Hope, the Ballerina on the Beach

“Hope, the Ballerina at the Beach”. Leila’s painting done at a “Pause and Paint” workshop.

Let me begin by saying, I haven’t always had a sense of hope in my heart. In fact, most of my life was spent trying to dance to a melody that I neither understood nor cared for, and often tripped over myself trying to follow along. One minute I was twirling to a delightful waltz, and the next minute the music changed to a roaring rock  . . . and there I’d go tripping all over myself trying to maintain poise and grace while my insides were screaming, “TIME OUT!” The music would finally slow to a halt, I’d catch my breath, wipe off the sweat, (it was usually tears at this point), and melt onto the floor. Suddenly a frenzied jig would begin and I’d be prompted to start all over. At this point I’d look pleadingly to the heavens asking, “Who’s the maestro? Don’t you ever take a break!”

Finally, I exhausted myself trying to keep up and thought, “What if this is not the life I was meant for? I desperately needed hope.

Hence the search began, a journey that lead me to the author and creator of the word HOPE.  During a season of discouragement, an artist friend , Nathalie Villeneuve, invited me to join a painting workshop with Pause and Paint. I had no time, and no real desire. But then I saw the image that we would paint—a dancer, a free spirit, flowing with the breeze, sunshine and sand, calm ocean waters, and birds, in such a peaceful setting . . . everything I longed to experience. Her very essence drew me to the workshop, and with each stroke of the brush my heart fluttered with joy.

Proud of my new work of art, I carried it home and placed it by a window. Each day I look at it I smile and sense the hope that she radiates from her being. Somehow, God spoke to me through that experience, and through the painting. It’s a perfect example of the encouragement and refreshing felt through prophetic art, and the love shown by a sister in Christ! God knew my love language and that this image would draw me back to the wellspring of life, Jesus Christ. It’s only in Him and through Him that hope is found. What I discovered is that hope is not just a feeling, it’s a person, and that person is Jesus Christ! It’s no coincidence that Nathalie invited me to her painting class. God knew that I longed for encouragement and rest. The creative flow and peace I felt while painting was exactly what I needed to refuel and reconnect with God. I learned that “hope” is not some magical thing that enters my spirit when life flows from one blissful event to another. Hope enters the scene when we run out to strength. It’s the perfect opportunity for God to show Himself strong on our behalf . . . He brings along a friend, an encouraging word is spoken over us, or maybe an unexpected invitation to something you’ve never done before may come your way, like the invitation to paint, to dance, or to sing . . .

How about you dear friend, are you longing for something better from this journey we call life? Are you in need of a faithful friend, a helping hand, a gentle smile, a word of encouragement, or wings to lift you out of your trying circumstances and fill your heart with hope? Trust God to bring along just what you need to restore your weary soul. Open your eyes and ears in hopeful expectation. God is so good!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him . . .

—Romans 15:13 a (NIV)

Hope be with you!

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2 thoughts on “Hope, the Ballerina on the Beach

  1. Dear Leila, It fills my heart with joy to read this. I read your post twice in the past few days and again today, a third time, out loud and with husband listening. When I finished reading it he said: “I didn’t know that her painting experience meant so much to her”. In your post, you truly give a glimpse into the life of a women searching and longing for encouragement. How many of us search, daily…several times a day to be lifted in hope. You say it so well Leila; “What I discovered is that hope is not just a feeling, it’s a person, and that person is Jesus Christ!”.

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I hope that, as many women will read, they find joy in their heart knowing that Jesus loves them and want to see them thrive and be happy.

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    1. Hi Nathalie! Thank you so much for writing and for your encouraging words. You are so kind! I’ll never forget that paint session with you. Thank you for being such a faithful witness for our Lord, and sharing the hope and love of God with so many women! I’m so blessed to know you. You know I’ll treasure Hope painting forever xox

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