The Power of His Presence in the midst of suffering

Yesterday, a man approached me in a High Point University t- shirt. In the brief of our conversation he asks me about my salvation in Christ and tells me he gave His life to Christ four years ago. He tells me about his sick wife and how when he gets odd jobs he has enough money to get them a room for a few nights. Then its back on the streets.  At one point in the conversation he says “but instead of speaking what I don’t have I thank God for what I do have. It’s hard to believe but there are some way worst off that me.”

This conversation made me think about the book, Why Suffering by Raavi Zacharias and Vince Vitale that I started reading last weekend as we headed to a family reunion. Our family reunion was at an all American icon here in North Carolina, Bills Barbecue! A southern foodie must try if you are in the area!


The events of the reunion were similar  to ones in the past. We arrive, check in, say hellos, and give thanks for the food. Then most people gorge on foods that are rarely eaten everyday at home. As my 9 year old nephew put it “Its a family reunion, its all you can eat.” This is the same one who put down at least two plates of food several drinks and visited the dessert table at least 3 or 4 times!

What made this reunion different? I had the honor of sitting beside my aunt who is wheelchair bound due to multiple strokes. She wears a one false leg. Her arms and fingers are curled up permanently to her chest. There is a balled up bath cloth in each hand. She needs help doing mostly everything. Although her skin still looks smooth as of her youth, her face is gaunt and restricted in some places due to the losses from the stroke. Her speech is also garbled and at times completely unclear. My other nephew would look, stair, and at one time pointed. I believe he wanted  to know the story behind the image. And like always, we polite southern people are taught to smile and nod like all is well. But I thought No! If he wants to know her story he should.

I feel like culturally we to often pretend that there is not a big butt in the room. More times if we are real it may take the weird or uncomfortable out of it. I do understand that most times one doesn’t want to offend or hurt feelings and so we stay on the surface. I wonder if by going deeper, or just childlike honesty would people treat persons like my aunt with more humanity.

How often or eager are we to be around unusual or even down right ugly things? Things that do not fit into our image of normal? Its easier to pretend the ugly, suffering, sorrow doesn’t exist. From my own sufferings, though nothing compared to what I just mentioned, I understand the distance. The miss understandings. The rejection. The loneliness. Many do not want to be around ugly things. Its inconvenient, we are self preserving people. Others want to help, but often try to solve problems for you that you didn’t ask to be solved. Many people suffering just like to know you are with them. There is great power in presence!



As I sat beside my aunt I wanted to do something to bless her. To stand with her in love. People would come by, hug her, kiss her face, hand her money. These were the hands and feet of Jesus. I love how generous and humble our family is! They are the power of His presence in the midst of suffering.

The Power of Presence!

Many have stood with me and loved me when I thought I was broken and useless. In the first chapter of  Why Suffering  Zacharias says ” Ideas cannot bring lasting meaning, comfort, or hope. Only a person can.” Jesus and the relationship with Him is that.wpid-0704151659a.jpg

This could not have been expressed any better than during the entertainment hour. Hip hop was played. Dancers danced. My aunt sat quietly recovering from her big meal. It was only when one woman started singing old gospel song about God’s goodness and going home that the tears started to flow from my aunts eyes. Her husband wiped one side. I wiped the other. The songs continue. The tears continued. I, knowing the comfort of Jesus in the midst of complete darkness fought back my own tears as I thought of her everyday condition. Where these tears of joy that she is alive? I wondered if she still thinks about who she use to be. I wonder if she feels trapped in this injured body. Or she could have been crying for some other reason! But I do know that  only Christ truly knows her and her husband’s suffering, the loss, the mourning over her losses. No one else can get that deep with you and yours but Him!

He is the all comfort. All Peace, All Joy. Only trusting in Him can allow you to worship when there seems to be no hope at all. I must say some of my sweetest nearest times with Jesus have been when all was lost and He was the only thing I had to cling to.

And this is why we need creatives, to sing of His goodness, to paint of it, to write of it, to record it in every season of our lives. So that they may know of a hope and anchor beyond these shores. Join Me on this journey.

Yours with LOVE,


Krystal J. F. Hart



That girl in the Vietnam War Photo



This March I got the pleasure of meeting an international icon. She is not your well known music or film celebrity. Most  pop culture will not recognize her name or her image.  But the world knows and loves her by a single photo taken in 1972 during the Vietnam War.

Not only did I get to sit under her words of wisdom during the March 2015 Women’s Initiative ICM conference. We also had the honor of taking her out to dinner.  The best part of the weekend was the after dinner conversation with Kim Phuc back in her room. We both laughed and at some point we both cried. She poured out her wisdom for a Christian life. As we shared our pains and sufferings and encouraged one another our hearts were knitted together that night. I know for God’s great purpose.

Still traveling and speaking, Kim uses her experiences to spread a message of faith in Jesus, forgiveness, and empowering others. Especially the children of war. For more info visit Kim Foundation.

CNN recently did a special on her Kim Phuc Where is she now? Because of her travels I may not always know where she is. But we do keep in touch by email or the surprise phone call. Prayer and encouragements are the center.

Other than to brag about my friendship with Kim Phuc why am I telling you this story? As an artist my job is to create and recreate. I have the identity of my heavenly Father, and so do you! He created all the wondrous beauties of the world out nothingness, out of a formless void. Now today, your life may be beautiful as morning dew resting on fresh spring flowers or it may look like an atomic bomb when off and has scatter everything to pieces.

The Bible speaks vividly of the sufferings of man. But it also promises that peace is available in all circumstances.

I think of all that Kim as walked through and I see where she is. Despite terrible pain even today the evidence of God’s goodness and faithfulness in her life is so real and so pure. And in His goodness He saw it fit to knit two very different lives together for His purpose. Know that He has made you an overcomer! He has equipped you to bear the storm and thrive! Allow Chirst to work his miraculous beauty in your life. Let Him speak into those areas that are formless, that are reckless. You do not have to be an artist to create and recreate. God can meet you where you are. Allow His word to create new life within you and around you every part of your day. You are not alone in your journey. We are knited together. I encourage you to keep walking with Him, or to start walking with Him and trust Him. You will live utterly amazed.

Remember: The Lord is my light and my salvation whom/ what shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid? Ps 27:1

Yours with LOVE,






Krystal J.F. Hart

Where Do We Go From Here?

I seek the divine in such darkness.
Where is the fair fight when the lights go out?
I scream and shout. I scream and shout. Much to no avail.
It seems that hell has seized that land, and no one understands me anymore.
Who has turned out the lights?!
I fight and fight to regain normalcy.
Embodied in the present past of traumatic events.
Will I move forward, or linger in the ashes of that which has been lost forever?
-Krystal J. F. Hart

Where Do We Go From Here was created with acrylics, inks, and an image transfer technique. I think of all that has been lost and ravaged by war and violence. I think of my own suffering and lost through my own traumatic experience. We are all but children aren’t we? I think of  “the children of Cain. Child leftovers from the fratricidal violence he symbolized.” -excerpt from Dr. Frank Wood.  The poem above can be seen interlaced through out the sky in the painting. When your storm is raging always remember, but there is still hope in utter darkness!


Painting : mixed media on stretched canvas.

Krystal J. F. Hart

Small Embers

drawingWithin every child smolders a creative fire. We can either gently tend the fire or we can snuff the fire out.

My first exhibitions blanketed my bedroom walls. Creating from my imagination kept me busy for hours, or at least until I heard a stern scolding. “What have I told you about drawing on the wall?” was followed by a swift, hard POP on my bottom in mid mark. Despite several scolding’s, my bedroom’s blank canvas always beckoned me to another etch.

Now my six year old nephew follows me around seeking paper or a paintbrush. But not just any paper or any brush. He wants to draw with me on my work. “I can help you paint,” he says. I can hear in his voice a longing for affirmation of this unknown desire. This desire keeps him coming back to the page as he attempts to express his creative curiosities. Supplies in hand he watches my stroke and attempts to mirror it. Glance. Stroke. Glance. Stroke goes the cadence. My hope is to tend this fire gently.

Most times we are self focused. Our busy lives move far too fast for the creative heat to catch the child’s embers aflame. Our best attempts are gusts of wind on such little insecure flames. When pressed by these little ones to creatively engage with them, we react with how long will this take, I’m busy, this kid doesn’t know what he’s doing, he is going to mess this up. We no longer have time for discovery, for playtime. Playtime may be exactly where we begin to come alive.

Parents blow out flames with visions of their child’s occupation, pedigree, talents, success.

When one doesn’t measure up, statements like why don’t you get a real job, I told you so, you can’t do it, stop trying, and you never will, extinguish dreams and smothers fires. Like my inquisitive nephew, what if someone had guided my hand from the wall to paper or canvas at an early age? I wonder where I would be today. I still wrestle with harsh criticisms in my mind and obsessive perfection compulsions that often blow out my own flame. We must be willing and careful to encourage little ones to discover their unique design. The best parenting efforts to achieve certain behaviors or success may cripple the very thing that the child is created to do.

Encourage your child’s creativity. All of us respond to beauty, color, light and life. Each child possesses their own unique expression of life is in this world. If that flame is prematurely snuffed out, that unique creative voice will never be heard.
Can humanity bear such a loss?

-Krystal J F Hart