I remember sitting in the car after cashing the largest paycheck I received as a teenager. I had planned to buy a book to study for my GED and buy some shoes that did not have holes in them. I can still hear the clearing of the throat. Then the questions asked in a very loving voice.
“Do you love Jesus?”
“Why of course I love Jesus.”
“Well Jesus gave up everything for us. He gave His all, don’t you want to be like Jesus?”
Well… when they put it that way what could I say? I gave them my entire check of $ 350.
I gave up my money that day and many other days because I felt I had no choice. I grew up thinking God wanted my money and if I didn’t pay Him, He would kill me. This spiritual abuse from my teens nearly destroyed my relationship with God.
Today I realize God has all the money He wants and what He desires most from me is my heart. He only wants money from a willing heart because the Bible says God loves a cheerful giver. And another thing–God is always true to Himself.
If we are faithless,
God remains faithful,
for He cannot deny Himself.
-2 Timothy 2:13
God doesn’t pretend to please any one and He doesn’t ask us to give up who He designed us to be. We have not been asked by God to abandon our individuality for anyone else. I wish I had known this before I spent years people pleasing, but when we know better, we do better. Just as every sunflower is different, each person is unique. God created us to sing or preach or write or paint and He wants us to become who He designed us to be.
This quote has been shared among the blogs of several of my survivor friends. To say it spoke to me would be an understatement–it seemed to shout my name. This is the sort of quote I was once discouraged from thinking about because I was told it reeked of humanism and feminism. Today it speaks of freedom and individuality to this girl who once gave herself away before she even had a self.
Making This Art
Because there are so many words, I knew this might be difficult to create. I tried to picture the words in my mind as a picture.
I am drawn to sunflowers because they soak up the sun and it empowers them to stand taller than just about any other flower. I see a spiritual connection to myself soaking up “the son” so I too can stand taller.
I wanted the flower in the middle to both divide some of the words and to represent each of us. The most powerful words in the verse are hand written to personalize this truth.
I used a simple yet rustic background because I knew it could not be too busy or it would compete with all the words.
Next I created a large sunflower and then the smaller sunflowers out of water color paper and cut them out and glued them on with gloss medium. I used three coats to seal it.
The last thing I did was stamp the rest of the words on and put several coats of gloss medium in the whole thing.
It took about five hours total. It’s a great reminder of an important truth I have often neglected when I was younger, but with this hanging on my wall, I doubt I will ever forget.
What about you? Have you ever set fire to yourself to keep someone else warm?