Painting created in October, 2013
“Jesus sent YOU a message… Your baby is just fine!”
Dear friends of mine, and collectors of my art, have asked me to give my story (or testimonial) behind the inspiration behind a guardian angel painting. I hope you appreciate this story:
I believe it’s true that God works in mysterious ways; and I also believe it’s also true that God answers prayers.
Two years ago I started to pray every day for God to allow me to use the gift of painting to bless others through me from Him. This is just one story that has happened as a result of that simple prayer.
In August, 2013, I was excited to be the artist chosen to paint a mural on the awning of my friends’ bookstore, Barrel of Books and Games. Crissy was relocating the store to a new location in the center of our historic town, Mount Dora, Florida. The mural was to depict a book shelf showcasing 44 books stretching from one end of the building to the other. Each book painted was chosen by friends and strangers who would walk up to my ladder as I was painting and make their request. The only requirements were that the book they requested had to be either a classic (the author had to be dead for copyright issues), or we had to acquire written consent.
The mural took 8 weeks to complete. Despite the height of the ladder, the heat of the summer and my sore shoulders I was euphorically happy to create it. I also learned a very good lesson – do not wear lip gloss during love-bug season! The only thing that was heavy on my heart was that I could not put the Bible, or another faith-related book on the mural.
The idea of having the Bible would turn the mural into a political fiasco instead of a celebrated statement.
On the final day of painting the mural I was perplexed as to which one book out of the final dozen or so books I should choose to be my final painting. None seemed to be the perfect finale of such a project. Frustrated I marched inside the bookstore to ask Crissy for her opinion. She looked up and to the right in deep thought. Suddenly her eyes widened with an epiphany and she asked, “What about the book, Proof of Heaven, by Eben Alexander?” Although I had not heard of the book I heard the word “Heaven” and was hooked. With my new explosion of inspiration and adrenalin I climbed my ladder for the final ascent and began to paint. I used the brightest gold, glitter and shiny gloss I could find to make the book glow among the other books. I finished it off with a bright white cross that overlapped the other books on either side and above and below the shelf
By the next day I allowed myself to take a break. After adrenalin and inspiration had time to dissipate I realized that I had really “over-done it”. My right shoulder was in so much pain I couldn’t lift it high enough to brush my teeth. After seeing a massage therapist, an acupuncturist and finally an Orthopedic doctor, it was finally determined that I had a frozen shoulder. It would be weeks before I could paint or work in the gallery again. Even though I had not read a book for over 10 years, I could not come up with a better way to pass the time. I decided to read that final book on the mural, Proof of Heaven. I can definitely say this was a divine appointment. Eben Alexander had spent his adult life as a neurosurgeon & scientist with little or no spiritual beliefs. The way he describes his 8-day journey into the afterlife was
the first time I had ever read about, or heard of, NDE (near death experiences). As a Christian, I have always been a believer and have had a personal relationship with Jesus. As an artist I was over-joyed to be given detailed descriptions of what he saw in his afterlife. I stayed glued to the book and read it in a day and a half. I couldn’t wait to read the next NDE book that he talked about, Heaven is for Real, by Todd Burpo. It was amazing that the stories of a neuor-scientist and a 3-1/2 year old little boy could be so similar! It’s like they were saying the same story but with completely opposite perspectives.
These NDE stories lead me to read many more, as many as I could find. One constant message that I kept reading in many stories were about how many babies people saw in heaven. I kept reading over and over again about all of the euphorically happy babies, many were still undeveloped fetuses and newborns. It tugged at my heart that people were describing their new understanding; that how people on earth should not feel suffering and loneliness for their lost ones. All the babies in heaven are happy, well taken care of and waiting patiently for their mothers and family members to join them some day. People need to find peace in the fact that they will be reunited with their loved ones one day, even the ones that did not have a chance to be born on earth.
The day after I painted the angel and baby painting I put it into a frame and set it in the back seat of my car to take to the gallery. I also needed to pick up my son, Andrew, from school but it was a bit too early. Knowing that I had another great book to read I figured it wouldn’t hurt to show up 20 minutes early. The school that Andrew attends has been a blessing. It only has 65 students and gives children with special needs, or special situations, a safe haven to learn. As it turns out, all of the children had been let out early that day and they were all outside enjoying recess. I walked out to the garden and found my son sitting at a picnic bench with a new friend.
Andrew sprang up to his feet when he saw me and gave me a huge cheeky smile.
“Meet my new friend, Sharon”, he said. Sharon gave me an equally cheery smile and said, “aren’t you the artist lady? I grinned and acknowledged that I owned a gallery in town. “Oh yes, she said, I participated in the art contest that you held for the Mount Dora High School last year.” I was so confused by her statement. Not only did she look young to be in high school, but why would she be attending this school – a school designed for special need situations? I responded by asking if she would like to see the painting that I had created the day before. She was delighted and the three of us starting walking towards my car. On the way there I told her what the name of the painting was: “Jesus sent YOU a message, your baby is just fine!” She sighed and said, “Oh, I can’t have any babies.” Now I was really confused, and a little nervous. I asked, “Why would you think that? You’re so young.” Her answer still has me a bit shaken and emotional. She replied something like this:
“Last year I was taken against my will and held hostage. As a result of the abuse I got pregnant. In my fourth month of pregnancy I found out the baby was a boy and I named him Josiah. Shortly after that I had something go wrong with my pregnancy and I lost my baby. The doctors
told me I’ll never be able to carry a baby.”
As soon as she finished her story we reached the car. With tears in my eyes I told her that that’s why God inspired me to paint this particular painting. I opened the car door, pulled out the frame and said, “Look! This is your baby… and look how euphorically happy he is! God wants you to know that you will be reunited with him again. In the meantime you do not have to suffer for him, he is being well cared for until you join him someday.” Just then a van pulled up quickly. Sharon’s faced dropped and she turned to leave. “That’s my grandmother”, she said. She left quickly. I can only hope that she and others who have lost loved ones find a glimmer of hope and healing in the angelically happy face of the little baby in the arms of an angel that God inspired me to paint.
Since this I have painted many others after my NDE reading marathon. Some depict what Eben Alexander described in his afterlife story. Others are simply angels, praise scenes, or celestial orbs. On November 8, 2013 Eben Alexander is going to take a detour from his nationwide tour and stop in our little town for a book signing event. I can only hope he can
take a moment to have our photo taken together in front of the mural that adorns the Barrel of Books and Games shop. It would even be better if he gifts me a second minute so I can tell him how much his book has inspired me and others I’ve shared his book with.
- Amy Sellers