Why is Hope so Important

When Hope Calls

To cherish a desire with anticipation : to want something to happen or be true hopes for a promotion hoping for the best I hope so. 2 archaic : trust. transitive verb. 1 : to desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfillment I hope she remembers.

Hope reduces feelings of helplessness, increases happiness, reduces stress, and improves our quality of life.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope

To have hope is to want an outcome that makes your life better in some way. It not only can help make a tough present situation more bearable but also can eventually improve our lives because envisioning a better future motivates you to take the steps to make it happen. … Everyone hopes for something.

On these grounds, faith is the result of current belief systems as shaped by experience, whereas hope is the product of desiring a future state of affairs. And while the two are intimately connected, (2) is the best expression of the relationship between faith and hope. One cannot have hope without faith.

Frame your Hope with Words

“You cannot sit back and wait to be happy and healthy and have a great thought life; you have to make the choice to make this happen. You have to choose to get rid of the toxic and get back in alignment with God. You can be overwhelmed by every small setback in life, or you can be energized by the possibilities they bring.”
― Caroline Leaf, Switch On Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and Health

Some of you have read some of my past blogs. Just to recap, I grew up with an intellectual alcoholic father and a very emotionally unstable and overtly strict mother. Each one of these things has its own emotional results on the development of my childhood and the choices I made later in life as an adult. 

At 14 going on 15, I met an older man. He was only 20 or 21 at that stage, but he was big and strong and I was looking for love and protection. A 5-year difference at that age is huge. He was also an abuser and a rapist.

I am not saying that I was not also to blame. I rebelled against my parents and started a relationship with this man without knowing what I was getting into.

This affected my belief in God. How can a good God allow something so bad to happen to a child?

For many years I hated God and despised any form of authority. I hated men, I hated the Church, I hated God.

I tried to find my solace in other things. I started drinking and isolated myself. I had moments of crazy, and being the life of the party. I loved and craved attention, but did not believe that I was worth being loved.

I turned to Art to show my anger and disgust. My work was very good, very emotional and very dark.  Painting my anger did not heal my heart.

The Meaning of...

Transcendent Truth and Light have penetrated me. Curled around a glimmer of hope, my heart clasps tightly to the peace. You watch over me.

 

This abyss. I am not alone. Silence, like the leaves of my past, will not encase me. No oracle will veil Your radiance. Height and depth echo Your existence. My fall will not cast my rise. I will find my voice and this winter’s nest will release me.  My aestivation will bloom again under the warmth of Your gaze. I will soar again, find me where You are. 

Every painting I make is planned with a message. Therefore,  the design of the painting is an important aspect as it will dictate how the viewer will feel and experience the painting.
In this painting, the woman is lying at the bottom half of the painting. Placing her at the bottom half and in the middle gives the effect of balance and rest. She is lying down, peacefully, waiting. She is tired because the road has been long and rough. Her feet are sore, her hope is low. She has reached the end of her own road.
She has accepted her journey. 

She holds an olive branch in her hand. The olive branch is a symbol of peace and reconciliation. (The Olive tree is an extremely slow-growing plant and requires years of patient tending to reach full fruitfulness.)
She has accepted her journey. She will be the olive tree.

The fox sits above her, staring the viewer boldly in the face. He is not aggressive, just alert and protective. The fox is viewed as a guide down a destined path. He is waiting for her to finish her rest and he will lead her towards her new path. The Fox is used as a symbol for the Spirit of God. He quietly waits for us, until we are ready to follow. (These beautiful animals are found all over the world and have been part of ancient folklore and traditions for thousands of years.)

The symbolism of a swallow bird has existed since long a time ago. In the past, it was believed that a swallow symbolizes God. The swallow is usually associated with love, loyalty, and peace.

I will Watch Over you

She will go forth, in patience, continually surrounded with love, loyalty, and peace.

Hope is not the same as optimism. An optimistic person generally is more hopeful than others. On the other hand, the most pessimistic person you ever met can still be hopeful about something. Hope is very specific and focused, usually on just one issue.

What is the difference between Hope and Faith?

Faith is confidence or trust in a person or thing or a belief not based on proof and Hope is an optimistic attitude of mind based on an expectation or desire.

Faith says it is so now, and hope says in the future it could happen. We need hope and faith. We can look at hope as a stepping stone in elementary school and pure faith as graduate school tests passed.

Biblical hope is built on faith. Hope is the earnest anticipation that comes with believing that God is good, no matter what the circumstances. 

Hope is a confident expectation that naturally stems from faith. Hope is a peaceful assurance that something that hasn’t happened yet will indeed happen. Hope must involve something that is as yet unseen: “Hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?” (Romans 8:24). Jesus’ return is our “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13)—we can’t see Him yet, but we know He’s coming, and we anticipate that event with joy.

When I first began painting I wanted to be the best I could possibly be. I knew the Lord had promised to deliver the desires of my heart, (“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 NIV), and I knew the Lord cared about my painting just as much as I did: “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” I Peter 5:7 KJV. So, I was walking around with these scriptures in my heart and my dreams in my head but no real faith.

I would hold my breath every time I opened an email regarding my paintings. I ask friends and family members to join hands in prayer with me. Hoping, waiting, wondering when the Lord would answer me. But I didn’t truly believe.

On paper, I was doing everything right. I was applying the Word in my prayers.  I was going to Church. I was living righteously. I never gave up. I never stopped painting. But I also never believed in anything I prayed or anything I wrote or anything I published. What I had was a desperate hope that someday things would work out in my favour. I never had faith that I would actually see God’s favour. It was all a very exciting dream to me—it wasn’t real.

I never thought I was worth it.

So what Changed?

My hope changed. Instead of hoping for something to happen, I placed my hope in God which is always good. 

Changing my perspective

These are the steps I also had to take to get to my Freedom. 

I am Worth it

I started asking God; who do You say I am. How do you see me? His answer to me was; ‘You are worth it. ‘

Instead of painting to sell, I started focusing on telling my story,  with the hope that it would change and bring hope to others. The story of my redemption. (Follow the link to read more)

AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE

I decided to be grateful. Even if everything was going wrong, to thank God for the coffee in my hand, the dog at my feet, the husband in my bed, the roof over my head.  Instead of asking for what was not, I focused on what was. 

Changing my thinking

I decided to stop thinking poor. To give away to others, instead of holding for myself. To live wisely, with an open hand.  To give the parking attended R10.00 instead of R2.00. To occasionally treat me to something nice, and not feel guilty about it. 

To give away the paintings that God tells me to give away. 

My aim to make art that not only tells my story but all our stories. To speak to the abused, the down-trodden, the hopeless, the lost, the lonely, the shamed, the orphan, the abandoned.

We are the sum total of our past…but we don’t have to stay there.

From the age of four up until my late twenties, I suffered abuse in my closest relationships. At eighteen, I went to varsity in Potchefstroom to study my life’s passion – art. As I tried to find my feet as a student/artist/young woman, themes of angst, despair, anger, and abuse filled my paintings. I won prizes this way. I won respect and admiration for my talent. But I was also reliving the suffering and continually victimizing myself, which ultimately dug the pit of hopelessness deeper.

At the age of 29 life came to a turning point, as I had come to the end of myself – I gave up on trying to build life my way. I turned to my faith (which I had rejected along the way) for help and became part of a faith-filled family which is where I met and married my wonderful and loving husband, Rob. I never looked back.

In the past, I had used my story and negative feelings as the source of my artistic inspiration.

You see, everyone can resonate with negative visual language – we all drift towards it because it is a reflection of our imperfect selves. The Bible speaks of it in this way: “Sin gives birth to sin, but Spirit gives birth to Spirit”. I became a victor instead of a victim. I saw light and wanted to speak light in my visual language.

The more I began to see what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable through my walk of faith, the more I put it into practice – both in my personal life and in my artistic practice. I realized that the dark paintings I had painted before were not inspiring the viewers to a higher calling or glorifying the Creator, nor even showing what is good and lovely.

Painting is a strange business.

J. M. W. Turner

I now see my work as contemporary Romanticism rendered in an Impressionistic style, sometimes to the point of complete Abstraction. I enjoy applying bright colors in thick, multiple layers of paint to bring out messages of hope on canvas.

Currently Reading: Traditional Oil Painting by Virgil Elliott

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