Monday, February 6, 2017

And the one thing I want the most is the one thing I feel is impossible: freedom

Suggest song listening: Vashti Bunyan, "Here and Now"

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The sun feels brighter in the wintertime. The warmth is felt deeper in my bones. The past few years I've forgotten what a winter feels like. Thankfully here in South Carolina it's not a harsh one. I love looking up and seeing the barren trees. Even the clouds feel whiter. Winter strips down the earth bare. Outside looks like what clarity would look like if it had an image.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

I built my house by the sea.
Not on the sands, mind you;
not on the shifting sand.
And I built it of rock.
A strong house
by a strong sea.
And we got well acquainted, the sea and I.
Good neighbors.
Not that we spoke much.
We met in silences.
Respectful, keeping our distance,
but looking our thoughts across the fence of sand.
Always, the fence of sand our barrier,
always, the sand between. 

And then one day,
– and I still don’t know how it happened –
the sea came.
Without warning. 
Without welcome, even
Not sudden and swift, but a shifting across the sand like wine,
less like the flow of water than the flow of blood.
Slow, but coming.
Slow, but flowing like an open wound.
And I thought of flight and I thought of drowning and I thought of death.
And while I thought the sea crept higher, till it reached my door.
And I knew, then, there was neither flight, not death, nor drowning.
That when the sea comes calling, you stop being neighbors
Well acquainted, friendly-at-a-distance neighbours
And you give your house for a coral castle,
And you learn to breathe underwater.  -Sister Carol Bieleck

Monday, September 5, 2016

the art of surrender

"Your healing is not a straight line. You must expect setbacks and regressions. Don't say to yourself, "All is lost. I have to start all over again." This is not true- what you have gained, you have gained. When you return to the road, you return to where you left it, not to where you started. Keep returning to the road of freedom." ~Henri Nouwen 

I always thought surrender was a one time for all experience. I'm learning that is not the case. It's daily. Sometimes moment by moment. Surrendering to Jesus and His loving will is not always easy, but it's worth it. It's hard. It goes against everything I know, feel, and what makes sense- but He gets that and helps me back onto the road of surrender, which is freedom, which is life.

Suggested song listening: "Lucky", Aurora

Friday, August 19, 2016

*heART project

*heART is: 
making art to spill your heart 

 The goal is to use creativity to share your story: to cry, to pray, to release, to have revelation in spirit and truth. It's a means by which the Lord can speak to us as we use art as an act of worship. It's a time for consecrated solitude. A time to let go. To be a messy artist. Breathe in truth and freedom. Let the Father guide our hearts into His light to further shalom. 

When I was about 16 years old I started making art and taking photographs. I would stay up all night painting, gluing, and probably listening to some sappy emo bands. The past 3 years this expressive side of me got a little lost. 

But, it feels so beautiful to begin again artistically. 

God is my favorite artist, His creation points to His beauty. His beauty is healing. Art for me is a way to seek the Lord and to go inward into His heart. About a year ago after a move to a different city, during a season of great sorrow, I found myself picking up a paint brush again. I started painting in my pain. I started opening my heart up more to Jesus as I sat over a canvas. I hope to share some pieces I've created and as I create more. A lot of what goes into them is a sacred space and private, yet I desire to share my heart with what they mean to me. 

And thus blossomed this little idea of a project I'm calling *heART: making art to spill your heart. I think if we bottle up all we endure or experience, things start to fester and grow like weeds in a garden that can be beautiful. Of course we have a place with God to share- as well as family, friends or mentors, and so this is just a creative way of spilling out what's in our hearts. It's beautiful too, to hold something you made in your hands and know your heart is a little lighter. A little more healed. Or at least you felt something as you made a reflective art piece; whatever it may be- pain, loss, joy, fear, shame. It's a way to express, to learn, and hey- it's like free therapy!

*heART project ideas:

1. Find a comfy place to make messy art.
2. Light some candles, put on your favorite album, make a cup of hot tea, etc. 
3. If there's something you just need to spill, write it down in your journal. Giving it reflective time.
4. Pray and ask God to give you wisdom, clarity, and understanding as you process. 
5. Go for it. The artistic possibilities are endless: draw, color, write, paint, knit- just get creative.
6. Don't over think it. You can be creative. Just flow with it. You were made unique and you can make something beautiful. 
7. Happy *heART full healing!

Suggested song listening: "Your Heart is my Home", United Pursuit Band

Sunday, August 14, 2016


"You sense that nothing but God's love can fulfill your deepest need while the pull to other people and things remains strong. It seems that peace and anguish exist side by side, that you desire both distraction and prayerful concentration." ~ Henri Nouwen

Two and 1/2 years ago, in reaction to a life changing event, I began living as if it didn't really happen, walking on the edge of reality and denial. I quickly embarked into a state of isolation, seeking solitude in nature. One weekend I stayed with nuns at retreat center to get up early to hike 10 miles by myself. I traveled to different wild Florida marsh lands. I did a lot of walking under the stars at night and swimming in the ocean during the Fall and Winter. Women like Cheryl Strayed and Robyn Davidson became mentors in this new place of life I had found myself: on my own, in the wild of life and grief.

On one of my journeys into the marsh, I read a description while walking a trail about an ecological term, "edges". An edge refers to a boundary line of two different environmental landscapes or elements. I stood there on the edge of marsh and prairie and I thought about all of the edges in my life and how everyday life is lived on the edge of choice. I took the concept pretty deeply, but hey- that's how I roll.

Out of the city and into the sea side, this weekend I was refreshed by the wild waves and their grittiness. I swam hard with the current, not fighting, just letting the waves remind me of what it takes to stand. Stepping off this edge of the shore into the waves, took me from comfortability to a sense of feeling alive. These days I feel on the boundary line of surrender and holding back, of struggle and release, wrestling and victory; wanting to experience more of the divine yet falling back into my carnality. I don't as much live on the edge of denial and isolation, but rather longing for an incarnational spirituality; the living, reigning, and ascended Jesus living through me and transforming me on such an intimate deeper level. Yet I step back over the line into what is comfortable.

I stand on the edge of an open field with God's glory while one foot is in my murky mess. Somedays I feel no strength to choose. And somedays I choose to have no strength. I settle for a tame relationship with God; a few rituals, some prayer- and pass up understanding my true identity in Christ, embracing my calling as His daughter, and fulfilling His purposes for me. I lose my vision for the glorious, transforming presence of Jesus- how He really makes a difference. I stay stuck on the edge of fighting lesser battles and dwelling on smaller aims. I stay paralyzed on the edge of slavery and freedom.

Like jumping into the wild waters feeling alive, I want to run off the edge of mistrust, doubt, and self pity and into His love over and over again. It's over and into to those lands of milk and honey where I'll find the truest rest, the deepest love, and beautiful freedom- where I've heard him say a million times with love and compassion, "Come to Me, my beautiful one. Let me fill you. Let me sweep and save you off the edge of that cliff you've found yourself on."

This is where my soul can be truly alive: abiding in His wild crazy love for me.

And so, I keep walking the upward trail, passing by edges, and diving deep into His depths.

“You end up loving your edges because they point your way to freedom.” -Michael A. Singer

Suggested song listening: John Mark McMillan, "Borderland"

Friday, August 12, 2016

the heart of the matter

"If you want your life to transform, then you must first allow your heart to transform. In order to do that, you must do what you might have avoided. You must start paying close attention to your heart through the lens of the Holy Spirit. The building of your heart was never intended to be ignored or forgotten while life continues to smash it up. It was created to flourish in surrender, to be cleansed with salvation, healed by heaven, rebuilt by grace, and occupied by Love. Your heart was intended to be the safe house where you coexist in relationship with the Trinity who lives inside." ~ Christa Black Gifford 

I've had this little cabinet for quite some time, it's sat in the back of my dark dirty trunk since I found the little gem at a Salvation Army. The door is taped on currently due to the hinges being broken. The back wood piece is falling off and whoever started painting it didn't quite finish. I wonder where this cabinet has been, what stories it could tell if it could talk. I wonder what was ever put inside of it. 

It's a broken little cabinet that just needs the hands of a restorer. The moment I saw it, it was seconds into my cart atop a pile of books and dresses. I knew I had to make a mixed media assembled art box, turning the cabinet into a representation of a home or building, that is, my heart. But...I've put it off. And it's sat in the dark just waiting to become beautiful. 

This a metaphor for my heart. 

The heart is the inner realm, the center of our being. It is the origin of every move, word, and thought we have. Out of our heart flows our life (proverbs 4:23). Our hearts show what we love. 

My heart is a little broken too. It's not finished yet. Like the cabinet, it's almost fallen apart. And I've got wounds that need taping up. It's been left on a shelf. Stuck in a dark dirty trunk of pain, sin, loving things the wrong way, unforgiveness, fear, and believing lies about myself and God. I've seen what's in my heart and it's hard to face somedays.

My heart needs restoring. Because what I want is something I believed I could never have: freedom and wholeness. But I know it's possible with the Restorer. God is not overwhelmed by the junk that has built up in my heart or by the work that needs done in it. He will never condemn me either for how trashed it has become. 

So just as I work on my heart art box, God is working on the real thing, my heart. And I have a choice. I'm still breathing. I must choose to let Him in the cabinet of my heart and heal me. To come in and clean up the rust and dirt. I give him the master key. 

Jesus died for this heart of mine and He lives in it. He longs to make me whole and beautiful and full of blooming roses that give off the sweetest scent of Him. You too. We have to let Him. He tells us to guard our hearts, but never from Him. 

I'm on a pilgrimage to the center of my heart.

And this is the greatest adventure, the most beautiful love story: the dance of life with God in the heart. 

Jesus, I let you in all of the areas of my heart to love it into wholeness. You are the rescuer of every accident, mistake, and sin. You are the restorer, you are a good Savior. Come and save my day...time and time again. Heal my deepest pain and set me fully free from the things that weigh me down. You are the guardian of my heart. 

Suggested song listening: Birdtalker, "Blue Healer"