It’s been a while since most of you have heard from me, and to be completely transparent, that’s intentional.
God will lead each one of us down some much needed roads in life so that those experiences may reveal things to us. These things are necessary for our growth and development and in my case that is true as well. The last thing many of you saw from me was a piece done in collaboration with Blinedot on a small storefront in Seattle. It was sometime mid April right after the kickoff of the widespread pandemic shutdowns. It seemed as though a dark cloud of fear was cast over the entire earth. Maybe that fear was tangible for some, yet as believers, we both knew better. It was clear Bline received revelation from the word and drawing from Romans 5:5, the words he had me put on the front of those boards read, “Hope is not cancelled”.
Artistically, that was far from my best work. In fact, I didn't even care about putting in effort. At the time it was just an excuse to be with people. I can see differently now that’s not what it was about. It was about God using someone, anyone for that matter, in that situation to let anyone know, or any people who would listen to Him know that He was there. In the midst of the darkness, He was speaking, He was moving. He was, He is and He will forever be our ONLY hope. On that day hope was not even close to being cancelled, nor could it ever be, in that moment hope was a seed.
After spending that day in Seattle it became very clear what God was calling me to do. He wanted me to press into him. He was to have me shut off the things of this world and press harder, press further and deeper in to my faith. Years ago, after I fully gave my life to the Lord, the first piece of scripture I memorized was Proverbs 4:7. Wisdom is the principle thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. It was even more years down the road that I made the connection with another verse later in the same chapter. It was one of those revelation moments that just goes off inside you like an explosion. It was also one of those “duh” moments. I’d been seeking and asking where do we get wisdom? Where do we get understanding? “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.” BOOM, Proverbs 4:20. Oh, and faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Duh.. Romans 10:17 …And so that is what I sunk my teeth into Gods Word, the Bible. My sole intention was set on getting myself out of the way and letting Jesus run the show completely. What I discovered was that if you genuinely put your heart into it, set the conditions for it in your heart and are truly connected in a deep and abiding love relationship with your God, it is more than astonishing what He’ll do in your life.
To be honest, this last season has been one of the best periods of time in my life. Profound and life altering events took place. Divine Healing and Restoration, exciting Reformation and Revival! Explosive growth in my family life, in my work life, in my finances, in my health, and in my mental health! Glory be to God! So here’s the funny part… if you are to look at it from the outside though, possibly from your perspective or even for some of those close to me, it may not even look all that different. Yet, there is so much that has happened to me in such a relatively short period of time that it is so difficult to condense and effectively communicate. Honestly, it has been frustrating at times to find my voice and somehow testify to the world of all the good taking place in my life. One thing is for certain though and that is the person you see on the outside may look practically the same but the man on the inside is a whole new being entirely.
Something that did come to light during this period of both self and state imposed exile from humanity was how I viewed my “brand” identity. I was able to view myself in an entirely new dimension. In the world of graffiti when you as an artist develop a moniker for yourself, the identity will eventually take on a life of it’s own and it becomes very easy to get lost in it all. Having been in the graffiti world for two thirds of my life, it was really confusing for me at times to separate the two. That world was so integrated into my being. Back in 2014 when I “got” the idea for the Jay Michael brand it seemed really fitting. I thought, well my real name starts with a J, my graffiti name starts with a J and almost everyone I know simply calls me J. Even more odd, it wasn’t ever something I thought deeply on as to how I felt about the matter. I sort of just ran with it. As time went on and I began thinking back on numerous conversations with people during events or art shows, one commonality in all conversations began to really disturbed me. I found myself explaining to people the story I just explained here to you. What came to bother me the most was that it wasn’t me. I allowed this thing, something that had taken on a life of its own, to over take me and it worked to make me into something that I wasn’t. After a while it almost felt as though I had no say in it at all. It reminded me of being addicted to drugs. It made me feel sick inside.
As God frequently does though, He will turn things that were meant for our destruction into the foundation blocks for our edification. Drawing inspiration from my on going counseling I was able to explore differing perspectives of myself and I began to see things differently. Now before I continue, it is hard for me to leave this part out or to even skip over one of the most profound moments of my life… so I won’t. I had a divine appointment with the King of Kings himself. In a single two hour life span integration therapy session I was healed instantly of ALL symptoms of PTSD that I had been suffering with over the last 18 years of my life. It was more life changing than you could ever comprehend and if you have read this far then you can see why this is not the time to really go into that story. So after my appointment it took a couple months to get my bearings back on life and work on what my next mission was going to be. The most important thing now is to testify about my experience and develop my voice for shouting it! Just before the new year, I began writing on my first book titled, “The War for my Soul”. I am super excited about this book! I have been speaking for years about writing a book and it is certainly a mighty one to take on as my first. It has been super super hard to face some very dark memories every time I write but it is so therapeutic and encouraging. For the first time, and with the right platform, I feel like I can use “my voice” to glorify God for the gift of life He has given to me. My hope is that this book will help others and I believe it will. The second lesser but relevant thing that has happened for me is the alignment and connection with what I feel to be my true self. I want to be known for just being me, Jared Michael. I will continue to use my artistic platform to spread to the Word as I have been doing for some time now. Even more so, what I want for others is to come to know the love that passes all knowledge. I want others to know a love so deep and a peace so abnormal to most of us, it’s something that I have only just scratched the surface of seeing myself.
This feels like a very anti-climatic ending to me but the future is still unravelling before us..