I grew up in a Christian household. I wore the yellow capes that were inevitably too big or small for Sunshine Band presentations. I had absolutely no rhythm as a kid because the only dancing I did was rocking left to right stiffly between pews and clapping to the choir’s beat. I remember trying with no luck to grasp the dance movements for an African-inspired song for Kwanzaa. “That baby has no rhythm,” my favorite teacher sighed as I stumbled through the routine staccato. It was awkward. My dad was the president of YPWW (Young People Willing Workers) which meant my sister and I had to attend most Sunday evening meetings along with mom. Each session began the same with a series of scriptures whose first letter spelled out the acryonym C.O.G.I.C. C- CLEAVE to that which is good. O- Occupy til I come, Luke 19:13. G- I can’t remember. I- In all thy ways acknowledge him, Proverbs 3:5. C- CHRIST is the answer, ACTS 4:12.
Ok. So maybe I can’t remember it perfectly. You get the point. I had a pretty sheltered upbringing. I yearned to be normal, to listen to rap, and to watch the inappropriate movies every other kid in my class was watching. (I’m still catching up on the classics.)
But looking back, I’m grateful. Because no matter how far I strayed or how much distance I tried to place between me and my roots, God showed me He was in control and I was loved. When I left for Boston (by way of a miracle I received a full-tuition scholarship), I never planned to return. Sayonara Dallas…I thought.
Four years later, I was back with my family trying to figure out my next steps. I discovered art as a kid but never thought it would be more than a hobby. I took AP Art in high school with a very spirited teacher who told me to never be afraid of color and encouraged me to create. In college, I often felt out of place. I was in a totally different world in a very white college. Most of my peers were wealthy and privileged but I was a scholarship kid. God blessed me to connect with others who felt like outcasts and they became my people. Art was where I turned when the climate on campus felt smothering. The ceramics studio was warm, filled with oldies jazz, and possibility. I’m grateful for its inhabitants, Stephanie Osser and Danielle Krcmar. They were always welcoming and pushed me to try new things. When I returned to Dallas and began looking for a job, art was so therapeutic. I loved to write and did that until it was time to get a more stable, sustainable job path. Painting became my sanctuary. I can barely explain. It was like God was using my hands to create. I was always amazed at the final outcome. Looking back, I think God used art to show me His power and nearness. Art put me even more in awe of the Ultimate Creator.
Today, I have seen alot. Success. Failure. Disappointment. Hope. Yet through it all, those scriptures, songs, and prayers I learned as a kid have grown to mean so much to me. As I have become a woman, my faith in God has grown to match. I know that I may not understand things or have a why or how. But I do trust that God has a plan that’s bigger than I can fathom. And I’m happy to be a part of His final masterpiece.