One day I heard a quote that changed the course of my life.
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” - Mary Oliver
I was attending a conference in October, 2016 for the college ministry work I was doing. The conference was about helping young people become who they are meant to be. I was there to learn how to coach others, and help them learn what they were called to do. I loved my job and was happy. But when I heard this quote, I realized my answer was different than the work I was doing.
If I was to TRULY be living my one and only, wild and precious life, than I would be painting. My answer was so clear, "I would paint." That day changed my life. I made a leap within. I knew to be more fully alive, I had to at least start painting again. Within a few weeks of being back home, I found myself painting almost every moment that I wasn't at work. People started to ask me to create paintings for them, or to send them prints. By the middle of November, I had launched a website and orders for prints started to flood in. I found myself sad when I would have to leave my studio to go to work or hang out with people I loved. I knew I would be happiest if I had even more time to create and make. I loved fulfilling orders and painting the prayers on the hearts of other people. Within a few months, it was clear that I would have to choose between the ministry that was my current job or a new ministry that was blazing on my heart.
In February 2017, I made the scariest leap of my life. I absolutely loved my job, and also loved the security of a paycheck and health insurance. But Jesus kept asking me to take one more step, one more little leap closer to Him. I told my boss that he would need to replace me at the end of the school year, because Jesus was asking me to do art full-time. I had my feet in two pools, and I couldn't truly swim in either. I wanted to swim. And I knew I would be happiest if I was doing what He was asking of me. His response to me quitting my job was surprising. He asked, "Do you know how to fresco paint?" I went on to explain to him that fresco painting is an Italian technique, not often taught in the American curriculums. He said, "Talk to me when you know how." Within half a day of risking everything and quitting my job, a donor had come through to sponsor a six week trip to learn the ancient technique of fresco painting.
My first six weeks as a full-time artist, I traveled Italy and France imitating the masters and learning everything I could. Only then did I realize how deeply Jesus also wanted me to live my life to the fullest. Within the last year, I have relocated to a small town in California to marry Matt, my now husband. He is a cattle rancher and works on the family ranch. I spend my mornings fulfilling orders and mailing out prints all across the US and world. I spend my entire afternoons painting, and that IS AWESOME. I have never been so alive. I wouldn't have ever thought painting full-time was even possible. Yet, here I am, living my one wild and precious life.
I desire to be a bright light for the Church, to illustrate the beauty of both daily life and of the spiritual life. I also desire to inspire others to live their best life. Life is so short and so beautiful. So tell me....what IS it that you plan to do, with your one wild and precious life?