Restoration Over Rest at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services

group-of-employees-receiving-5-year-awardsPine Rest just celebrated their annual employee appreciation and award evening, gourmet-dinner-at-pine-restcomplete with a gourmet dinner group-of-people-receiving-employee-awardsand awards for employees
who have served 5, 10, 15, 20…and on up in increments of 5 years. recipient-of-55-year-service-award-at-pine-restOne lady flew back from Florida to receive her 55-year service award!
Can you imagine working at the same ministry for 55 years?!

employee-appreciation-dinner-at-pine-restThis bright, beautiful lady shared that the reason she’s persevered so long is that she has the same heart for ministry as Pine Rest: compassionate Christian care for those with mental health needs.pine-rest-appreciation-dinner-awardsAlan has been working at PRCH (Pine Rest Christian Hospital) for 23 years, so he wasn’t up for an award, but because he’s the CMO (chief medical officer), we’re always invited to enjoy the festivities and honor the faithful employees! pine-rest-ceo-addresses-employeesOur CEO, Mark, is such a stalwart, spiritually-minded leader, and he gave a brief but very memorable message about “Two Holy Moments.” He said the first is when people wake up in the morning and make the decision to go into work, even though they’d rather sleep and are weary of putting aside their own needs to serve others. The second is when they are at work and choose to be present with those who are suffering. Pine Rest ministers to over 50,000 people each year. Like all attempts at intervention, many people are helped, but not all can be healed. However, employees can all express love by their presence and efforts to assist in the healing process. This is a second “holy” moment: Choosing to love each patient and serve them with “compassion and understanding in time of need and offer hope and help through the provision of excellent care.” ceo-of-pine-restThat’s a very high calling, but I think it’s something we can all ascribe to in our daily lives, no matter what our job is, be it leading a company, serving others in hospital or school settings, working as a mechanic, waitress, hairdresser, babysitter, parent, or whatever!

Are you struggling with your job? I’m not saying you should stay in whatever job you have at present, but I would like to encourage you to feel a sense of holiness about whatever job you’re doing. Offer your decision to work as a sacrifice to God, choosing restoration over rest. As an offering to God, choose to love those you serve by providing excellent care. It will tinge what might otherwise be drudgery with the glow of Shekinah glory.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).

And, here’s a verse that just struck me this morning as Alan and I were reading together: “ So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you” (2 Corinthians 4:12, NIV). When we serve others in love for the sake of Christ, we are literally giving our life so that others may live. But, if we have eternal life within us by faith in Christ, then to give of our lives to bring “many sons to glory” is a supremely beautiful exchange!

Chris LaPorte: Have You Found a Venue?

Mural Pictures 400So, ArtPrize is officially off and running. Here’s a picture of my entry, although it’s actually 33 feet long and 7 feet high. Artists are registering their entries, and last week began the “connection” period, where artists try to find a venue that’s willing to host their work.  I am hoping in the worst way that DeVos Place Convention Center will be willing to display my mural, but I was informed that DeVos is a really “primo” place, and so I’m applying to some other places too. If you want to see my profile and a few samples, here’s the link:

https://www.artprize.org/kathryn-armstrong/2015/from-the-rising-of-the-sun-unto-the-going-down-of-the-same-the-lords-name-is-to-be-praised

Chris LaPorteHave you ever heard of Chris LaPorte? Cavalry, American Officers, 1921 He was the first place winner of ArtPrize in 2010 with his stunning 28-ft. pencil drawing entitled “Cavalry, American Officers, 1921.”Chris LaPorte 4Chris’s work is being exhibited at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services’s Grand Rapids campus right now, and a couple of nights ago,Chris LaPorte 3 Alan and I attended a reception for him at the Postma Center. Chris LaPorte at Pine Rest Reception 2There were lots of delicious hors-d’oeuvres, Chris LaPorte at Pine Rest Reception 3 and our CEO introduced Chris  with some very insightful encouragements  Navarres of Woodside to think of every person (and patient) as a wonderfully unique and valuable individual, Chris LaPorte Pencil drawings 1 just as Chris draws each of the characters in his portraits. Chris LaPorte at Pine Rest Reception 1Chris answered lots of questions from all of us curious art lovers.

“How has winning changed your life?” one lady asked. Chris answered that the attention directed to him (Can I have a selfie with you??) is embarrassing and awkward, but that he finds it very gratifying when people are moved by his artistry. (One man told him the picture [and the story behind the picture, which was that Chris was working through the loss of his dearly loved father and somehow trying to “bring him back to life” through the depictions of the cavalry] had moved him so much that it motivated him to be reconciled to his father-in-law.)

Chris LaPorteI found Chris’ reflections most inspirational, and he also helped me think through some additional venue options that might work for my entry.

06 Landscapes copyAs fun and exciting as it is for me to enter ArtPrize, it occurs to me that each of us is a piece of art. Attention to self is awkward, but when others are inspired by hearing our stories, isn’t that a blessing?! In order for people to know our stories—and best of all—what God has done for us, we need a venue…a platform…or whatever you want to call it, where God’s work can be seen. Finding a venue is a good thing. Be it home, work, church, clubs, volunteer work, or ?? But, wherever we find ourselves, may the light of Christ in us shine out brightly!

18 Potpourri“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).