After college, I, like most young graduates, had little to no idea what I wanted to do with my life. The world was at my fingertips, but my fingers were afraid to grasp any one thing in fear of choosing the wrong thing. With a heart prone to performance, I chose to go where I thought I was most needed, where no one else would go...in attempting humility, I pridefully set out to join Teach for America and spent the hardest year of my life falling flat on my face, over and over again.
Two years later, I flew back to Charleston to visit my now-beloved students and treasured friends who helped me through such a crazy season. To say the least, my visit was redeeming and filled with gratitude for the struggles. I was welcomed back to school by a stampede of children and football huddle hug in the hallway. A dear friend, had me over for dinner and put up a canvas on her porch. Minette and I had gone to Baylor together and she knew I painted as a hobby, but I never thought I was anything special.
While she cooked, I explored painting in an entirely new way. There was something significantly different in my heart since the last time I had painted years before, and without words, it expressed itself beautifully on my canvas...
I spent years walking around blind to the colors around me, to the magic murmuring beneath my toes. In thinking I was "losing my life, to find it", I was attempting to be someone my Creator had not created me to be. Picking up a paintbrush, awe and wonder captured my affections and I felt alive again...
After years of accepting a life marked by anxiety and fear pursuing a life I thought I needed to live, I had stumbled on rest and peace in embracing my gifts and passions; it was intoxicating.
Still, arriving back in Colorado, I went back to my odd jobs and low sense of self-worth. I did not believe in myself as an artist, and did not think anything of it until a box arrived on my doorstep. Minette had sent me a box of her old paints from college with a note on the top reading, "You can do this". She had put my painting up on her blog (P.S. Check out her work, she is an AMAZING photographer) and I had snapped an Instagram image, the next thing you know, people were inquiring about paintings...taking a leap of faith, I went to Hobby Lobby, bought some canvases, made a website, business cards and rented a studio. I found myself quitting my jobs and "Jennie Lou Art" was born out of courage to believe in the gifts I had been given.
Today, I still wrestle with fear and anxiety, I am constantly afraid of not being enough, or doing enough. But fear subsides when I remember it is not out of my own strength that I do anything, apart from Him I am nothing. I can't be afraid of doing it right or wrong, but simply embrace obedience and courage to let God use my hand how he wants. I am just a branch, He is the vine, and all He asks is that I believe in Him. It's not easy, never will be, but it gets easier to trust Him...
Feel free to Contact Me. I will do my best to help and encourage you in the same way others have done for me.
Check out: http://minettehand.com/