I have had the privilege to travel overseas with Brother Wes Greeley several times. This past year, I had the opportunity to meet his wife Sister Joyce at Believer’s Youth Camp. She shared her testimony with Crista and I, and my first reaction was; we must get this testimony for Eagle’s View. Sis. Joyce’s testimony exemplifies that nothing is impossible with God and that we do not know what He has in store for our lives.
Her testimony, “A Hidden Gift” was included in the most recent issue of Eagle’s View. We would like to share a few more of Sister Joyce’s drawings that were not included in Eagle’s View along with the testimony for those who have not had the opportunity to read it. May it encourage you to seek the impossible!
A Hidden Gift
Sister Joyce Greeley
Three years ago, if you had asked me to draw a picture of something, you would have gotten stick figures. I had no idea that I had an artist locked inside of me. In January of 2009, I got the flu. I awoke with no energy to do the normal housekeeping duties of a homeschooling mom. However, I have never done “bored” very well. Usually I would read a book, but I didn’t even have the mental energy for that. That morning, I got my daughter’s sketch book—doodling would be better than nothing. I remembered a vision our pastor had of a white eagle with a sword in his mouth carrying the world in his talons. I had actually attempted to draw it several years before, and the sketch was so awful I threw it away. I really wasn’t disappointed because it didn’t occur to me that it was something I could do. However, that morning when I awoke ill, but bored, I decided to try again. When I was finished, I was amazed. The next day, I still lacked energy, so I took a calendar picture of Akiane Kramarik’s Jesus, sat in a recliner, and sketched that. Again, I was amazed with the results. With those two sketches to encourage me, I have continued to draw, learning some new techniques. After I’d been drawing a little more than a year, a sister who attends church with me called me to tell me that Janice VanCronkhite, a well-known inspirational artist, was hosting a retreat for 8 women who felt a calling to art. It would be Thursday evening through Sunday morning, including lodging in a lakeside home and gourmet meals. As she described it, I knew I couldn’t afford it, although it was only $500. She summed it up, “Mother and I think you should go to this retreat, and we want to sponsor you.” I expected an offering for $100 or so, but she meant the entire thing, plus $100 for expenses! If it had not been for that shove, I probably would not have begun to paint even yet. I had not painted before, but by the end of the retreat, I was hooked. This spring the same sister told me that I’d be selling some of my paintings this summer. I couldn’t imagine how it could happen. Then I was asked to paint a lion for a banner for a conference. I answered that I could probably put a star of David on the banner, but alone, I decided to try the lion. Since the banners were blue, I decided to paint the lions in blue – a regal one and a roaring one. When the pastor saw the banners, he invited me to sell prints at the conference (I have included the roaring lion with this article). I love to share this testimony because I believe that many have gifts and talents inside them that God wants to use for kingdom purposes. Just as someone can worship through song, he can worship through art, through craftsmanship, through poetry or prose. Like me, a person can have no inkling that God has planted a gift inside, but God can begin to highlight it when His timing is ripe. My gift of art came so supernaturally to me that I can no longer deny the possibility to do anything. Sing? Play an instrument? In the past I have been more than challenged by those possibilities. Now I wonder if they are just awaiting the right key, the right moment to unfold. Also worth mentioning is how the art ministers to others. Sometimes a piece speaks to a heart without necessarily being designed for that purpose. However, other times, I have drawn or painted something specifically for healing or help. I did a drawing for a mother whose teenage son was in jail. She had envisioned him with God’s hand on his shoulder. When she learned I could draw, she asked me to sketch this for her. Later, her brother took his life; and I felt led of God to paint her weeping heart hidden within the heart of the Lord, showing how His heart of love absorbs her sorrow. It ministered to her then; and months later when her husband asked for a divorce, the Lord allowed her to see that painting in vision to encourage her. In His loving kindness, God restored her marriage, but in the meantime, the painting was a source of comfort to her. The painting of the three pottery jars is also a testimony. When I returned from a mission trip to Honduras, I was disappointed to see that my wall hanging, a sacrificial gift to me (it is a very poor country), had been broken. The bottom jar was intact. The middle one was broken in a clear cut, easily glued back. The top one, however, looked beyond repair. Some of the pieces were missing altogether, crushed to a powder. I was going to throw it away, but a friend told me, “No! Even that it was broken in transit is a part of the Honduras story. Keep it as a memento of the whole trip instead of just the lady who gave it to you!” Indeed it is more precious to me now than it was before. So it is with us-broken vessels. Yet God tenderly puts us back together, and the scars are an essential part of the whole story (Psalm 31:12-16).