As your soul gets nurtured, you will feel it’s pull to express itself. What’s the brush God’s put in your hand?
“People may compliment my art but really it is God working through me. I merely hold the paint brush as He miraculously holds me through whatever may come in this life.” ~ Jennifer, Artist of Studio JRU
Before I started blogging, I doubted my calling to write.
If only I pursued my writing earlier when I was younger.
If only someone believed in me.
If only I believed in myself.
If only… If only…
When I did decide to blog, it was a declaration of faith.
I was turning my back on If only….
With each post I wrote, I was saying to God, I am here now.
In other words — The past no longer has a hold on me. What matters is “God, You are here with me now.”
During this early season in my blogging life, my path crossed with Jennifer, the artist behind Studio JRU.
I was drawn to Jennifer’s artwork because she handcrafts each of her pieces. What I didn’t expect was how it moved me.
As I browsed her art collection, I noticed that Jennifer used Scripture to inspire her art. She combines her gift of colors, textures, and images with what feeds my soul — words.
Not just anyone’s words. God’s words.
A lot of art is personal taste. I like the mood her art evokes. Jennifer uses a layering effect, with a poetic placement of text.
Her art speaks a beautiful but assuring quietness of God’s words to my soul.
Behind The Brush
I wanted to know more about Jennifer. I wondered about her story.
I dug around and found an interview Jennifer did with (in)courage called “Behind The Brush”.
One line in her story caught my heart:
“I’ve loved being creative and making art for as long as I can remember.
My mom would help me set up paints and paper right in front of the TV so I could paint along with the painters on public television.”
My heart started cracking and the tears started falling.
You see, even though I was free from my past, God still wanted me to heal me from the hurt from the past.
I imagined sweet young Jennifer, with angel golden hair, sitting in front of the TV, quiet and ready to paint — and her momma placing a brush in her hand.
In that private place of brokenness, wishing-my-story-was-different, I felt God drawing me close, wiping my flowing tears, and whispering —
I’m here for you now, Bonnie — putting a pen in your hand.
My Heavenly Daddy had been there, all along. I just didn’t see it at the time. He was the one who put the love of His word and the flow of a pen on my heart.
God placed Jennifer’s story & her art on my path at an important juncture, to release a measure of pain from childhood.
Each day we live, we have the opportunity to “paint with the brush” God’s place in our hands.
We have the joy and the gift to make it meaningful, to bring out the beauty of God’s word and inspire others by those movements.
Isn’t art amazing?
Isn’t it beautiful how God uses art to speak to our souls in a way that is honest, direct and personal?
Art can cuts through our defenses. It can heal us deep within.
As you embark on the journey to feed your soul, you will inevitably feel a pull to express yourself.
The more you feel fed and nurtured, the more you’ll begin to feel your soul stir.
What is the “brush” that God has put in your hands?
Each of our brushes are different.
God is infinitely creative.
He’s placed a piece of Himself uniquely in you.
Keep Studio JRU In Mind…
Today’s post is special because it is sponsored by Jennifer of Studio JRU.
In a couple weeks, I will be flying to Pennsylvania for the first time in a couple weeks to attend the Relevant Blogging Conference October 27-29, 2011.
I’m so blessed and thankful to have Studio JRU sponsor a portion of my traveling expenses.
Please stop and take some time to visit Jennifer and check out her faith-inspiring art.
JRU Studio Shop – Click here to browse her beautiful collection and shop.
Jennifer’s Bio – Click here to read her bio.
Jennifer’s Blog – Click here to check out her blog.
Jennifer on Facebook – Click here to connect on Facebook.
If you are looking for a special gift to commemorate a milestone on your journey or a friend’s, keep Studio JRU in mind. I’m confident you will find an art piece that will be sure to encourage and inspire.
** 15% Off ** Jennifer is offering Faith Barista readers 15% off any purchase at JRU Studio Shop. Discount code good until 10/31/11: FaithBarista
What is the “brush” that God has put in your hands?
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Photo credit: Jennifer of JRU Studio
Oh, I love JRU Studio! So cool to learn how Jennifer has inspired you. What a wonderful question – What brush is God putting in your hand? I think my answer is also words, both written and spoken. Written through my blog, but I keep finding unexpected and meaningful opportunities to interact with people one and one. Those opportunities have been with family and friends, and in those settings I am feeling the importance of spoken words; the need to pray over everything and to consider how God is in every moment.
Words both written and spoken… that is wonderful Courtney. What a special gift HE has blessed you with! And such an opportunity to help others!
Jennifer’s art always speaks to me. I love peeking into see her works. The words in her art are so powerful.
The brush God put in my hands? We keep connecting Bonnie. I just wrote about it in my post today :-)His brushes in my hand – my guitar, my pen, my laptop keys, my camera. You are right Bonnie. That pull is getting stronger.
Lord, keep my heart in your hands as that pull grows.
That is awesome Jeri! So many wonderful ‘brushes’. I love that you said the pull is getting stronger. That is so great that you can feel HIM guiding you!
I will check out your friend’s art!
I took my faith jam in a bit of a different direction.
Have a blessed day Bonnie!
Beautiful art! I’ll see you at Relevant, Bonnie! This year I’ll be sure to come say hello.
“In that private place of brokenness, wishing-my-story-was-different, I felt God drawing me close, wiping my flowing tears, and whispering…”
How many times have I whispered that line…”Lord, I wish my story was different.” I wish I had a normal childhood and family, but then would my story now be different? He redeems our pain and holds us close to his heart.
All of your experiences have made you the wonderful person you are today. Exactly who HE wants you to be Nikole! We are all so blessed the HE loves us so much!
My brush… like you is my words. I love to draw and stuff also, but when I wanted to pursue it I was told no you have to take _________ corse in school instead. I was discouraged and wished my past was different also.
It is comforting to know that God was there then. It is comforting to know that God is here NOW.
Thank you Bonnie for your sweet wonderful words of encouragement.
I am sorry you were discouraged like that Katie. I do love to hear you say you are comforted to know HE was there then and HE is here now! HE sure is!
“With each post I wrote, I was saying to God, I am here now.”
Wow. This really resonates with me. Sometimes I feel I shouldn’t be blogging; I’m not ready; I don’t have it all together…yet. (As if one day I will???)
But it’s the NOW that matters; now is when God is with me. He is here now. And if he puts a pen in my hand, I’m to write–now.
Thanks, Bonnie, for continuing to encourage us with the encouragement that the Lord gives you. He blesses me through you, week in and week out.
Beautifully said Lisa! It is the now that matters… exactly!
I’m grateful for the people I’ve met who showed me what it was like to pursue a passion and a calling. They helped me sort through my own mess over the years. Oftentimes I’ve created my own barriers to what I want to do the most. Once I face that and own up to it, it’s possible to start taking some steps forward.
And HE is right there taking those steps forward with you Ed!
Will check out Jennifer’s art.
Today’s post is awesome and reaches deep into my heart…
My brushes are as a writer, speaker, and chef. I am called to lead others to wholeness thru my writing, speaking, as well as healthy eating practices.
Just like you when God called me into writing I felt like Moses, not qualified for the mission. However, He equips those that He calls.
Thanks Bonnie, abundant blessings…
I love how you said, “He equips those that He calls”. That is so right Joan! And HE has placed with you so many wonderful brushes… how fun and exciting!
Jennifer’s story of her mother’s encouragement like that really shows me how we can do that now. We can be Who we didn’t have then. Because, you’re right Bonnie, Our Father is with us Now and He wants us to live our stories out loud.
For me, it’s writing, just like for you. All my life I’ve enjoyed writing and now I feel the freedom to do it, especially because of the encouragement so many *friends* provide me.
We can be the hands and feet…the encouragement to others. And so, my writing AND encouraging are what He desires of me.
The writing ‘brush’ HE has given you is such a wonderful gift Amy. Your writing is precious! And being an encourager is a blessing to so many!
You totally blessed me, Jennifer. Thank you, my friend. Thank. You.
ah! so much freedom from your words, Bonnie! as my heart heals, I am beginning to experience those Father God feelings – whenever I long for something I lacked in the past, it is amazing to feel God step in and fill those spots!
God has also placed a pen in my hand. The start of my new blog is a leap of faith. I’m not sure where He wants to take me, but I’m committed to disciplining my art by writing on a regular basis 🙂 blessings!
I love how you said God steps in and fill those spots. That is just amazing to know HE loves us that much! What a special gift HE has given you with a pen Caitlin!
Thank you for the encouragement, Jennifer! we have a good, good Daddy 🙂
I feel like I know enough of your story to get a little misty eyed when you connected to Jennifer’s. Thanks for making yourself vulnerable here. Thanks for the links to Jennifer’s work–I really like it! Thanks for making a writing community that I can be a part of, where I can learn from others. You pretty much rock.
Bonnie sure has a way of touching our hearts, doesn’t she Sheryl!?! She does rock!
We do need community and the words that encourage. I am glad that Jennifer’s story and art gave you encouragement. I will check out her art.
I pray, Lord help me to recognize moments that I can offer a word of encouragement.
Yes… recognizing the moments. That is a beautiful prayer Carol!
Two months ago, my friend asked if I could share about God’s ministry in Cambodia during my visit there and I said Yes. I prayed and asked God for discernment how He wanted me to share with them and He led me with an idea to ask one of my ex-student to draw pictures of His ministry i.e. what we did daily (shared the bible/ taught basic English conversation 1 to 1) and weekends (Khmer- English Fellowship). He drew it creatively and beautifully. I showed it to my friend and the rest of the ladies and all them 🙂 and being encouraged by Him.
I thought I would see him and shared with him as I was going back to Cambodia this month but I found out he had to go back to his home town during my break and I did not have a chance to say Good-bye. As I read this, I praise and thank the Lord that He uses you to remind me and thank Him for a privilege to share with him and be on the journey with Him and saw how God has transformed him. My brush today .. Because of You Lord Alone and your Amazing Privilege .. teach me to be your instrument to break the barrier of language and culture regardless the circumstances!
Thank you Bonnie for sharing. God bless you abundantly.
EJ that is such a wonderful story! What a beautiful instrument of HIS love you are!
Opening your hand to allow Him to place that brush there. Letting go of the fears and being ready to be used. It’s all good and precious. Express yourself, however God leads. Don’t hold back – He wants to work thru you! Love it!
thank you for your soothing, soft way of expression. It’s so gentle, yet refreshing. It brings encouragement with acceptance. As a result, it brings healing accompanied with hope for each of us individually. We don’t feel so alone or different anymore. We feel connected! It means I’m okay just the way I am. and not only okay….but I’m valuable and I have something to give. Not just something, but something worthwhile to give.
Thank you for sharing your story. I feel encouraged to share my story, and help someone else.
Yes Cheryl… you are valuable and have something special to share through HIM! So happy to hear you are encouraged to share your story!
You mentioned something that people often don’t understand and said it so powerfully. We rightly say we are free from our past, but it’s the hurt from it we usually fail to deal with. Our Father wants us to have that healing and wholeness, but we have to choose Him and walk it out. Wonderful post, Bonnie. Thank you.
We have to choose Him and walk it out… exactly Jason, exactly!
Enjoy Relevant! What a gift to receive sponsorship from a company you love, too. Thank you for picking up your brush. May God continue to heal and grow you in the gifts He’s given.
Bonnie, it’s a privilege to be part of the community again today. I was about to write that the brush God put in my hands is writing. Then I felt another idea hit my spirit.
Sometimes the brush God puts in our hands is the result of trials and difficulties. I would love to be writing more right now but the Lord has me working as a special education teaching assistant in a one-on-one position with a visually impaired child. I would never be in this position if the Lord had not blessed my life with two boys who have learning disabilities. What was a trial during their growing up years has turned into a blessing for others.
So the Lord has put two tools into my hands–teaching and writing. The second one was highly encouraged by my mother. And I rebelled against it for a short while, ending up with a journalism major in college and a career in PR. BUT WHEN IT COMES TO FREELANCE WRITING or writing a blog, I am frozen some times and do not know what to write or how to present the ideas swirling around my head into words. And I would not have started a blog except that I walked away from a data job that I did not like. In prayer and after asking for some advice, I felt this was the way the Lord was leading me.
Amazing how the Lord works to put His purposes in our hands that we may be His instruments.
Thank you, Bonnie, for this community where we all can share and grow.
Amazing how the Lord works to put His purposes in our hands that we may be His instruments. That is so beautifully said Janis. What wonderful ‘brushes’ HE has given you. Such a blessing to others you are!
I love Jennifer’s artwork! She truly has a gift from God and I love that she uses His Words and how it does touch the soul.
How I wish I were going to Relevant this year. But maybe …next year?
I love your heart Bonnie. Your writing touches mine and I always look forward to reading what you write. I’ve been gone to visit family in FL so I’ll have to catch up on your posts.
Blessings and love,
Beautiful and inspiring story, Bonnie. Thank you so much for sharing this today. I totally understand those “if only” feelings of beginning writing… I’m still somewhat in that stage now! Such powerful art from Jennifer, too.
If He has placed that brush in your hands Caroline, I know He will help you overcome those ‘if only’ feelings. He has put this in your heart and He has made you perfectly!
I love that, how God puts people in our lives, how He puts them there *just right*.
Beautiful artists, both of you.
*Just right*… that is so right Monica! And it is all because He loves us so! 🙂
[…] bonnie of faith barista. she did a feature on me and she sure knows how to touch a heart. she asks what is the “brush” that God has put in your hands? there also is a StudioJRU […]
Hello, Bonnie! I am visiting from Jennifer’s place. Like you, I sometimes wish things had been different for me growing up BUT I know that God used all of it to bring me to where I am now. I wouldn’t change any of it! And look at you, how He has given you a voice to share and reach and touch so many with His love. Keep it up, sister!
Thank you for sharing Jennifer’s art. I love her richly textured art and the way she uses Truth, makes it the focus. She is one talented girl (and has a sweet heart, too)!
I so love that you said you wouldn’t change any of it! That is just such a wonderful peaceful place to be. Knowing you are who He made you to be. Knowing He has had a reason for everything you have gone through to get you to where you are now. Beautiful Jennifer!
Love this post…both thoughts: “What matters is that “God, You are here with me now” and “what is the brush in your hand….
I have picked up actual brushes as of late, I love the ideas expressed already…the keyboard of the laptop…spoken and written words…I could add acts of kindness…the telephone when used to speak hope and life into another’s heart…I believe that my counseling room can become a “brush” as I join with the Lord to renew or bring forth new in a person’s soul…
I love Jennifer’s art + her heart…so glad you are doing this 31 day challenge!
Oh Cindy… you are blessed with so many wonderful brushes! Working right beside Him for the help of others is awesome, just awesome!
These thoughts are so beautiful … loved this, ” I’m here for you now, Bonnie — putting a pen in your hand.” So amazing how He wants to shine His love through us, and use us for His great purposes – being strong in our weaknesses. He is with us now. Thanks for your words, always so encouraging.
To use us for His great purposes… exactly Cherry! All to shine His love through us! Love, love it!!
So beautiful. I’m thankful to have met Jennifer via blogland. I wish that I could meet her in person, but I don’t need to have that experience to know that she’s just beautiful, inside and out!
I love and appreciate her art…and scripture art and the story behind each piece always moves me. Thanks for featuring her and enjoy your Relevant Blogger trip.
Aww Anita… you have such a beautiful heart. It means so much to hear you appreciate my art. That is what I hope for because I know that you are seeing Him shining through it!
I <3 Jennifer! What a beautiful post about a beautiful woman of God! I love this journey of feeding your soul. I will check out the rest of the series as soon as I get a chance!
I also doubted my calling to write. Slowly I gain confidence that my brushes are swept across the palette of me in ways I didn’t think possible.
One brush is the blogging I do.
Another is the book I have become bold enough to begin.
(Still writing the Foreword, but slowly trusting God)
Yet another is painting the air with my voice in worship to God. I sing, and when I do I have never done anything that gives me more pleasure. I pray that it gives God the pleasure it gives me.
Wow, blogging conference, should be great! Soak it up Lady:)
[…] in October, I introduced you to artist Jennifer and Studio JRU as Faith Barista’s 2011 Relevant Conference Sponsor. Today, Studio JRU is back with a […]