A friend asked me paint a yellow butterfly painting for her. Anyone that knows me well knows that I really like turquoise, teal, and lime colors and most of my painting end up with those colors in them. I was having a difficult time trying to decide what colors to use with a yellow butterfly. I decided grey. I also decided to stretch my own canvas. I built the frame and it was square. I stretched the fabric on the frame and prime the fabric to get it ready to paint. At some point the frame warped. Instead of being 24 inches square, it was more like 24 inches on the top and 25 inches on the bottom. I was disappointed but it was a lot of work and I didn’t want to start over. So, I started by painting the whole canvas grey. I looked at it and thought, “That’s ugly!” I started scraping spackle on the canvas to cover the grey and then using the knife I swiped black and lime green over the grey. Then I thought, “That’s really ugly!!!” So I decided, surely teal would look good with a yellow butterfly! So I started painting from the center out, covering the all the ugly stuff I saw. Although, the teal paint didn’t cover all the ugly I saw. It was showing through underneath the paint. I had to walk away. It was making me mad.
I thought about this for days and I realized that all the ugly that was showing through reminded me of my past sins. When I was a teenager, I rebelled. I got pregnant when I was 18 years old. I felt shame and guilt. I thought that I knew God and trusted Him because I walked down the aisle when I was 9 years old and said a prayer. I should be good, right? Wrong! I carried guilt and shame with me for 10 years. I continued to ask for forgiveness and never felt that I had it. Then when I was 29 I realized that I had not fully believed that what Jesus did on the cross would cover my sins. In Matthew 8, the leper says, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” He was talking to Jesus. I realized that I didn’t fully believe that Jesus could make me clean. I also realized that Jesus was not my “Lord”. If He were my Lord, I would have been living my life for him and if I loved Him, I would be obeying His commands (John 14:15). So on that day, August 2, 2002, I chose to believe that what Jesus did was good enough to forgive me of all my sins, past, present and future sins.
I went back to the painting with a new perspective. I saw the ugliness as my sin. I saw how I tried to cover it up but it was never good enough. I saw how I tried to look good on the outside but never felt clean. Then I started painting. I painted the purple flowers and added the butterfly. When I did that, it covered ALL the ugliness that I had been seeing. When Jesus takes away our sin, we are clean; we are a new creation in Christ. (Ephesians 2:3-10) Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (II Corinthians 5:17) Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
This is an original inspirational mixed media collage art painting of a butterfly inspired by the work of God in my life. Thank you Brenda for asking me to paint this. It is always good to remember what God has done for you.