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“Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room” (Mark 2: 2, NLT).
Over the course of painting for 20 years, I’ve often been asked why I paint angels. I paint angels because I want to create something that reflects my faith. I believe in angels, and I believe that God places not only guardian angels but also a host of angels around us. I have grown to pray not just for a guardian angel for each of my children, but for a whole host of warring angels to surround them and protect them all the days of their lives!
Early on in my painting career—and a few months after my first book “Angels in Our Midst” was released—a young woman strolled into my studio. Kate, we’ll call her, appeared to be in her 30’s or 40’s and had just moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, in search of a new home. She had a story to share and was eager to tell it.
As I welcomed her into my messy studio filled with angel paintings and splatters of wet paint seemingly everywhere, she shared about a time when she was being prepped for surgery. One of the nurses had looked at her and said, “Wow, there are a lot of angels in this room!” She then slipped under anesthesia.
Later, when she woke up, Kate remembered the nurse’s comment and mentioned it to her mother. Her mother then went into detail about when Kate was born. As they were leaving the hospital, she made a stop at the little chapel and prayed that God would surround her daughter with His angels. Tears streamed down Kate’s face as she heard this story of her own birth. Kate tucked away that message and went about her life.
Several years later, moving to a new city and looking for a new home in Charlotte, Kate was touring a lovely house. As the realtor showed her around, a seven-year-old girl who lived in the house sat at the kitchen table drawing. Kate was getting ready to leave, and just as she was saying her goodbyes, the girl ran to her and gave her the drawing she had been working on. Amazed, Kate looked at the paper and then at the girl. The girl had drawn a stick figure of a person in the center of the page with angels all around.
On the top of the page, she had written, “I see angels surrounding you.” There in my studio Kate pulled out the drawing to show me as tears filled both our eyes. Wow, oh wow, is all I could think. I paint angels almost every day, and yet this simple drawing struck me deep in my soul.
Throughout Kate’s life, God used a simple but powerful prayer from her mother over her as a newborn—that God would surround her with angels. Years later, a comment from a nurse in an operating room, and then a drawing from a little child, would continue to convey His powerful message: I see.
Sometimes we forget that we serve a God who sees everything about us. He sees our pains, our joys, our failures and our successes. He sees, and He will go before us today and always.
Don’t just pray for a guardian angel; pray for a host of warring angels around each and every situation in life, over your children, over your marriage, over your job and the people you serve.
Excerpted from “Entertaining Angels: True Stories and Art Inspired by Divine Encounters” by Anne Neilson. Copyright © 2022 by Anne Neilson. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson.
Anne Neilson is well known for her Ethereal Angel Series, which are inspiring reflections of her faith and recognized for their stunning use of color. In response to demand for more access to her acclaimed angel paintings, Neilson published two coffee table books and launched Anne Neilson Home, a growing collection of luxury home products, including candles, note cards, Scripture cards, prints and journals. Neilson also owns Anne Neilson Fine Art, a gallery located in Charlotte, North Carolina. Representing more than 50 talented artists from across the world, the gallery is dedicated to being a lighthouse in Charlotte and beyond, illuminating the work of emerging and established artists. Learn more about Anne, her artwork, and Anne Neilson Home products at anneneilsonhome.com.