1. How long, God? I feel oppressed by my circumstances, my emotions, my relationships, my neediness. When will there be peace in my life and in my world?
2. When you are near me you make things clear. You give me rest even when things are hard, but right now I feel like I am on my own. How long until I just break? Sometimes I feel so sad I just want to give up.
3. Come back! Look over here! Pay attention to me! Answer me God. I know you are in control. What are you doing? Give me some insight. Give me some light in this dark place. I can’t see what to do nest. I keep tripping and falling.
4. Everyone expects me to fail, show them all that they are wrong. Show them that I am right to trust in you, God. That you are good and that you are near to me.
5. I trust in your love. I believe that you will not fail me. I will rejoice in your salvation.
6. I will sing to you and praise you because you have been good to me and I will continue to trust that you are good.
S. Jewell S. McGhee
Jewell is an artist who has come to be known also as an author. She often writes a reflection to go with her art pieces and has been paraphrasing the psalms for many years.
About the Artist
S. Jewell S. McGhee likes to call her art “painting with pencils.” She first started using colored pencils to help her mother write names on lunch bags for school. “My mom would pick matching themes for the names on our bags; all balloons, or sunrises, or sometimes just geometric shapes. She always made them so beautiful; a plain brown bag lunch was, all at once, a love note, a story, a hug, and simple colors to enlighten us for the rest of the day.” These bags also became a constant reminder that art was simple, attainable, and a necessary part of every day.
“I always start with a story.” Every time you hear a story you have a physical (tears, a chuckle, or a smile) or mental (confusion, contentment) reaction which is unable to be explained in words alone. “I like to use abstract art as a medium to dive deeply into the complicated mess of a story and discover something more about it and about myself.” She follows the flow of a story and finds the shapes and colors that express its fundamental emotions and questions.
Jewell uses her art to interpret the stories of Shakespeare, the newspaper, the Bible, and her own life. “As I grapple with Hamlet, I see lines-sharp and violent-cutting through relationships and into love. There is red: obviously for blood, but also for love (a riddle itself). A golden crown, a golden son; a golden sun breaking through ghosts, clouds, and lives to reveal blackness and blood.” How black is the blackness of hate? What texture is grace? What shape is confusion, or desperation, or promise? These are the questions these pieces ask.