“Is the Spirit in me?”
This was the question that played on Saskia’s mind as a teenager. She would look around during worship at TeenStreet (TS) and see gifts of the spirit displayed so obviously in other people. But where was the Spirit in her if she didn’t speak in tongues or worship in wild abandon? Was God still speaking?
Then in a quiet corner, with a paint brush in hand, Saskia found that her mind would go quiet. As her paint brush explored the page she experienced a slowing down; space for God to speak; stillness for the spirit to move in her. God’s love was etched on her heart with every stroke.
“Often times it’s more what happens in me than what I create”, Saskia reflects. “When I create something I experience God’s peace.” There is now a quiet confidence to Saskia; an assurance that the Spirit is in her, moving and working through her art.
Inspired, Saskia now seeks to encourage teenagers at TS to express themselves and encounter the love of God through art. “Sometimes we shut doors, thinking that we’re not good enough,” she said, speaking metaphorically, “I want to help teenagers to open these doors.”
Saskia looks around the same quiet corner now and sees teenagers picking up brushes, pushing open new doors, enjoying themselves and discovering God. The Art Zone is heavy with God’s peace; “It’s like a hospital for the soul”. Saskia notices that there are teenagers who have a lot to say – in self-expression, in worship – but struggle to speak up. Here, there is a safe space and freedom to say all that needs to be said. “It’s a beautiful thing”, Saskia whispers.
Naomi, 15, sits crossed legged on the floor, her paint brush gently forming a mountain scene. Most evenings at TS during the Throne Room worship sessions, she takes herself away to the Art Zone. “It doesn’t matter what other people are doing”, she says. “In these moments I feel like I’m alone with God.” For Naomi, this is the main way that she connects with God, “It’s wonderful to have the opportunity at TS to worship in this way.” She echoes something that Saskia shared, “It doesn’t matter how good my painting is.”
For Naomi and Saskia, it is about the process. The process of what God’s Spirit is doing in them as they worship in this way; providing space for His love to speak to their hearts.