1. Answer me when I pray. Sometimes I feel like I’m talking to empty space. Answer me and give me relief—I feel like I’m just making decisions and doing stuff about my problems, all on my own. Please help me. Have mercy. You are righteous, I am not. I need you God.”
2. And you ask me Lord, “Why are you turning glory into shame? I have given you my glory. I have poured into you holiness and righteousness and you run after lies and stage props and cardboard cutouts. 3. Know that I hear you, my child. I have chosen you and I listen when you pray.”
4. So when I pray, help me Lord to tremble at your holiness. Help me to meditate on you in my bed, snuggling into your heart as I fall asleep. Help me to make decisions based on the truth of your world, your love and (5.) your holiness. Help me to trust in you.
6. Many ask about economic issues, but you are the Lord of all prosperity. You hold money and jobs and resources, and you give us what is best and you give good gifts.
7. Help me to rejoice in your good gift and to see them clearly.
8. You will give me peace and rest. You are my hope and safety.
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.