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The Greatest Artist

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A close-up of Shelby Stroud’s art reveals tiny shells, urchins, and even feathers.
Lance Nelson

When I first saw Shelby Stroud’s art on exhibit at the Church History Museum, I knew that nothing could adequately capture the grandeur, detail, and texture of a portrait made from 25,000 seashells. But with her stunning piece fresh in my mind, and having previously interviewed Shelby, I sat down to tell her story.

While writing, I also had the privilege of interviewing Shelby’s sister, Melanie Stroud. Melanie told me that at the exhibition’s opening reception in June, some people were standing so close to the piece that they could only see the individual shells. Once Melanie invited them to take even a few steps back, however, they could suddenly see the portrait as a whole—and it left them awestruck (“By Small and Simple Shells”).

How often do we evaluate our lives by looking only at the individual details—our day-to-day experiences, trials, questions, and decisions—causing us to miss the masterpiece? By taking a step back we can see the bigger picture and catch a glimpse of Heavenly Father’s eternal perspective, seeing how He is working in our lives.

In this issue, read about how Meredith Campbell, concertmaster for the Orchestra at Temple Square, has gained this type of perspective as she looks back to see that God has fulfilled promises for her that she would never have dreamed possible (“The Concertmaster”).

Author Emily Robison Adams’s experience of trusting in God, even when He didn’t respond to her in the way she hoped, reminded me how powerful an eternal perspective can be (“Letting God Be God”).

Wherever you are in your spiritual progression, I hope the stories of creativity, faith, and endurance in this issue help you take a few steps back to see the bigger picture in your own life. And if the bigger picture is difficult to see right now, I hope these stories inspire you to place your trust in the greatest Artist of all, who can make a far more beautiful masterpiece of our lives than we could ever create on our own.

Wishing you eyes to see,

Jenna Alton

Contributing writer

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