Recently I was having a conversation with someone about the concepts of Grace and Redemption. In the faith that I was raised in, those concepts existed for those who joined and chose to leave the "sinful" world behind. Grace was that threshold that you crossed into becoming a member and believer.
But once you were in, there were only extremes: there was Perfection or there was irredeemable damnation. For those of us who were born or raised within that faith, it became this pendulum that would swing between elation and toxic shame. We strove for perfection, and when we felt that we were on the path, we felt accepted and loved. But when we strayed or showed signs of weakness, we were overcome with feelings of worthlessness or shame.
In later years, after I had left the faith, the church introduced "restoration workshops" where you could pay to have grace bestowed upon you and your soul would not be confined to the lowest realms of hell.
I criticized the practice as being akin to selling indulgences, but it has only been recently that I've really begun to examine how important the concept of Grace is. Whether you experience it in a faith, or within personal relationship a different concept of the divine, or just in your understanding and love for yourself, it is such an important part of our growth. Loving ourselves, forgiving our past mistaking, and understanding that we have worth despite our missteps are all crucial.
So originally I wanted to create an image that spoke to the irredeemable state of being that my childhood faith taught of. But the more I worked the image, the less it became about an outside authority withholding redemption and the more it became about finding your own personal definition and qualities of Grace within. "Redemption" Fine Art by Jen KiabaClick to Purchase a Limited Edition Fine Art Print.
I struggled with this image because it's very different than what I've been doing lately. It doesn't fit comfortably into my current body of work. (It's certainly not as dark and angsty as I'm used to.)
But Jessalyn, my model, pointed out that it may in fact simply be a new chapter in my work. Either way I wanted to share it with you today in hopes that it reminds you just how wonderful you are, and how much you deserve love - especially your own.