For several months my dining table has hosted not only meals but also a collection of vintage Barbie doll shoes. As friends have eyed the candy-colored accessories on display, I’ve shared about my work on this series of collages, attempting to reveal what’s on my heart.
My journey as an artist and writer began as soon as I could hold a crayon. My family has always encouraged me to create. However, sharing my creative output with a wider and public audience is calling me to a new level of bold, which I cannot achieve under my own power.
I was not born bold. I need the Lord to help me grow bolder.
Playing with Barbie dolls and creating their stories was a world in which I could pretend to be bold. Not only did I sew clothes, build furniture and style houses for them, I also borrowed my mother’s sized 41 clogs to create my favorite doll cars.
My mother’s large shoes simultaneously accommodated my imagination and matched her capacity for being bold. She would try, do and say almost anything to anyone.
The Lord first encouraged me to pursue being an artist and writer via the story of Joshua (see Joshua 1) as he leads the Israelites into their promised inheritance. The Lord commands Joshua to be “strong and courageous.” My mother was my model for Joshua.
I found myself trying to emulate my mother’s boldness as I grew out of pretending with my dolls; however, I was timid. Even as my shoe size was approaching hers, I did not fill my mother’s bold shoes. I found it hard to give my opinion, ask for what I wanted and share with others that I am an artist.
I began my career producing and designing girls’ dresses. It was creative work, and I was sharing my talents—but little of my heart. Two other subsequent jobs left me with similarly empty success. When I painted in my free time, my art also tended to be technically correct yet lacked that something special that connected it with others’ hearts, and my own.
By the world’s standards, I was successful at all of these endeavors. But the so-called Promised Land into which I had marched felt empty.
For many years I thought being bold meant to respond to the call and journey forward like a soldier. The Lord showed me that my version of boldness did not match His. If He was walking with me, as He had with Joshua (Joshua 1:9), He wanted a love connection between us.
A love relationship with Him fills the Promised Land.
I prayed to know the Lord in deeper ways and for Him to know me. I soaked up His Word like never before, and I asked Him to heal me so that I could let Him know me. I began to allow the Lord’s love—a love which invites me daily me to walk in His call for my life—to fuel my steps.
As I began a journey to connect to the Lord’s heart and let him fully see my heart, my boldness began to grow.
I began to share my passion to speak into the culture around me through my work. My art began to express the love of the Lord that I was experiencing. As I continued to open my heart to Him, my work also began to connect me with others and others to my work.
It’s taken years for me to be comfortable sharing my heart through my creative work. Each time I’m faced with insecurity about sharing my heart, I remember that the Lord is next to me in love, ready to pick me up as needed.
Reflecting on these shoes on my table reminds me of my journey in which the Lord has grown me from…
…playing with doll shoes—pretending to be bold to…
…trying to fill my mother’s shoes—thinking I was bold to…
…filling my own shoes—boldly sharing my heart through art and writing.
I am growing bolder because of His love for me and my relationship with Him.
Sarah is an artist and writer who is growing bolder as she delves deeper into her relationship with the Lord. A glimpse into Sarah’s journey is included as a “Her Story” contributor in Carey Scott’s book, Untangled: Let God Loosen the Knots of Insecurity in Your Life. Sarah resides in Golden, Colorado with Fig, her diva dachshund. As soon as she heals from recent arm surgery, she will be back producing new paintings and prints—and hopefully writing more. Sarah’s website is www.sarahsams.com and her newer work is featured in her Etsy shop. Also, be sure to connect with her on Facebook and Pinterest and look for her soon on Instagram @SarahSamsArt.