18 October 2011

Be Mindful of What You Pray For

If you're on Facebook, you know that for the past several weeks, I've been diligently working on completing a series of illustrations for a children's book -- a commission from the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church in New York. 

I am welcomed by my church family

I've always wanted to be an illustrator for children's books.  My degree is in illustration.  Unfortunately, as much as I wanted to be an illustrator, my ability to "self-promote" and market myself  was terrible.  And so the years went by and I, like all to many, have ended up doing all sorts of jobs to pay the bills.  My current job has me working in the field of excess and surplus lines insurance.  Prior to that, I was a teacher; a medical transcriber, a court reporter's transcriber, an interpreter, a bookkeeper, a retail store manager.....and then always on the side I've done my art, jewelry and crafts.

This is the frustrating thing.  Art is my passion.  Helping people is my passion.  But there are bills to be paid as well as a mortgage.  As grateful as I am for my job, I always feel like I don't belong.  My work environment is very nice, and I work for and with very nice people.  But it's not me.  So one day last year, during a particularly stressful lunch hour, I stopped for a moment, closed my eyes and said a prayer that went something like this:

I light a candle

"God, I'm thankful for the ability to work...and for my job.  But I'm feeling so down.  You know that I love to be creative.  Please help me to find a way...a creative outlet ...where I can do my art and bring Glory to You through it."

That was pretty much it.  I went back work, and few weeks went by.  And then one day I received an email.  It was from the head of the Department of Religous Education at the Eastern Diocese.  They were wondering if I was the same person they had met 15 or so years earlier who did illustrations.  I flashed back years prior when I had gone to a Sunday School conference.  At the time I was teaching Sunday School, and our guest speakers were going to be two women from the Eastern Diocese who were going to talk about the new curriculum that our diocese was also using.  I remember taking my portfolio with me back then in the hopes that they might have work for me.  I met with Elise and Nancy, and showed them my illustrations.  They loved them, but "Unfortunately, we just redid all our books."  But they kept my samples.

I kneel

Flash forward and there I was reading the email.  Elise said she had tried to find me, but didn't know how.  (I had remarried with a name change, changed my address, phone, etc.)  But just by chance, there was a Californian who was working in her office, and she recognized my past-married name on the sample and said, "I think I'm friends with her son on Facebook."  She emailed my son and got my email address...and the rest is history.  The illustration job is for a toddler's book -- one that will be kept in the pews of the various churches for children to read during church.  They show panels of a child's view of Armenian Orthodox church. 

Could my prayer have been answered in any better way?

I pray

I started the illustrations last year.  And then, over the course of the year with all my health issues (gallbloadder surgery, colon cancer, breast cancer..etc.) I had to take a break.  Just a month ago, we revisited the project and decided that the "end of October" would be a good deadline for Christmas publication.  And so the clock is ticking.  It's actually good timing as I'll be having the second part of my reconstruction surgery on November 1. 

I often think of this course of events....my prayer, the way I was found, the fact that my illustration samples were even kept all those years.  I don't believe in coincidence.  I believe in prayer.  I believe in sincere requests.  And I believe that all things will happen not in our time but in God's.

Here is a look at my illustrations so far.  There are 12 year...I have 3 to go:

I sing

I smell the incense

I recieve the Kiss of Peace

I receive a blessing

I give my gift

I receive Holy Communion

I kiss the Gospel

I make the sign of the cross


Fr. Vazken Movsesian said...

Thanks for sharing the thoughts and the PICTURES! These are great - can't wait for the book to come out to order some for our pews.

Just my add on - the prayer hasn't been completely answered. I see a lot more to come. You said - it's about His time.


DAVID HAAS said...

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