Of Altars & Trees

Since I am a math teacher who dabbles with things not obviously math, my students always seem surprised by the other things I do. They marvel at my art and are dazzled by my ability to write and publish books. They even appear to enjoy the videos I post on YouTube.

Last week a student discovered one of my art journals open on my desk. She frowned and asked, “Mrs. Mosley, you draw?”

I nodded and continued to prepare for the next class. She then transformed into a curator and began describing my art and showing it to the other students in the room using a game show model impression. After a few moments, she discovered a theme for the pictures in the journal she was thumbing through. “Mrs. Mosley, these are all trees of some sort. What’s with you and trees?”

I simply told her I have a thing for trees because they were easy to draw and each have unique characteristics I like to capture. What she didn’t seem to notice is there were other things in the pictures. In most of the art in the journal there were also altars made of stone. I didn’t explain it to her, but I listen to my Daily Bible each morning and one particular passage from earlier this year keeps coming to mind as I am painting or drawing.

Exodus 25:25 New Living Translation
“If you use stones to build my altar, use only natural, uncut stones. Do not shape the stones with a tool, for that would make the altar unfit for holy use.”

When I heard this particular passage, I began to meditate on why the stones had to be “natural” and uncut with tools. One morning as I was meditating and sketching, I remembered someone saying they could not do art the way I did it. They needed lines and pictures already on the page in order to paint. I paint and draw from my spirit or mind’s eye.

My art is natural, and doesn’t fit into anyone else’s mold. My art captures my spirit in that way. For years I did things a certain way because I was expected to. I attended the church I was expected to. I wore the clothes, combed my hair, and even tried teaching the way I was trained to do. I wasn’t being my true self. The more I explore the talents I have kept hidden away, the more I discover who I am created to be.

My heart is my altar and I have found ways to show love and appreciation for God and others in many different ways. I have learned that manufactured love isn’t really love. False praise is ineffective. The love and praise that comes with truth, encouragement, and genuine compassion lasts.

Painting while I am meditating and praying has become my unique way to express my praise and adoration for my Creator. I have five paintings and drawings I would like to give away. If you are interested in any of these, email me your address and I will mail it to you or you can simply download the pictures. I hope you frame them and remember that God has planted something unique inside of you. Share yourself with others in a genuine way.

When you are tempted to climb into the box,
To fit into the mold,
Break away and find yourself
Your real story is yet to be told.

Extract what has been hidden away,
Guarded and protected.
Creation is waiting for what's inside of you
That has gone undetected.

Take out your canvas,
Put it on display.
You are a beautiful masterpiece
Created to be shared today.




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