The Story of "Keep Going"

At a recent show, I had the opportunity to chat with a collector and friend about a piece that she really connected to, called “Keep Going.” She was so encouraged by the story of this piece and the circumstances that inspired it that I thought I might share it in my blog for further encouragement.

The context for this painting was a trip that I had taken over spring break in March of 2020. Our whole family converged upon Steamboat Springs for some late winter activities and fun. It really was a wonderful trip, but I was still carrying around a pretty heavy load of stress and worry related to work, COVID, politics, mothering, etc. I just wanted to drop all of it and quit. So I did. Temporarily.

I went on a walk.

As I was on that walk, I was praying and grumping and doing all I could to find some peace in the moment. I started paying attention to the stark white aspens that were dotting the trail. Each one bare and vulnerable from winter. I felt that way too and I think that’s why I was drawn to them. I understood that raw state and feeling of vulnerability as I poured out all my worries and stresses to God as I walked.

When I brought these images home to work on. I incorporated my journaling from that weekend and I also found this great image of a woman fighting against the wind. I believe the original image had her on an exposed dock. She was almost walking sideways, toughing through the struggle. I loved how this image complimented the image of this straggly aspen that just seemed to be hanging on. As I worked on arranging and designing the piece, I felt kinship with the ideas in this piece. “Keep going.” “Don’t give up.” My competitive, “do-it-all” tendencies loved this idea, but as I continued to work on this piece, I realized that there were different ideas, far more true, that were filtering through the design, that I needed to lean into.

Pressing on due to hope. Not grit. Not obligation, not to prove anything.

Pressing on because of certainty in my value before God, belief in His plan and purpose.

Hope in a future where everything will be made right. Hope in His unfailing love.

While this piece started in a bleak state, the message in it is anything but. It is saturated in hope and life.

I certainly hope that encourages you today. Keep pressing on, but not in your own strength and will. In His.

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