My mission is to discern, awaken, and inspire truth in myself and others.

 “May my tongue be the pen of a skillful writer, my pen be the tongue of a masterful orator, and my words be apples of gold in settings of silver.”

~ Janna Vanderveen

I tried something a little different over the last two weeks – tried to do a messy type of watercolor painting, with more intuitive painting and expressive strokes. It was hard to step back and let loose. I almost threw the painting away, a place I find myself frequently, but I embraced the mess, entered the chaos, and found beauty within. It helped to spur the thoughts of the poem below….

When pain and sorrow distort
And life twists out of focus
When the ground upheaves and splits
Spewing water like lava
From the leaking eyes
Of the afflicted,
She will fling wide her arms
And opens her mouth in song
To consume the saturated air.
She drinks deeply,
Denying herself all relief
From the bitter tears
And pooling sadness
Which drowns.
For she knows
That it is in understanding anguish
And in comprehending torment
That trust will grow
And compassion will take root.
For her light
Which shines brightest in darkness
Will illuminate and restore
All that is forgotten
Transforming neutral shadows
Into vibrant hues of color
And withered dreams
Into blossoms of life. 

~ Janna Vanderveen

Hope dwells in this garden
Where all are welcome
And none are denied.
Its inhabitants bask
In the wonder of every fulfilled hope
As they remember from where they came.

Their jubilant songs of gratitude
Infuse the air
Like the sweetest incense,
As they revel in the truth
That all are restored
Just as was promised.

For having stormed the gates of hell,
Their healer took back the keys
And saved all,
Proving with finality
That not even the grave nor hell
Could separate them from his love.

And so…

The emotionally wounded
Have been made whole,
The physically broken
Have been restored,
And those whose minds have been imprisoned
Have been set free.

The refining lake of fire,
Which is the Savior’s all-consuming grace
And unconditional love,
Fuels all of life as living water,
Burnishing away the darkness that tarnishes
In tongues of fire that reveal gold.

In this garden,
The good news is truly good news,
For no one mourns,
Families are reunited,
Lives are restored and all belong
As death and sin are no more.

You welcome all,
In this garden with no walls,
Where flowers bloom
At your gentlest touch
And life thrives
At the faintest whisper of your song.
You awaken peace
In the most fractured hearts,
Promising belonging and acceptance
With arms spread wide.
You knit together broken souls
Using words that restore.
Your breath is a soft exhale,
Water that heals,
Quenching the most unbearable thirst.
Your fire refines,
A final, most powerful gift,
Illuminating loveliness in the darkest of places,
Transforming beauty from ashes
And spun gold from coal.
Your heartbeat,
A never-ending lullaby of love.

~ Janna Vanderveen

There is a reason that I cannot stop painting this verdant garden where love itself resides and all belong. It is my heart’s song; a vision of heaven where pain and sorrow are no more, where suffering does not exist, and where all are restored. It is a vision of love itself. 

May you dance with the Spirit who is love, wind and fire. May you harmonize with the Creator’s song as you awaken fully to the resonant frequency of his love. May you forever drink from the deep well of living water that is the Savior and be restored and made fully whole.

She never gives up,

For her love is relentless.

She cradles the world in her heart

And awakens transformation with her breath,

For her song cannot be unsung

And the light of her existence cannot be extinguished.

~ Janna Vanderveen

She enters the shadowlands,

Transforming darkness into light

And wasteland into beauty,

For her love liberates the deep

And there is no wound she cannot restore.

~ Janna Vanderveen

She comforts those who grieve and cradles the wounded for she knows that love heals and that every journey deserves to be heard and every story believed. ~ Janna Vanderveen

She wears her love like flower petals, and beauty blossoms in her heart like incense, filling this garden with the heady aroma of her unconstrained joy, and no one can deny their worth. ~ Janna Vanderveen

She waits, her gaze eternal, as she welcomes all, for nothing can destroy her love.

~ Janna Vanderveen

She embraces the universe and cradles the tiniest particles of life with compassion because she knows that this action matters, and that her love will heal the world.

She sings and the birds join in

For they recognize her song as love,

And they know they belong.

~ Janna Vanderveen

She is generous with love

For she was created by love,

To be love to the world.

In this sanctuary,

The lion lies next to the lamb,

And there is no death,

Because all belong.

~ Janna Vanderveen

She is brave and speaks her truth for she matters and her worth is beyond measure.

~ Janna Vanderveen

I have been participating in, studying, and utilizing Internal Family Systems Psychotherapy (Parts Theory) in my life, both personally and as a therapist in my job. While I painted, I contemplated this process of healing which involves identifying, understanding, and interacting with the different parts of ourselves (wounded/exile, protective, firefighter, and core-self parts) as a means of restoring mental balance within our personal mental health system. It takes courage to speak ones truth and mindful empathy and kindness. I find it to be fascinating work and it resonates deeply within me as truth. I have learned that the worst or most shameful parts of ourselves are not to be feared nor ignored, but rather need to be acknowledged, heard, and understood. When we do this, we learn that these parts are ultimately good, in that they exist to help us cope with our unmet needs (even if misguided or unhelpful). The understanding of this allows us to view these wounded parts with empathy and compassion, which brings healing and change, and enables us to ultimately restore harmony into our mental health system as we fully reintegrate the understanding of that self back into the light of our core being.

She is fearless.

Her love is a light,

Which makes all things flourish.

Her home is a sanctuary,

A garden filled with life,

And no one is turned away.

~ Janna Vanderveen

Watercolor and Pastel Painting | Illuminate.

I am continuing to learn new techniques of painting, some whimsical and detailed, others abstract and intuitive. This painting may look more lifelike in comparison to the more illustrative paintings I’ve been painting recently, which might make one think that it was more of a drawing study and more detailed. However, this type of painting embraces the fluidity and uncertainty of watercolors and allows for an almost meditative experience. I’m not sure I’ve done anything like it before. A special shout our goes to Ida Anderson Lang for teaching this particular technique. 

Watercolor Painting | Broken yet Beautiful.

What a gift we have been given, to be a light in a broken world, to surrender to love and compassion, to embrace the opportunity we have been given to choose to lay down our lives for our neighbors when it both does not suit us and is downright uncomfortable, to selflessly put others first for their benefit and not our own, and to surrender to that which above all is merciful, peaceful, and good. Their-in lies the inescapable, undeniable, unbeatable beauty of sacrificial love. My heart thrums with this image, as if somehow even in the considering, the idea of love itself breathes life and produces beauty.

“You are no stranger to the scar
So you can have my wounded heart
You weren’t protected from the pain
So you can hold me when I break
You seek me out and find me here
With a love that knows the taste of tears
So I will trust in who you are
You’re no stranger
No stranger to the scar
You are no stranger to the storm
You have calmed these winds before
Your voice still whispers, peace, be still
And the waves still do your will.”

~ Natalie Grant

Watercolor Painting | Hidden

I am drawn repeatedly to paint women peering through secret gardens, as if they are inviting me to enter their sacred sanctuaries where suffering, striving, competition, and inequality no longer exist. They live there, not because of something they have done, but simply because they “are.” In this haven of light, where love is the water of life, all are welcome and none are denied.

Watercolor Painting | Purple Pansies

May your roots sink deep 
Beside crystal streams. 
May your leaves climb high  
In sun-kissed bliss. 
May your blossoms spread wide 
Releasing sweetened breath 
And may you dance 
In windswept ecstasy. 
~ Janna Vanderveen

Watercolor Painting | Lily of the Valley

Watercolor Painting | Lily of the Valley: I’ve been listening to Kari Kobe’s new song “Your Nature” on repeat. It is a salve to my soul. A lovely exhale summarizing the last ten years of painful deconstruction and rebirth. The beauty of it inspires me.

“You bring life to the barren places

Light to the darkest spaces

You bring joy to the broken hearted

Hope to the ones who’ve lost it

You bring peace to the war inside us

Speak and all fear is silenced

There is no desert that your streams can’t run to

There are no ruins that your love won’t make new

You tell the wasteland that it will bloom again

Cause it’s your nature

You will restore the years that shame has stolen

You keep the promises that you have spoken

I know the wasteland will be whole again

Cause it’s your nature.

Sing out o barren woman

Sing out o broken man

Stretch out your hands believing this is your promised land

Break out of disappointment

Break out of hopelessness

Stretch out your hands believing this is your promised land”

~ Your Nature by Kari Jobe

“Roses do not bloom hurriedly; for beauty, like any masterpiece, takes time to blossom.”

― Matshona Dhliwayo

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