Tonight I stepped out of my comfort zone in several ways. I put my big girls pants on and drove 1 hour by myself to attend a paint party with a group of strangers. The “Paint With a Purpose” event was designed for moms who have lost a baby. This great event was put on by an organization called Heaven’s Cradle which is a ministry based in Jackson, TN to support families who have lost a baby or child.
We started with a blank canvas, selected our paint colors, and got to work using our hands to apply the paint to the canvas. We put our fingers in the paint and used our hands for the entire background. Along the way, we used a paint brush and a palette knife. It was much easier than I thought! There were many variations of the painting and everyone carefully worked to make her painting special for the baby she lost. I am pleased with this perfectly imperfect painting in memory of my sweet Ella Claire.
My very talented friend, Jill Bell, led the class by patiently showing us some different ways to make our painting unique. I have always been envious of Jill and her many talents. After we both lost a baby, we discussed the need to do something for other mothers. Jill found her way to help others through painting. What started as a therapy turned into a service to help others. The more she painted, the more people wanted! She is truly a talented person who I’m so thankful to have in my life even if I don’t get to see her near as often as I would like!
When I think of Jill, I think of 1 Peter 4:10: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” Jill is the epitome of someone who is using her talents to serve others! The idea for the cross painting came from a request that Jill was asked to do for the bereavement room at the Jackson- Madison County Hospital. Below is Jill’s finished product along with her words about the painting:
“As the Bereavement room at Jackson General Hospital is transitioned into having a more nursery like feel, this painting will hang in memory of our Allie. I went out of my comfort zone with a different technique, but it challenged me to make this one special. As God reminds us, he never promised there would never be storms. Life is hard, really hard, but he never leaves us. The colors in this remind me of those you see in a rainbow, his promise of beauty after the storm. And the cross, it’s always there, reminding us to draw near to him. For me, it is also a reminder of her, and his promise that because of his son, I will hold her again one day. I call this painting Philippians 1:3- “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you”. And I do. Heartache and all, I’m stronger because of it.”
What a blessing Jill is as well as everyone who works with the Heaven’s Cradle Group! I am thankful that I made the time to attend this event and look forward to more opportunities to spend with all of the wonderful Mothers with whom I share this unfortunate bond. God knows how to put people in your life right when you need them.