Barbara Fox's painting illustrates the use of shadows to give a painting depth and a sense of realism.
Painting has been on my mind lately because of my desire to learn how to. I have taken several classes over the years and always found "shading" difficult. You really have to look at what you're painting in order to see where the shadow lies and how it is shaped. Trying to do it from one's imagination would have to be even more difficult!
This got me to thinking about the shadows in our lives that give our lives depth--the trials and tribulations that grow our character. There is a saying that if a collection of people put all their troubles in a pot and then had to choose back, most would choose their own rather than someone else's. I know I would.
It's the same with the shadows that are painted into our lives....I'm so glad God has a hold of the brush and it's not up to me to imagine where the shadow lies....I know I would not be wise enough to choose properly. I do not know what lies ahead, only God does, so I am grateful, as scripture says, to "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (James 1:2-4)
It wasn't until I was 27 that I began to look at trials and tribulations in this way. Up until then I was a perfectionist who believed I could keep troubles at bay if I did everything as perfectly as could be done. But then God began to speak to me in His small, still way. He did this after I sprained my ankle one day and had to stay home from work--a rare occurrence for me. My younger brother had just concluded a 3-month stay with us while looking for work. I'd preached to him to look for a job based on what he loved rather than the pay. That day at home my own words came back to me in the form of "There's got to be more to life than this..."
It was the beginning of my understanding that problems were learning experiences, as I quit my job in order to start a family that did not happen right away. My unencumbered time allowed me to take a doll house furniture-making class which led to my reading a book about Quakers which led to my attending a Quaker meeting and experiencing the Holy Spirit in me for the first time even though I'd been a Christian for 20 years at that point. Before the year was out I was with child, only to have my father die a few weeks after I told him about his long-awaited grandchild-to-be. But I had a peace I would never have had if not for my day off from work because of my sprained ankle which led to my hearing that small, still voice that said, "There's got to be more to life than this,"
Father, light and shadow are a necessary part of a painting to give it realism, just as the light and shadow in my life makes it real. Help me to always remember this when the shadow feels too dark to bear.
Link to scripture: Romans 8:28