How To Know If You’re An Artist

August 1, 2011 | 26 comments

I am the crazy farm wife who shows up at church potlucks and pool parties with a Nikon slung around my neck. One friend always winks and calls me paparazzi.

I am the former news reporter who still carries a notebook in her purse, because you never know when a story will beg to be told.

I am the goofy rhymer who suddenly, in aisle six, thinks of a silly poem for my girls. I write on the backs of grocery lists and old receipts.

I am Child of God. Therefore,  I am Artist.

We were created in God’s image, so shouldn’t we create, as our Maker creates? Shouldn’t we make beauty from beauty?

God, the One who molded us into His image, is the original artist. He chiseled mountains from rock, decorated inky skies with twinkling jewelry, sculpted this gently sloping hill on which our farm sits. He hangs hoarfrost on the pines, and he tips the water jars of heaven to send shimmery droplets to Earth.

What Christian would dispute that we are co-workers in His Kingdom? So too, we are co-creators in His Gallery.

Each of us are equipped to make beauty from beauty. And God enlivens our creativity with His Spirit — like needed breath for these bones. 

Author Luci Shaw calls the Holy Spirit our “coach for the leap” and “the glue in the link.”

“Because I am God’s daughter, a bridge, a path, a secret stair has been built from his heart to mine so that by the Spirit, God’s thoughts can step into my mind.”

– Luci Shaw, author of Breath for the Bones: Art, Imagination, and Spirit: Reflections on Creativity and Faith.


Two months ago, I wrote am email to Emily, a painter-poet, and asked her if she could create God-inspired art for our home.

She asked, “What elements do you want in the picture?”

I wrote her this: “Breath of God. Fullness of life. YHVH (Hebrew for Yahweh). Spirit. Sacrifice of Christ, being central to who we are in this home.”

Two months later, the UPS man dropped off a huge rectangle canvas at the door.

I sent Emily another email, to tell her how amazing she really is. And she responded: “It’s all God.”   

Indeed, indeed. …




I can’t paint like Emily, but I can co-create with her by expressing my creative spirit and ideas.

I don’t take photographs like Kelly or Claire, but I will shoot photos anyway.

I don’t write like Ann or Laura, but I will write anyway.

I don’t bake like Rosie, but I will make art in my kitchen anyway. 

I am not the original Artist, but I will make art anyway.

Art is not a contest. It is an expression of our faith.

How about you? How can you co-create with the Holy Spirit today? Sometimes our art is the letter to the lonely, the sidewalk-chalk drawing with the grandchild, the coneflower patch abloom with color. 
Let’s make art with our pens,
our paints,
our pots and pans.

Submitted as part of The High Calling’s discussion on the book, Breath for the Bones: Art, Imagination, and Spirit: Reflections on Creativity and Faith.

by | August 1, 2011 | 26 comments


  1. Sheila Lagrand

    Jennifer, we’re on the same page, as it were, again today.

    This is getting a little eerie 🙂

    Beautiful post…though I believe you underestimate your gifts. 🙂

  2. jodi

    YES, YES a thousands times yes. Thanks for this.

  3. laura

    Jennifer, I love this. Your art is uniquely your own–breath of God breathed through you. That is where the beauty is. Emily’s canvas is such a gift also! What a sweet interpretation of your request. Isn’t it amazing how He has gifted us each with our own way of seeing? I love this so much about our good Creator. Just shows He he loves us each individually. What care He put in the making.

    Love to you, my friend.

  4. Jennifer TW

    You are an artist with a pen, that is for sure. I had not read your entry on Rosie today and it brought tears to my eyes thinking of her. Thank you for touching me today!

  5. Nancy

    Art is not a competition–true! Also true–nobody writes like Ann and Laura, except maybe you. I’m thinking about God as artist today, too, and I haven’t read Luci Shaw’s book. Hmmm…maybe I should.

  6. kendal

    i love emily’s work! i recognized her when i saw the canvas….in scripture we are called god’s workmanship, which in that case means poem. art. yes. we are. we can.

  7. Shaunie Friday

    As I read this post, I don’t even know how to explain how it encourages me. Some writer I am! I’ve typed and erased about six different attempts and I still don’t know how to say it. Today, in the wee hours of the morning after a zillion interruptions and frustrating obstacles to my writing time I finally scratched out a post about not comparing myself to others. A little while later I read Holley Gerth’s post on how this Kingdom race is not a competition, and then I came here to find you voicing things that I have been mulling for years–a long on-the-shelf book idea I’ve never written, reminding me yet again that comparing myself to you or Ann or Laura is not God’s desire for me. He just invites me, and each of you who I admire so much, to join Him in His creativity and be Image-bearers in our art. I just LOVE it when the Holy Spirit starts ringing the same bell through many of His people at the same time. It’s like the beauty of a bell-choir, all those harmonious tones ringing out a bigger song than any one bell could do alone. Thank you so much Jennifer!!

  8. Amy Sullivan

    Yep, I could tell that was from Emily. Beautiful.

    Blogging is great. It inspires us to put ourselves out there all the time, but it’s tough too because we get constant snapshots of how truly gifted so many people are. Where do we fit in?

    But the neat thing is, I love that everyone’s art and voice are so different. That I can click and hear different voices and different passions seeping through the screen. Yours included.

  9. jasonS

    Totally agree! We are all meant to be co-artists, co-laborers, and joint-heirs! Wonderfully told, Jennifer. Thank you.

  10. S. Etole

    I love the way you paint with words … always.

  11. debra

    “Art is not a contest. It’s an expression of our faith.” Love that. Beautiful.

    • Charity Singleton

      I love that phrase too; it’s what leapt out at me. I also love – I am a child of God, therefore I am an artist. Yes, and yes, to that. It’s all art – it’s all God.

  12. Karenee

    I love the secondary inspiration I receive by reading the thoughts of those who have read a book that inspired them. The Spirit within echoes these thoughts and touches them with the light of recognition, that indeed this is the way it is–called always to reflect our Maker in the making of daily beauty, and the practice of incorporating accident, flaw, and error into the pursuit of his promise of ultimate benefit.

  13. Glynn

    That’s exactly what art is – an expression of our faith. And we hold our pens and notebooks and brushes at the ready because the expression can come at any time.

  14. Linda

    What a lovely perspective Jennifer. It makes my heart sing to think I am an artist and my spirit soar to imagine being a co-creator with the One who does all things with such beauty.
    I, too, have a painting from Emily’s beautiful heart. It is a treasure. She is a treasure.

  15. Patricia

    Yes! Yes! Yes! A kalaiedescope(?)of colors, mediums, artists and imaginations… all reflecting His glory! This brought me joy… thank you. Imagining heaven as we speak =)

  16. Simply Darlene

    Yeah, well, if a person is an engineer, would he still consider himself an artist? Speaking on behalf of my husband here, I know he would say “Nope. No. I don’t even know what you are talking about. Have you been hanging around some artsy-fartsy types again?”

    “Yeah, I reckon so.”

    (And no, miss JDL, I did not just call you a fart. 😉 )


  17. Ruthie

    Thank you for this post and encouraging your readers to be all that God has created them to be – reflections of Him – the Ultimate Artist. I am inspired to create! 🙂

  18. Cindee Snider Re

    Beautiful! Words we all need to hear and let soak in deep. “Art is not a contest. It is an expression of our faith.” A thousand times, YES! What a call to seek the beauty, the august, the Holy and lay it out with open hands for all the world to see.

  19. Debbie

    A very encouraging post. Thank you!

  20. Sandra Heska King

    “Because I am God’s daughter, a bridge, a path, a secret stair has been built from his heart to mine so that by the Spirit, God’s thoughts can step into my mind.”

    Yep, I highlighted that, too. I wish I had not been in so much of a hurry to get this book and had gotten a hard copy.

    I love how He made you (paparazzi and all) and how you help me see. I love how Grace always says, “Grandma, there’s a cross (or a Y) for your friend.”

  21. Joan

    What a beautiful concept! Let’s remember to use the gifts God gave us to be artists and bring glory to our Father!

    Blessings, Joan

  22. Jennifer@Adam's Rib

    Yes! This is not a competition to be the best artist, but to glorify our Creator in all that we do. It’s easy to be discouraged at times when we’re not like the Ann or Darlene in our art, but God still calls us to worship Him through our everything. Obedience and worship–that’s beautiful to our Savior.

  23. floyd

    Well said! To express is a gift all unto itself. We don’t need the world to hail us as the greatest in order to bring God glory. I suspect that maybe the most blessings occur outside of the lime light. Jason was right. This was worth the trip!

  24. Kelly

    Thanks, friend. I needed to read this post!


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