“I keep posting entries because I want to bless Jesus in every way I can for His miraculous mercy… it is my prayer that my photos and words serve and glorify Him.”
Have you ever stepped outside on an ordinary day, only to find yourself in complete awe of the beauty surrounding you? If so, then amateur photographer and inspirational writer Natalie Scarberry might just be a kindred spirit.
Natalie began paying special attention to the amazing display of God’s glory that she was finding each day in her flower gardens in 2001, after retiring from 31 years of teaching. These daily scenes were so breathtaking, that Natalie was inspired to purchase a digital camera in order to capture these moments of worship.
“About that same time I started journaling snippets about my renewed faith journey, my garden, and the things I was observing in the natural world,” recalls Natalie. “Eventually I bought a bigger, better digital camera and began putting my photos and written musings together so I could share them with friends and family via email. Then, with their encouragement under my belt, I took another step and launched my blog.”
Natalie’s blog, Sacred Touches, gives this former teacher an avenue for sharing her daily photos and devotional thoughts. No sooner had Natalie launched this new project, however, when tragedy struck her life.
“Shortly after I started my blog I had a stroke, and to save my life a surgeon had to remove two clots from by brain,” Natalie explains. “As a result I am now not only still alive, but the Lord guided his hands so that the artery walls were not damaged during the procedure. The Lord then blessed me even further because I have no residual physical or mental deficiencies from the stroke or the surgery. So it was that after a brief period, I was able to begin writing on my blog again. Now even though there are days when I ponder whether anyone really wants to see my photos and/or read what I have to say, I keep posting entries because I want to bless Jesus in every way I can for His miraculous mercy and the new life He has granted me. It is my prayer that my photos and words serve and glorify Him and bless in some way all who see and read them.”
Though she started after retirement, becoming a Christian photographer and writer was not a new idea for Natalie. “I always wanted to be a writer and/or an artist,” she shares. “And eventually, I perceived that whatever talent I possess to that end was a way to serve the Lord and sow Kingdom seeds through my words and photographs.”
Artists often wonder where to search for inspiration, but inspiration is something that Natalie finds all around her. “During church services, I make notes of things – either words spoken or lyrics as we sing that spark ideas,” she says. “I do the same when I’m listening to the radio or reading. I get ideas when I’m out taking pictures. Sometimes I even get ideas from just sitting and looking out at my yard or working in the flower beds or watching the wildlife that comes to my yard or on the road while we’re going somewhere. Then I build around that spark, the idea that is often generated from those experiences. The Lord always seems to have a way of dropping ideas into my thoughts and I go from there.”
Along with drawing inspiration from daily experiences, Natalie also enjoys following the work of fellow artists. “There are lots of musicians, writers, and fellow bloggers that I admire,” she muses. “One of my favorite books of all time was written by J. Philip Newell and is called The Book of Creation. Some other writers I like are C.S. Lewis, James Dobson, Billy Graham, Rick Warren, Max Lucado, Sarah Young, and the list goes on and on. Some recording artists and groups I like are: Amy Grant, Stephen Curtis Chapman, Chris Tomlin, Michael W. Smith, Mercy Me, Phillips Craig and Dean, Selah, Nicole Sponberg, etc. Some bloggers that I like are Julie Cooper, Susan Irene Fox, David Welford, Wendy L. MacDonald, and others…”
When asked if she felt her Christian faith played an important role in her work as an artist, Natalie’s response was enthusiastic. “It has everything to do with it! I do what I do for the glory of God and, as I said before, to plant seeds in the hearts and minds of those who have yet to come to Christ. And always, always to praise Him and thank Him!!!”
Natalie is also convinced that art has the power to change people’s lives. “The Lord is the Master Artist Himself, and we are made in His image. How could His art and the artwork of human hands inspired by Him not change lives?” she asks.
Though many lives have been touched by her photos and inspirational writings, Natalie has never sold her work. “I’ve chosen not to take money or awards for my work,” she explains. “I do what I do to honor the Lord and bring glory to Him, not me. I have created small books, calendars, greeting cards and such, but I have always given them away as gifts!”
Natalie has now spent many years listening for the Lord’s still, small voice and allowing this to be reflected in her artistic endeavors. When asked what advice she might have for other Christian artists, she left us with this: “Listen to your heart, listen to the Lord, ask Him to lead you in the way you should go, and pray. Over the last year, I’ve started asking the Holy Spirit to prompt me about anything that I should change before I post my entries every day.”
Though she has “graduated” out of the classroom, Natalie has found an entirely new audience to bless with the talents the Lord has given her. She has built a blogging ministry to be proud of, and to think… it all started by simply stepping outside and marveling at what the Lord has done.
“The Lord is the Master Artist Himself…how could artwork…inspired by Him not change lives?”
Are you a Christian artist or writer that would like to be featured as part of my “Christian Artist Series?” Simply send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org for a brief list of interview questions today!