As it turned out, God did have a plan (Jeremiah 29:11) and it was so much more wonderful than I could have ever imagined. He knew where I belonged, and put me right there. In my 5 years of volunteering with this bunch since then, I've met a lot of teenagers. Some of them have been just wonderful, while others have driven me to near insanity.
And then there's Abbey. It was spring 2010, and I met this little 7th grade confirmation kid who was a combination of adorable and just a bit of attitude. She had her days where I wasn't sure if she was going to be one of the wonderful kids, or one of the "drive me insane" kids. It was different from week to week. What I do remember well is that a LOT of confirmation students didn't stick around after finishing the class. But in spite of my uncertainty about this kid, I was really hoping Abbey would stick around. Sometimes, you can just tell when God has a lot of great work left to do in a person (Philippians 1: 3-6).
Well, thankfully she not only stuck around, but made the youth group a major part of her life. Now she's a high school senior and is still that same combination of adorable and attitude. But Abbey is the perfect example of how beautiful God's transformational power is (2 Corinthians 5:17). As far as I'm concerned, the time has gone by way too fast. But I couldn't be more proud of how far this young woman of God has come.
So I have no better way to pay tribute to this young woman of God than by joyfully using God's gift in me as an artist. I knew a while ago that I wanted to paint Abbey's portrait, and I knew it had to be good. I saw a recent picture of her, and it was one of those really great candid moments that captured her personality wonderfully. I had to paint it. After several weeks of drawings and an oil study, I got a brand new linen canvas and did the painting... which she finally saw in person last night. So now you all get to see it as well.
Abbey, I am happy you liked it. I did my best with the colors I had and the gift and love of painting that God gave me. But always remember that absolutely nothing compares to the way God's hands created you (Psalm 139: 13-16, Isaiah 64:8). Much love, little sis.
|Portrait of Abbey|
oil on linen