A Painting for the New Year

Appetizers to enjoy during our painting session.

A couple of months ago, a good friend of mine was bemoaning the fact that she would probably spend New Year’s Eve in a less than memorable fashion.

I already knew I wouldn’t be doing anything fun that evening (hello, sleeping toddler and evening-working husband), but I wanted to do something special with this friend to celebrate the end of the year, along with my younger sister, who would be in town for that week.

With that in mind, I invited the two women over on the last Saturday in December to join me for an evening of painting.

After a dinner of mostly Asian appetizers, I went about getting Liam ready for bed while my sister and friend prepared a cheese, cracker, and fruit charcuterie board.

Once Liam was down for the night, I joined them in the kitchen and prepared another charcuterie board—one full of chocolate. After pouring ourselves a mango drink, we took the two boards to the dining room table and got ready to paint. The idea was to paint a canvas for the person sitting to the right of us.

The finished product!

We had all been praying weeks prior to this small party that God would give us a word or phrase or verse—just something—that would encourage the person whose canvas we would paint that evening. We wanted to go into the new year expectant of what God might do and encouraged by anything He might want to reveal to us before the new year even began.

For the most part, we kept our paintings hidden from their recipients until we finished them and were able to explain the meaning behind them to each other.

It was a beautiful time of listening to music and eating good appetizers while thoughtfully painting and conversing with each other off and on. There was something very therapeutic and refreshing about the evening to me. It makes me think that I would like to do something like this again.

After two and a half hours, we were finally ready to reveal our paintings to each other and share their deeper meanings. My friend shared hers with my sister first, reminding my sister how favored she was by God. Her painting and words struck a chord in me, because I knew how meaningful they would be to my sister.

My sister then explained the painting she had made for me. It was a picture of a woman with an umbrella walking in the rain. The word “protection” was written on the path behind her. My sister explained that she believed that God would want to use me to protect people and to influence their situations for the better. Perhaps the gray droplets of water falling above people would be colored into something beautiful because of the way God would use me in the midst of other people’s storms. I can only pray that will be so.

Lastly, I explained my painting to my friend. It was of an eagle flying in front of a mountain scene with a sunset. I wrote the word strength and Isaiah 40:31 to one side of it. I knew that 2019 had been a draining year for her in many ways and believed God would renew her strength in 2020. I continue to pray that that will be the case.

By the time we finished the paintings and our explanations, it was pretty late, so our evening ended somewhat abruptly with the three of us cleaning off our paintbrushes and clearing off the dining room table and putting things back into order. In retrospect, I wish I had suggested that we pray to end the evening.

Although we can’t turn back the time to make prayer our ending point of that night, I have been praying off and on since then that the ways God encouraged us that evening will truly be a part of what He wants to do in our lives in 2020. I’m so thankful that He encouraged us through each other that evening, and I’m grateful that He is a God that wants to give us hope and a future. Here’s to the good things God has in store for us this year! May we embrace all that He has for us this year with open arms!

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