My view of God changed dynamically when I began to connect with the Creator as an Artist. Up until a few years ago, I never saw myself in the stories of the Bible. I didn’t know about the artist Bezalel (Exod. 31) or Cheneniah, the Levite who oversaw the musicians (1 Chr. 15:26). Seeing the wonder of the world as the canvas of a Master Artist has helped me find myself in God’s grand story. He painted the skies with the stars, shaped the planets, poured the oceans, breathed life into the birds. With creativity and color, he made hummingbirds that flap their wings at fifty-three beats per second and designed the abdomen of the venomous peacock spider in shades of iridescent blue and red. With humor and imagination, he made the sea monster, Leviathan, to play with (Ps. 104:26). God creates for his own pleasure.
I almost gave up being a musician a few years ago. I remember thinking, if I can’t make money as a pianist, songwriter or writer, what’s the point? Does anybody care about my music? Why bother trying? As a stay-at-home mom, I was struggling to make money in my chosen profession. I remember sitting at home one day, crying is this what my life is going to be like? Why did I bother going to music school? My day was filled with changing poopy diapers, folding mountains of laundry, and the sudden change from work to home left me feeling alone and overwhelmed. I was depressed. My self-worth was wrapped up in my external works and vocation.
As my children have grown, my eyes have opened to view of the world through their eyes. As they express their curiosity and cherish the horseshoe crab, the cardinal, and the sunflower, I find that the fragrant smell of jasmine on my back porch, or a moonlit walk on a hot summer night offer glimpses of the Artist. If God creates a sea monster for sheer joy and pleasure, how might that translate to my artistry as a mother? Might I, too, create simply because I take pleasure in making?
My work as an artist is an act of worship. I can play piano, sing, write songs and essays because it brings me joy and blesses the people around me. Time spent connecting to God enriches my creativity and nurtures my soul, making me a better mother. This is who I am. I am an artist, a mother, and a child of God. I don’t have to choose. Horatius Bonar’s hymn, “Not What My Hands Have Done” (1864) speaks to this. He says that our works cannot bring us salvation or peace with God, but on his work and his grace alone can we dwell. His final verse says:
I praise the God of grace;
I trust his truth and might;
he calls me his, I call him mine,
my God, my joy, my light.
‘Tis he who saveth me,
and freely pardon gives;
I love because he loveth me,
I live because he lives.
Our work as artists connects us to a Creator, whose wonderful diversity in Creation created you and me, whose works are beautiful and precious to him who created us. We nurture our souls when we spend time in God’s word, learning who he is; when we create, reflecting his glory; and when we bask in nature, letting our creativity be inspired by the wondrous diversity of God.
Catherine Miller is the Online Team Leader for United Adoration. Mother of three young boys, she enjoys songwriting, making music, and writing. This week, the jasmine is bloom, so she’ll be sitting on the back porch at every opportunity to smell its fragrance!