Art Show Lessons

Last week I was part of an art show and I wanted to share my experience for other artists. As a Christian Artist, I have learnt that it is not always easy to get a spot in public settings. During one of my recent art show rejections, I was told that they may not be able to take art that’s religious and they did not. That doesn’t change anything for me when it comes to how I do art or life. In a public setting I’m always sensitive to the mixed crowd and never go in with the attitude of being insensitive to others’ right to believe differently than I do. Art is one place where you should have free expression, unhindered by boundaries and walls. I have come to realize that rejections, because of the nature of my art will continue to be inevitable. However, I am grateful that Art Week Des Moines organizers allowed me a chance and I consider it a gift. I had a similar great experience with the Limited Space organizers too. They allowed artists from all walks of life to showcase their art. Thanks to the organizers for that!

Once I set up the show, I was nervous about how people would react but still remained confident God would take care of the things that I cannot control. The audience that stopped by were more than kind and so were the other artists. Most of my audience stopped by to admire the beauty of the colors and stories behind some of the artwork. One woman stopped by to tell that the faith that she sees in these paintings inspires her. Another said the paintings had so much depth and value. Someone said that they can see my heart through these paintings and one person said that it was simply beautiful. One woman, who I don’t know if she had any kind of faith at all, said there was beauty in my paintings and some of the art she sees lately are very dark. One little boy was excited to see the white lion with golden eyes and he was happy he spotted Jesus in my paintings, a story he was familiar with. A little girl loved my flamingo from the Eden Collection. These feedbacks and many more help me believe that I need to continue doing what I love doing. Shining God’s love, beauty and His heart of peace to those that are around me. And if my art is rejected for that reason, I’m going to be okay with that.

The Spirit of God moved in that room during the show and the painting that I painted live revealed His heart too. God’s mathematics is always different than ours, so I am more than happy to let God do His thing while I paint what He puts in my heart.

Some take aways

– Family and community are important- for moral support, for helping with practical stuff and set up. My husband took the day off to be with me and my children helped me with cheering up the space. One of my friends helped haul the stuff back and forth. One friend let me borrow all of her easels. The people from DLR Group, downtown, des Moines were friendly and accommodated most of our requests. Grateful for all the love and trust that my community places on me.

– People are kinder than you think. Simply show up, even if you are an introvert.

– Let God control the things that you can’t.

When I am Wrong

I love when God comforts and encourages me. It’s a great feeling to know that God is on my side. However, there have been times when God wasn’t supportive of my choices and decisions. I’ve had situations in my life where I have been wrong, very wrong. Wrong words, wrong choices, and attitudes, unhealthy habits. At such times, I have heard God’s voice correcting me and convicting me. Sometimes, His voice is stern and authoritative which shakes your very being, and sometimes endlessly persuasive with love. Irrespective of how He does it, it is never fun. “I cannot be wrong”, the pride in me screams. In hindsight though, I am thankful for not letting me stay where I was, for guiding me into the right path, for the closed doors and the tough love.

People often ask me if I hear a loud voice when He talks. While my physical ears don’t always hear His voice, my soul recognizes it well. He often takes me to His Words and lets me know where I am wrong. He usually corrects me as I read His Words in the Bible. There are times He speaks straight to my heart and when that happens, I have learned(through some tough experiences) to not fully trust my feelings and emotions but to test the voice and go back to His Word to ensure it’s His voice. From my personal experience, the Bible is critical to discerning God’s voice and other voices (including but not limited to your own voice). Leave the Bible out and I can guarantee that you will be tossed around by every wave and emotion. Please don’t get me wrong here, as an artist, emotions are important to me. I don’t ever diminish the importance of emotions but I also know that my feelings are often very unreliable. Truth needs to stand the test of time and my emotions ebb and flow and I could be emotional for a completely different thing tomorrow. I cannot base the truth on my emotions even if my feelings are often true. Once I’ve come out of the initial roller coaster of emotions from a bad experience, I have learned that it is better to let God work on my heart. Without Him working on my heart, I can allow for my bad choices to take deeper root and transform me negatively. Without the cleansing work of the Holy Spirit, I can become so set in my ways (imagine concrete) that whatever I do will always seem right and what others do will always seem wrong. The Scriptures are God-breathed and meant to correct and train us. If we are always reading the Bible with a hero/victim mindset, we can never receive the correction that God wants to offer.

To understand correction based on Scripture, we need to recognize the sinfulness of the human heart. The Scripture in multiple places affirms that humans are inherently sinful. Ever since the fall in the garden, our hearts tend toward unholiness and unrighteousness. There is no perfect human on this planet, not one. Don’t believe this? Look no further than a 1-year-old toddler who at the sound of the word “no” intentionally runs towards the exact thing that was off-limits. I remember when my kids were little, electric sockets were curious little things to be explored. I used to protect my children by childproofing them but they wouldn’t stop at that. They would do everything (till they got bored) to see if they could get their hands into them. When I set those socket covers, I was thinking of love, not torturing them with rules. As they grew up, I set up new boundaries appropriate for their age, for them to be safe while also growing and maturing in this life. As a mother, I see the benefits of these boundaries but my children, no matter what age they have been at, see it as an inconvenience and many times as an annoyance. Let’s be honest, no one wants to be corrected, including our little children, and yet universally we agree that correction is part of the parenting deal. We correct them because we believe that correction can be beneficial to the child in the long run. However, when it comes to Biblical correction, we somehow feel like either we are right all the time or that God is a cosmic killjoy who doesn’t trust us to make the right choices. Like any good parent, God wants the best for His children. If a little correction makes our walk with Him more intimate, if it helps us grow and mature spiritually and emotionally, He does it, even if He doesn’t really enjoy it. God’s correction is rooted in love.

So know in your heart that just as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you. Deuteronomy 8:5

When God corrects us, it can be difficult for various reasons but here are a few that I have found to be true in my life during various circumstances. I still do these from time to time but recognizing it is useful when it happens again.

  • I am too proud to accept that I am wrong. My ego hurts. It’s easier to ignore the correction than to apologize.
  • I have created Jesus in my own image, a bobblehead Jesus, who says yes to all my thoughts and actions. Truth: This Jesus doesn’t exist. If Jesus is always saying yes to my decisions and actions and if I am never wrong, I can safely assume that I have created a false Jesus in my own image, who hates everyone I hate and hates everything I hate.
  • I don’t understand God’s heart for me. When He corrects me, I start thinking He is simply trying to make my life miserable. Simply put, there can be an underlying lack of trust in the character of God.
  • I compare with others and take the “what about them” mentality. I look at all the others who make the same choices as me and yet God seems to be correcting only me. This assumes that I know everything about the next person’s life and assumes that all our lives should look the same for the similar choices we make. This results in failing to acknowledge that correction is also part of the grace that Christ showed me when He first saved me.
  • The previous point brings us to – I don’t understand God’s sovereignty. God sees the end from the beginning. As imperfect parents, we provide safe zones for our children not knowing what will or won’t happen. God, on the other hand, knows what the end will look like, so when He corrects, He speaks not just out of wisdom but with complete knowledge about the future. Misunderstanding God’s sovereignty also leads to taking it upon ourselves to fix others while ignoring our own flaws.
  • The correction that leads to repentance may require cleaning up, which isn’t always easy. Apologies may have to happen. Confessions may have to happen. Coming face to face with other people and saying, “I was wrong”, is not easy. Correction may also lead to a complete change in life, which means committing to God working through our life and getting rid of the things that aren’t necessarily good for us. It can and most likely will get serious!

Here’s the thing, God will correct anyone who willingly surrenders their life to Him. He corrects us because He loves us. He welcomes us as we are but as we start walking with Him, He will surely transform us to become more like Him, because in Him there is righteousness and love. We will all know when He speaks. Would we acknowledge His voice and go back to His Word to discern it? And when we recognize we are on the wrong side, would we have the courage to accept it and repent? It is not easy, but so worth it, because in the end, it is life-giving! That’s the promise.

For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death. 2 Corinthians 7:10

Pursue Peace

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18

We live in a world divided over everything. The endless social media wars fueled by polarized media has led to more and more division. Yesterday I was reading a comments section for a social media post asking for help and inside that thread there was name calling and anger and frustration and one person saying they cannot sleep tonight because of a comment had caused offense to her. How did we get here? Never mind how we got here, but is there a way to learn to really live in peace with others around us?

In Paul’s letter to the Roman church, He discusses various important matters about salvation and towards the end, he gives valuable instructions on how to live in a community. This piece of scripture reveals an aspect that we tend to miss – ‘as far as it depends on you’. Living in peace with everyone is as much our responsibility as is theirs. It’s often easy to get offended by people’s words and actions and social media posts. It is true that offense is sometimes real. We will experience pain because of the actions of the people around us. We will feel anger and we will feel like engaging in the conflict and we will want to seek revenge. But most often, offense is mostly perceived. A random post on social media and we take it upon ourselves to fix the people on social media. We resort to anger or sarcasm and bullying. We seek revenge on people who we haven’t even met in person. When faced with something we disagree with, Scripture tells us to take the high road. To not engage in conflict but seek to maintain peace. We are called to actively pursue peace.

In the famous sermon on the mount, Jesus Himself says,

Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:9

“Children of God”, now that’s a title we could all desire for. Peace is a gift that Jesus has already given us through His death and resurrection. That’s why Jesus is the Prince of Peace. However, we often destroy this gift by perpetuating conflict instead of pursuing peace. We do that because we somehow feel we are better than the next person. We feel like we are in power when we type angry or sarcastic words through our keyboards. We say, “They should be blamed for the lack of peace I feel”. Someone wrongs us and we take it upon ourselves to avenge ourselves. We laugh when they fall down and feel satisfied when they are proved wrong. Our brother, our sister in Christ – but we forget that and make the conflict worse. We have just as much responsibility towards peace as the next person and when we choose peace, we can spend our energy on things that matter. We can use our time and emotions to lift up and build others up. God desires to restore this world. He desires peace but we believe bulldozing our way through conflict is the only way to bring change. Nothing can be far from the truth. A conflict creator can never accomplish anything positive. On the other hand, the peacemaker, the peacemaker is called the child of God and that child is given the authority, by God, to co-create with Him, beauty from ashes. The peacemaker is given the authority to rebuild ruined cities and repair broken walls. The peacemaker builds, the conflict creator destroys. That’s how God’s kingdom works.

May we learn to be peacemakers. As much as we can, may we live at peace with everyone. May we learn to run from gossip and revenge and learn to seek harmony and peace within our communities.


My kids look to me and ask me for something and then say “Is that a promise?”, for which I always say, “I don’t make promises but I will do my best to make it happen”. There have been times when I haven’t been able to keep my word and my kids would be quick to catch me and say “…but you promised!” for which I always say “I never promised. I tried but I couldn’t get it done so you will have to wait”. I am extra careful before I give a word because I want the yes to be yes and a no to be a no but often I would fail. As much as I want to be a woman of word, even with the best of my intentions, I fail sometimes and I think that’s part of being human. We mess up. We are sometimes forgetful and we are simply not 100% perfect.

This notion of imperfection can sometimes be carried on to our relationship with God. We start thinking that God is imperfect, just like us. We start thinking that He will sometimes not keep His promises. Is that true? In a recent kids lesson, I heard the words “Truth is what is real.” So what is the reality about God’s character and His promises?

When God met with Moses, this is how He described Himself

And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. Exodus 34:6

“Abounding in love and faithfulness” – that’s how God defines Himself. That’s an incredible statement about His character. King David and the various authors of the book of psalms describe God’s faithfulness time and time again. The book of psalms is in a way a celebration of God’s faithfulness. This is what one of the psalms reads –

The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. Psalm 145:13 

God, by His very nature is incapable of breaking His promises. He is faithful to the end and His promises will always stand. He is faithful not because we deserve His faithfulness. He is faithful because that is who He is! He puts His name on the line when He makes a promise and He will stand by His word, even if it may look like there is no hope.

Why does God’s promises matter? Couldn’t we just be and not care about His promises? The thing about God’s promise is that it expands our vision. It enables us to see things as if they were, even before they happen. It allows us to set our eyes on something big when we are surrounded by the trials of life. It also keeps hope alive. Hope is the one thing that differentiates living and surviving. We don’t have to simply survive. His promises give us hope to live and thrive. What more? God’s promises act as a protection – like shield against the attack of the enemy. When doubts, fears and crippling anxiety take over, remind yourself of God’s promises and you will experience life and peace.

King David says it like this

He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Psalms 91:4

Hold on to God’s promises. If God has given you a promise, have faith that He will make it happen at the right time. When fear and doubts creep in, use the promise as your armor to protect yourself from the lies that you have come to believe. God is fully capable of seeing you through. Rest in His promises. Rest in His love. Rest knowing that He is faithful.

You Are Welcome At The Table

Have you ever read the story of David and Mephibosheth? If you haven’t, cluck the link to read the original story.

King David seeks out someone from the household of Saul to show God’s kindness because Saul’s son Jonathan was king David’s best buddy, a friend like a brother. Saul and Jonathan were dead and King David wanted to find someone from Saul’s family so that he could bless them for Jonathan’s sake. Eventually he finds Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s own son. Mephibosheth is lame and cannot take care of himself. The story indicates that he had a field but because Mephibosheth was lame, he most likely couldn’t even take care of the field. He was crippled for life and needed someone to take care of him. King David invites Mephibosheth to His palace and tells him that his field will be taken care of and he could eat at the King’s table every day. Mephibosheth recognizes how incredible it is that the King should look favorably at a nobody like him. What Mephibosheth experienced for the rest of his life was unmerited favor – grace. A man who was unfit to sit at the King’s table both because of his financial status and because of his bodily condition received a gift for his lifetime – a daily reserved spot at King’s table.

This story reflects God’s heart. When Jesus died on the cross, grace was unleashed on humanity. The table was no longer open only for the spiritually elite or rich. It was open for the Mephibosheths – the lame, the poor, the sick and the undeserving. That’s why it’s the good news!! Look at what Jesus said!

Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:17

Religion says – be good, do this, don’t do this, don’t touch this, don’t eat this, pray this many times, give this much. Jesus says come as you are. If you already feel religiously elite and righteous, then Jesus probably isn’t for you. You see, when we think that all our religious works and good deeds can bring us salvation, we invalidate grace. Grace is only applicable when we recognize our need for such unmerited love. So, if you need such unmerited love, come! If you feel like a sinner, burdened by the weight of guilt, come. If you have messed up beyond repair, come. If you can’t love yourself, come. If you feel undeserving and unworthy, still come. The King’s table is open for anyone who appreciates His unmerited favor, His grace. It is open to anyone willing to accept His invitation. Come, you are welcome at the table!

Darkness Has Not Overcome

One of my favorite things to do around Christmas time is to go around the streets and see Christmas lights. There is something about tiny colorful lights twinkling in the darkness of the night.

John, the disciple of Jesus, begins His account with the words “In the beginning”. He then goes on to describe Jesus, starting from the beginning of time to the time He came into the world. To fully understand His description, read John 1:1-14. It is one of the most amazing descriptions of the Messiah. While the whole passage is significant and each line in his account is very useful to understand the characteristic of the Messiah, one of my favorite lines is in verses 4 and 5.

In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:4,5

John testifies about Jesus and says that the life in Jesus was the light of men
(through all ages) and this Light shines in the darkness and that darkness has not overcome it. John wrote this years after Jesus was crucified on the cross. When Jesus was crucified, John was a first hand eye witness to his last breath. But John had also gotten the front row seat to Jesus’ Resurrection. He had encountered the resurrected Christ face to face and spent hours talking to him. So John fully understood what He was writing. He recognized that Jesus was no ordinary man. He was no ordinary teacher. He was no ordinary good guy. The Light in Jesus was no ordinary light. Death and darkness could not over power or extinguish this light. The life in Jesus continues to be the light for mankind. It hasn’t been overcome.

May we recognize the True Light this Christmas, the kind of Light that darkness cannot overcome. And as we receive this Light to illuminate our lives, we ourselves become the “children of Light”.


I love the name Immanuel so much that we picked it as the middle name for our son. Immanuel – God with us. When I was pregnant with my son, our lease at the apartment we were living in was ending and as our family was growing we wanted to buy our own home. So during the pregnancy, we were busy looking for houses. The name Immanuel meant so much to me during that season.

We read about Immanuel in the book of Isaiah and Matthew in the Bible.

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). Matthew 1:23

God with us. This is no ordinary statement. It means God living with us. One of the things that fascinates me the most is that God was born as a baby in a dirty stable. God, experiencing the lowliest experience. Why did He do that? He would have had better visibility had he been born in the White House today. With 24×7 news channels and social media, He would have been very popular. But God chose to experience the lowliest experience. He was born as a helpless baby. He needed to be fed and He was completely vulnerable. Instead of using the easy route of a white house spot light or a huge fan following on Instagram, His birth was announced to lowly shepherds staying out in the field. God chose to take the humble road. Jesus, God incarnated chose to experience the messy. He lived in the mess and died the most humbling death.

Around Christmas time, while we were still looking for houses, my mind began to race. What if our lease expired and what if we couldn’t find a house that we liked? Where will I take my newborn baby to? There was no crib to lay him in. I just then remembered the Christmas story. Mary, had delivered her baby in a dirty stable. God incarnate chose to be born in one of the dirtiest places, with no crib for a bed. My problem seemed trivial in comparison but it was also comforting to know that He understood my heart…not just because He is omniscient but also because He had experienced it Himself. God with us – God living with us, in our messy, dirty, broken world. His willingness to suffer with humanity gave me a fresh hope, hope that wasn’t about getting a new house before I delivered the baby but hope that he will be with us, in our mess, even if we didn’t find a place to call home.

Fast forward to April, we were able to buy our home and move into it 2 days before the birth of our son. It was a miracle and I know with all my heart, that through it all, Immanuel!


As I’m typing this, I’m sitting at the airport, waiting for my flight. I look around and I see people with masked faces, walking past me. And yes you guessed it, everyone is carrying a baggage or more. Some have fancy bags while others have a back pack. Some baggages are on wheels. I just saw a man carrying two bags, one in each hand. Some seem to be at ease carrying their baggage, while for some, the baggage seems to be heavy. These baggages will all be set aside when they reach their destination. That’s the hope. Can you imagine carrying these baggages once you reach home? At home, people shed the weight of the heavy baggages they had been carrying around.

Isn’t that how life is? We all carry our share of baggages. Like travellers, we carry our baggages, no matter how heavy or light they are. However, we constantly move towards our destination, our home, where we look forward to getting rid of our baggages and being free.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18

Steadfast Love

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever. Psalms 136:1

About 40 people wrote the Bible and all the authors invariably talk about God’s love. Over a period of 1500 years, about 40 people consistently testify to His steadfast love. Among the authors were kings, prophets, nomads, fishermen, noblemen, a tent maker, a physician and historians. Every book within the Bible points to God’s love and how God love intersects with ordinary people. Each author who wrote the words in the Bible attests to his unchanging love. A love so steady that remains forever. A love so pure and passionate. A love that defends, protects and gives good things. A love that disciplines and corrects. A love that is pure and true. A love that is much bigger than our mind can comprehend. How can you begin to understand the love of a God who could have stayed in his throne and yet He emptied himself and took the form of a helpless baby who needed to be fed and taken care of. How can you begin to comprehend the love of a God who created everything, who could have chosen to be born a king, instead chose to come as a humble messiah who had no place to lay his head? How can you begin to understand the love of a God who received continuous praise and adoration from angels and heavenly beings and yet chose to wash the feet of His disciples on the night he was betrayed by one of his own disciple? How can you begin to comprehend that a Holy, righteous and fair God understood that humanity needed His help to be justified and made clean of sin, that He gave himself as a penalty for our sins, upholding both justice and love, upholding both holiness and compassion? He died for us while we were still sinners. We were running away from Him and we were thick headed to fully understand His plan from the beginning. We turned against each other, built walls but as a loving Father, He finished all that He had to finish on the cross. He did it so He could reconcile us to Him, to make us His children, His friends. His steadfast love endures forever and the Bible authors knew what they meant when they wrote those words.

I am not writing the Bible but I am one of the millions of people attesting to His steadfast love in my life. His love pursues me each morning. His love helps me pick up broken pieces and create beauty out of ashes. His loves woos me into deeper love for Him and for the people He created. I keep looking forward to know Him more, know Him better. Like apostle Paul says, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Apostle John says, “God is love”. Yes, He is… and I’ve known Him personally.

As Is

After coming to the US, I learned a new phrase – “As Is”. I first learned it in a furniture store. I had just moved to US after getting married in India and this would be our first home together. We were in the hunt for the perfect furniture for a new home. We found a couch on the furniture store with the tag that read, “As Is”. The cost was way lower than the other items and I was intrigued. My husband enlightened me and said the buyer agrees to take the furniture home for the cost with any and all damages. Simply put, at the reduced price, the buyer agrees to ignore all the flaws.

Isn’t salvation kind of an as is deal? When Jesus died on that cross, he agreed to pay the price to purchase the salvation of flawed humans. He loved us when we were still sinners, still broken and damaged. He agreed to ignore the flaws in us and paid the cost. However, it didn’t cost him less. It cost everything! He got an “as is” deal for the full price. That’s the good news for us though! He doesn’t expect us to be perfect before we come to Him. Come as is, he says. We definitely got the better end of the deal!

PS: If you are someone who has wondered if you have gone too far to be accepted by God, know this – You are still loved by Him and He deeply desires that you will come back to Him. Don’t believe me? Read Romans 5:8.

But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Roman 5:8