reading this, may you feel the loving hands of the gentlest Artist adoringly and intentionally pressing against each detail of who you are. May His love ambush every insecurity and kiss what’s been cursed and turn it into gold. May your curse becomes your cure, just drop the s, shame.
Shame is a liar and we can’t afford to hide from Love anymore. We are so amazing. We are made to be loved so outrageously.
So let’s begin here. With all the wildest, purest affection in my heart, I present to you this piece. May this conglomerate of prophetic poetry and illuminative oil painting minister beauty to you and impart new vision to see and appreciate your own.
The Beauty Gardener
“So above all, guard the affections of your heart,
for they affect all that you are.
Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being,
for from there flows the wellspring of life..”
Proverbs 4:23 The Passion Translation
To the woman who pays attention to the details.
You are a seer who sees, but also a lover who loves to listen.
As you see, you sow seeds.
As you listen, you labor in love.
You grow gardens. You grow gardens inside of people.
It’s not that you’re an overbearing waterer.
It’s not that you’re notoriously picking at the weeds.
It’s not that you’re tying the feeblest plants to the tightest stake.
You’re not out to hurry along the process.
You see that it’s the baby-steps and small beginnings,
Patiently lingering in the beauty of progress.
That is what grows gardens in people.
You don’t listen to respond, but rather to understand.
And that’s the greenhouse-atmosphere you host: the adamant desire to understand.
Your heart to understand why some flowers are shy to bloom,
So you lovingly stoop and listen to their murmurs of progress.
No worry, no hurry,
Your soil is the softest and richest because you’ve guarded it by gardening it this way.
Your patience is a prairie all its own. Wide open and safe.
To the woman who stewards beauty
In wisdom and trust, holding it loosely.
What wisdom to see that success
Is measured in the day to day progress.
You qualify the weakest “yes” as the very best,
And count that latest-bloom as an extravagant harvest.
You are fascinated with the growing stages, just as much as the final bloom.
A lonely seed, buried in the darkest tomb,
Dies, comes back to life; the grave now an earthy-womb.
The straining roots and struggling shoots.
Tediously fighting for sunlight,
Tethered to stakes just to grow upright,
But there you are, Gardener, adoring the process.
And when the blossom finally unfolds, it’s majestically effortless.
You learned this from your Father, who lingered in love for you, Daughter.
Because you were indeed His Flower, and He was your Gardener.
Your life has become poetry in motion.
A song on a cellular level— feeling, thought, emotion.
Tears being your liquid-words.
Unable to communicate the heavy matters;
All along, the groans are the prayers your heart utters,
Giving language to your soul
The Spirit translates, making whole.
Giving praise to what’s been a mystery.
Desperately wanting to have history,
Of you and Him— You and Him completely.
Oh, adoring what it cost to know you deeply.
The breaking down,
Hopes dashed, dreams swept.
Oceans you swam, people you held, affections you’ve felt
The intricate, complex ecosystem of self:
Of crisis leading to clarity,
Of grief leading to glory.
Of bitter turning into sweet.
Of winter turning into spring.
Learning to dance with the opposing winds,
Strengthening your core so it won’t break when it bends.
What has died, falling off and become the fertilizer for your new season.
What’s been taken away was never a punishment, but for the sake of mercy’s lesson;
Learning all along it was always for your protection.
Healing your eyes, removing the filters of your own self-perception.
Protecting you from settling for what you thought you deserved,
Stripping you down, back to the basics, so Love could redefine your worth.
Learning there’s grace in the moment,
That there’s never a “no,” just a “not-yet.”
Or God simply just has a better “Yes!”
There’s Hope in the “not-yet.”
He really has predestined you for the absolute, very best.
And here you are, being loved.
There is no doubt, no more plucking off your own petals:
“He loves me, He loves me not.”
No need to knit-pick, no need to meddle.
He has laid you down in green pastures.
He has restored your soul.
Though you wilted in the dirt,
He got down on his hands and knees,
Seeing you crushed, He pressed His lips to each insecurity.
Kissed each wilted, crumpled, rumbled petal,
Like a loving Gardener would.
He loved you back to life.
And here you are, loving life back.
And here you are,
Kissing all the flowers in the garden.
Kissing, collecting pollen,
Re-pollenating— spreading it all around.
Tenderly savoring each smell,
Giving praise to each one’s own significant beauty.
Dear Miss Gardener, look at your garden!
Notice and see, how each row of the field turns to follow your light.
Notice and see, how every breath you breathe is inhaled like a sweet fragrance.
Notice and see, how many hybrids have re-pollinated in the softness of your soil.
You are the safest garden for so many shy flowers.
You are the softest soil for the most timid of seeds.
You’ve been so tenderly held, so you inherited the most gentle of arms.
You love well because you have guarded your heart well.
All you are flows from the innermost greenhouse of your soul.
You have stewarded your affections in the secret garden of His Love.
You have walked with Him in the cool of your daydreams.
You have conversed with Him in the morning mist.
You have gotten close and seek to be closer still.
And that’s why you are trustworthy with such a purpose.
You have a garden of smiles to tend.
You have thousands of hills to explore.
You gifted, glory-Gardener.
I hear the Father singing over you.
My heart responds in praise.
Your life makes me want to give praise.