I can hear it now… “What in the heck is a frontispiece?”  I can explain.  It is an illustration facing the title page or first page of a book.  There, that wasn’t so bad, was it?  Many of us have now learned a new word!

This is a pastel I painted of myself in my freshman year of college.  I was eighteen years old, and had not been saved by the grace of God.   As a matter of fact, I grew up atheist because my parents were atheists.  But God had His plans for me, and He wanted me to know He was really there.  When I was sixteen or seventeen, still in high school, I had a dream.  It was one of those dreams one instinctively knows is more than just a dream.  It was in the dark of night when the heavens opened, and there, I beheld a huge chorus of what I presumed were angels, singing.  Their robes were so blindingly white and shining, with sun rays coming out from all around them, yet the room was still dark.  None of it hurt my eyes in its brightness, so I kept on looking in wonder.  Their voices rose in crescendos in songs of praise.  The sound was indescribably beautiful in its melody, totally unearthly.  I was mesmerized.  I knew they had to be praising God.  It was quite an experience to glimpse something so other-worldly!  I don’t know how long it lasted, but the memory of it was strong with me when I awoke in the morning.  I asked my father about it.  He poo-pooed it, saying everybody has stupid dreams like that sometimes, and to forget about it because it was just a dream, nothing more.  I never forget that dream, though…

Fast forward a few years to the scene in my dorm room.  My roommates were holding a small table lamp, minus the shade, in an otherwise darkened room.  They took a black and white Polaroid picture of me.  What was I doing?  I don’t know.  Just clowning around.  But I painted it, and I remember thinking then that it looked like I was praising something.  Little did I know that ten years later I would be praising the same God whom the angels were praising in my long-ago dream.

All these years later, as I contemplated what I might want to use for my frontispiece, I ran across a box of very old drawings spanning from the first grade to college and beyond.  They were all I had left from those early years, and as I leafed through them, I came across a sketch pad with this little pastel of me inside.  I didn’t give it much thought except to remember the circumstances under which I had done it.  A few days later, however, as I was sitting in the audience of our church during an Easter community choir event, it seemed God was really impressing upon me to use that picture.  It makes sense.  That was me then, before knowing Christ, but deep down, knowing there was “Something” out there.  And this is me now, so many years later, doing what God has called me to do.  And I’m praising Him for everything, the good, the bad and the ugly, because they are what brought me to my defining moments.  There is so much of me in this book, both before and after knowing Christ, just like the women I’ve painted, so why not join them?  I’m in the front of the book, in the beginning, just starting my journey, and what a journey it’s been!