That First Brush Stroke


I have several white canvases stashed in a closet. These were purchased a few years ago- along with a few bottles of paint- when I had this idea of painting a picture that would accent the colorful hues of our bedroom quilt. I bought four canvases so that I could change the pictures with the seasons. I looked at Pinterest to find fun and creative ideas. I purchased some brushes that would help create the right effect.

Two years have passed.

And then this morning during my journal time with God, I was considering what to do with my future. Now that my health is back and we are settled in our new community, I need not hesitate to explore new possibilities or vocations. I asked God what would be the best choices to make, what God would want me to do with my future days. The response I received was surprising and enlightening.

I journaled these words I felt God saying to me:

“Sometimes a blank canvas is intimidating. You hesitate to make the first brush stroke until you have the complete picture in your mind, perhaps even completely sketched out before you. Think of all the canvases you have waiting in your closet. You keep finding ideas, but you haven’t attempted any of them. You don’t want to “waste” a clean canvas by possibly making a mistake. But isn’t the canvas being wasted NOW?

The best art can be created as you go. You make the first brush stroke, and then discover the next space that needs color, depth or dimension. This is your life- your life in me. I will help you create the final canvas, to one day be the complete and lovely picture that I have in mind; one that brings joy, peace or inspiration to those who encounter it. But you need to keep painting. You need to START painting! You especially need to make the first brush stroke on that clean white canvas of new possibilities.

You already envision the theme of your life’s painting- to live in love, to serve me, to bless others, to thrive and to grow. So approach that blank canvas with the bold freedom that comes from knowing I am helping you all the way. I will take your smudge and make a beautiful flower petal. I will take your misplaced brush stroke and blend it into an interesting background. I will take your wrong color choice and add the proper tint for just the right effect. We will work out the details of your painting as we go… one brush stroke at a time.”

I closed my journal and thanked God. I am merely a novice as I create the picture of my life, but I have God as the correcting and redeeming artist all the way. It is time to pick up the paintbrush and begin.

How about you?

2 Comments on “That First Brush Stroke

  1. Oh Karen l hope to see your finished painting one day! From all l know from you, your life has been many “ first brush strokes”! From your cancer and Jim’s illness, to moving to a new place, your “painting” changed! You charged into it with the Lord at your side! That is the Blessing of living with the Lord! The “ Painting” of my life has been so different than l “ pictured” but your e- mail today described my “God Given” life! It has been a totally different “painting” and God truly did make it Beautiful ❣️🤗 God Bless, dear friend!


    • Wow… thank you for this, dear Patricia. Yes, your story has been painted differently, but you are so beautiful, the way you are open to God in all things. Your faith and insight bless me. ❤


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