By Mark Ellis
Her atheist parents were surprised when their three-year-old began to describe dreams and visions from God. This inexplicable direction in their daughter’s life, combined with a remarkable talent in art and poetry, inspired her family to re-examine their own lives.
“My life began in an unusual way,” says Akiane Kramarik, 17, who spent her early years in rural Illinois. By unusual, she refers to her underwater birth in “a shack” on the edge of a cornfield. “Our family had no money, no friends, no relatives, no television or radio. Our life was quite simple — long walks in nature, open conversations, and hands on explorations of knowledge,” she says.
Her mother, Forelli, is a Lithuanian immigrant educator. Akiane’s father, Mark, is a chef from Chicago with a Catholic background. In her early family life, there was no prayer, no discussions of God, and no visits to church. Yet in the insular atheistic environment her parents created – free from media influences or even outside babysitters – Akiane suddenly began to talk about God.
She spoke of colorful dreams and visions about heaven, Jesus, and God’s amazing love. Her stunned parents realized her intense focus on God could not have been inspired by anything in the world they created for her. Indeed, Akiane seemed to be having supernatural encounters with the living God.
“Most of my spiritual experiences I kept secret, so as not to overwhelm my parents,” she says.
At a tender age, God implanted the desire to articulate her divinely-inspired dreams and visions into art. “When I was four years old, suddenly I started experiencing vivid impressions about different dimensions and a great desire to express them through art,” she says. Initially, she utilized whatever medium was on hand: candles, lipstick, fruits, vegetables, charcoal or pencils.
At eight-years-old, Akiane decided she wanted to paint the face of Jesus, based on the visions she received. She looked for a person she might use as an artist’s model for a long time, and finally told her family they should pray for God to send someone.
On the day they prayed, a mysterious carpenter showed up at their front door looking for work. Akiane took one look at the man’s facial features – remarkably close to the vision she received – and told her mother he was the one.
In humility, the man initially said he was not worthy to represent his Master. But reluctantly, the man agreed, although he asked to remain anonymous.
Akiane’s painting of Jesus was a painstaking effort. “The ‘Prince of Peace’ took me 40 hours to paint and another 20 hours of working with model sketching,” Akiane says. Akiane deftly works with light and shadows to create powerful impressions. “The light side of his face represents the truth, the dark side represents suffering,” she notes.
Colton Burpo, the subject of the book “Heaven is for Real,” identified this painting of Jesus as the closest representation of the Savior whom he witnessed in his dramatic vision.
Both Akiane and Colton were struck by the beauty of Jesus’ eyes. “All I remember were the eyes,” Akiane says, “ and they were like no other colors that were ever created. The closest color I can depict through paints is a sapphire hue.” Colton identified the color of Jesus’ eyes as blue-green.
In 2010, Akiane told Seattle station KCTS that her spiritual epiphanies caused her parents to start seeking answers. “We went through almost everything,” Akiane said. “We went through being Christian, being a Catholic, we studied Buddhism. At this point every one of my siblings have their own path toward a spiritual enlightenment.”
“I have my own and my parents have theirs and my brothers have theirs,” she continued. “I’m the same person as when I was four-years-old. I haven’t changed.”
Akiane’s discovery of God seems remarkably personal. “Since nobody told me who God was, I found God myself. He’s been there for me through the years. I don’t belong to any denomination or religion. I belong to God.”
To eliminate any confusion, however, Jesus is first in her mind. “He is the only way to God — the only way to heaven and joy,” she states. “My personal views on Jesus have only matured and deepened since age 4. As I grow I see how vast and unlimited His love is.”
“Jesus remains my highest authority, love, and God,” she adds. “I pray every day that people will one day follow Jesus, His teachings and feel His love.”
Akiane completed her second painting of Jesus, “Father Forgive Them,” at age 9. “I have painted about 10 paintings of Jesus,” she says, “including his mother Mary and many paintings of His creation. My current painting is another tribute to Jesus, a very special portrait, titled ‘IAM.’”
As Akiane gets older, some of the early dreams and visions have begun to fade in her memory. “Although I have forgotten most of my early heavenly contacts, my recent visions continue in a special way,” she says.
“I alone know how important Jesus is for me. Instead of writing it is best for me to express (this) through my personal connection — art. I portray Jesus how I see him, as human and as divine.
“My art is only a representation of what I see — Jesus’ glory is beyond any description!”
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