The Sketch I Had to Make


Horsetail Lake

Well friends, without going through all the details, I have to say I’ve been going through some really tough personal issues. I found myself slipping down a slippery drain of depression and the inability to do the things I love.

Sometimes to break free of this invisible tight hold, you need to just force yourself to do what you know deep down you love. That’s exactly what I did yesterday, stopping by Horsetail Lake in the Palos area for a quick sketch in the car. I couldn’t believe how far we have progressed into autumn (my favorite  season) and I’m missing so much of it already.

I felt so good after the sketch, I decided to take a 5 mile hike and hash it out with God. I pleaded my case, was real honest. I told Him all of my feeling and my unsure future. Near the end of my 5 miles I heard something.

I heard God say, “Do you see where those flowers are growing?”

I stopped and looked around. The sunlight made long diagonal paths in between the trees. In the sunlight only there were a ton of purple asters. In the shadows grew nothing but weeds.

Then He said, “That’s where you need to be, staying in the direction of My light. That’s the only place you are going to bloom.”

Wow! An answer–sort of. I just have to learn what that means.

My problems aren’t gone, but at least God is letting me know I will still be able to bloom in the midst of them, with His help.

Well, I’m back to doing the things I love and I’m not going to stop. I have started a Meet-Up group for people in the Chicago area to hike and sketch. I will post details shortly.

Thank you to everyone out there for you never-ending support!

27 Comments on “The Sketch I Had to Make

  1. Hang in there Chris. Keep your eyes on our awesome God…if He is for us who can be against us!!! I have missed your posts..keeping you in prayer…you are such an inspiration and God is using you to reach others. Thank you for sharing your talent and your story. God Bess!!

  2. Lovely analogy! It is nice to be reminded that there is a best place to walk and stand, and it is too easy to forget what to look for. Hope things keep improving.

  3. Hope you are continuing to feel better and getting out of that awful black tunnel of despair. It’s so hard to claw your way out once you fall in, I find. Sometimes, I just have to think, “all this will pass eventually” and let go.
    Just want you to know how much I love your painting posts. I wish there was a hike and draw group here where I live.

    • You know it…really hard to claw your way…but I know it won’t be my my strength, but only God who will see me through. Your words mean so much…thank you!

  4. I, too, have had an extremely challenging year with personal issues. I have been stopped dead in my tracks by depression and a seemingly unending stream of tears. It is my painting and drawing that I clutch onto when I find myself slipping too far. The vision that Spirit gave to me was that of a sunflower with its face turned toward the sun. To me, it has meant finding the courage and strength to move forward — away from the pain, heartache, disappointment and uncertainty towards the Light. But you have to turn your face towards it and let it pull you forward into your future. I loved your sketch. May you find a deeper understanding of the answer Spirit gave you. With love, Laura


    • Thank you for sharing your personal struggle. Together with God we can manage 😉 I love your sunflower analogy…I’ll remember that. You have been a help to me. Thank you!!

  5. Dear Christine: I sensed you were in trouble. I miss your posts and your lively, positive attitude. Come back to us. You are doing a great ministry with your blog. May God’s love surround you.

  6. I love it when He teaches us and speaks to us through nature. He has spoken to me many times that way and it always affects me so deeply. I know it’s hard to hang on and trust, but don’t let the enemy steal the gift the Spirit has given to you to share with others.

  7. A walk in nature helps me reconnect on days when things just aren’t right. Glad you made the effort to get out there, and hear His voice. Hope rekindles the flame. Love the sketch.

    • Thank you, Pattisj. Hope does rekindle the flame……I love that! Yes, depression is the inability to see hope. But God can restore. Thanks so much!

  8. I’ve missed your posts and your beautiful paintings. I’m so glad you were able to get outside and paint. I think His healing has begun!

    • Yes, Seeing Anew, I too believe the healing has just begun….little by little, but we’ll get there 😉
      Thank you for your kind words.

  9. Beautiful sketch! Grateful to see you are back and you chose not to be defeated by what is not God and returned to what is God. When you are in prayer, you are ALWAYS where you are supposed to be even though sometimes it is uncomfortable or inconvenient. I’m still sketching – small sketches but my little book is filling up and I still have my sketchbook waiting for the next hike and sketch. Are the swans still at Lake Katherine? When is the next hike and sketch, please?

    • Alanna, yes! the Swans are still at Lake Katherine, I saw them about a week ago…there are many and big too! Thank you for you never ending support 😉

  10. Very sorry to be checking in late here, Christine, and very sorry to hear that a wonderful person like yourself has been hurting. You are on my prayer list, and I’m keeping you there indefinitely.

    Things can look awfully black sometimes– I’ve been there. And there are times when God seems very far away– ask any OT prophet, right? But I do believe that God is never closer than when we suffer, and that joining our sufferings to those of Christ, does, somehow, contribute to God’s saving plan.

    Not sure theological-philosophical-babble helps much in these situations, but hikes, sunshine, and flowers sure do! And plunging back in and giving oneself a jump-start helps immeasurably; takes a lotta courage and gumption, too– well done.

    Hang in there, keep smiling, All things work together for good for lovely people who also happen to be great painters– talkin ’bout you!! : )

    • Thank you so much Mark. I know God is here…even when things go bad. Sometimes my brain just has to convince my heart that! It helps to hear encouraging words from friends like yourself. Thanks again, Chris

  11. Hi. I think your sketch captures autumn and its falling leaves so well. Our cat sits in the window to watch the leaves fall, and she is newly surprised by every new leaf. Jane

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