“I was emotionally and spiritually exhausted after getting laid off from my job. All I could do was worry about my future as I watched my finances dwindle. As much as I wanted to feel a glimmer of hope and believe that God had a better plan for me, fear paralyzed and drained me as doubt and worry began to seep into my spirit.
“To pass the time and take my mind off things, I signed up for a free oil-painting class at our local community center. It had always been my lifelong dream to be an artist, but the financial security of a 9-to-5 career had always won out.
“After a few weeks, our class had an art show in the square. I was a little nervous to display my work, but buyer after buyer came to my booth expressing admiration for the detailed nature scenes I loved to paint.
“To my surprise, every one of my paintings was marked ‘sold’ by the end of the day. But I was most shocked when a man came up to me and said, ‘You have a gift. I have a gallery downtown and I’m looking for an artist to stage a show and teach a new painting class. Would you be interested in the job?’
“I couldn’t help but feel awe at the unexpected opportunity that fell into my hands right when I needed it most. I felt energized with the wonder of new beginnings and kept sending silent praises up to our loving Lord. I saw how even when I was weak, He was strong and proved to me that when He closes one door, another door opens, often grander and more blessed than we could ever imagine.”
—Erika Barber, 45, Los Angeles