In here lives the biggest and greatest song. The one that makes you brave.
— Ann Voskamp, Your Brave Song
Do you remember what it was like to feel very small in a very big world? Especially when you were young with many firsts to encounter, like stepping off of your front porch alone and into the world, or the first day of school, making new friends. We can still feel alone and small as adults, unsure of our place in this world. But if we know deep down who we are in Jesus and sing a song of him, our hearts grow bigger and that crowds out our fear.
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
— Zephaniah 3:17 (ESV)
How can we help children understand this idea, that God sings His joy over them? That He is their courage? We can teach them in the same way that Jesus taught those who were scared, lost, sick, or unsure of their worth. He told them stories that would infuse their imaginations like a sweet vapor, which is the best way to let the rich words of experience touch a soul. You may have encouraged the children in your life with stories of your own experiences and where you drew your courage from to face a similar challenge, or perhaps you retold a story from your family history. Those lessons are a gift, because those stories can transcend the ‘here and now’ moving to the ‘soon and not yet.’ When you share your experiences while embedding truth and hope into the words, imagination seizes the story and it becomes a precious, comforting reminder to return to time and again.
Amy Grimes, story painter and author, and Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are recently collaborated on a beautiful children’s book, Your Brave Song. Amy writes,
“Last year I had the great joy of working on illustrations for Ann Voskamp’s beautiful storybook, Your Brave Song. It’s a hope-filled story of courage and belonging and I’m excited to finally be able to say that it’s been released out into the world! I found myself singing the song that shows up throughout the book as I painted the illustrations in my studio ~ ‘Jesus loves you, makes you strong. In Him you’re brave and you belong.’ “
Their picture-book Your Brave Song beautifully tells us how we can find the source of our courage. When facing a scary moment (and the book gives us that moment to which we all can relate), Little Una Rayne remembers where her bravery comes from. Una is about to begin a new adventure, but her fears give her pause. Her mama sings a song over Una Rayne, to encourage her on her way and to assure her of how much she is loved. The song is a fresh reminder of where her courage begins — from the One who sings love over her because she is His beloved child.
We are to live Coram Deo, that is to knowingly live our lives in the holy presence of the omnipresent God and to the glory of God. When we do this, He sings over us, His children. God sings over you because of his profound affection for you. That love wells up in our hearts and we sing back to Him in joy and love and grateful affection, just as Una Rayne learns from her mama. When we know this, fear is banished. We belong to Him.
Cultivating is delighted to feature our current artist-in-residence Amy Grimes through a year of interviews, featured paintings, and short writings. Coming soon, a magical walk through Amy’s studio will give us a peek into the image creation for Your Brave Song. You can find her gallery, shop, children’s books, and more at https://www.storypaintings.net/.
We all need a hope song, a courage song, a song that assures that our bravery doesn’t come from inside of us, it comes from knowing you’re loved by the One who created love and is Love Himself.
— Ann Voskamp
The featured photos of a copy of Your Brave Song and of Amy in her studio are by her husband Russ Grimes and used with permission for Cultivating and The Cultivating Project. You can learn more about this book and find purchase options at Ann Voskamp’s website.
Annie Nardone is a flannel-clad, cowboy boot-shod adventurer who seldom travels with a map! Her passion is the reintegration of the arts and humanities with theology and Christian imagination. Annie holds a Masters Degree in Cultural Apologetics from HBU, is a founding member of The Society for Women of Letters, and is Managing Editor of The Cultivating Reader for Cultivating magazine. She also writes for Literary Life, and An Unexpected Journal. Annie resides in Florida with her Middle Earth-Narnia-Hogwarts-loving family, & her wild assemblage of cats.
A Field Guide to Cultivating ~ Essentials to Cultivating a Whole Life, Rooted in Christ, and Flourishing in Fellowship
Enjoy our gift to you as our Welcome to Cultivating! Discover the purpose of The Cultivating Project, and how you might find a "What, you too?" experience here with this fellowship of makers!
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