In a classroom full of eager young minds a teacher moves from desk to desk encouraging children to draw their family portrait. The best one little girl can do is to pencil in a few stick figures centered behind a round circle, meant to symbolize her world. "Not good enough" echoes the instructor's voice in the young child's ears. This phrase follows her well into adult life.
In a world where success is based upon early acquisition of knowledge and skills, we often fail to consider some of us may just not be ready to launch our creative talent when expected. How many people failed early in life to prove themselves successful? I raise my hand in answer to the question.
The dictionary defines a "late bloomer" as a flourishing, healthy condition; the time or period of greatest beauty, artistry. And most of this beauty is nurtured through our life journey of ups and downs. This certainly defines my sister, Linda, who is a late blooming artist.
Efflorescence of an Artist
Although the garden of life may have been altered by landscapers' intent upon forcing early blooms, the weathering effects forced some individuals to reserve their beauty until later in life. These effects, such as poor instruction, paved the way to success for those who were strengthened through the process.
Such is the case for artist, Linda Wages. Beginning in kindergarten, she endured harsh treatment from her teachers and fellow classmates. Over the years she developed a sense of inferiority which caused her to view life as a series of hurtles to overcome. Her life's story is remarkable, one that will cause you to shed tears. I myself have deeply wept with Linda over unbelievable mistreatment inflicted upon her. In spite of the difficult path she walked most of her life, the painful past only nurtured the confident woman she is today. God cultivated a beautiful rose whom others had neglected to tend.
Really? You feel "called" to draw?
Early this year, Linda shared her desire to draw. I felt compelled to protect her from possible failure. After all, to my recollection she had never demonstrated any interest in art. She had a knack for decorating on a budget and her home was a picture right out of Home and Garden. My little sister was up-to-the-minute in fashion style, accessorizing with simple basic pieces. I guess, upon reflection, this should have been an indication that somewhere within was a creative designer.
During phone conversations, we would discuss her illustrations. Emotions were heightened: joy, sorrow, love, pain; all exuberant from her soul as she described what God instructed her to sketch. My heart meshed with the artist in the epitomic conception of beauty, the love of Yah (God). When she sent me her first rough draft (the lion shown below on tablet paper) I knew she was right. She had budding talent. Truly God was gifting her to draw.
Note: I absolutely love the whimsical picture depicting the Lion (God) shown below within the series. The facial features with the wispy strokes remind me of the lightheartedness of our Father above.
Late Bloomers in Life
- Moses was called at 40 years of age to lead his people out of bondage.
- Rocky Marciano began boxing at age 20
- Paul Cezanne began painting at age 20
- Julia Child learned French cuisine when she was 30.
- Mary Kay Ash was 45 years old when she started her business
- Grandma Moses started painting at 78 years of age.
- Martha Stewart became a home decorator at 35.
- Peter Roget designed the thesaurous at 73.
- Joseph was made a governor of Egypt when in his mid-thirties
Motivation and Inspiration
The following are results of an interview with Linda about her ministry through drawings. Bear in mind, all art work displayed in this story has been within the past six months. One can see the progression of skill from the first sketching to the last shown ending this article.
Question: Why do you think God has given you this talent late in life?
Everyone peaks in their life at different stages; I feel this is where I am right now. I am fulfilled, growing in my ministry and at the spot where Yahweh wants me to be. Add to that an element of stress therapy -- while I am at work, I get a sense of relief similar to what one feels after an intense workout. As I listen to his voice, I sense peace, calm in my spirit. I very much need this to complete me.
Question: How do you know what to draw?
My inspiration comes as God speaks to me. This comes during different times of the day. Often I will awaken during the wee hours of the morning, say 4 am, to sketch a drawing at my desk. I play instrumental worship music in the background for motivation. As I draw, he speaks to me...about life, his teachings, what to put in the picture.
Question: You mentioned people have asked to buy your drawings. Is this something you are open to at this time?
Not at this time. I believe the drawings are to be used to encourage others to follow their dreams, to listen for their calling. The illustrations are expressions of God's love to people. I feel that this gift he has given me is a blessing and I want to give it back to him (God) by sharing my story in pictures with others. Down the road, I may make some available as prints.
Question: What do you hope people will take away after viewing your drawing(s)?
Each person is an individual. I think each will draw from it what they are in need of in their life. People I have shared my works with comment on how they are touched in certain ways by a drawing. I myself have wept while sketching a picture, especially during "Behold the Lamb".
Question: What advice would you give someone who felt called by God to a certain skill, job, or ministry?
Make sure you are unified with God. You need to be focused upon His Word and ways. Fasting, praying and listening is important in opening your mind and heart to hear God's instruction.
Drawing gives me time to be with Yahshua. He teaches me during these times...He has told me that I am drawing his essence into each picture.
— Linda Wages
Your Votes are Valued!
The Shepard's Love
The photo series above entitled Psalm 23 describes the loving relationship a Shepard has for his sheep. If you are familiar with the Biblical chapter, the verses portray a journey through life guided and protected by God, our personal Shepard. King David wrote from experience and clearly shares with a reader how trusting in a heavenly father will give you peace while surrounded by life's evil forces.
One of my favorite verses reads, "Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and staff they comfort me." (Psalm 23:4, NIV). This comforts me during times of personal turmoil. This is the message intended by the drawings.
Art lovers may enjoy hearing Linda's personal narrative on these pictures, especially the one of the lamb lying in the meadow. There is a hint of a smile on its face for a reason.
Let Me Be Your Work Of Art!
The Artist's Image
I have to share a few details with readers about the arduous yet joyous side of Linda's drawing adventures. While creating her images, she has experienced difficulty drawing certain facial features. She draws and then erases, lamenting how sketching a nose, or an eye, or lips is quite complex. Linda deems them either too large, too small, or overly emphasized. Exasperated, she will pull away from it all together for a time.
During an exhausting attempt to change the eyes of Yahshua, one being bigger than the other, she heard him telling her "Stop trying to erase the eyes."
"Why?" she asked.
"Look at your eyes. One is bigger than the other. This is my identification of you. It is the way I want it. There is a part of who you are in all your drawings." (You can see this evident in first sketch of The Living Torah below.)
She felt loved and humbled because early on Jesus spoke to her on how all the illustrations contained HIS essence. To Linda, it was a reminder of our oneness, God abiding in his children.
Progression of "The Living Torah"
The Many Facets of Yahshua
The Love of Mankind
The last set of illustrations reveal the humanity of Christ, his emotions and his deep love for us. This love flows from our Father above, one cannot grasp the depth of His love until seen in His Son. I hope Linda will continue to portray more on this topic with future drawings.
- Because memories of my own mother remain nostalgic, the first image renders me speechless. Few artists tender the respect Jesus had for his earthly mother, Mary. Christ's example taught us that we must honor our mother (and father), it is a commandment. Could it initiate lesser admiration of a man to have a devotion to his mother? I think not.
- When my sister asked me what I would title the second visual of Yahshua posted in this set, I answered "Contemplation". The gaze is deep, penetrating the spirit. Yet I felt a sense of total love and adoration. I would expect this type of expression from Him as I shared my troubles. It remains untitled but I imagine the illustrator will discover the appropriate name in time.
- Lastly, we have "The Lamb of God" revealing the tears shed on behalf of mankind. Isaiah 53:7 says, "He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth." The silent tears of God, yet man, weeping for those he loves. His spirit was deeply moved as his thoughts centered on the meaning of the sacrifice he faced alone. Salty tears cleansing the heart of man, setting the soul free flowed from this innocent Lamb.
The humanity of Christ is displayed throughout the Bible. The book of John refers to Jesus as "deeply moved and greatly troubled in spirit" and Hebrews tells us Yahshua offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears. (Hebrews 5:7) The nature of man was absorbed by Christ. Truly, without this connection, he could not have redeemed us from sin. Fully man. Fully God. A spectacular truth!
Linda Wages is an ordained Messianic Rabbi of Torah Studies. She is currently writing the Warrior series which is meant to inspire believers and equip them to overcome life's difficult battles. Linda and her husband live in the rural Midwest, enabling them to enjoy long walks in the country, adventurous bike riding, and quiet evenings observing nature.
She plans to share the story behind each picture with others this year through speaking engagements. Each drawing is a an account of conversations between the artist and Yahshua. Each picture has a story to tell about her personal transformation and dedication to spreading the truth about the love of God for his people.
© 2016 Dianna Mendez