By Deby Dearman
In the novel, The Secret Garden, Mary learns of a secret walled garden on her uncleâ€™s property that had been shut off from the world. Finding the key, she lets herself and her cousin Colin into the garden, which becomes their secret place. Although Colin is wheelchair-bound, he is motivated to strengthen his legs and eventually walk. The story ends with Colinâ€™s father discovering the two in the garden and, to his amazement, finding his son able to walk.
The Secret Garden â€“ a place that had once held tragic secrets of death and despair had been transformed into a garden of friendship, hope and new beginnings. All because a little girl was drawn to the secret behind a walled garden.
Some of us have secret gardens in our lives. They may involve the loss of a loved one, a prodigal child, or a situation where a painful memory continually brings pain and shame. What would happen though, if we took the keys that keeps that garden locked and opened the door?
The first key: Confession ~ Find a trusted friend, pastor, or counselor to pour your heart out to. Realize that we never find healing through isolation. Choose your confidant wisely; those whoâ€™ve been through difficulties themselves are best equipped to help bear your burden.
The second key: Extend forgiveness ~ You donâ€™t have to feel like forgiving to do this. You simply make a choice to forgive. This does not ignore the wrong done, but helps you rise above it and it cuts your soul loose from the person who wounded you.
The third key: Receiving Godâ€™s love and forgiveness ~ You do this by opening your heart to receive from the one who created you. His love is never-ending, always abounding and filled with healing grace.
Might we find freedom, hope and happiness? Might we, as did Colin, discover transformation?
The Deby Dearman painting featured above, ‘Secret Garden’, is a tribute to those who need hope and healing. “Just as Maryâ€™s secret garden revealed miracles every morning, so can ours,” says Deby. “We just have to open that door.”
While she was at the peak of a successful career in Christian music as a singer/songwriter, Deby encountered vocal problems that silenced her. No longer able to sing – and barely able to speak – one of her most profound means of expression was lost. She was devastated.
In the middle of the dark night of her soul, a friend suggested that she consider trying to find healing by learning to paint. Having never painted, Deby had no idea she would find a new voice through paint, palette knife and canvas. But over several years of art lessons and working through the heartbreak of loss, thatâ€™s exactly what happened.
Today, when you stand in front of a Deby Dearman painting, you see the world through the eyes of an artist who has traded ashes for beauty. You step into her happy place, painted in bright, optimistic colors. And you find stories of newfound hope, illustrated with joyful strokes and fun-filled whimsy.
After years of struggling with her voice, Deby is thrilled to report that she is seeing improvement in her ability to speak and sing again.
And never one to miss an opportunity to encourage others, Deby loves to share the inspiring story of how her art was born the day her music died.
Deby Dearman has enjoyed a life enriched by beauty. She grew up living abroad in Japan and Italy, and eventually returned to Europe with her husband and two daughters. In Europe, Deby and her husband, Kirk, co-founded Creative Arts Europe and toured throughout the continent, performing in ancient European cathedrals with teams of singers and dancers. In addition to Debyâ€™s painting career, and Kirkâ€™s instrumental piano recording career, the Dearmans host â€˜Artists Ariseâ€™ events where they help creatives find their dream and learn to live it.
Contemplatioâ€™ is our weekly worship devotional column. Inspired by the Latin word â€˜Contemplatioâ€™, which means means to â€˜look at, gaze at or be aware of’; each week, we post a â€˜Contemplatioâ€™ designed to teach, inform or draw attention to a topic.