When I was about 5 years old, my daddy snapped this photo as I played Bible study at the kitchen table. (Apparently, it was right after a hair washing!) I stumbled across the picture a few years into my ministry and it took my breath away. It’s a reminder to me that my love of the Lord and His word started back when I was a little girl.
Even before I was born, He wove a love for these things into my life as He laid a foundation for my future ministry. I was clueless about His plans at the time, but now believe He put a love for the Bible inside of me not just for my own personal growth, but more so, to make me a “Bible encourager” to others.
Another love the Lord wove into me involved art. As a third grader, my parents let me take summer watercolor lessons from Jean Richardson, a friend from our church. I still remember riding in Jean’s Volkswagen Beetle to Eastwood Park to paint “plein air” (i.e. outside) a watercolor image of the Mari-Mar Florist. Jean showed me how to make the building look like it had bricks on the side and helped me learn a little about perspective drawing. That fall, my painting won first place in the children’s division of the West Alabama Fair. (Woo! Hoo!)
Today, I sign all my paintings “Debbie Hannah Skinner” in honor of my parents. They were so gracious to recognize my artistic bent and make sacrifices to invest in art lessons to encourage my growth as an artist.
One other love I had as a child was pretending to teach. My “classroom” was in the bathroom. My vivid imagination would use a bar of soap as chalk, a tile wall as my chalkboard, and a big bathroom mirror to watch myself teach. I could spend hours in there “teaching” my imaginary class. My dad used to knock on the bathroom door and ask, “Girl, who are you talkin’ to in there?” Little did he know it was my “class” and I was practicing for my future work as a teacher!
My journey into public speaking has been long and winding. It took 30 years for my love of the Bible, art, and teaching to come together into the shape of a ministry. Fourteen years of that time were spent practicing my skills in the classroom in front of pubic school students, primarily as a home economics teacher. It was all in preparation for what I’m doing today. About six years into my speaking ministry, I realized the Lord had given me the ability to paint on stage while I was teaching from Scripture. Boy, was I surprised about that!
It absolutely amazes me to see how God took my little girl dreams and interests and wove these things into a big girl purpose – to point women to Christ.
I know I am not alone. There are thousands of women in the world with creative gifts that God has bestowed upon them to refresh their souls and bless others in the process. It’s an absolute joy for me to meet and encourage these creative Christian women as I travel, speak, and paint around the world. Some have been using their gifts for years. Others are using their gifts again for the first time in a long time or wanting whispered encouragement to do so. Could one of them be you?
Thanks for visiting my website and for being part of the conversation. God is faithful— to HIM be the glory! -Debbie