Much of the inspiration for my paintings has come from the challenges I witnessed our children endure. This painting, entitled Tabitha Arise, is one such painting. Our precious daughter Heather typifies Tabitha. She has had multiple reconstructive surgeries to her back due to having cancer as a child. Many have witnessed her great desire to serve the Lord, and offer truly Christ-like service despite her lifelong challenges. Heather has received many miracles in her life. After a particularly difficult and life threatening event, I received the inspiration for this painting.
Heather’s medical challenges were the catalyst for my desire to communicate my testimony about miracles, redemption, and the overwhelming love the Savior has for each of us. King Benjamin tells us “Salvation was, and is, to come, in and through the atoning blood of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent (Mosiah 3:18). Paul asserts that Christ “hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2nd Timothy 1:10).
President Thomas S. Monson asked: “Are these sacred and moving accounts recorded only for our uplift and enlightenment? Can we not apply such mighty lessons to our daily lives?” (Oct. 1989). With that in mind, let’s examine the scriptural account of Tabitha.
Tabitha was a disciple who dwelt at Joppa, on the coast of Israel. It is recorded in Acts that “there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, this woman was full of good works and alms deeds which she did” (Acts 9:36) Tabitha demonstrated her faith by her works. “And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber.” Hearing that Peter was a short distance away, they sent for him. “When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Tabitha made, while she was with them: Acts 9:37-39 She was mourned by those who knew of her charity. One of her good works was that of sewing clothes for the poor, this was a sea faring community, and many were left fatherless because of tragedies at sea.
“When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping and shewing the coats and garments which Tabitha made, while she was with them” She was mourned by those who knew of her charity.
Then Peter put them forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha arise. And she opened her eyes; and when she saw Peter, she sat up” Acts 9:40 (A side note; the model for Peter’s arm and hand was my husband, Dave).
Miracles are produced by the great faith of those who receive their benefits. How many times did Jesus say, “Thy faith hath made thee whole” Miracles are also granted through the prayers and faith of others. Faith precedes miracles, and faithfulness also precedes them. Peter “gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive: Acts 9: 41 Peter through the power of the Priesthood gave Tabitha back to those faithful people who loved her, to those she had faithfully served. This was not only a presentation testifying to the power of God, his infinite love, grace, and tender mercies to all those who love the Lord.