Painting: Thaw by Helen Sanderson-White (Copyright 2023 Helen Sanderson-White. Do not reproduce without permission).
A few months ago, I was asked to create some artwork for an exhibition that my church is hosting in Holy Week entitled The Journey. Over the last ten years I have been on a journey. It has taken me through many low valleys, difficult circumstances and tested my character to the hilt. I survived domestic abuse, divorce, the loss of a career, the death of many friends and the list goes on… What kept me going was the fact that at some point this season would come to an end. The Lord made me a promise in the autumn of 2013, that if I walked with him through this difficult time, the new season of singing for joy would eventually come. That new season has taken a decade to materialise.
Just before Christmas I was sat at the piano working on some new song ideas, when I sensed that the Lord was saying the word “thaw” and he gave me the verses from Song of Songs 2:11-12:
See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come…
I immediately I had an image of a garden thawing out after a freezing season covered in snow. Everything changed from frozen to flourishing, and there was a vibrancy to the new colours that were shining through in the spring sunshine. A new season has begun after a long, dark winter; life is sweeter in the newly revealed season. I wasn’t sure about the image so asked the Lord for confirmation that I really was leaving the long, dark season and that change is coming. Twelve hours later I got it! I was in a prayer meeting later the same day when someone had a picture for me of a winter snow scene that suddenly turns to spring and a beautiful garden is revealed!
So why has it taken so long for the season to change? Firstly, the Lord is always working on our character; we need to be God-built so that we can carry the new things he has for us. If he promoted us before our character is strong enough, it would crush us. Secondly, sometimes the Lord has to position us for the new to begin. This may mean stepping out and doing something scary or leaving things behind that are no longer fruitful. All of this takes time and obedience before we are in the right place at the right time.
In the painting, I wanted to reflect the ice from the last season melting away to reveal the new season’s beautiful garden with new, fresh flowers and fruit to enjoy. Although we can’t see what the future holds, we know that God’s hope does not disappoint and that he is always moving in our lives. Difficult seasons come to an end, and bright futures begin.
The best is yet to come.
The exhibition is free to view at Gold Hill Baptist Church, Chalfont St Peter, Bucks from Monday 3rd and Tuesday 4th April from 9am-8pm and Wednesday 5th April 2.30-8pm.
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