Monday, October 17, 2016

#sistersofinfluence: Lindsay Gilmore

Today I have the privilege of introducing you to my friend Lindsay Gilmore. She and I worked together at a nature camp the summer after freshman year of college. Read: we were babies. She has an infectious smile and a heart of gold; she spreads joy where she goes and loves others well. I was a camp counselor, she was a lifeguard, and it was one summer to remember! Lindsay and I both attended UGA, where we had mutual friends and would sometimes randomly see each other on campus. We've kept up a little through social media, and I reached out to her to be a part of this series because she is doing incredible things, peeps. Lindsay is an amazing artist; she truly has a gift. She and her husband Beau live in Oregon, so obvi I am green with envy at every beautiful nature pic she posts. But for real, y'all, you are going to love her and be so encouraged by her story. Without further adieu, Lindsay Gilmore, folks. 


Tell us about yourself. Who are you?


Hi, I’m Lindsay! “Who are you” is a surprisingly difficult question to answer, but if I were to try to sum it up, mission-statement-style, I would say that I’m a wife, daughter, sister and friend seeking to create and celebrate beauty in the world.


I grew up in Roswell, Georgia, met my husband Beau at UGA, followed him to Charlottesville, Virginia for his medical school and most recently to Portland, Oregon for his pediatrics residency. We feel fortunate to have lived in so many incredible places and to have met and learned from so many wonderful people along the way.


Career-wise, I hit the jackpot and found the greatest first job working for a creative agency called Journey Group in Charlottesville. I wore many hats there starting in administration, account management, and then working into more of a graphic design role. Drawing and painting have always been passions of mine and around three years ago, I began drawing portraits and pet portraits for friends. Since January of this year, I feel so grateful to say that that side-gig has become my full time job. I spend most of my days in my PJs (#workfromhomelife) drawing pictures, trying my best to run and grow a business, and learning a whole heck-of-a-lot along the way.


Oh, and my dog Walter is my best friend.


How did you come to know the Lord?


It’s a really neat story. I had a lot of exposure to Christianity from a young age (going to church here and there and on holidays, had a lot of Christian friends because let’s be honest, I’ve always been a goody-goody, etc.), but there was a very clear moment when I decided that I would have an actual relationship with the Lord. I had been going through a particularly low self-esteem period towards the end of my senior year in high school, and I recalled my Christian friends talking about having “quiet times”. Essentially, they would sit and spend time in the word, praying and talking to Jesus. I was feeling particularly desperate, so I sat down with a journal and poured my heart out about all of the insecurities that I had. The very next morning, I woke up to an email from someone I had never met. It went something like this…


“This is weird, I know. I’ve never met you in person before, but I know you through a mutual friend. And I just felt the Lord put it on my heart to tell you that you are worthy.”


The email went on to speak directly against those insecurities that I had prayed about the night before. After that, I knew with certainty that God was real and that he loved me.




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


Growing up, a lot of my friends and I were so similar. White, upper middle class, over-achieving Christians from the metro Atlanta area. And I love them dearly and learned so much from them during my time in school. But ever since then, most of the new friends we’ve met in Charlottesville and now Portland have been largely from Beau’s medical community. They come from all different races, religions and backgrounds and have completely turned my comfortable world upside down in the very best way. So to me, being a woman of influence where I am now has meant doing a lot of listening and being challenged by all of these wonderful people in my life...old friends and new friends alike. And in return, I’m honestly just trying my best to break down the often negative stereotype of being a Christian amongst all of my non-Christian friends. To show them that we aren’t always judgmental. That we care about social justice. That we aren’t perfect and that we make mistakes and that ultimately, our goal should be to spend our lives loving people well. Because He first loved us.



How does the Lord allow you to shine His light through your artwork?


I’m often tempted to think that the work that I do is frivolous and unnecessary – that I’m just creating material things and not actually spending my time directly helping people. It’s especially tempting to think those things when you have a husband who spends his days saving babies, but that’s another conversation for another day.


Anyway, I’ve learned that this way of thinking is a lie. There can ALWAYS be ways to shine His light through your work, whatever line of work that it may be. You just have to look for the opportunities.


For me, I think it has been about building relationships with my customers and going the extra mile to treat them with kindness and respect. Typically, people order my custom pieces as gifts. So to be able to email back and forth with my customers, ask about the gift, who it’s for, why it’s meaningful, etc., has been really special. I always try to make people feel cared for and appreciated throughout and sometimes even beyond their experience ordering artwork. A few friendships have even come out of it.


Another way has been through something I call the “Celebration Series” on my blog. The heart behind the series is to celebrate and give a platform to people in my life that I admire. To give them encouragement that the work that they’re doing in the world matters and to provide a place for them to be recognized. Most of the people that I ask to be interviewed respond with “Why me?!”, and to be able to answer that question and give affirmation has been so life-giving and meaningful.


I believe that God has given all of us unique abilities and giftings. No matter how frivolous those giftings may seem at times, when we offer them to others it is always a powerful gesture.




What is the best piece of marriage advice you've been given?


Communicate! Don’t be afraid to tell each other what you need and be willing to listen to constructive feedback without getting defensive.


Another thing I heard recently that I’ve been trying to incorporate is to say “thank you” instead of “sorry”. So for example, I’d say “thank you for waiting” instead of “sorry I’m late”. It rearranges the statement from being about my own failings to instead being about thankfulness for the grace that Beau gives me. It’s a small change of perspective that has made a big difference for me!


What is your favorite verse or passage of Scripture?


I’m one of those people that says that everything is my favorite. Ha. But my current favorite is Joshua 1:9, which says "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” It’s a verse that I have clung to since our move to Portland and my recent career change. It gives me a lot of comfort.




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


I read East of Eden by John Steinbeck last summer and it was life-changing. My biggest takeaway was the following quote about the Hebrew word, timshel:


"The American Standard translation orders men to triumph over sin, and you can call sin ignorance. The King James translation makes a promise in ‘Thou shalt,’ meaning that men will surely triumph over sin. But the Hebrew word, the word timshel—‘Thou mayest’— that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if ‘Thou mayest’—it is also true that ‘Thou mayest not.’ Don’t you see?” ‘Thou mayest’! Why, that makes a man great, that gives him stature with the gods, for in his weakness and his filth and his murder of his brother he has still the great choice. He can choose his course and fight it through and win.”


It may not make too much sense out of context, but I take it to mean that our lives matter and that we have been given choice and free will. Our words and actions have meaning and impact, so we should use them to love people well and fulfill God’s purpose for our lives.


And last but not least: coffee or tea?


Definitely coffee! I never drank it until after college, but then we moved to Portland and suddenly turned into coffee snobs. Just trying to fit in. :)

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