Freedom

Freedom copyright 2014 by Vivian Cheung

Freedom copyright 2014 by Vivian Cheung


This is a personal painting which speaks of my growth after leaving an abusive relationship. I am no longer in bondage and I credit this miracle to my God, who lavishes me with grace, security, and love; my heart has been released from guilt, fear, and shame. This incredible love was demonstrated by God when He sent His Son Jesus to die for you and me (He also proved that He is God when Jesus came back to life); the small egg in the girl’s hand is a token of the past; it is a reminder of how my life pales in comparison to what I have and am today. Now I can have a full and loving relationship with the God of all creations and I can be truly alive.

Tightrope Faith

This painting was influenced by Janelle Monae’s song “Tightrope”;  Ms. Monae sings about walking a tightrope in order to keep balanced in life. I also see the analogy of walking a tightrope as an act of faith. I am about to enter a period of my life where I will come across major challenges. But God says in His Word to me, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

In my painting, the dove and the gold orbs represent the Spirit of God. Just like Daniel in the lion’s den, faith is giving my trust to God that He will protect me and hold me up no matter what. His Spirit is before me binding the mouths of evil (represented by the alligators and the snake) so that no harm will come to me.

Meanwhile, I walk by faith across the seemingly impossible tightrope path but with Him holding my hand, I will get across safely.

A Little TLC

I love to give old furniture new life; sometimes all they need is a little TLC. Last month, I was blessed with five encounters of curb-side free pieces; one of which is a large oak table. On that particular day,  I turned into a street I don’t normally drive through and there it was: a beat-up 30 x 36 inch, heavy-as-heck table, perfect for doing my artwork on. I was using a nice sewing machine table which I refurbished last year but the tabletop space was cramped and the height was not right. So I was determined to take this piece home in the trunk of my four door sedan no matter what. God really blessed me because there was no way I could have done it without help. Lo and behold, the original owner just happened to see me struggle with the darn thing and he came out with a powered screwdriver (I am truly thankful for him); he took the table top off (which weighs 45 pounds by itself) and voila! The two pieces fit like a puzzle in the trunk of my car. I spent a week in the mornings sanding and staining it. After much anticipation and gratefulness, I get to use it today.

A little TLC goes a long way.

An Introvert’s POV

Having read Bryan Walsh’s, “The Upside of Being an Introvert”: (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2105432,00.html), I was encouraged to learn about another introvert’s POV (point of view). Just as Walsh writes about needing a time-out after (or in the midst of) a social gathering, I require pockets of time to recharge in solitude; my favorite moments are when I get the read or paint at night (hence the barn owl); I added the magnolia which  means “love of nature” because organic elements help me feel grounded. The jar is a terrarium because lately, I’ve been obsessed with making my own peaceful world in a pickle jar. The jar’s opening symbolizes my openness to God (He is my ultimate source of serenity).

Introverts don’t get to share their POV very often and I’m so glad Mr. Walsh did.

Sky, Water, Sand

Last week I was given a three by four-foot canvas to paint on; oh, the possibilities were endless. Yet it was quite daunting to paint something so white and so large (it was large for me); it was also to be displayed in the foyer of my church. I let ideas stew for a day before taking the leap of faith. My vision is that when people step from the frantic world into the church building, I want them to see this painting and be soothed by it. What more soothing and majestic than an ocean scene; when I spend time at a beach, I would be in awe at the expanse of sky, water, and sand, listen to the pounding surf, witness the rhythm of the tide, breathe in the fresh ocean breeze and be reminded of God’s majesty and power, his faithfulness with his promises, and his immeasurable love for us; that is what the sky, water, and sand represent.

Self-Reflection in Watercolor

Today I have to take time out to self-reflect on how I’m living my life. Lately, I’m feeling exhausted as I constantly raced against the clock. There are a number of factors but the main one is that I’m not drawing strength and balance from God. Instead of slowing down to talk to Him, I’m running ahead trying to do things my way. I know that eventually, I will wear myself out; God wants to give me His blessings if only I will walk with Him. The Chinese characters (on sum) means peace of heart, mind, and soul; it is a feeling of a sense of security, safety, and confidence in my state of well-being; God wants to provide that for me. I’m glad I made this much-needed self-reflection.

Pride

I used to be proud as a peacock, self-sufficient and independent, living life my way or the highway. Being young and proud made me feel invincible; I could do anything I set my mind to, anything that is until I met the biggest challenge in my life: living with an abusive alcoholic. There was no rhyme or reason to the chaos caused by alcoholism no matter how much order I tried to force into our lives. My life was a hell-hole and it didn’t get better until I began to see that I cannot do it alone; I needed help from God and from my friends and family. I had to admit that I was not invincible and that my pride was the root of my troubles.

The past has been painful but now I have hope in a future that does not involve fear and darkness. With 20/20 hindsight, I realized that God has always been by my side; I just had to get off my high horse and admit that I am not a god. He had protected me through a lot of turmoil and He continues to protect me and tell me I am loved. I no longer have to act proud to get along in the world.

Sparrows and Afros

What do sparrows and afros have in common? They, along with every detail in life, do not escape the loving attention of God. My personal experience came with my recent job search; After two years as a student, I began praying about finding a job in April, asking God to open the right doors for me. I am a planner and go-getter by nature, so if it were up to me, I would have accepted the first job offered to me and would have settled for less. But He had a plan for me and His timing had a purpose, so I needed to trust that He had my best interest in mind. Even though the interim was difficult, He granted me peace of mind and now I know why I had to wait; He wanted me to be able to enjoy part of my summer break after an intense semester in college.

On June 18th, after going through two interviews for a job I felt was a perfect fit for me, I received a call telling me I was hired! God knows my heart and this painting is a reminder that when I feel that God does not hear; He does and He will come through when we ask and wait for His timing. If He cares so much for sparrows and afros, He cares for us even more.