I recently had the unique opportunity to join forces with one of my very talented friends to organize a “Girls’ Night Out” Painting Night. My friend, Christy is a triple threat. She is a talented artist, a gifted teacher and a leader among women.
The school year was coming to an end and we went for our usual jog in Bear Creek Park. As group leaders at our church, we began anticipating the need for a fun event and/or reason in the summer for our friends to get together. We brainstormed, and the idea of a Girl’s Night came to mind. While I have zero artistic ability, I do have a unique love for bringing women together, and thanks to my time with the PTA, I have experience planning events. I won’t spend time advertising the PTA here, but I am a fan.
We set the date and started planning. While we had never done anything like this and had no idea if the night would just be her and I showing up, we were pleasantly surprised as women were quick to RSVP and even invite more friends.
The night arrived and women showed up one after the other. As they entered, they collected their art supplies and got situated at their tables. Since Christy was our teacher for the evening, I was able to welcome and greet the ladies and serve as Christy’s “lovely” assistant. I put lovely in quotations because after setting up tables and chairs I may have lost my “loveliness” with all of the sweat happening. My neck was increasingly sticky as my hair product dripped, or more accurately poured from my head. With 40 women on their way, I could not have cared less about a little sweat. I am very aware that 40 women in one room spells F – U – N in my book!!
As Christy taught, I was free to walk around to refill paint, change out water (and remind women not to confuse their drinking water with their paint water) and generally do what I love: encourage women. There were only a handful of women that seemed relaxed and confident in their natural artistic abilities. It was fun to watch those ladies function in an area that was clearly their strength. One friend I have known for a couple of years really surprised me with her natural ability with a paintbrush. She painted every detail without hesitation and with a small lingering smile on her face. I don’t even think she realized she was smiling. She didn’t require encouragement or reminders to breathe. She was comfortable with the task at hand. Literally!
And then there were the rest of the women. They made up the majority. You know, the ones that would not be listing ‘artistic abilities’ on their resumes. They had stepped out of their comfort zones. They intently listened to Christy’s instructions and then giggled, knowing her simple step-by-step directions were not so simple for the artistically challenged. They proceeded with strong hesitations and lots of questions. I believe I regularly heard, “Teacher, Teacher…” These women needed a bell to be rung to remind them to breathe. As they completed the daunting task of painting and shading the entire background, they exhaled and their shoulders visibly sank. They relaxed their muscles knowing they needed to rest until the next set of instructions.
In between steps there was lots of laughter. I think it is often easier to deal with our weaker areas in life if we can laugh at them, and there was a lot of laughter. Not laughter that hurts feelings. No. This was laughter that brought these women together. Women who had never met began to laugh together. My heart was full as I watched friends from different parts of my world come together on this night! This is how I imagine heaven. Every woman in my world coming together to laugh, dance, exercise and love Jesus! Selah!
The volume level when the women were all connecting and laughing was such that I was glad we had bothered my husband to set up his sound system. The women would not have been able to hear the instructions over the roar of the fun they were having.
While I will never forget those laughs and conversations that filled the room, it was the quiet times that left a lasting impression on my heart. Those vulnerable moments that required women filled with literally thousands of words, to silence them as they studied their canvases. The quiet and almost breathless moments happened when the women were aware they were working in their weaknesses. They became dependent on their teacher for every move. It reminded me of some verses in the Bible and brought them to life in my heart in a way I had not previously understood.
In my weakness, He is strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
It is in our weaknesses that we open our ears, shut our mouths and focus. We realize our lack and lean on the strengths of others, whether it be our art teacher, a wise friend and even more, our God!
The other verse that played in my head as I walked around a completely silent room of women, (and yes you read that correctly, silent), was the verse:
Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10
In a world with so much going on, it is a sweet and priceless gift to have a moment to remember we are not our source, we have beautiful friends and an amazing God.
I have discovered that embracing your weaknesses and doing things out of your comfort zone puts us in a quiet place with an open heart. We abandon our opinions and limited knowledge when we become aware that we are not working from a place of strength.
For those of you that are reading this and wondering how all of those paintings turned out, they were
breathtaking!! And I am sorry but that sentence required two exclamations because women who counted the cost of every stroke and verbally expressed concern for 2 and a half hours left that night with the most beautiful paintings. And just like the beautiful women that were painting, no two pictures were the same.
So what am I saying with all of these words?
Do not be afraid to face your weaknesses!
Be brave and lean on the beautiful women in your life and most of all lean on the God that wants you to be near.
He loves your weaknesses. Why? Because He longs to be near you and you are most likely to seek Him when you feel the weakest!
Meet the Author
Kendra’s boys say that she spends her time making dinner and wrestling them for hugs. Kendra spends the rest of her time as a full-time mom, a full-time pastor’s wife, a part-time accountant, a ladies group leader, a PTA board member, and the director of the mentoring program for Gateway’s NFW campus. She recently wrote the book, “Encouragement Between Loads of Laundry” and while Kendra doesn’t even enjoy making dinner, she is proud that it is first on her boys’ list! The rest are just details!