3. Painting a Path Through Challenges: Finding God's Calling in Creativity
I sewed my first dress from white calico with a green pea pattern when I was 11 years old. In the USSR, it was very difficult to buy beautiful clothes; stores only offered gray and brown options, and people on the streets often appeared quite joyless. Many women in the USSR learned to sew. Our home was always filled with various fabrics; my mother and grandmother would create fashionable items for themselves and me. As early as 6-8 years old, I would sew clothes for dolls using fabric scraps, embellishing them with bits of lace and embroidery. The girls in the neighborhood would exchange their toys for my doll dresses – that's how my doll atelier came to be! Our dreams lead us from childhood, and even if we bury our dreams under the weight of responsibilities, it's never too late to look back and listen to our hearts.
I am enchanted by the beauty of God's creation. Before my mother met her new husband, who became the best father in the world to me, I lived with my grandparents for many years and missed my mother greatly. I remember her on the station platform, the air filled with the smell of smoke, in a bright pink elegant dress, her radiant smile, and sad eyes. She had to travel to the distant city of Kyiv for work, and I thought she didn't love me. But beauty saved me: blue mountains, turquoise sea, and the lilac wisteria at the window whispered their tales to me at night. Beauty is a message that I read with my young heart: everything will be alright with you.
When I turned 8, I returned with my mother and new father to my beloved Latvia – the shimmering sky among the crowns of ship-like pines, the tranquility, and the tales of the medieval city, the wind in the golden dunes of the Baltic... I have been drawing for as long as I can remember. Looking at a blank sheet, I see hints, lines, rays... of beauty. And I try to reflect this in paints or fabrics, to bring down a small piece of this beauty from the Heavens to Earth.
What do you dream of? I love asking people this question. Dreams shine and smell of adventure, but they come at a cost... sweat, tears, and sleepless nights. Yes, it will cost you dearly, and if you don't pursue your dream, it will cost you everything.
I was five when my drawing was published in the newspaper, and 14 when I had my first solo exhibition. It seemed like all doors were open to fulfill my dream of becoming an artist. The wonderful Latvian artist Janis Simpson invited me to his studio to study painting and prepare for admission to the Latvian Academy of Arts. I studied painting under a true Master for two years, observing him paint every day and listening to his every word. It was an incredibly happy time, but suddenly my dream of becoming an artist shattered... One evening, almost unconscious, I was carried out of the painting studio; I had developed a severe allergy to oil paint solvents. I couldn't continue my painting studies. My parents decided to send me to Moscow to study finance; I cried day and night, feeling like my life had ended before it even began.
Calling, like water, always finds its way through rocks and clay; you just need to clear the path. Despite the impossibility of continuing my painting education, I persistently continued to draw – with watercolors, ink, pencils, anything that I wasn't allergic to. Obstacles are part of the journey. The journey transforms you, changes you, makes you a person capable of fulfilling your purpose. God's dream is you. God wants you to fulfill your calling to the fullest.
Exhibitions continued, success came to me very early, but at the same time, I realized that success doesn't make a person happy. After a successful exhibition, interviews on television, I would return to my paints, look at a blank sheet of watercolor paper, and my heart would be filled with chilling fear: what if I can't do it? What if my next works aren't selected for an exhibition or aren't liked by the viewers? I understand very well why we often hear about successful artists or designers who took their own lives or turned to drugs. This fear is unbearable, it's like death...
Fear brings torment. To be free means to fear nothing: neither people, nor yourself, nor failure, nor success, nor the past, nor the future. Inner freedom can't be attained artificially; it's a Gift from God. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom! Those born of the Spirit of the Lord glorify God even without words.
Only in God did I find this freedom. I create for the One who loves me unconditionally. I draw and feel God's smile. I believe - God will like it, and my heart sings.
You are His beautiful garden. God wants each of us to be fulfilled. He calls each person; the Creator of the world stands at the door of your heart and knocks, waiting for you to open it. And only you can open that door, a door towards a higher Purpose and Calling in your life.
God has called us to cultivate the garden of our soul, to delve into ourselves and His word. God wants you to be fulfilled, and He opens sources of living water, healing and refreshing your heart. God fights for us; He truly cares about you.
God loves you, right now He's removing the shroud of sorrow, the ashes of pain and despair, and giving you beauty and joy. God places a beautiful dream in your heart, and even if you've long rejected it, felt disappointed, or hidden it deep within, that dream hasn't died because it's not only yours but also God's. God dreams about us just like a loving mother dreams about her child. He wants the talents within us to unfold and serve this world.