I have a little girl who right now has not a care in the world. Her life consists of Princess Elsa, Flutter Shine from My Little Pony, and how many snacks can she talk mommy into giving her (all day long). I love this carefree age. I wish she could stay here in this place of childhood wonder forever. But I know that one day she will grow up and become influenced by this messy world around her. That she will start to feel the pressures of perfectionism and the guilt of not being enough.
I don't want my daughter growing up thinking she has to be superwoman, crying herself to sleep at night because she doesn't measure up to an impossible standard.
I don't want her to feel guilty for being merely human, crushed under the weight of perfection. I want her to take notice of her flaws, be honest about them, find the strength to work through them and ask for help without guilt and shame. I want to compare herself only to Jesus and who she was yesterday.
A few months ago, I was asked by Kristin Wilson of Creative Founders to create a painting specifically for this year's conference. Kristin gave me complete freedom in creativity and style but wanted the portrait to convey the community that this conference was so known to be. I immediately thought of my own experience at the conference last year and how life-changing it was for me, and the concept for the first painting in the 'Together, Strong' collection was born.
These pieces of art have stretched me creatively, mentally, and emotionally. The fine art family portraits I have in my shop start with visual inspiration, a depiction of something real and physical. My artist's rendering of the beloved moments that you want to remember forever.
But this collection was different. These pieces of art started with an idea. A thought that I have been pondering in my heart for about two years now, that when followed turned into belief and conviction that perfectionism and 'doing it myself' isn't the way it was meant to be.
The belief that we were made to do life together.
To lean on each other for strength, support, and love.
While I painted, I realized that this was what I wanted my daughter to embody as she grew. To not shy away from shortcomings or failures, but to embrace who she was created to be. To link arms with the women around her and grow together, and grow strong. Since I was painting from my heart, I chose women who had attended the conference both with me and in the years before me as my inspiration. I've looked up to these women (some I have never even met in person), been encouraged by these women, and been loved by them. Their authenticity and love of life drew me to them. They don't pretend to be perfect and show life in its beautiful rawness.
I genuinely believe that we weren't meant to live in insolation. We weren't meant to go through life's trials crushed under the weight of despair. We weren't meant to stay exhausted alone in the everyday messiness of life.
Find your people.
Stand Together, Strong.
The 'Together, Strong' Collection launches tomorrow, and I Can. Not. Wait.