Good morning friends!!!
So today I have such a beautiful interview to share with you all!! If you haven’t heard of Valerie and Grace Painted, you are missing out!! So we’re going to change that! Valerie has such a beautiful heart and I am so excited to share her story!! Her faith story is so encouraging and she has so many lessons to share! So, enjoy!
+ For those who haven’t heard of you , please introduce yourself.
Hi! My name is Valerie. I’m a 23 year old youth minister, small business owner, coffee addict, sunflower obsessed, Jesus lovin’ catholic.
+ When did your relationship with Christ first take root in your life? What brought you to a deeper relationship with God?
I remember attending my first ever retreat back in high school, 2010. Saturday night, our youth minister announced that we would be entering into Adoration…I had NO CLUE what adoration was. My friend explained to me how as Catholics, we believe in the Eucharistic Presence of Christ. Yeah, I still had no idea what she meant. But what I witnessed next is something that I will never forget. Every person in the room sat still, gazing up at the monstrance. Some were crying, others were smiling, but every person in that room was experiencing something fiercely beautiful by God. That was the first time I remember telling myself “This is real. Christ is present… Oh my heart..”
After that retreat, God placed on my heart the desire to know Him more fully in the most Blessed Sacrament. So I told myself I needed to attend adoration more often….and that’s what I did! I remember my third time going, I gazed upon the monstrance, containing Jesus — body, soul, blood, and divinity — and smiled at the intimacy of it all. I closed my eyes and prayed. When I opened my eyes an hour had gone by and I was filled with joy—not because I had fulfilled my made up requirement, but because God had stilled my heart.
I left that chapel filled with a peace, contentment, and joy unlike anything I had felt before.
+ How do you find ways to glorify God in your daily life and spread the Joy of Christ to those around you?
The best way I’ve been able to glorify God is to live by this: “where there is no love, put love, and there you will draw out love.” – St. John of the Cross.
+ You own and operate a beautiful Etsy shop, Grace Painted. How did you find your passion for painting and decide to start painting Bibles?
I’ve always loved being creative but I never thought I had what it took to make something beautiful and for others to actually love it. It wasn’t until 2015 that I realized that I had this desire in my heart to glorify God through art. So I headed over to my local Hobby Lobby on a warm summer day and bought a set of paint brushes, canvases, paints, not realizing that this would become my new favorite hobby. I started off by painting canvases for my friends, practicing as much as I could. Now I know God was planting seeds in my heart that would someday grow into something amazing. I started painting bibles after I realized what a shame it was that not more people were drawn to scripture. The truth is, people are attracted to beautiful things. So I thought to myself “What if I decorate the outside of this black bible? What if I paint it? Maybe this will call people to read God’s Word..?” And that was the start of this beautiful business!
+ As you paint these beautiful Holy Bibles, you inevitably spend a lot of time around the Word!! Do you have any tips for someone who doesn’t feel inclined to pick up their Bible?
I think first, it’s important to pick a Bible that you can understand. Get yourself a good Bible that is comfortable to read, light enough to take with you, durable enough to really use. Secondly, it’s important to pray before even opening the Word. Ask God, through the power of His Spirit, to open your mind, your eyes & your heart to His truth. It doesn’t have to be a long prayer but take some time. And lastly, always remember that less is more. Don’t just open up the Bible and read until you get tired or ‘for fifteen minutes’ because that’s what you committed to doing. Most Bibles break down the chapters into subchapters. If you began in the Gospel of Mark, for instance, you shouldn’t just start in verse 1 and continue through verse 45 (the end of the chapter). Instead, take verses 1-8 and spend 15 minutes meditating on them. Remember that it’s not about how much you cover in a set amount of time. Take your time and take everything in.
+ As hard as it may be to pick, what are some of your favorite bible verses? How have these verses helped you in some way?
One of my faves is this one: “Little girl, I say to you, arise!” (Mark 5:41). I love this verse. It is my constant reminder that we have a loving Father that sees our pain and comforts us.
+ Let’s talk real quick about your other ministry. You are also a full time Youth Minister at your church. How has ministering in this way been a blessing to you?
Youth ministry has been the biggest blessing in my life. I get to witness people fall in love with Christ! Like woah! I’m constantly energized by the teens as they discover the gifts that they have been blessed with and seeing that flicker in their eye that says, “I know what God wants me to do.” This job shows me over and over again that God is infinitely good.
+ How would you encourage someone who is thinking of starting a creative endeavor, like Grace Painted, or taking a risk in their faith?
Don’t let the fear of failure hold you back from taking risks. Ask God for the courage to stand up and remember that nothing worthwhile comes without taking a risk. Taking risks and diving deep into new adventures is a source of unlimited joy. Let go of fear and grasp onto the joy that comes with acknowledging that there is more ahead. Adventure awaits.
Have a blessed Saturday!!