Unique Ministries Verbalizing the Gospel

A DEVASTATING LOSS, A BOLDER FAITH

I am a New Yorker, a painter, a wife, a soon-to-be mother and a sister who recently lost a sibling. Growing up, I was the youngest of five in my strong Italian-American family. We lost our brother, Matt, in the summer of 2015 to addiction. He was forty-eight. When I think of Matt, I tell everyone he was the smartest of us all, but more importantly he was loving, kind, caring and really funny. During his funeral, friends from everywhere flocked to comfort our family. They told of how his humor and love impacted their lives in such positive ways. It’s sad to think of someone with twenty years of addiction, because you start to think he didn’t get to finish his purpose, but he did. He impacted me and others in ways that weren’t always obvious. Because of Matt, I started searching for a different way of life. I found some answers when I met my loving, gracious, healing and accepting Savior, who offered hope and redemption. When I found this incredible hope, I shared it with Matty. Over the years, I would talk to him about God’s love and pray for him unceasingly. Miraculously in 2001, Matty accepted Jesus into his heart while we were praying together. He wasn’t able to overcome his addictions, but I know now without a doubt he is with Jesus. After he died, I had a series of experiences and signs that he was finally accepting and enjoying God’s love. I know it sounds strange but it came in the shape of a heart. Everywhere I turned, I saw this symbol that Matt was with Jesus. It was in the clouds, rocks, trees, even in my lattes. It was as if God was telling me, Matt is OK. Although it seems simple and foundational, it was something I needed to anchor my own faith. I now receive God’s love more fully. “God’s love” is not just a rote phrase I repeat anymore, I get to receive it and live it out; especially in the form of my art. I am bolder than ever with what I paint and sell, and I’m not embarrassed to host shows that evoke faith. I even held a show at my local Starbucks where each piece was inspired by Christ’s love. Now, if anyone asks me the meaning behind my art, I get to share Jesus. I couldn’t have done this without Matt.

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