A Painting for Oprah

Our team has been busy preparing a brand new project that we're excited to release this fall. We've been revisiting some of our favorite stories from our original edition of Angels In Our Midst, and it seemed like a great time to share about my painting for Oprah. We're excited to share more with you in the coming weeks! A Painting for Oprah When I’m painting in my studio, I don’t always know who will end up with my Angels on their walls. Sometimes I picture what they look like, what their stories are, and it’s always a joy for me to see where my originals end up dwelling. Since I started painting, I knew one person in particular was supposed to receive an angel… Oprah Winfrey. I have always been captivated by the way she gives back so generously to the community from the overflow of her heart. I was particularly gripped by her visit to Africa, where she showered children who had nothing with gifts, hope and promise. That display of love and joy was overwhelming and inspiring. One day as I was standing at my easel with my requisite praise music washing over me, a painting began to appear on my canvas. In it, a trio of African American angels stood together. The center angel was taller than the two flanking angels alongside her. The two side angels were similar to each other in size, color and hair. I heard God’s still, small voice whisper to me, “This one is for Oprah.” And though I finished the painting, I didn’t send it to her. It didn’t make sense to me. Who did these three angels represent? What was meaningful about the three? Instead, it stayed housed in my studio for about a year, and though I received several inquiries to purchase it, I hung onto knowing that its rightful home was in the hands of Ms. Winfrey. On January 9, 2011, I was sitting in Elevation Church listening to a sermon by Pastor Steven Furtick. In it, he encouraged us to believe God for big, audacious things in our lives. All throughout the sermon, I was thinking about Oprah’s painting sitting in my studio and feeling like God was nudging me to reach out to her. Several days later, I wrote an entry in my journal proclaiming that I was believing that God would reveal Himself in a might way in my marriage, the lives of our children and our art. I even wrote a note about my belief that I would have the chance to speak with Oprah. As I wrapped up the entry, I made up my mind that I would repaint a smaller angel for her. But God had other plans. At the end of January 2011, there was breaking news about Oprah discovering a half-sister she didn’t know she had. I tuned into the Oprah show that day and watched the most amazing story unfold. Oprah had a half-sister named Patricia and a half-brother named Anthony, who had both passed away. What she didn’t know, however, was that a second half-sister, also named Patricia, had been given up for adoption in 1963. The photos shared of both Patricias were uncannily similar. As Patricia came on stage to hug Oprah, I noticed that she was shorter than her sister, reaching just to her shoulders. I turned to my husband and said, “That’s my painting,” as all the questions I had about the composition of the painting slowly vanished. After holding on to the painting for over a year, I packaged it up and sent it the next day, including a note to Ms. Winfrey that I had always believed that she should have an Angel painting, and after seeing the show, I knew without a doubt that this one was painted specifically for her to give to her newfound sister, Patricia. Even though it was overwhelming to me, God had known all along that this was a painting that would hold a special meaning for those sisters. About three weeks later, I received a personal phone call from Ms. Winfrey (I’ll never forget that unmistakably warm voice greeting me), thanking for the painting. I was in shock and also overflowing with giddy delight that when we courageously step out in faith, God will always reveal Himself to us in amazing ways that we could not otherwise fathom.