Mind Art

Dictated to Dad on September 2nd.

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“Hope Rising in the Storm”

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“Jazz”

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“Every Season”

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“Sunset”

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“Mums in a Basket”

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“Consider the Lilies”

In the mystery case called Mel’s life with NF2, I could imagine a big file with a huge stamp on the front cover with big red-letter words that reads “IMPOSSIBLE”. I don’t think it is impossible to understand this disease, but I live in a body full of impossibilities with my disease, or so I thought.

In December, I first started going colorblind. By January, I told a friend I thought the days of painting would soon be over, but I still kept painting even though the color was starting to diminish and the bright lights in the basement were more of a distraction. I found painting more of a frustration than a joy. I started inviting people over for painting parties. By the end of March, I stopped painting in the basement completely. I tried to do a few watercolors, and soon I stopped that as well.

It was not until Mother’s Day weekend when I was in Children’s Hospital that I painted. My social worker graciously bought me a big board and big tubes of primary colors. At this time, I could only see blue, then occasional red and yellow. The literal hands-on activity brought joy to me that weekend. Even then, I never thought I would go completely blind or that I would actually ever paint again in the normal fashion. The weekend my friend Calli visited in June, I was only seeing shadow figures and attempting to read the black letters printed largely on a marker board. That first day, Calli told me her mom had asked for a painting. I thought this was special. That night, I thought of the different colors and a picture in my mind of what I wanted to paint. The next day, Calli brought the last of my boards along with some paint and brushes. This painting changed everything.

The way I now live in my body, there are very few times I can forget everything. One of these times is when I paint. I forget it all! There is no more spinning, thoughts of how it is hard to breath, pain spasms—there is none of this! In the moments I am painting, all I feel is JOY! I usually have a BIG smile on my face. As my arms and hands start to get covered in paint, I start to see that even in impossibilities that God still makes things possible.

You no longer see Mel’s painting, but a reflection of the painting that is in my mind’s eye. In my state of total blindness, it is there I see full color and full detail. Whether or not the painting is exactly what is in my mind . . . that is the mystery! Like all things there is a time and a place for everything. Soon, the colorful pictures start to fade, but I reflect on the Fruit of the Spirit and what brings me joy. Painting, and sharing the gift I have been blessed with as I sit in spinning whiteness brings me joy.

Starting to paint again gives me with hope that God will give me more pictures and I will continue to reflect what God has done for me.

“Do They See Jesus In Me?”

Lyrics by Joy Williams

Is the face that I see in the mirror the one I want others to see?

Do I show in the way that I walk in my life the love that you’ve given to me?

My hearts desires is to be like you in all that I do all that I am.

Do they see Jesus in me?

Do they recognize your face?

Do I communicate your love and your grace?

Do I reflect who you are in the way I choose to be,

Do they see Jesus, Jesus in me?

Well it’s amazing that you’d ever use me, but use me the way you will.

Help me to hold out a heart of compassion and grace; a heart that your spirit fills.

May I show forgiveness and mercy the same way you’ve shown it to me?

Do they see Jesus in me?

Do they recognize your face?

Do I communicate your love and your Grace?

Do I reflect who you are in the way I choose to be

Do they see Jesus, Jesus in me?

Well I wanna show all the world,

That you are the reason I live and breathe.

So you’ll be the one that they see,

When they see me.

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “Mind Art

  1. Debby

    Melinda,

    Every time I read your blog I see Jesus in you! I am brought back down to earth and reminded how easy I have it! My NF1 is so much more controllable than your NF2. I will never again flip out when I see a new “bump or lump” come up. I won’t complain about the ringing in my ears because I can hear! Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I admire your strength in Jesus! I pray for you and your family often. ❤
    Keep on painting if it brings you joy and others joy!

  2. Thanks for sharing these pictures of your paintings, Melinda. They are lovely!

  3. Julie smith

    Mel you are the embodiment of Jesus! Like he carried his cross, you too have done it with such strength! I have never met you personally, but I know I would see Jesus in your face! I admire your strength and your faith and have vowed to be like you! I’m not dealing with NF2 but I have some other health issues that are life limiting…but I will try to be Jesus in mind and spirit! Thanks for your inspiration!

  4. Sherrie Wells

    Melinda, this is absolutely beautiful. I love your newest paintings. They reflect the beauty that is in you! Thank you for continuing your inspiring blog and for sharing your paintings! Love you and think of you often!
    Sherrie

  5. Catherine Aviles

    Your paintings are a reflection of you and Jesus!

  6. Michelle

    You are beautiful. The Lord is clearly directing you through this trial. I am so glad that the joy of painting has been brought back into your life and that you have shared your painted impressions of these diverse scenes. “Mums in a Basket” is very vibrant! I see God’s Creativeness reflected in you and your work. It is evident that Christ Jesus’ perfect love and patience is inspiring you more and more during this season. And that brings me joy too. You are an encouragement, Melinda.Thanks for sharing your life with NF2 with us.

  7. Hi Melinda! Big hugs and love to you from all of us! I love your paintings, the color combinations and life in them are wonderful. I especially like the lilies of the field one, it made me think of bunches of butterflies! Praying for you now that you would find more joy and feel His love!!!!

  8. Liz Garthly

    Beautiful, beautiful pictures…but more beautiful is the way you make yourself available to Jesus! Thank you always for the reminder that we must mirror our Lord and Savior to others. I loved the Lilies picture. It is my favorite! What a joy to think of all the joy painting gave you and the way you can picture your paintings now. You are loved Melinda.

  9. estherbentonmorford

    What a beautiful blog. To answer the questions in the song—“YES! YES! YES! No doubt about it. We see Jesus in you. Love you.

  10. janloyd

    Glory! Dear Mel, yes, we do see Jesus in you! My dear friend and sister! So glad I was able to see you again, hug you, and buy your lovely painting, “Hope Rising in the Storm.”

  11. Nell Phillips

    Melinda, I remember you as a spunky little girl at Calvary Baptist Church……..what a beautiful example you are…..I Definately see Jesus in you………..Love and hugs to you……also to Mom Dad and Sisters…..thank you Milissa for being a sister above all…….God Bless You……..

  12. Jane Thomas

    My dear sweet precious Melinda, I sat with my mom in her room at the nursing home today. She wasn’t feeling good so she was in bed. Your pictures fill her room with so much beauty, joy and fun!!! I lovingly looked at all her pictures that you’ve painted and prayed for you! I love you and miss you so much! Thank you for bringing us joy and beauty in your art and in YOU!!!

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