Monday, February 8, 2016

#sistersofinfluence: Allie Beck

Friends, today I get to introduce to one amazing woman. Allie Beck and I met back in college in a Bible study led by our pastor's wife at Watkinsville First Baptist Church and became fast friends. I love her passion for life, her creativity, and her generous spirit. She's a kind, giving, and fun-loving soul, and I know you'll love her!

Tell us about yourself. Who are you?

Hi! I'm Allie (and it's not short for anything). I only say that because my teachers always called me Allison, and being a teacher I now know how big of a mistake that can be! I was Georgia raised and am currently Chicago based.  I love the city; it's rejuvenating and lively. I get to rub elbows with the greatest people. However, I'm proud to be a Georgia Bulldog! I get the privilege of teaching Special Education at a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)  high school while finishing my master’s in education. I'm an art lover through and through. God created me to create; whether by creating lessons, crafts, or painting- it's all a joy to me to work with my hands and with people.

How did you come to know the Lord?

I came to know the Lord when I was six years old. I had grown up in a small Baptist church and just grew to know the Lord as truth at that young age by confessing Jesus as my only Savior. I still remember my mom telling me that God and His angels were throwing a party at my decision; maybe devoid of balloons and candles like I imagined at that age, but still a celebration of Christ! Through the years I made decisions to be involved in the church and pursue a relationship through daily devotions and continual prayer. God has showed His continual and  relentless pursuit of me! It's not been an easy road, but I'm glad to have such a Savior that is the strength of my heart and by my side every step.

What do you think it means to be a person of influence right where you are?

I think being a person of influence is a decision. God has given me a heart for His people, whether through mission work in Thailand, serving my family, leading a Bible study, or teaching in an inner city school. Influence is something that I desire, and I think most people do. However, I know that the greatest influence comes when I'm working for the kingdom. God loves people, so I think the greatest investment is in humanity.

How does the Lord use teaching to help you understand Him more?

Every time I teach I think to myself, “Wow I never knew that I knew that!” It keeps you on your toes! I've taught art, biology, the Bible and English over the years. The more I teach, the more I realize it's not always about the content on a given day; sometimes lessons are learned slowly over months or years. This realization had shown me God's  unmatched patience and persistence with me.

How does the Lord allow you to use art to bring Him glory?

Gosh, every time I make something the world grows silent. It's like I'm having a conversation with the painting or the clay or the wood. I'm able to relax and feel akin to God's creative mind. He is the great creator after all and calls us His masterpiece! It's amazing to think that I can feel the same sense of wonder that I felt as a kid when I paint. I may not ever share that work with anyone else, but it's creating for the sake of the experience. Just as in worship, God teaches me things when I'm working on a project. I see each work of art as a story or opportunity to share! I'm always shy to sell work because I'm a perfectionist, but my friend Amanda bought an abstract "Life Lines" series painting last spring. She said that God has taught her things when doing her devotions and looking at the work. The way painting looks disorganized but then somehow comes together has been a picture for her life this year that God is sovereign in working all things in ways that don't always make sense. Life lines has been a motif in my drawings and paintings. I think it represents the marks that we make on each other and how life is a continuous chance to make those marks.

What is your favorite verse or passage of Scripture?

I always cry when I read Psalm 139. Knowing that He holds our every moment and that He knit us together is affirmation that we are his masterpiece. He doesn't leave us to walk through life alone.

What is one truth you want others to remember and cling to?

Happiness is not the absence of challenge.

And last but not least: coffee or tea?

Hard question. First instinct, coffee. Always coffee.

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