Hey sweets! I hope you’re all having an AMAZING week seeing all the new releases & praising Him for all the talent He has put into this community of ours! I’m here today talking about a special partnership & friendship happening this month between Illustrated Faith & (in)courage! Our February devotional kit will feature this beautiful collaboration! We are so excited to partner with this incredible community so that we can each use our strengths to even further glorify God! If you aren’t familiar with (in)courage, you can read more here

Here’s a guest post from (in)courage contributor Aliza Latta for you to get a taste of what’s to come in the next month! Enjoy!

 

“When Friendship (And Art) Takes Work”

by Aliza Latta

“You’re an artist,” she said.

Her older, more confident fingers grasped hold of the paintbrush. She dangled the brush into the murky water, then delicately pressed it against the dark grey water colour pod. She was painting an elephant, and I — ten years old, and filled with wide-eyed wonder — watched as she brought him to life, his trunk flying tiny droplets of water against the page.

“No, Nana,” I said softly, full of admiration. “You’re the artist.”

My grandmother put the brush down and looked at me. We had been together for the week at her house. It was summer and I was her apprentice. I remember walking on the sidewalk across from the lake with her at dusk, picking hollyhocks and taking them back to her small white home to duplicate them on paper. I was her tiny shadow. She was everything I wanted to be.

Her art was effortless. She’s been recognized as one of the world’s top calligraphers — a fact that didn’t affect me when I was ten, but am now utterly dazzled by.

I looked at the elephant that sat on the paper in front of her. Somehow she had painted kindness into his watery eyes. I’ll never be as good as her, I thought.

As if she could read my mind, she took my hand, forcing me to look up at her. “You are an artist, Aliza,” she said. “But everyday you have to practice. Art takes work.”

Art takes work, she told me that summer day twelve years ago. We resumed painting after she said that. I’ll never forget that week we spent together. I still have the painting of her watercolour elephant tucked alongside a pressed hollyhock underneath my bed.

My Nana doesn’t paint anymore. Her hands are too shaky. A year ago, she gave me all of her art supplies and I cried. I want another week where we can paint together. But we won’t have that. Instead I have portfolios full of her work, and drawers filled with her paints, and a deep longing to teach someone art like she taught me.

That’s how it works, isn’t it?

When someone teaches you something precious, you long to pass it on. Isn’t that community? Isn’t that the deepest form of friendship?

My grandmother spurred me on to become a better artist, and tangled within that, a better version of myself. I want to spur someone else on to become a better artist. But more than that, I want to spur someone on to become a better version of who God has designed them to be.

We are all longing for connection — for someone to take our hand and see us for who we are. But it takes work. Like the art my grandmother taught me, friendship takes work. In order for me to improve in my artistic craft, I have to practice. I can’t simply take what my grandmother taught me that week when I was ten and never practice again. Instead, for twelve years, I have been practicing. Art takes work. And so does friendship.

Connection with other people doesn’t simply come. It takes work, and practice, and showing up, and falling, and trying again. That’s the beauty of it. It’s beautiful because it’s hard. My brother-in-law has told me numerous times, “Aliza, anything worth having takes work. Anything worth having requires a risk.”

I only wish my artwork was satisfying on the first draft. That rarely happens. The same goes with friendship: we have to keep trying. We have to keep going first. We have to keep reaching out.

It may not be easy. But when we finally find that deep form of friendship, we realize it’s worth it. After we discover that connection we’ve so desperately craved, we can spur someone on to do the same.

Thank you for stopping by & learning a little about (in)courage! Be sure to check out the DaySpring website to see some of the gorgeous (in)courage gifts as well! There are some beautiful pieces to gift to friends or any important woman in your life. :) 

Have a delightful day, friends!

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