That Time I Almost Hated the World's Biggest Canvas...

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.

It was the largest canvas commission of my career. So big that you can't purchase pre-stretched canvases that size.

I would have to build it. Totally not intimidating at all... I had learned how to do that in a scene painting class once, in theory, at least. Fifteen years ago.... what could possibly go wrong?  Bless my heart.

I researched and talked to people. I worried and planned. Once we finally built the giant, painting it would be my sweet spot—or so I thought.

Generally, by the time paint hits my palette, I have a good idea of what will transpire. I have vision, an end goal, and enough experience to have a loose plan for getting there—always letting the process organically evolve, but rarely intimidated by it anymore.

This painting was shaping up nicely until suddenly, it wasn't. I had done everything as planned, but when I stepped back, it looked tight and forced and empty. So I decided to sleep on it, look through other art for inspiration, ignore it, and come back to it in a couple of days. The one thing I didn't do? I didn't pray about it.

Why?  Why are there STILL places in me that I don't automatically invite Jesus?

The couple who had commissioned the piece wanted a scripture written on the bottom, hidden but very present. I felt terrible for how long it had taken me, yet I was so stuck. Finally, believing break-thru was around the corner, because I'm nothing if not Positive Polly, I asked for the scripture.

It turns out there were three options that they were considering. The wife sent them to me then added, "I've been praying for Holy Spirit inspiration for you to create what He wants to brighten our home."

Gut. Punch.

There was a block, and it was all on my side. She had asked the Holy Spirit to inspire me, and I believe He is 1000% willing.  The problem was He was on the outside knocking, and I was on the inside working in my own strength.

I repented, then read the three scriptures. The last one hit me with all the force of answered prayers flooding a heart that was finally open and surrendered.

"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it."
John 1:5

Suddenly I saw the gold band in the middle as more than a cool paint color to accentuate the others. Suddenly I realized that the gold had to penetrate the darkness. It also had to shoot rays up into the clouds. And it had to have blood flowing.

That gold- that Glory-covered the span of the horizon because it represents God, who split the day from the night. The sky from the ocean. The water above from the water below. My God, who used His blood to penetrate the darkness of sin and allow His Glory to overcome it. My God, who will only be understood when we willingly invite His light to shine into the darkness.

What do you feel is too big for Him to overcome? Conversely, what do you feel like is too small to invite Him into?

What feels too dark? What feels too far gone for hope? On the flip side, what feels bright enough? What feels fine, so we don't look for true light?



**It has been a while since I have posted, so today's blog will be two parts.  Look for the conclusion tomorrow.  God showed me a truth that is still rocking my brain and I hope it will bless you as much as it has me!**


To order your own copy of "Light Overcomes Darkness"

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  • Paula A Alexich on

    Awesome message!

  • Marvae on

    You’ve piqued my interest! Can’t wait to see the finished painting!

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