Aslan’s Girl: Portrait #11

There are times when friends endure such suffering, that the only thing I feel I can do, is draw…draw something for them to ultimately receive, but also something for me to process my own grief and compassion.  I don’t really know how to tell you the full story of this not-even-two-year-old girl, named Kate, who sometime in May, came down with a regular ole ear infection which led to something far worse within a few short weeks.  The good folks at Brenner’s Children’s Hospital tried many many things to pin point what was going wrong, as this little dear continued to worsen, her body showing the ravages of whatever disease had hold of her.  Eventually they were able to diagnose it as a rare form of a very rare disease.  I will not go into all that she has endured.  Suffice it to say, her sweet little body was taken to places none of us would ever want, wish, or entertain for even our worst enemies.  Unimaginable.

Unbelievable…she has just recently come home from her summer in the hospital.  She still needs a lot of care, but is on the improvement end of the continuum.  These friends of mine have walked and are walking a path of suffering that few of us have endured and which breaks my heart to see.  I want to make it all better, and I cannot.  I want to help, but most times those efforts seem to fall flat.  The ONE THING I can do, is uphold this family in prayer and plead for mercy on their behalf.

C.S. Lewis, the author of the beloved Narnia Chronicles, wrote stories surrounding the relationship between children and a great lion, named Aslan, a Christ-like character.  These books have been favorites of this family for many years.  Throughout the summer, I kept thinking of this precious girl in the arms of the great Lion Aslan.   There is a point in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe where Lucy asks the beavers what  Aslan is like.  She asks, “Is he safe?”  To which the beavers reply, ” ‘Course he isn’t safe, but he is good. He’s the king, I tell you.”  That phrase is both theologically rich AND confounding.  Only a family who is clinging to their Heavenly Father as they watch their little girl grow more and more sick, have any inkling what this phrase might mean.  No, he is not safe….but HE IS GOOD!

These parents do not only affirm this to be true now that their little girl is home from the hospital and is improving.  They affirmed this to be true even in the midst of huge unknowns as to what was ravaging their daughter’s health and whether or not there was any help for it.  Their affirmation was not made with a plastic smile on their faces…but rather with tears, questions, uncertainties, yet with an underlying assurance that He who brought them to that place of suffering was indeed WITH THEM and was GOOD. Not THEIR definition of good…but they were willing to humble themselves to Aslan’s idea of good, no matter what that might mean.

From an artistic standpoint, my aim was to make a portrait of Kate with Aslan in such a way that the two were one.  I like how their fur/hair (which she doesn’t have right now, but will one day!) emulate each other and blend together.  I like how the relaxed lion’s claws are still seen, but neither put away nor flexed (a hint at the whole idea of him not being safe).  I wanted her expression to be one of utter joy and comfort in his arms.  I wanted the lion’s eyes to be both strong yet compassionate.

She is indeed Aslan’s Girl…He will never leave her nor forsake her.  He is healing her and restoring joy to this family in doing so.  In this I rejoice.

0 thoughts on “Aslan’s Girl: Portrait #11

  1. nancy t says:

    What a lovely, touching drawing, beautifully depicting strength, goodness and love. I’m so happy this little girl is recovering – for her, her parents, and all who love them. nancy

  2. Patsy says:

    Jennifer, Your post this morning gave such comfort to me and 6 of my college friends that I forwarded it to. One of our number has been ravaged by cancer. This latest round of chemo has been especially difficult and she is suffering with the results of that poison. She was to have a scan yesterday and this morning we had had no word from her about the results. And then your post came and gave me and my friends the comfort we needed. And we just got word that her scan was clear. I know she is with that precious Kate in Aslan’s care. Thank you so much.

  3. delph says:

    This a powerful drawing and story. I’m awed by the strength of the parents, here. Your drawing is beautiful, the little girl shines with joy and trust, like she wants to tell us she’s fine. The lion is very impressive (my first thought before reading was that he didn’t look safe at all!) I pray for Kate, too.

  4. Melanie Masi says:

    You captured EXACTLY what He intended, that is your gift, to show us Him thru your eyes. And thru it all, He was with Kate. When I saw her in her hospital bed sleeping peacefully, I KNEW He was with her, perhaps playing in fields of green, daisies, daffodils or tulips, but I KNEW He was with her and as I left the hospital room I prayed (ever so selfishly) but please God, let her come back to us and show us your glory. Obviously He has a plan… Thank you Jennifer for sharing, again and again He shows us His glory and when you humbly listen to His lead…. wellllll, we are giving Him all the glory and Jen, you are an excellent writer as well.

  5. Alissa says:

    Beautiful and so emotional. The story you tell is so heart wrenching. But the gift of your art as an expression is lovely. There is pure joy in this wonderful drawing.

  6. Raena says:

    This was a very moving post. My heart ached at the story, but then my eyes watered seeing this beautiful piece that you’ve done for them!

  7. Dan says:

    So moving. I so feel for Kate, and you, and your family. I have endured something similar and it brings it all back- the uncertainty, the roller coaster ride, and that phrase “we are not out of the woods yet.” I am glad Kate seems to be out of the woods and on her way to recovery. The drawing you made is stunningly beautiful and a treasure. So valuable.

  8. Janene says:

    Thank you for the encouraging post, and the beautifully rendered picture of Aslan and Kate. Your drawing and writing communicates beautiful truths very well. Aslan is not safe but he can be trusted.

  9. Crystal Neal says:

    No he’s not safe, but he is good!!!!! I have chills looking at the portrait of Kate and Aslan, just like I do when I look at Tom’s portrait. Your God given talent is incredible. Thankyou for sharing it with us.

  10. Deborah says:

    Oh Jennifer! I cannot express how touching this post is – how exquisite this drawing is. You’ve absolutely nailed the message you wanted to send here. It brought me to tears before I even read the story. My heart breaks and yet is comforted because I know that Aslan (Jesus Christ) is with this sweet little girl and her family and what a testimony they’ll all have of his tender love and care one day. She is Aslan’s girl – incredible drawing. Incredible…Only one who knows Aslan personally could have captured this so exquisitely!

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