Artful Giving

Setting my business cards on the table established the final touch for my display. Soon the house would officially be opened to customers for the 3rd Annual Artful Giving Holiday Sale, a party given by PerficalSense Studio owner and artist Cindy Jevon Hogan. In anticipation of my first show with other artists, my eyes darted from necklace to necklace, bracelet to bracelet, hoping to find the perfect combination of pieces. Remembering the words of my boyfriend, I said to myself, Just relax.

“You’re next to a pro,” Cindy told me at one point during the weekend, commenting on the jeweler that shared my table. And she was just one of close to forty artists of varying media that had contributed work to the show. I could scarcely believe that I was being considered an artist, and worthy to have my work displayed near a woman who has been sharing her work for twenty years.

There is only one way to describe that weekend of November 30, 2012 to December 2, 2012: a blessing. God has shown His face in many ways throughout the creation of this business, not only in my work but in the ways in which I get to share that work. God was the one that helped me to relax and be the artist that He has created me to be.

“Show me your table,” a fellow artist said quickly and turned toward where I had just been pointing. “You have wonderful work,” she told me as she surveyed my table. I thanked her as she leaned over the table to touched a necklace that she said she’d been eying since she’d arrived. “I love the words that are on there, ‘unbound’ and ‘unharmed.’ I don’t know what they mean, but for some reason I just like them.”

Then came a wonderful chance to tell a story. Briefly after my dad passed away I began to read through the book of Daniel in the Bible. Upon coming to the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in chapter 3, I was taken aback by the end of the story, in which the three men emerge from the flames of a blazing furnace, ‘unbound and unharmed.’ I thought back to all the sermons and interpretations of this story that I had heard and was frustrated. To me, this meant that as Christians, if we stand firm in our faith, we will go through trials and come out unscathed. After experiencing the death of my father to a frustrating battle with pancreatic cancer, I couldn’t help but question this interpretation of the story. My dad had stood very firm in his faith to the very end of his life, but he suffered greatly as well. He had been harmed. But not in the way that mattered. My dad didn’t win the battle with cancer, God did. God took my dad home to be with Him and in heaven my dad now lives unbound and unharmed, I just can’t see it.

Explaining all this to my fellow artist, she listened intently and thanked me for sharing. “This is what I aim to put into all of my pieces, a piece of myself, and a piece of scripture,” I told her. “Everyone has a story,” she said, “Thank you for telling me yours.”

I could have sold nothing that weekend and would have been satisfied with having that one conversation. But the Father decided to give me a little more, and I sold several pieces that weekend.

I am thankful for stories, for artists, for cozy homes, for blessed conversations, for jewelry, and most importantly for God who allows me to take part in all of these things.

Merry Christmas.