My Art Therapy Epiphany

By Nancy Virden (c)2022

The first time I experienced art therapy was in a hospital in 2011. The floor’s patients gathered around a long table as the art therapist and her aide passed out paper and chalk. We were instructed to draw whatever was on our minds.

I drew the resurrection of Lazarus. Jesus raised Lazarus of the Bible to life again after four days of being dead and buried. One week later, Jesus was crucified and buried, and three days after that also raised to life. His followers needed to realize that resurrection was possible even after four days. When the report came that Jesus was alive again, they had already seen the impossible and were better prepared to believe it.

Lazarus’ story drew my curiosity because in my then-suicidal mindset I wondered how he felt about being asked to live longer. He had already escaped, hadn’t he? Was he glad for a second chance? What an oddity he must have been for the rest of his life at the market, while conducting business, even walking down the street – “Yes, I was dead. Four days. Jesus called my name. Sure, no problem.” – repeat. Numerous questions from all kinds of people must have been endless.

I drew him laying on a stone slab such as they used back in those days. Then I drew him rising to his feet a little at a time. Chalk gave the whole thing an eerie feel. One woman was upset thinking I was drawing ghosts. I blamed my lack of artistic talent and tried to reassure her. No, this was a real resurrection – Lazarus was coming to life again. Not as a zombie or a ghost, but as a living, breathing man.

Little did I know how this exercise was affecting me and would continue to do so. The concept of coming back to “life” after trying to end it was more than my ill mind could embrace. Misery was my companion and reason was almost absent. I felt sorry for Lazarus, not glad.

Eventually, having hung the picture on my wall at home, my mind started to clear. It took on a different meaning as a growing connection to Lazarus developed. It was as if I could relate to him. I had died on the inside and was being called back to life by the same Jesus who called Lazarus out of the tomb. It was difficult making the choice to get off my emotional stone slab and put my feet on the floor to try again. Little by little, like I had drawn Lazarus, my steps toward the light of life were painstaking and slow.

Nearly 12 years later, I am free of anguish. Purpose fills most of my days. I am glad I said yes to Jesus when he called. I am glad I walked out of the tomb of suicidal thinking. Due to his power and love, there is hope beyond what seems possible!

Dear God, please satisfy me each morning with your unfailing love, so I may sing for joy to the end of my life. Please give me gladness in proportion to my former misery! Replace the dark years with good. I need your help to survive and to learn to enjoy life. Amen


Today’s Helpful Word

John 8:12

Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

How the Difference Maker Lifts You Above Depressive Thoughts (c)2020

More on Always The Fight:


HERE IS HELP Reference pages


If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988, or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!

Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair. NOTE: Nancy is not a doctor or a mental health professional, and speaks only from personal experience and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.


Submit a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.