“Those who look to Him are radiant with joy; their faces will never be ashamed.” Psalm 34:5
“Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Your dominion endures throughout all generations. The Lord is faithful in all His words and kind in all His works.” Psalm 145:13
* * *
*****It is that time of year again: Fall stories! Wholehearted Woman Ministries’ mission is helping women be fully surrendered to the lordship of Jesus Christ and courageously on-mission for Him – one heart at a time. One of the ways we do that is by sharing real-life stories of Christian women both past and present who have decided to follow Jesus wholeheartedly in this way. No matter what season of life you are in, God is calling you to a place of deep and wholehearted relationship with Him. We pray that each story told over the next few months is used by God to fashion your individual heart, to know and experience Him even more deeply, and to joyfully do His will to His glory! “Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story.” (Psalm 107:2) Read on!
I (Jenni) met Laura Meerholz 15 years ago when I was student teaching at the school where she is the art teacher. Our paths continued to cross at church over the years, and her joyful faith in Jesus, love for her family and community, and passion for art and the artistic process are constantly evident in her life. We are thrilled that Laura agreed to share with us from her heart as an artist, art educator, and wholehearted woman of God. May the Holy Spirit use what you read today in a beautiful way for God’s glory! This is Laura’s story…
HOW HAS GOD USED ART IN YOUR LIFE AS A BLESSING AND A MINISTRY?
I wanted to be an artist for as long as I can remember. When I was very young, a seed was planted by the person administering my kindergarten readiness test. They told my mom I would be an artist because of the details I drew when I drew my family. Hearing that story and having a supporting family who supplied me with the tools to express myself allowed me to grow in my gift.
My parents would get periodicals from different ministries, and those little magazines inspired me to want to study graphics. I would collect the photography pictures and keep them as reference photos. Funny story, I collected a photo on the cover of one of those publications that later turned out to be one my husband created when he worked as a photographer for a significant ministry.
I pursued Art in college, and although there was nothing notable about my ability, I knew in my heart I was an artist. I persevered and got my art degree from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. After working in the field of graphics for several years, almost always doing art for ministries, the Lord opened up the opportunity for me to teach Art to elementary students at our church’s Christian school. I fell in love! I love teaching art to children and teens. I’ve been doing it ever since.
I had a point of view as an aspiring artist that I need an edge to be successful and that making “Christian art” would not allow me to see that success. The Lord has led me to know that he loved me first, and without him, no amount of self-promotion would get me what I wanted. Surrendering to him and his faithfulness empowers me to do all that is asked of me and brings opportunities that I couldn’t have imagined.
“Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. [The Lord is faithful in all his words and kind in all his works.]” Psalm 145:13 ESV
I have a deep desire for my gift to be an act of worship to God. As I spend time with my gracious Lord, his joy radiates from me and my art. “Those who look to Him are radiant with joy; their faces will never be ashamed.” (Psalm 34:5 HCSB) With over 20 years of experience as a teaching artist, I feel a passion for facilitating the next steps for my students so that they can take on the artistic journey that will propel them forward to connect to the community without compromise.
Romans 12:1-2 says, “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you” (MSG). When I surrendered my everyday moments to him, he was there. Opportunities came peacefully. I have had commissions and opportunities to lead workshops, art camps, and mural outreaches, all using my art gift to bring him glory and bless people.
I’ve learned that the kingdom of God is not just a relationship between you and God but also between you and the community. My success doesn’t look like gallery shows, but the impact I get to make in my everyday conversations with my art students is priceless to me. My pastor used to say that everything we give to God dies in Christ and will get a glorious resurrection! When I gave the Lord my art life/career, he blessed it. He keeps blessing it. I know there are exciting things on the horizon, and I look forward to walking it out with Jesus leading the way!
* * *
For more stories like this one, sign up below for our free weekly emails! Also, check out the book The Wholehearted Woman: Who She is and Why She Matters by sisters and co-authors, Jenni Walker and Beth Doohan. With heartfelt messages that will challenge your faith, stories of other Wholehearted Women, and reflection questions to dive deeper, this is a great resource for personal devotion or small group study.