Posts in Category: change

Catch My Breath


“Catch My Breath” 36″x36″ 2107©MelyndaVanZee

A few years ago we packed up and moved our family to a new home in a new city with a new school and new employment. Every day leading up to the move was full of real estate issues, cleaning house, planning for the transition, etc, etc…Moving falls in the Top 5 list of most stressful life events we encounter-it is a time of rapid change.

I created “Catch My Breath” following this period of transition. Painting right through the transitions in my life has been a growth point for me-not waiting until the “perfect time in life to create”, but creating right in the middle of it. Painting helps me to process my life as I live it. I used to think “I’ll paint more someday when…”

Students visiting “Catch My Breath” at the Nuances of Freedom Art Exhibit by Melynda Van Zee at Iowa State University Memorial Union



What are you doing now?

A frequent question to me over the last few weeks has been “what ARE you doing now?” Each of our journeys has varying twists and turns. My own journey took a twist this past August when I resigned from my part-time church ministry staff position. For months God had been showing me and nudging me to make some changes, but that is never easy to do. Change is a process-equal parts excruciating and exhausting and exhilarating. So often change can be such a big, scary, ugly word and yet it is a to be expected, can’t be avoided, totally natural part of life. And, when God is moving and speaking into your life, change is going to be constant. There are going to be things you do that are difficult, things that look risky, things that don’t make sense to others not in your shoes. And, there are going to be voices-lots of voices-telling you, encouraging you, urging you to do and be a certain way. I read somewhere recently that “it’s never dangerous being who you are” and I had to smile to myself. I’m not sure that is true-in fact, I think we live most of our lives afraid to be who we really truly are because of the sheer fact it is so dangerous. Linda Coons writes in The Artists Soul, “it is hard emotional work to be ourselves when we need to defy conventional rules to be who we honestly are.” But, you see, falling in love with Jesus changes the way you operate in this world. It makes you not care so much what those “conventional rules” may be. It makes you make choices based on things other people may not understand. It makes you look at your life differently. You make sacrifices, which is never a word we like to talk about in polite North American society. When you know deeply-into the very deepest parts of your being-that you were created in His image with a work designed just for you to do-it changes the way you live and think and look at life. So often I have lived my life focused on things that were slowly shriveling my heart- trying to please, trying to achieve, trying to do “the right thing”. I can immerse myself in amazing, whirling amounts of activity, while loosing me on the inside. So, in answer to the question “what are you doing now?” I’m creating (new paintings). I’m listening (taking walks and spending time focusing on inner work). I’m studying and I’m writing (I’m piecing together new curriculum for classes I would like to teach). I’m giving attention to some long-overdue things. I will continue to share the journey here on my blog.

I plan on sharing more of the pieces from my summer show on the blog, along with the descriptions I wrote for each piece. Here is the first…

A Road Less Traveled- from “Inside Out” Summer 09

What I have learned is that not only do I have permission to paint with any color in the crayon box, but I have permission to paint about any emotion or experience that I encounter as well. And, some of the things I have encountered are not easy, especially when it involves looking at my own weaknesses. I would like to pretend that as a “good, Christian woman from the suburbs in the Midwest” I have no difficulties, no pain, no struggles- I know how to put on that “Dutch front” we are so skilled at constructing, but where is the honesty, the authenticity in that?

Paul, an apostle of great passion, shares about his own conversation with God… But he said to me “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. II Corinthians 12:9

“We tend to view our weaknesses as liabilities. Since our worth does not depend on us in any way, we can and must be honest about our weakness. Our weaknesses become areas in which God can do His greatest work. We ignore weakness, bury it, live in denial but a powerful life embraces pain, brokenness and weakness. Perfection is for heaven not for earth”. W. Dyrness

And, so, I work on my weakness, confront my insecurities, challenge my internal assumptions about “how life is” and continue to fight the battle of allowing myself to walk in true freedom.

New Day

It’s a new day and time for a new blogging home. This will be my new place for encouraging fellow artists with a special emphasis on exploring the edges between faith and art. I’m so excited to share with you some of the new journeys and the many books, websites, and experiences that have inspired and encouraged me. If you are interested in my past blog, feel free to visit Scrapbook with Passion. It’s not that I’m not scrapbooking anymore- I still enjoy keeping my family stories and photos and journeys. Scrapbooking has been a great hobby for me as I was raising my young children and a natural fit as an industry to begin sharing my fine art. But, over the last few years my work has continued to blossom and grow into new areas.

I’ve been peering deep inside the hazy recesses of my heart and life.

I’m ready to acknowledge what is really inside and has been longing to break forth.

I’ve got criss-crossed, messed up, slowed down, and tripped up on this journey. (I never was known for my coordination!)

I’ve tried to hide, force it all to stay inside-to stay safe.

I’ve been climbing up this mountain one step at a time. Encountering much change and transformation along the journey. I’m sure I’m going to loose my footing again, get scared about falling and maybe even ask myself again and again why I started up this mountain in the first place. But, I’ll never regret it-never be ashamed of reaching deep for who I am to be in this world.
Can’t wait to get everything that has been rolling around in my brain and heart here on the blog.