A time to shine.

Today I experienced a first. For the first time in my life I submitted an application for a grant.

It isn’t a huge grant, as far as some grants go, but it is a huge grant to me. From a cash perspective it is important. However there is something far more valuable to me about this process. The reason for the value is because this is an art grant.

I requested funding for some equipment that will greatly improve my ability to produce some photography. Photography has been a part of my life since I was young. My Grandfather was an amateur photographer and I was both impressed by his gifting and fascinated by his technical ability as well. I was too young to help him process film but as far as I was concerned when he went into his dark room in the basement of his house, I was convinced that what he was doing behind that door was nothing short of a miracle.

The impression that experience had on me, led me to volunteer for my high school’s yearbook staff. Taking pictures was one of the few things that I was actually interested in during that time in my life. The thing is though, up until recently, the majority of my art (I also paint and woodwork) was done with the idea that I could create something and then discard it or tuck it away. Occasionally I would give something away as a gift but for the most part I didn’t share it.

I didn’t share it because I didn’t think it was worth sharing. I didn’t see what I did as having much value. My art was a reflection of me. I didn’t think I had value.

That is why this grant application is such a big deal for me. This is the first time I am actually taking action on an idea that involves my art. My art is a reflection of me. I know that I have value.

And something that is also exciting is the idea that the project I want to complete with this grant will include my daughter. She will be working alongside me in this venture. I get to be a part of helping my daughter to realize some of the value that is inside her.

Whether this grant comes through or not, I have an opportunity. I get to share something that God has placed in me. How that plays out may change from what I have for a concept, but either way, I am able to see God working. And I am rejoicing in the fact that today I made a step forward. I have a victory already.

I was sharing with a friend this past week my frustration with my ability to complete some of the things I want to complete. A lot of negative thought was going through my head and I shared that I felt like I was failing and I was never going to accomplish anything worthwhile. They asked me, “If you succeed at being a failure, are you then successful? Or are you a failure? Are you a successful failure or a failing success?” This helped because it showed me the ridiculousness of my thoughts. It also challenged me to look closely at what I have accomplished in my life. To honestly look at all of the things I am able to enjoy because of the work that God has done in me, and the effort that I have put into me. I still have a long way to go. I am far from perfect. Just because I am not perfect doesn’t mean I am worthless. Today I took a big step. I stepped up and said I have something beautiful inside of me and I want to share it.

We are all created in the image of God. We are a reflection of HIM. Let the beautiful that is inside of you shine bright like the sun. Share what makes you…you.

Nate Stewart

National Director of Mental Health for Celebrate Recovery

One thought on “A time to shine.

  1. Thank you for sharing our journey. I , too, have had these thoughts about stepping up to opportunities God brings. Yes, sometimes it is scarey. It was good to read your thoughts, and see the ridiculousness of my own thoughts. Praying for our continued growth in the Lord. Thanks, Rita

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