It is with great pleasure, that I ( Candice) get to present to you Regina Hernandez, one of ICFTS’ team members, sisters in Christ, and fellow creative!
Be blessed by her testimony and the view of her creative path laid out for her by Christ.
By Regina Hernandez
Starting at a very young age, people around me recognized how creative I was. I remember adults often being impressed with the lens in which I could see certain circumstances or perceive different ideas. I was encouraged to explore my artistic side from an early age, being gifted art-sets and watercolor palettes or just simply doing crafts with my mom.
I had an encounter when I was about six or seven years old where someone asked me “What do you want to be when you grow up?” as most adults typically ask little ones. I remember thinking for a bit and going through the usual list in my head “Teacher? No… Police officer? Not really….” And while all of them are noble in their own right and the typical “heroes” most munchkins look up to in their childhood, none of it resonated in my heart, and I knew that.
After a few moments of silence, I finally said, “I don’t know, but I’m creative. God made me to be really creative, so I will probably do something where I can use my creativity.” I remember them being a little shocked and asking my parents if they had discussed that with me. My parents were as equally shocked. Honestly, I don’t really know where such a deep answer came from, but I just knew deep down that my path in life was different.
I cannot remember if anyone told me in my early years this was a gift from the Lord, but I knew it. I do not recall any defining conversations that highlighted this aspect of my life, but from an early age, I knew I was blessed by Him with this creativity and somehow, it would be used throughout my life.
For a long time, I would express myself anywhere and everywhere. I would draw on my walls (which my parents loved), create dances to songs on the radio, build all kinds of objects out of my mega blocks, made clothes for my Barbies out of old socks, created sculptures out of wire, wrote stories about my pets… anywhere I could manage to insert my own flare of creativity, I would do it.
However, things started to shift when I started to realize I didn’t really “fit in.” Around the fourth grade, kids started to pick on me. For some reason, I was an easy target. I was just “different” to most everyone around me. No one could really tell me why or how, I just was.
My work was often praised and appreciated by teachers, but my peers really didn’t favor me in any aspect. By the time I reached middle school, bullying reached a whole new low. That was also about the time my home life started to have its own drama.
I no longer felt I had space to be creative.
At home, I was focused on either trying to be a “people pleaser” to my parents or completely rebellious. (Unfortunately, I probably spent more time on the later than the former).
At school, it was all about performance and making sure we were ready for those awesome standardized tests. Not much room for creativity when trying to fit a specific model of achievement.…and during the “in between,” I certainly was not trying to do anything that made me stand out as any more different than whatever had already marked me as such in the eyes of my peers.
This suppression continued for years.
In High School, I was able to take a few classes that allowed a small scale of creativity like Creative Writing and Art. The issue I ran into though was my creativity was limited to the boundaries of assignments and then critiqued and graded. Since creativity is a personal expression of who you are, some of those responses from teachers would cut deep.
I know they were only trying to “help” mold students into what the educational world views as correct or proper, but its hard to not take such things so personally when you put your heart into something. Then, I felt like I was only trying to create something to fit their mold and get an A for class.
After graduation, I actually felt a little lost. I decided to wait to try college (which ended up turning into a decision to not attend college at all, a few years later), I didn’t have bullies constantly speaking a different identity over me, and I just didn’t have a clear path in life to pursue.
I moved in with a family who I grew up around to help them take care of two littles they unexpectedly welcomed into their family and for the first time in a long while, I felt a little freedom.
In this space, I really began to explore my creativity again. I started expressing my creativity in ways I had never done before. I had a roommate when living with this family and we redecorated and painted our room. I started exploring different hairstyles and colors. I picked up a digital camera for the first time. I was cooking for myself instead of my whole family for the first time and was able to try new things in the kitchen. There were just so many ways I was able to tap into my creativity.
During this season, I was lead to be part of a ministry where I experienced the Holy Spirit for the first time in a real and tangible way. I started to learn how to hear His voice. People around me were sharing words of knowledge and prophecy with me.
It was so different than anything I had ever been exposed to or experienced in my life before, but week after week and time after time, the consistent words I would hear as various people prayed over me were “queen,” “anointed,” “creative,” and “powerful.”
One night, I was having dinner with some friends I had made through being involved in this ministry. I will never forget sitting across the table from this young woman named Shay who was a guest at my friend’s dinner table. She had this incredible gift to see everything around her through a God lens.
I had seen her prophesy over people and the words of knowledge she had for people always amazed me…just how she managed to be so accurate and spot on with people she had never met before. I was captivated by her gift. While we were sitting at the table, waiting for dinner to be served, she looked at me and asked, “Regina. Do you paint?”
I explained that I enjoyed being creative and believed it was a gift, but I hadn’t painted much except in high school for assignments. She followed that with, “Hm. I just see you painting. Lots of colors. Messy. …like with your fingers.” As soon as she said it, my heart came alive.
Within a week of that conversation, I made my way to Hobby Lobby and purchased some canvases, paint brushes, and paints. I started finding time to sit with some paints and just create. It was so much fun, and it gave me life. I also began adding different materials to my creative endeavors like pastels, chalks, ink, and anything that looked colorful and fun.
A few months into exploring my creativity again, I went to dinner with some friends after a night at the ministry I was part of. This time, our pastor came along. He didn’t come out with us very often, but we always enjoyed it when he did. During the conversation, I brought up my painting, how the Lord was using it in my life to connect with me, and what an exciting experience it was.
Our pastor looked at me and said, “I want you to do that during worship.” I probably looked at him like he had three eyes and a second head growing out of his neck. He said, “I’m serious. I’ve been praying for a prophetic painter to paint during worship. Would you do that?” It was a surreal moment. I didn’t feel like I was prophetic. I had no idea what “Prophetic painting” meant, but I just had this ‘knowing’ in my spirit that I had to say yes. So, I agreed.
There is a saying “Half the battle is showing up,” and I have to say this statement has rung true for me so many times. That first night of showing up, setting up a canvas and paints, then painting in front of a group of people while worship was live felt like such an odd thing to do.
I prayed for peace and for the Lord to do whatever He was supposed to do through this. I would like to say I was faithful to do this every week, but I wasn’t. I painted every other week or every few weeks. It was such a new concept to me and felt a bit uncomfortable. As this experience would show me, and as I would continue to learn in life through various events: growth in your relationship with Jesus isn’t comfortable. It took a few weeks of obedience in doing this until the Lord really showed me what was happening.
I will never forget the first night someone walked up to me after service while I was putting something away and asked, “Why did you paint that?” I could see a bit of amazement in their eyes mixed with fear. They followed up with, “Like…how do you come up with what you are going to paint?” I felt like my answer was lackluster, but explained, “I usually get some type of vision during worship and paint whatever I see.”
They proceeded to tell me with tear filled eyes what they saw in my painting and how it basically lined up with everything the Lord was doing in their life right then. In that moment, not only did the Lord minister to their heart and meet them where they were, He showed me I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing… Prophetic Painting. I gladly handed them the canvas and told them to take it home.
That happened about ten years ago. Since then, I have been on a journey of accepting opportunities to explore creativity and use it for His kingdom mixed with years of fighting for my life, my sanity, and my identity. I’m excited to say the Lord has been using this gift of creativity as an avenue to bring healing into my own life.
I am creative because He is Creator and lives inside of me, and just as my creativity reaches the heart of others, HIS creativity is reaching into the depths of my heart to break off old and create new.
My story is still being written, and I am still learning so much. I look forward to sharing more about my most recent journey in the blogs to come. He is a magnificent God with incredible ways, and the stories I have to share with you are nothing less.
My hope through sharing my own journey is to help others embrace their God-given identity and find their own freedom because true freedom is the most beautiful space to operate from.
***All photos are of prophetic art I have created over the last few months during worship at my home church, Upper Room***