ENTERTAINING ANGELS True Stories and Art Inspired by Divine Encounters

What does it even mean to entertain angels unaware? I remember studying Hebrews 13:2 back in junior high and not quite grasping the concept. In midlife, the verse encourages me to see with the eyes of my soul. I imagine angels as fleshy wingless humans with a message. Is it a reminder to stay awake and not expect wisdom or truth to arrive in the usual trappings? Lord knows there are mysteries within mysteries and love comes in disguise all the time. Artist and philanthropist Anne Neilson writes about meeting such messengers. ENTERTAINING ANGELS True Stories and Art Inspired by Divine Encounters (Thomas Nelson, 2022) explores stories from contributors including Ron Hall, Sheila Walsh, and Kathie Lee Gifford.

Anne Neilson painting of angel with lamb - from ENTERTAINING ANGELS book. #christianbooks #christianartist #angelpainting
Entertaining Angels True Stories and Art Inspired by Divine Encounters

Interview With the Author of Entertaining Angels

After spending time with the book, I wanted to know more about Anne Neilson, and she was gracious enough to share her heart in this interview.

Anne Neilson angel painting in ENTERTAINING ANGELS. #christianartist #christianart
Entertaining Angels True Stories and Art Inspired by Divine Encounters

Viewing & Creating Art as a Spiritual Practice

Hello Lovely: Stories shared in ENTERTAINING ANGELS are beautifully reflective of moments when the veil between heaven and earth seems to thin. Yet it is the sacred quality of your paintings that speaks to my heart in a profoundly meditative way. In contemplative Christian language, I recognize this as Visio Divina. As I gaze at your painted sheep on page 74, I feel gently reminded of my worth, of a shepherd who notices me.

How does spending time with art deepen your own spiritual experience and journey?

ENTERTAINING ANGELS by Anne Neilson book cover
ENTERTAINING ANGELS by Anne Neilson

ANNE NEILSON: My time spent painting is very personal to me on a spiritual level. I paint to praise music and allow the Holy Spirit to move from the depths of my soul out onto the blank canvas. Over and over again, this experience is much like a worship time spent with a living GOD whose promises are like a piece of art.

Painting of angel praying with aqua and yellow - by Anne Neilson, author of ENTERTAINING ANGELS. #christianartist #angels
Entertaining Angels True Stories and Art Inspired by Divine Encounters

Anne Neilson’s Creative Process

HELLO LOVELY: I paint abstract seascapes and know precisely when a piece is complete. This level of confidence is missing from every other facet of my life!

Do you instantly sense when there is nothing left to add to one of your angel paintings? Are there periods of time where you are not inspired to paint?

Anne Neilson painting of angel holding lamb - from book ENTERTAINING ANGELS. #christianart #angelpainting

ANNE NEILSON: Most of the time I do know when the painting is complete. I always allow ample time to paint and praise…I cannot be rushed in this process. Yes, there are many times that I am not inspired to paint. And ‘inspired’ might not be the right word — maybe ‘time.’ I have to allow ‘time’ — to set aside time, to clear my thoughts and mind and the day-to-day noise.

I love to come into the studio and put the praise music on and get inspired! My husband always comments on the days I have been painting…I think I am a lot calmer — nicer!!

Angel painting with yellow by Anne Neilson, author of ENTERTAINING ANGELS. #christianart #angelpaintings

Divine Movement in Everyday Life

HELLO LOVELY: Seeing angels or divine movement in our ordinary lives can feel childish or foolish to some. What does a childlike faith look like for you?

Anne Neilson angel painting with blush pink muted colors. #angels #angelpainting
From Anne Neilson’s 100 Days of Scripture Cards

ANNE NEILSON: Just to believe. No matter what. I had such a powerful experience encountering Jesus as a child, and I write about this in my upcoming memoir THE BRUSHSTROKES OF LIFE (on sale April 2023).

I held God at arm’s length as a teenager and into my mid-twenties…but grabbing ahold of His hand and never letting go — that is the childlike faith!

Beautiful angel painting by Anne Neilson with warm grey and brown. #christianartist #angelpainting
From Anne Neilson’s Love Scripture Cards

Beauty & Art in Modern Life

HELLO LOVELY: Since beauty and art have the power to break down barriers and speak a universal language, is it more essential than ever in the 2020s?

Romans 8:28 scripture with comfort on Hello Lovely Studio. #romans8

ANNE NEILSON: Art speaks to so many people on so many levels. And, what people call ‘art’ really spoke to me back in 2003 when people were spending 100K, if not millions, on ‘shock art.’ I knew that God gave me this gift and desire as a young girl to be an artist and bring beauty in this world.

Yes — now more than ever people need to see beauty in creation, in art, in the way we speak to one another, the way we act towards one another. I had no idea that these ethereal angels would touch the lives of SO many over the course of these 20 years. Today — using the art combined with my ‘story’ and the story of others — my prayer is that His light and His love would be evident to all bringing HOPE and LOVE to a broken world!

Hebrews 13:2 scripture about entertaining angels on Hello Lovely Studio. #hebrews13

Can We Become the Angels We Long For?

HELLO LOVELY: In my own life, there is a pattern where at the end of my resources, in deep desperation, the eyes of my heart begin to see, truly see the divine appear. When I look back at these chapters, I can see that my suffering belongs.

Do you suppose that in seasons of contentment we go blind and forget our calling to show up as the angels others are praying for?

Beautiful robin fine art print by Anne Neilson #robinpainting #anneneilson
Robin fine art print by Anne Neilson

ANNE NEILSON: I think that contentment can cause us to get comfortable and not step out in faith. In my journey God does not let me stay in that comfort zone. Running three businesses, writing, painting, being a wife and a mom…there are always factors involved that would force me to keep my eyes focused on Him. Again…great stories will be revealed in THE BRUSHSTROKES OF LIFE. It is so important to not lose sight of what God is doing in the midst of all seasons of life.

Angel painting by Anne Neilson with aqua and green. #angelpaintings #christianart
From Anne Neilson’s Comfort Scripture Cards

What is Bringing This Artist Joy?

HELLO LOVELY: I’m not particularly wise, but I am very open and love to grow. As I age, I find this immensely freeing. What are you learning just now, and what brings you a sense of freedom right where you are?

Ephesians 3:20 scripture verse on Hello Lovely Studio.

ANNE NEILSON: In publishing a book [my third now and more to come] and my expectations of getting the word out there [so to speak] I am asking God – what is the lesson today? Am I truly drowning out the noise of the world and social media to listen to where He is leading me? Some days [no] I want to conquer the social media platform and count all my ‘likes’ towards glory — and then there is the pause – “Comparison is the THIEF of JOY.”

So, I regroup and take a look back at all that God has done and continues to do in my life — my painting — my businesses — my family. And that brings me joy — knowing that no matter what He sees my heart. He will do immeasurably more than I could ever ask or imagine. Ephesians 3:20. My favorite verse!

Songbird fine art print by Anne Neilson. #birdpainting #songbirds
Songbird fine art print by Anne Neilson

Living Abundantly

HELLO LOVELY: There is a generosity in your spirit and behavior impossible to miss from your personal stories in ENTERTAINING ANGELS. How can we begin to open our clenched hands and live fully in abundance and not scarcity?

John 3:12 scripture about belief in heavenly things on Hello Lovely Studio.

ANNE NEILSON: I was taught at a young age about tithing and giving back to God…it was embedded in the depths of my soul. Whether it was an allowance check or birthday money, I would always ‘give back’ to those less fortunate than me.

Many years later when I began painting in oils I was volunteering at a Homeless shelter in Charlotte, NC…it was one of the most powerful days of my life. I was in the kitchen preparing the ‘physical food’ and 300+ neighbors [homeless people] were in the gym worshipping like they had everything. I was a mess. I got into my brand-new suburban to drive to my brand-new home and just was sobbing.

Anne Neilson angel painting with blush pink muted colors. #angels #angelpainting
Angel painting by Anne Neilson

I remember having this conversation with God — My passion wanted to paint…I wanted to be a good wife and mom…but my heart wanted to serve! HOW in the world was I going to do all that and do it well? I felt the whisper to ‘paint and give back.’ That was the day I arrived home to a message that all three of my small angel paintings had sold to a lady [they were for sale at a local gift store]. Right then I knew that God had a plan. If I just have OPEN hands and open heart…surrendering all to Him…I will watch and see what He will do. It’s been a journey. I am grateful for this journey! He gets all the glory!!!

Anne Neilson's ENTERTAINING ANGELS

You’ll Love Anne’s Art & Books

HELLO LOVELY: Thank you for keeping your hands and heart open, Anne. For creating beauty and sharing your journey so beautifully in ENTERTAINING ANGELS.

Do visit Anne’s site where you can purchase her art and learn more about her work. Have you experienced something in life where it felt as though an angel was in your presence?

I independently selected products in this post—if you buy from one of my links, I may earn a commission.

Peace to you right where you are.

-michele

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4 Comments

  1. Sue
    October 2, 2022 / 6:16 am

    What a beautiful post!!!! I am going to keep it and also send to others who need encouragement in their faith.
    I have also experienced earthly angels that God has sent to help me at just the right time.
    The most memorable experience, however, was the time when an angel saved my life. The whole event defied physics and I still marvel at the wonder of it. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and telling us about Anne!

    • Michele
      Author
      October 2, 2022 / 9:10 am

      What a blessing to experience divine movement in your life. Thanks so much for sharing your heart and encouragement here.

      • Sue
        October 3, 2022 / 5:17 am

        Thank you Michelle!

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White Slipcovered Sofa
French Stripe Seagrass Basket Set
29″ Whitewashed Table Lamp Set of 2
White Matelasse Quilt on MY BED
THE BEST Energy Bars!
Trees White Wallpaper Mural
Round Farmhouse Table
Myla Slipcover Sofa
Deconstructed Wingback Bed
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Milagro Heart
Slipcovered Dining Chair
Rustic Farmhouse Stool
Edgecombe End Table
Parisian Style Iron Table Lamp  33.5″
Black or Bronze Accent Table
French Stripe Basket Set
White Cotton Crochet Bed Skirt
French Country Rattan Basket Set
Marble Subway Mosaic Tile
Rattan Basket With Lid
White Ruffle Bedding
Seagrass Basket Set
Schumacher Wild Things Wallpaper
Slipcovered Sofa
Linen Napkin Set
French Country Lamp Set
White Matelasse Quilt
Tree Mural Wallpaper
Faux Potted French Lavender
Shaw Daybed
Distressed White French Country Chandelier
French Country Headboard
Oval Back Counter Stool, Set of 2
Antique Brass Pharmacy Floor Lamp
Round French Tufted Ottoman
Kinston Wood Bench
Italian Candelabra Chandelier
Slipcovered Linen Chair
Warner Upholstered Bench
Rustic Country French Dresser
Laurel Wreath Mirror
Round Farmhouse Dining Table
Reclaimed Wood Dresser
Louis Upholstered Bench
Pardon My French Doormat
Stripe Turkish Towel Throw
Pamela Arm Chair
Sweater Weave Basket
French Carved Wood Chandelier
Terracotta Pots & Basket
French Country Wood Chandelier
French Linen Dining Chair
Gustavian Cabinet
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Bar Stool
Beachy White Slipcovered Sofa
Rattan Armchair
Diptyque Oyedo Candle
Cross Back Dining Chair
French Country Candle Holder
French Industrial Metal Chairs (4)
Designer Favorite Wall Mirror
Holborn Lantern Pendant
French Country 6-Light Chandelier
Tray Side Table
French Country Upholstered Arm Chair
Wicker Trunk Set
French Ticking Stripe Pillow
Jute Area Rug
Mohair Throw
Rustic Industrial Farmhouse Shelves
Belgian Linen Sofa
White Duvet & Bedding
Rustic Wood Candlestick Set
French Market Basket
Linen Modern Wing Chair
French Country Farmhouse Baskets
Concrete Pillar Table Lamp
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Style Lamp
Kendall Skirted Dining Chair
White Charleston Sofa
Scrubbed Wood 5-Light Chandelier
Arched Champagne Wall Mirror
Moravian Star 1-Light Pendant
Highback Armchair
Mini Pendant Light
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Round Woven Placemat Set
Cashmere Throw With Fringe
Black Bergamot Soy Candle
Fireclay Farm Sink (Reinhard, 30″)
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Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Linen Duvet Set
Round Marble Side Table
Rustic Pedestal Farm Table
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