If you’re on Instagram then you will agree with me that Calligraphy, specifically brush calligraphy, has been getting a lot of feeds lately. If you search the #calligraphy #brushcalligraphy #brushlettering on Instagram, you will be amazed at the number of creatives out there. Recently, one of the more well-known letterers, Abbey Sy, launched The ABC Book of Hand Lettering in Manila on June 2015.
I too have tried to dabble in this art form. I have bought a Prang watercolor set, a Kuretake brush pen, and calligraphy markers only to fail miserably haha! I would envy the effortless strokes and designs of those young calligraphers/letterers I follow online.
Being part of Pursuit Manila gatherings, I have met wonderful moms and young women, most of whom I know in my heart have been gifted tremendously by God with the talent for the arts to include photography, calligraphy and styling. At the recent gathering I attended, I had a brief encounter with petite young lady who was all agog with the rest of the Pursuit Manila team, welcoming and making sure the Moms were all taken care of.
This young lady was Marj Liwag. I followed her on Instagram and became Facebook friends with her. I saw her invitation for her “Pay as You Wish” Brush Calligraphy sessions. Being a die-hard/wannabe brush calligrapher, I immediately sent her a message and inquired. She was very warm and funny too. After all the private messages, we finally met one afternoon the quaint Designer Blooms Cafe In Alabang.
It was an informal meeting for the two of us. I wanted to watch her do her letter strokes while we talk about her mission for God. As soon as we got settled, she immediately brought out her pens and demonstrated how the strokes are done. I also brought along with me my calligraphy markers and Kuretake brush pen. (Good thing I did that because I now know how to use my brush pen haha)
Her journey with calligraphy also started in Instagram. She did not take any lessons but simply followed other IGers and did her own research. Her pouch were filled with pens that were mostly given to her by friends and those who appreciated her work.
As she learned calligraphy or the art of beautiful writing, she started sharing encouraging posts on her Instagram account. Soon many took notice not only of her unique style of handwriting but also the quotes that she bravely posted online.
But behind those elaborate swirls and flourishes, was a young woman who was scarred by tough and faith-shaking circumstances in her life. She got involved in relationships that were not pleasing to God. She lost her father in a case of mistaken identity. She had personal issues to deal with and on top of that, her doctor diagnosed her as having ovarian cyst.
She questioned God. Why did this happen? Who will take care of her Mom and her family if the cyst’s prognosis is not good? But the Lord reminded her to “Rejoice in the Lord”. Even in her afflictions, she is to rejoice because whatever the future holds for her, the Lord will be with her through it all. And what a joy it was to find out that the cyst was benign!
Through all the disappointments and pain, she was just amazed at the number of opportunities the Lord has opened for her and for her craft. In 2014, she was commissioned by the Single’s Ministry of CCF to create a backdrop for a national Single’s Event using chalk as her medium.
She became part of the creative team behind Pursuit Manila special gathering for Moms in May. That Pursuit event allowed her to work with Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio, Cheska Garcia-Kramer and Marilen Faustino-Montenegro as they launched the WholeMom community.
Then, Little Miss Printer was born! She decided to reach more people by creating personalized and handwritten notebooks, which she sells online. Her one of a kind notebooks sell for a 100 each, either lined or plain. If you wish to give something personal to your friends this holiday, check out samples of her notebooks.
When asked why do the “Pay as you Wish” calligraphy lessons, her answer was simple. She wanted to use art to share God to the people she meets. Her heart’s desire was to bring back to God the glory that He deserves. If not for the artistic hand she gifted Marj with, where would this young lady be now?
The life that she lives now is a testament of God’s grace and power in the life of a person who truly desired to be used by God. She may not be as famous as the other calligraphers out there now, but she is already well-known in the kingdom of God as the one who pursued her passion to glorify God.
Her small business has now become a ministry. She used her pen to encourage others not only to pursue their creative passion but also to pursue the highest pursuit of all and this is God. And as a sister in Christ, my prayer for Marj is summed up in Psalm 90:17 which says:
May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us;
establish the work of our hands for us—
yes, establish the work of our hands.
I was blessed to have spent that afternoon with this girl who is not only passionate about her craft but also about reaching others with the gospel of Christ. We share the same mission and vision: “To Honor God and make Christ-committed followers who will make Christ-committed followers”