My name is Taari and I have been illustrating off and on since very young. I went to school for 3d animation and began painting only a couple years ago. I got saved in 2015 and baptized in 2016. In september 2015 my life changed forever. Though I have always been a very spiritual person with strong morals and ethics, I was soul searching and like many of us, I was trying to find my purpose in life. I was a sinner, knowingly or unknowlingly- the truth is, I was. I went through relationships and Jobs and It was difficult for me to find happiness. After a failed relationship in aug 2015, I began to truly reevaluate my life and look deeper into myself. I changed my diet and went vegan and began to look at all things differently and then it all happened... God made his way into my life on Sept 23 2015. In my tiny little NYC apartment at 3am on my living room floor, for the first time ever I gave myself to the Lord. On the floor and in front of the TV, listening to a sermon which I felt was speaking directly to me, I was led through Christ's prayer and while in tears, my heart opened right up. I FELT so much lighter, I was amazed. My life hadnt been the same since. I was becoming a completely different person and then tragedy struck my family. My baby sister who had just turned 25 that september, committed suicide in November, before my birthday. Ive never felt such pain in my life before losing the very little girl that I grew up doing everything with. She was gone and I didnt even have a chance to try and help her. The way I looked at life and the light of things, was different- I never looked at life the same, again. There had to be a deeper meaning to this life and the timing of which God came into my life. He made me strong and I became the vessel and strength for my family too. I became closer to God through it all, I found a church and my prayer became stronger. I was the strength for my parents. I did my first painting ever of my little sister for her resting place and thats when I realized how much I enjoyed it and how much others appreciated my artwork. Once returning to work, nothing seemed real. I later left my job and struggled to find another. I grew in faith but the process has been a rollercoaster and it required learning a lot about myself and things I had to surrender over in order better understand God and for him to work through my life. Financially, I began to fall. Finding jobs that werent toxic for me(as a bartender in NYC, it was difficult), and artistically, work was stagnant as I had boundaries as to what I would create as to not offend the Lord. IT has not been easy. My finances soon became too harsh to maintain alone in NYC and so; I decided to leave my manhattan apartment once and for all and move south to be closer to my parents. I felt God was leading me out of the city for some reason and i am thankful to God thatbI did. I moved to NC in 2016 with my mom. After losing my sister in 2015 and then my dads Aunt in 2016 to a brain tumor, my parents were in really bad shape and in low spirits. Both always very depressed and sad and the holidays became a burden. Slowly but surely, I witnessed them healing. They saw my faith was strong and they too began to grow closer to the Lord. I watched my dad walk the stage with honors and live his life to become a chef and was on his way to opening up his own restaurant and my mother began to smile a little more. God truly had his hand on our lives and then tragedy struck again only this time, it left me without a dad and my mother a widow. October 16, 2017 my father was robbed, shot and left on the cold street to die and he did. I am his namesake. This was a very hard one to swallow- a pain not like losing my sister, different and the same, all in one but even through it all, I kept my faith and it became stronger and the faith of my mom, did too. I am honoured to be able participate in this competition because it gives me an opportunity to use my talent to glorify God in testimony on his behalf using the very talent that he has blessed me with and until now, struggled to use. I hope that this will be a door and avenue to reach others who have gone through tragedies and tribulations of their own; those who endure the sufferings of this life and surrender them over to God and for those who struggle to. I hope to be a lamp to othere so that he can then use them too as a vessel to bring light into the lives of others. Our trials and tribulations and our individual sufferings, are not our own for us to self loathe in pity, question or resent, but instead to be used as a testimony to help others heal by hearing the Gospel and the grace of God and his great works in our lives. I have ministered to many, but I thank God each and every day for what he has done in not only my life but mostly for allowing me to witness the change and healing his has brought into the life of my mother. I hope to reach others and witness the change in their lives too. For that, I dedicate this to my mother for her strength and for the Glory of Christ.