Your Life Makes Beautiful Art

November 26, 2012 | 28 comments

We all want to be part of something beautiful.

You know what I mean if you’ve ever been a bridesmaid at your best friend’s wedding, the hostess of a surprise party, part of a crazy flash mob in a shopping mall, or among a group of carolers at the local nursing room. It’s that airy, spirit-quickening feeling that brushes you up against something greater than yourself. It’s a sneak-peek at Heaven, a sunrise in your soul, a slide down the arc of the rainbow. It’s like you’re touching noses with God, and all because you let your life spread out onto the God-canvas.

Your life is art, friend. Be painted.  

And it’s the simple moments, isn’t it? A moment like standing in a ring of candlelight in your sanctuary on Christmas Eve, with people you love next to you singing, “Silent Night.”

We want to know we’ve helped make the world more beautiful — not just tolerable — but downright exquisite. That’s why we raise a candle, and try to sing past the lump in our Christmas Eve throats, so we can join all those voices straining into the place where Hope incarnated.

Life-art can make you cry the happiest, most grateful tears that might just embarrass your own children. But sometimes, the only proper response to such beauty is a holy weeping.

There’s more. This life-as-art is why we go to great lengths to make a gorgeous apple pie on Thanksgiving, to set a pretty table with the wedding china, to surprise a child on the first day of school with chocolate chips in her pancakes, to be the first one to start the standing ovation at the elementary band concert. It’s why you rush to the window at the first snowfall, stand in awe at the lightning storm, clap your hand over your mouth at the starriest sky.

We were made in God’s image, and we were made to co-create as junior-artists, to excavate beauty in the here-below. And you don’t need a pottery wheel — just one grand life on which to make a masterpiece. And to see the masterpiece — right inside your very own skin.

Sometimes, beauty happens and you don’t even know it.

That’s why I felt that same Christmas-Eve lump rise up in my throat when I opened the mail on Friday afternoon. I slipped my hand into the manila envelope and pulled out a small painting on a little canvas.

I had been painted. No one had ever painted me before. It made me feel beautiful, like I’d been ushered onto a masterpiece. Like someone thought my life was art, and they wanted me to know.

It wasn’t because I wore the right clothes, or had a great hair-day, or had been posed in such a way to make a moment appear more artful than it really was. I had been painted because I was alive. I was part of the manifold witness, while steering a canoe down a jade-colored river in Texas with friends.

And someone standing above us thought we were beautiful. Someone thought we were art, radiant in the palm of God.

Painting by Laura Boggess. Canoe passengers from left to right: me, Kelly Sauer, Dan King the Bible Dude. Take on the Frio River at Laity Lodge. (Thank you Laura for this gift of a beautiful moment, preserved.)

These words offere with love, for Laura Boggess…

by | November 26, 2012 | 28 comments


  1. Marlys Etter

    Thanks Jennifer. You have no idea how many times you speak directly to my heart words that I really need to hear! God bless you! Have a great week!

    • dukeslee

      Oh Marlys … God bless you, sweet friend. I’m so glad God has connected our lives.

  2. laura

    Oh, Jennifer. Your words made me cry. And smile. You are art. Seeing the three of you floating together that way? Pure gift. I only wish I was able to capture it better (I had so much trouble with the shape of the Dude’s head! Don’t know why that gob gave me so much trouble :)).

    I love the art you make with your life, lady. You bless.

    • dukeslee

      I hope it was ok that I shared like this? It felt so personal, but I couldn’t help it. This was such a gift to me, Laura. SUCH a gift. You are a gift in my life.

      And I think Dude’s head looks just right. #fistbump 🙂 I also love that you have Kelly’s stretched-out legs there, and I’m remembering now, how she was a little nervous there in the center, and we were giggling like schoolgirls, hoping we wouldn’t tip the whole thing over.

    • dukeslee

      Indeed. Framing and hanging in the office.

  3. Beth

    Your words encourage me, Jennifer. And Laura’s heart inspires me as well. Thanks so much for sharing this precious gift with all of us. 🙂

    • dukeslee

      Hey Beth! I’m so glad the words were an encouragement. Yes, that Laura Boggess is a very special friend.

  4. Marcus Goodyear

    I love gift art, and now I know Laura dabbles in water color! Who knew? This is a wonderful gift, and a wonderful response.

    • Kelly Sauer

      Yeah, I didn’t know that either!

  5. Lynn Morrissey

    Jennifer, I’d say that your life is a masterpiece and that you create heart-art (I love using that phrase) every time you post a blog. Keep exposing us to beauty, just like your friend Laura did. The painting is lovely–just like you and your friends!

  6. Summer Gross

    yes yes yes. I love it! Thanks for the encouraging!

  7. Linda

    Ah – sweet Laura. She creates with such beauty. As do you, Jennifer. Your words flow and weave themselves into beautiful art. Praying for you as you write and offering to read if you would like me to. I am so excited to see what the Father will do through you.

  8. Eileen


  9. Megan Willome

    I’d wondered who was in that painting when Laura put it up on her blog! Now I know, and I’m smiling all the more.

  10. Charity Singleton

    I love this! I love the moment it captures, the aliveness, as you mention. I love that a friend painted friends. Those are the very best kind of paintings, the kind many of the great masters did. Somehow, hanging in museums, we forget that a lot of those people were just friends that someone painted. Beautiful post, too, Jennifer.

  11. Pam

    Exquisite words, Jennifer. I’ve been thinking along these lines lately myself, only you put it in such words of wonder and beauty… You inspire me (and I know, many others). Thanks for sharing the words and Laura’s art!

  12. Michelle DeRusha

    This is so, so sweet. The painting. The gift. Laura. You. Your friendship. The Frio! LOVE it all!

  13. Diana Trautwein

    Oh-such sweetness. LOVE this entire thing, the gift of art and the art of writing. Thank you.

  14. Carolyn

    You certainly have the gift of writing, beautiful posting today. Thank you.

  15. Sue Awes

    I loved this post – and how it stirred in me memories of my own life-art moments. Beautiful! Thank you – You are one of a circle of writing women and it’s a joy to be privy to your rich lives, clear minds and tender hearts.

  16. Dayna DeLaVergne

    Jennifer, what a lovely thought–our lives as art. I’ll look at things differently and savor all the artful moments. Thank you.

  17. Jean Wise

    What a special gift and capture that moment in time so well. I love how the words of this post raises my spirit above the everyday stuff and opens my eyes to its beauty. Thank you!!

  18. Nancy Ruegg

    Look what God did–one little painting, dozens of hearts quickened. Sometimes we’re the art, as you were/are, Jennifer. Sometimes we’re the artists, like Laura. Sometimes we’re the appreciators(!)–the ones looking on, beholding the splendor of the moment, infused with the breath of God Himself.

  19. Dolly@Soulstops

    Ah, what beauty, in your words, and Laura’s painting…all pointing to Him, the Master Artist…Thanks for sharing, Jennifer 🙂


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