And welcome to this terrifying journey.
A few things you should know, I love an oxford comma, start sentences with "And," love clauses, and -surprise! - she also loves a good dash. My graduate school professors did not share these sentiments (shocking, I know), but I'm not writing for them anymore, am I?
So, buckle up.
If you're reading my blog at this point in my journey, you're a friend. I don't I have any independent followers right now, #blessit. That being said, you are not forgotten, but the tone of my writing and content of my posts are both going to venture down a path that is less personal. From now on my blog is probably going to sound more like a documentary, maybe even with some how-to's and DIY features. Why? Because it is time for me to return to my first love and perhaps greatest skill, creating art.
Authors, poets, artists, students, all have written about the creative process. Sometimes it's agony, sometimes it's ecstasy. Whatever it may be, the creative process is always about conflict and the fight for a solution. Sometimes, the conflict wins and we put down our brush or stop writing our story. My own story happens to go just like that. I let the conflict in my life steal my voice, and stopped creating all together. I saw no solution, and since I couldn't find it, I quit looking for one. Little did I know that the solution isn't always what matters. What matters is that you keep going anyways.
So here I am, staring at an empty, clean, studio about to start again. But this time, I think I'll succeed, because the end game isn't the purpose, the creating is. It is what I was made to do.
It is terrifying... To be so out of practice... To have run so far from such an integral part of myself, but I'm looking forward to meeting her again.
And it is all thanks to David, who said, you know what, I don't need an office, you need a studio. You need to create to be able to heal and find your best self again.
Cheers to the people who love us a see us better than we do ourselves.
For most of my life, I read the Psalms as King David's personal journal honestly. I always thought, "Wow, he is one emotional guy." Of course, I never voiced this opinion. I have always just nodded along and said, "Mmm, yes. That is nice."That is, until recently when I went to what must be the world's last Lifeway Christian bookstore and picked up a copy of a She Read's Truth study called Mourning and Dancing that changed my perspective entirely. I don't want to give away too much, but the premise is that we can learn to speak to God in a new way through our grief. Before you roll your eyes (like I did at first,) give it a try, check it out. It is on sale in the link, after all. I love this idea that we can study a lament, like David wrote, and vent our souls in prayer and connection with God at the same time. This had always felt like whining to me, but after about four or five days of the devotional and writing guided laments it finally became more natural.
Using the structure of the lament, we can mourn what is troubling us, remember who God is, remember His promises, and also dance with praise.
I highly recommend broadening your horizons and giving this a try. My prayer is that you would find it as cathartic as I have. It will change your prayer life.
The last few weeks I’ve been packing up my apartment and David’s house. Tomorrow we move into our first home together, and we could not be more thrilled or excited to turn the page and start the next chapter of our life together. I love packing up and finding sentimental objects buried beneath the detritus of normal everyday “things,” your findings bringing up memories of others, but they also unearth memories of the past you. We have so much stuff, so much clutter and busyness that sometimes we forget who we are. I came across an old portfolio with drawings I did for cash right out of grad school. They were nothing to me then, but now I look back with pride because time has gentled the way I relate to myself.
Now I look back with pride at the girl who made it work.
She has so much talent.
She has good ideas.
She is marketable.
She’s got bright days ahead.
But the girl she was then is the woman I am now. I didn’t see her value until I looked back with the grace the Lord has taught me. I look back with pride now. With pride in how far I’ve come and gratitude for the strength I found that got me through. I wish I’d never given that amazing girl the hard time I gave her. I wish I hadn’t let her give up on her dreams. I wish I had fought harder then for her peace, for the wholeness of her heart. But maybe if I didn’t have to look back on who I was then, I wouldn’t appreciate the woman I am now.
Look back at the person you once were, and smile. Take her hand. Meet her again, and realize she's not so far away if you’d like to reconnect.
After saying, “Yes,” to God’s seemingly strange request that I start a blog, I set about trying to figure out what to call it.
I spent several days brainstorming, waiting on answers that weren’t coming, so I gave in and thought, “Oh well, here we go, "into thickets of wildest guesswork."*
As I contemplated starting without a name, I sat there thinking about that quote from Harry Potter, and how I had no idea what direction this blog was going to take. I sat thinking about that word, “thicket," feeling like I was wandering off into a proverbial wild thicket with nothing but a guess about what to do next when something inside me whispered, "Just like Abraham."
Wait, what? God had my attention now. After asking and asking I had an answer...
Long ago, before even Jesus lived, God asked his servant Abraham to take his son Isaac and go into the wilderness and perform a sacrifice, an offering to God. But Isaac was the offering. When the time came to sacrifice Isaac to God, the Lord sent an angel to stop Abraham and provided a ram instead, caught by his horns in a thicket nearby.
I’m not a spiritual giant like Abraham. I'm probably closer to the donkey carrying the camping gear to be honest. But I realized that God was just asking me to start this blog, and trust that he knows where this adventure is going. Go has only asked me to use my hands and my mind in his service- not that I sacrifice my only child...
When I compare my task with Abraham’s I’m humbled and ashamed that I’d ask questions and drag my feet. If God wants is a blog from me, then a blog it is! Surely I can give Him that much without having all the answers up front. Abraham had no answers when he set off into the wilderness. I'm sure He had questions, but he had more faith. And because Abraham obeyed, God provided what Abraham needed in the thicket and blessed him.
If I could have even one percent of the blessings God gave Abraham I’d be a lucky woman indeed.
I don’t know what I’ll find here, journeying through my own particular thicket. But if I know my God, I’ll find some beautiful and wondrous things along the way.
And because He asked, I’ll share them with you.
*Thank you Harry Potter (and J.K. Rowling too, of course).
Half a year ago, God asked me to start a blog.
But the story doesn't end there.
I had (and honestly still have) a lot of questions about this blog business:
But just when you think you know better, get ready for it…you don’t.
As time passed, I drifted into the wilderness. It became harder to hear His voice, feel His promptings. But the Holy Spirit is faithful and persistent, and periodically the reminder of His seemingly strange request would drift through my mind. Like a breeze coming upon you in the thick, hot woods, the Lord’s call tempted me to follow His mysterious lead. He had a promise to whisper if I would follow Him back.
The Lord continued to subtly call to me for a time. And one day in the midst of all my questions and wonderings, I remembered a message I'd heard long ago, but I remember where:
"If you can't hear God and don't know what to do next, think back to the last thing He asked you to do, and do it."
And if there is one thing I've learned, there is no coincidence when it comes to the Holy Spirit. When He moves, you should listen.
Since I turned my "no" to "yes," my defeated thoughts about starting a blog have begun to turn around.
I have no idea why God wants me to write a blog. I have no idea what He wants me to write about. So welcome to the journey with me. I have no idea where we are going.
If you're here, I'm honored that you'd spend your valued time with me. In exchange for the honor you do me, I promise you these things: honesty, obedience, and a sense of humor about it.
Bear with me, I smell that sweet aroma of promise and I'm going to chase it into the thicket.