In the months before I had radiotherapy in 2002 I was becoming too weak to lift my Bible. However, I wanted be able to have the words that encouraged me and gave me strength easily accessible. I decided to compile all the verses I loved into one book and put a small piece of my artwork beside each verse. This was to remind me that I could produce something beautiful when I was well.
This book became my lifeline. I had it beside my bed where I spent many an hour, I found it so helpful as I didn’t have the concentration to be reading large excerpts of text. I have also found it fantastic over the years in that I can take just one sentence from it and find something that feeds my spirit.
In the years between Radiotherapy in 2002 and my surgery in 2004 I compiled another group of verses that I named “Verses for Peace, Patience and Perseverance”. These verses gave me the strength to keep going, keep persevering and keep pushing forwards.
In 2005 I was falling over a lot, my vision became blurred. It was found early in 2006 that there were two blood clots pressing against my brain stem. However, I had to wait for several months for my surgery. With this surgery there was a chance that I was going to be left with a facial palsy, be unable to see clearly, unable to walk unaided, along with other potential after-effects. I began to experience anxiety like I had never known before. It was then that I added a new chapter to my book. I put verses together to turn to and repeat to myself over and over whenever those anxious thoughts came. They truly ‘fed’ me during that time and continue to do so when I am feeling anxious. They are entitled ‘Verses to Fight Anxiety and Fear’.
After my surgery in ’06 I was too weak to be able to sit at a desk and paint any more. And when my pain condition progressed to my arms and hands in ’08, painting (and handwriting) went out the window. This meant the last two ‘chapters’ of the book didn’t have any artwork with them for many years.
I realised late in 2010 that I hadn’t used my art equipment in many years. This was because of blurred vision and then post-surgery weakness in 2006. When chronic hand pain entered the scene in 2008 painting went right out the window. Our church was running an exhibition to try and fundraise and so I decided to donate all my canvases and art equipment to a church art group to use in the exhibition. I was extremely grateful when the art group then gave me photos of their paintings to complete my book.
I have been strong enough to lift my Bible for many years now, but I still often turn to my copy of “Verses of Comfort, Inspiration and Hope”. Ten years after my compiling this book of verses I still find they are relevant and extremely encouraging. They give me the strength and hope to keep me going.
Even though the original book was only 5 pages long, it has been added to over the years it is now 40 A4 size pages long.