If You Smile

20 Apr

I recently met an incredible girl–  an incredible girl that has experienced some pretty big trials in her life, yet she walks around with a smile on her face and joy in her heart.

At the young, tender age of nine years old, Sarah lost both of her parents in a tragic car accident.  On December  24, 1996, Sarah age nine, her younger brother age three and their parents, Kevin and Mary were returning home to Mountain Home, Arkansas after spending the day with family in celebration of Christmas.  The evening ended with a horrific car accident that left Sarah in the hospital, her brother hospitalized in critical conditions and both of her parents lifeless.

Almost fifteen years later Sarah, now in her twenties, sat down with me one evening over dinner and shared her heart with me.  She was open, honest and inspiring.  She spoke of the pain and heartaches, the fears, the confusions that came as life went on and then she shared how she now realizes how fragile life really is.  Sarah has taken this trial and  allowed it to motivate her to live her life with purpose.  Her faith in God has given her the strength and grace to believe that all things happen for a purpose.  She loves life and loves helping people.

Some time after her parent’s death, Sarah heard the song “Smile” by Nat King Cole.  This song was a reminder to her that even though her heart is aching she can still have a smile on her face.

Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shining through for you
Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying?
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile
That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying?
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

Sarah wanted a painting done in remembrance of her parents.  Something that would be a reminder to her to live her life with purpose and to keep that smile on her face.

It was an honor for me to paint such a personal piece for Sarah.  Inspired by the song and Sarah’s life here is what I made.

My prayer is that, whatever your circumstance may be, you will be inspired by Sarah’s story.  Our trials can either produce perseverance or we can allow them to become excuses to give up.

Sarah, I believe with all my heart that God brings specific people into our lives at specific times for specific reasons.  I am grateful that He has caused our paths to cross.  You inspire me.  I pray that God will continue to restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you.

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”  1 Peter 5:10


7 Responses to “If You Smile”

  1. sarah miles April 20, 2011 at 9:57 pm #

    I am so thrilled to have such a beautiful and meaningful painting in my home! I’ve already placed it on the wall in my dining room :) I know it will be a very cherished piece of art for years to come in my family. I can’t thank you enough for your attention to detail and pure emotion that produced this piece!! You are an incredible person and artist. I agree that He has made our paths cross for a purpose. :) And the happy made my day also! It was a lovely surprise!

  2. Heather Rae April 20, 2011 at 11:46 pm #

    I really admire people who go through things I can’t even imagine going through and stay positive through it all! It helps me know thatIf they can do it, I certainly can too! Your painting is beautiful! Thanks for sharing :)

  3. Melissa Pennington April 21, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

    Jill, this is my favorite piece EVER that you have done. You really captured the beauty of such an inspiring story. Just lovely.

  4. Jill Denton April 22, 2011 at 1:35 am #

    Thank you all for your kind words.

    Heather, I am a firm believer that one of the fruits of our sufferings is that we can help others as they experience the same type of suffering. One two people share the same heartache they have an incredible understanding of one another.

  5. Misty April 23, 2011 at 5:24 pm #

    Absolutely took my breath away! And since I know Sarah & her family, it was more touching. I am so proud of you, jill … Xox


  1. A Smile For Me « Life is beautiful. - April 22, 2011

    […] https://insideoutjill.wordpress.com/2011/04/20/if-you-smile/ […]

  2. Don’t Be Afraid To… « life is good - September 10, 2011

    […] also painted a custom piece for me back in April.  Click here to read her blog post about the piece. While you are at it subscribe to her blog.  On her site […]

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