Last week, I read this quote by John Piper: "...the weeping of the saints at the loss of precious souls is, paradoxically, the weeping of joy in God." I believe that is what God wants for me and for all of us -- hearts that are broken for those who are broken BECAUSE that is His heart.
Broken people are all around us, however, God has stirred my heart very specifically to seek justice and mercy for the homeless and the poor, especially children. God has also put in me a gift for art, and a passion to use it for His glory in impoverished places with impoverished people.
A few years ago I began a small business called Redemption Art. Based out of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, the mission of Redemption Art is to restore people, relationships, and communities through art. It is through Redemption Art that I do various mural projects and teaching with youth, live paintings for events, commissioned paintings, and art missions.
For the past three years, I have been going to Haiti to create murals with a small rural community outside of their hospital. I returned from a trip in December where we created the third mural. I had small children, teenagers, and even grown men helping me paint (see below)!
I remember when I first went to Haiti in 2006 to do a mural with the people, and I thought that I would be better off as a doctor, a nurse, or a carpenter -- something with more practical help to needs of the people. Yet, God quickly showed me, as I saw the joy that came from children and adults alike who painted with me, that He gave me this gift for that very purpose -- to show people His joy and love. He showed me I wasn't meant to be a doctor. I was meant to use what He had given me to spread His hope. And that was good.
While in Haiti this time, I met a little girl named Eloude (see her picture above). She is eight and was in the hospital helping to take care of her malnourished sisters. She wouldn't smile for me those first days. The last day, she wouldn't get out of my lap as I said goodbye. I wanted to take her home. I wanted to weep for her-something like what John Piper speaks of.
I am grateful to God that He has given me art as a tool to be broken for His people. I am grateful to God that He has given me a gift that bridges the gap of culture, language, age, race, and socioeconomic status. I am grateful that He is enlarging my heart for people who face injustice and poverty every day.
When I was asked to do Live Painting for The Mobilization to End Poverty, not only was I excited to paint at such a monumental event, but I was also excited to have the opportunity to paint a picture that could represent God's desire for us to go to the nations to seek justice and mercy for all people. I hope I can inspire people to use their gifts and passions to fight for justice and bring mercy to all people for the glory of God.
I pray God begins to stir your heart even now, and I look forward to seeing you at The Mobilization!
Caitlin Beidler is a artist living in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. To learn more about Redemption Art, check it out at: www.caitlinbeidler.com.