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In December 1998, after resigning from my job as medical director of a residential treatment facility for emotionally disturbed children, I began making art. Listening to the children’s stories of abuse had taken its toll; the job had given me secondary trauma, an affliction suffered by many therapists. Though the job was too much, I still wanted to help traumatized children and asked God to show me how. After weeks of prayer, it came to me in the middle of the night. I awoke, crept into the closet with my journal, and wrote my first song — “I sing a song for the abused child, the song no one wants to hear…”

Writing was the first outlet I used to express my creativity and speak about my experiences. Three months later, I started painting. My first series of paintings is a set of seven linen panels titled Black and White and Red All Over.

I thought my creativity would keep me healthy but it didn’t. However, when sickness hit, I found solace in my creative endeavors. Gardening, cooking, dressing, painting, writing — these are all creative ventures to be treasured and enjoyed. Never limit your creations just because you don’t have an audience or your audience is small. God himself was a creator, and he is watching and applauding, loving how you spend your time in creative reverence.

While we’re on the topic…