Many thanks to my friend, Stacy, who allowed me to tell her story.
It was a lion—right in my face! Our noses were almost touching! Fierce love burned in his eyes and the wind whipped back his massive mane.
“I’ve got you! Now go paint!”
I awoke with a start and, even though it was one o’clock in the morning, I dug out an old canvas and my neglected acrylic paints. Swiping away everything that was on my dresser, I propped the canvas against the mirror and painted the lion’s portrait, signing my name together with the word, “Courage.”
And boy oh boy, did I ever need that courage! We were about ten months into COVID. I’d lost my job because of the pandemic, and I was all alone. I was almost seven months sober at the time, but the going had been rough. All my energy and focus were poured into staying sober every day. I was by myself in my apartment, completely isolated. I’d lost a dear friend to COVID. I’d had to cut off my relationship with the guy who I’d spent most of my time with because he’d been my crutch and one of my best drinking buddies. And my closest friend—my twin sister—had a new boyfriend, so she was otherwise occupied. Loneliness, hopelessness, and isolation were closing in on me.
Night after night, I lay in bed awake, mulling over all my losses, the stream of negative thoughts quenching my soul’s fire. I felt locked in and blocked. Stuck in hopelessness, I was often unable to sleep until exhaustion took over around 5 a.m. Then I’d get up after just a couple of hours of sleep and head back to work, barely able to function.
Finally, as I went to bed one night, I cried out to the Lord in utter desperation, “What do you want me to do?!”
And the Lion of Judah answered my cry of distress by meeting me in my dreams.
From that night on, I couldn’t wait to paint. I’d come home from work each day, and even though I had no idea what I was going to portray, I’d go right to the canvas and just start with whatever colors and shapes I saw in my mind’s eye. Ripples. Images. Waves. With each stroke of pigment on the canvas, more healing came. I could feel a physical, tangible connection to hope as my brush painted the story of what God was doing in my heart. All of this inspired me to open my Bible, and I started painting the Scriptures that spoke truth to me. Instead of the negative thoughts that had been drawing me deeper and deeper into hopelessness and despair, my soul was infused with life.
I took God’s answer and I acted on it. And that was the key to my freedom.
He’s got me! He really does!
~ Kathryn Kircher, writer
~ Stacy Reeves, painter