“…set your hope on the grace to be brought to you…” (1 Peter 1:13)
Last October I left a very toxic job and stepped out in faith to become self-employed. Since then, the Lord has brought into my life many opportunities to experience his grace in new ways.
For twenty years I served as a board-certified art therapist and life coach. I arrived at a place in my career where I was feeling burned out. The working environment had become very demanding and unhealthy for me. I could see the impact it was having on my compassion for the recovering addicts I worked with. Through prayer, scripture, discernment, and a series of confirmations, I took the leap and began working hard on becoming a full-time artist and entrepreneur.
I have had the privilege of guiding many people into new places of prayer, silence, and growing closer to themselves and to the Lord through iconography retreats. Icons are the ancient Byzantine images of Christ, his disciples, the saints, and other Biblical stories or figures. With every brush stroke we pray in silence as we paint the image. It is meditative, relaxing, and requires no previous art experience. Even so, it’s amazing what the Lord brings up in your heart while painting in silence. There have been many beautiful testimonies of answered prayers and healing while people attend these retreats.
My journey has taken me to Texas, Arizona, and Louisiana. Most recently, I spent two weeks in Louisiana teaching at two different locations. Father Joey from the Houma-Thibodaux Diocese of Louisiana continues to bring me back to his parish to teach these iconography retreats. He recently sent me encouragement on how God is using these retreats to bring the Gospel to his people through art and icons.
He wrote, “Thanks again, Brenda! Your presence in my parish is a tremendous blessing on many levels! With the diocese, for the people, you keep a connection with the ‘other lung’ of the church in a way that makes Eastern spirituality alive, a ‘touch of mysticism’ that the Holy Spirit can use to help our people grow in daily prayer and holiness. Eastern icon spirituality has found a home in this humble little Cajun diocese thanks to you!”
Then he shared with me that one of his deacons, who bought an icon from me, is bringing the icon to the sick and the homebound. This icon is known for its stories of comfort and healing as people pray with it.
Little did I know when I said “yes” to the Lord in stepping out in faith to quit my job that he would use my talent as an artist, iconographer, and art therapist; that grace would be brought to so many people. Never could I have imagined being able to share the Gospel and the healing power of Jesus through paint and prayer!
I am humbled and fortunate that our Lord has allowed me to use my art and experience as a life coach to begin a new work where I can serve others. These retreats provide them a new envi-ronment where retreatants can rest and be renewed in their call to serve him in their work-places.
Brenda Fox lives in Tempe, AZ, and has been a member of the Phoenix Women’s Chapter since its conception. She is self-employed as an iconographer and life coach and is also building a travel club. Brenda gives iconography retreats all over the country. She can be reached at email@example.com.