by Natalie J. Forstman

As I pondered the invitation to share with you I asked the Lord what He wanted me to tell you. His response was simple, “Tell about the painting.”

You see, a few short weeks ago I followed the urge in my spirit to begin to paint. Like Alice in Wonderland I followed the proverbial white rabbit of artistic passion and have found myself enjoying yet another divine detour in my life. I have recently laid down my role as a youth pastor in my home church to follow the Spirit of God through an open door into . . . well, I’m not sure what.

The Spirit of the Lord is always about the business of drawing you nearer to Him. That nearness draws you ever closer to your purpose, my new friend, even if your detour is a mystery to your logical mind.

Like you, I have been on the great search for purpose. This purpose has seemed to change over the years and decades although I am beginning to have a sneaking suspicion that this purpose has never changed. The perspective from which I am seeing myself is ever changing and therefore as uncertain as the reflected image of myself in the flowing current of a stream. I can spout the simple answers of who I am and what I do but to no satisfaction of my soul. I am a mother, a wife, a listener and a counselor to friends. All of these terms give witness to small fractions of the overall image I am trying to catch a glimpse of as I stare unwaveringly into the flowing mirrored surface of the river of life.

I am at a loss for words when faced with the daunting task of expressing the person I am in my spirit, created by the Creator and filled with more purpose than I could possibly perceive in this realm. Like you, I have knowings, glimpses, joys unspeakable that assert themselves into my reality. These moments of clarity give me little nudgings towards the stiller more peaceful waters where I can see a clearer reflection of myself. In this season of my life, as I picked up a paintbrush and began to express the things within, the waters became stiller, the reflection more clear.

I have known for several years that I am a “seer.” By this I simply mean that the Lord shows me things as I sit and spend time with Him. I see visions, dream dreams, and enjoy the gifts of knowledge from my Lord. These gifts have been some of the greatest treasures in my life.

Sharing these treasures from heaven with those around me has been a true adventure and many times an opportunity to help still the waters for those the Lord places in my path. The loneliness of beholding these visions and only being able to express them in words has been hard to bear. It is the moment I began to paint that all the world became welcomed into this beautiful place with me. The movie theater in my mind’s eye has filled with those who will listen to the thousand words that each picture paints just for them.

Our Father has a message for you. He has much to say, many to encourage and to comfort. Many cannot hear Him, many will not hear. It is through the voice of art that He can gain entrance into the fortresses of their hearts. With the color and passion of a painting or the gracefully spun words of a writer He can usher them into the unconditional love that He IS. The wispy dancing notes of a singer or the masterfully sculpted images of clay or stone can whisper forgiveness and mercy into the most hardened of hearts. The graceful movements of a dancer or the piercing truth of an actor can break down the walls of years of hurt in a wounded child of God. The message for you, my dear new friend, is the clarion call, “CALLING ALL ARTISTS!” The Father says, “Arise and make DOORS.”

My dear friend and pastor, Karen Johnson, once told me that we are truly dangerous to the kingdom of darkness when we become our authentic and unique selves. These words ring out in my spirit daily. For me, it is part of my authentic design to make doorways through which others may enter into the knowledge of Christ. I make doorways into the cinema of the Spirit and invite all to receive the messages for them there. Some of these doors are made by painting, some by singing. I make other doors through writing and still more of them through spoken word. Some receive healing, some encouragement, and some receive peace. Some simply find that their pain has a voice in heaven.

May the work of your Spirit and your hands make doorways for others to enter into the knowledge of Christ, and in Him to finally embrace the Father and to be filled to overflowing with the Spirit of the Lord. As you craft these doors with your giftings, may it bring you to a place of still waters where you will see yourself in the looking glass of Christ and see yourself transformed into His likeness at last.

Again, my new friend, I echo the call of heaven, “CALLING ALL ARTISTS! ARISE AND MAKE DOORS!” These doors, these artistic opportunities, will usher the slumbering world to the invitation of THE DOOR, THE WAY, Jesus.

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Blessings and peace be upon you,

Natalie J. Forstman

Natalie J. Forstman has a heart to see God’s people inspired, awakened and activated through the arts. Natalie is a gifted prophetic painter, singer and writer. She also has a heart for the awakening of today’s unsaved youth and young adults. It is her belief that the arts provide a critical platform from which the church can bring Christ’s message of love, forgiveness and salvation to the lost. She and her husband, Jackson, are currently on staff at Olive Tree Connection Fellowship as the Ministry of Arts team. The Forstmans reside in the Nashville area with their five children.

Artwork: Natalie J. Forstman