Breaking Into Joy... Circles

I've been a place of circles
swiftly round and round
and slower still than water
Where do I go? What binds me, holds me, looses me?
I have not a clue
except that it is Christ and the fullness of Him
The completeness of Him
The embrace of His wholeness
This is the circles
I am the circles.
He is the circles
by Pattie Ann Hale

"Breakthrough" ~ "Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches. Christ-conquerors are safe from Devil-death." - Rev. 2:11 - The Message
Recently, I faced something so heart-wrenching that it dared to steal everything I had gained in the area of wholeness, completeness, confidence. The journey to a place of confidence that I was a captivating witness of God's love had been a hard one, but for a few years, I had lived it and loved it.
In a few short days, people in whom I had placed a lot of trust almost ripped that from me. Now let me say that I am not one to feel victimized by others... I don't give anyone that power, but the words, lies and shocking wounding jabs that were made towards me did knock me off-kilter. It was a direct assault on me… my character, my art, my vision, my ways… shall I go on? My Holy Spirit gave me much grace in the middle of it but it was like going through a train wreck and realizing how injured you are days later when the bruises appear and the ache sets in. I've dealt with many things but it seemed this was something that could strip me of my very faith, my very hope in the goodness of people and ultimately my faith in God.
God is my Everything.
So…. to lose my faith in God.... why? How?
I'm one that goes where God leads. I've picked up and moved to new cities more than once because I was following His leading. I go where He leads... try my best to do what He calls me to do. Facing the betrayal made me doubt that I even knew His leading. Wasn’t I in this place, in this season, with these people because of His leading? I was trying to do what He had called me to do... and that was all being thrown in my face - misunderstood and rejected.
I die daily… I will be one with the sufferings of Christ… Count it all joy when persecutions come… my spirit raced to deliver me.
Had I missed God?
Did I really even know Him?
Was the vision I had even real?
It’s strange how the enemy can attack us at the very core of who we are and that immediately causes us to wander if we know who God is.
I was stabbed to the core. I lost all vision. My words were, "I will not do another thing. I will stay to myself. Leave everyone alone. Walk my own path. And I will not listen any longer to what God leads me to do. I will be normal."
I painted circles.
I had watched a youtube video about the weaving of Rachel John (below). She knitted 1000 strands of beautiful yarn into a work of art. As I watched the video I could not get over the circles of the tops of the yarn skeens. The circles of colors pricked my heart in a way I could not understand... but yet, it set me into motion.
I painted on a birch panel, which is representative of renewal and great endurance. Birch trees are planted in areas that have been burnt to the ground because they so quickly will replenish and cover a destroyed area. I had been in this desolate place for only a little while but it was hell as I prayed and cried and processed; I searched my heart, searched my thoughts and ways, and grieved. I needed a quick replenishment of covering. I needed beauty... desperately.
My experience with the circles began with tears. The simplicity of the circles was welcoming. I did not need to think... just paint. As I moved through the simple painting... I felt joy rising. I began to sing in the Spirit. I began to dance... spinning around and then engaging with the board on the easel again and again... circles, more circles. I could feel I was in that place between the natural and the supernatural. I then entered into the heavenly realm... and it was PURE joy!
In His Presence is fullness of JOY!
Several days of hell had tormented me... but now I had engaged Heaven and I was undone and complete at the same time. Art has that power... it can transport us from one place to another - with lasting effects. Art heals. Art delivers. Art pushes out the darkness and ushers in the Light. I had met with God… and He reminded me of who I was… His beloved. That was all I needed. That was simplicity and joy.
After my first circles experience, I had a new resolve to love again, to forgive, to live fully, to have faith, to move forward. Walking it out is not the easiest thing, but when I look at my painting, I hear the song of Heaven and the joy arises again and I get a new strength in my steps. The Joy of the Lord is my Strength.
Everything is about seasons… we keep passing through seasons of change. Since I surrendered through simple creative expression, I’ve seen the Lord give me such a season of joy and rest. As a battle rages, I rest. I smile. I love… anyway.
M. Cunningham, in The Hours said, "You take a risk and move forward, and if hurt or disappointment come, you know that remaining positive and faith-filled will also keep your eyes clear enough to see the light, the goodness, and the blessing in the moments as they are redeemed. I am a trailblazer heading into unmapped country daily and there are seasons that change."
I’m a pioneer in the arts… one that provokes change… one that is a catalyst for the fresh expression of God’s heart…. one that will go where He leads… one that will endure the passing seasons with joy… nothing less than joy.
When you have joy… rest is easy. Striving evaporates. Sara Paddison said, “Sincere forgiveness isn't colored with expectations that the other person apologize or change. Don't worry whether or not they finally understand you. Love them and release them. Life feeds back truth to people in its own way and time—just like it does for you and me.”
To me, the circles are a glimpse of the beauty of Jesus. Circles speak of forward movement like Christ spoke of forward movement. Jesus completed all things. Circles are complete. There are many colors in my “Breaking Into Joy,” representing the myriad of colors found in the One True Joy – My Beloved. I am my Beloved’s and He is mine and I will lean on Him as I come out of the barren wilderness. My Redeemer is a good friend.
“Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous…” ~ Ruth 4:14

So this is the beginning of my experience with circles… there is more to come. :-)

God Loves Creativity

This is an excerpt from my upcoming book, "Sacred Revolution: The Power of God in the Arts."

We all know God loves prayer and fasting, healing, and praise and worship. He loves when we read His Word and when we give offerings. He loves the religious things, right? But do you know that God loves creativity? All our religious workings without the life-breath of creativity infused in them are worth nothing to God. Though the phrase is a bit clich̩, he made us human-beings, not human-doings. He wants us to be Рto be like Him Рcreative.

God loves creative worship. During the time of the Tabernacle of David, there were singers, dancers, songwriters, and musicians all collectively and continually weaving a non-ending beautiful tapestry of praise to the Creator. The rhythms and nuances of Spirit-touched, yet lung-producing sound belted out of the tabernacle in a flowing aroma which shifted atmosphere and went up as a sweet fragrance to the Creator of it all. He ordained this. He found pleasure in it. He loves creative flow. He loves the sweet aroma.
When Miriam danced her triumphant praise to Him, God loved it. It ushered in praise and jubilee for a multitude of people who had just been through a traumatizing trial. They had come out of bondage and into life. Nothing would express their gratitude like song and dance. They could not absolutely know their freedom until it was proclaimed from out of their chests and with the movement of their bodies. He loves the war dance of victory. He ordained it.
Creativity is a hospital and the door is always swinging open and shut, open and shut, as we go in and out accepting what we need from the Physician. When we accept that our lives are in need of something besides the normal sickness we live in day to day, and we step into a place of creativity, whether that is through song, dance, painting, writing, sculpting, cooking, woodworking, flower-arranging, or just playing an imaginary game with our kids – when we step into that place of God-breathed creativity – we are made whole. Wholeness comes when we lean into creativity – for in that leaning we are being embraced by the Creator. The door to the hospital is always open. What side of the door are you on?
Maybe you don’t believe in this power of creativity. Perhaps you are one that says, “I’m just not a creative person.” Those are the saddest words I’ve ever heard. Are you human? Then you are creative – for to be human is to be creative. There are no other ones. Maybe you think I’m a sensationalist dreamer – one of those who think everyone should be painting happy graffiti on the sides of boring buildings and singing in the grocery store. Well, let’s put that aside… because yes, I have those dreams for us all… BUT, I beg to convince you that creativity is so ingrained in humanity that if we are not moving in it, we are dying. If we are not embracing its beauty, we are forfeiting our reason to exist. Maybe you don’t see your own disease. Are you standing there behind the walls you’ve contrived, thinking the hospital door is locked? You need nothing to enter in… just your DNA – just your human form – the one created in His image.
Nothing is hidden from the All-Seeing-One. He knows the creative imaginations that you once had – the way you once played with toy cars in the sand, inventing a whole city so that your story could be played out. He remembers the way you dressed your dolls in strips of cloth, making a wedding dress out of a lacy bonnet. He recalls the way you would sit for hours playing video games, mesmerized by the way the characters moved on the screen. He even understands the rush you get every now and then when a casserole served in your prettiest dish makes you smile or the way the newly painted room soothes your soul. He “gets it” when you get a rush of accomplishment when you mow the yard in those cool strips that make you look like you are just trying to show up your neighbor. He thinks your awesome when you accomplish that weekend building project that you chalk up as “raising the equity in your home.” God loves your creative moments. They are His gifts to you. Your diving into them is His great pleasure.

Isn’t it wonderful that we have such an amazing creative God? Isn’t it beautiful that He has given us the very essence of Himself. He is the one that paints the sky every morning and evening. He is the one who swirls the waters of the rivers in beautiful patterns. He paints the world with color and texture. He sings through the wind in the trees and the song of His Creation. He sculpts with the elements. He dances with the stars in motion. God is an artist. God is a creative and a Creator. We all – all of humanity – are His little creatives. Go and be.
Pray creatively. Sing a new Spirit-song. Dance with Him. Fast in a way that pleases His heart. Open up and be healed while you finger-paint with chocolate pudding. Draw the scriptures. Stamp smiley faces on your money as you give it with a pure heart. Worship Him creatively in Spirit and truth. Invite God to be Himself in you. Be yourself in Him. Ask Him what will please His heart… and be that. Go and journeyartfully.

Times of Responsiveness



Times of responsiveness escape me.

Found in where I am and where I am going.

Making sense of nothing and everything at the same time.



Center here.

The good will overtake me because of the love.

So the days roll on and I roll through –

awaiting the promise of what the pondering has brung.

Awaiting the promise of all the lyrics I’ve sung

in faith and through tears and with loud jubilee

I’ve sung and sighed softly

And now

I want to see…..

To see more clearly

with weights lifted off

no shame

no gain

no false expectation

only hope

and clarity

and sparkling direction



Center here.

Times of responsiveness await me.

It’s near.

Appalachia's Awakening

The art-piece and the poem below are part of a show called Thinking Like a Mountain, which is an exhibit involving several artists, poets, and songwriters and their expressions of living in the Appalachian Mountains. I'm honored and happy to be a part of this exhibit which will be on display at the Ellen Von Dehsen Elmes Gallery at the King Community Center, SWCC in Virginia. The show will be on exhibit from Jan. 13 until Feb. 11, 2011 and will possibly travel to various locations throughout Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky and North Carolina.

This piece is prophetic proclamation of Appalachia's awakening. Within her, a higher calling, a higher place of understanding which effects all elements of life, is arising. There is a lifting. She will no longer be based in a poverty mentality that is tethered to greed-driven industry. She is rising to a new place of revelation - a new place of beauty. Appalachia will awaken, she will rise with wings of intricate beauty and humility. Her time, her season, is here. The paradigm has shifted!

Appalachia's Awakening

Appalachia's Awakening

Mixed Media/Collage - 28" x 48"

Appalachia’s Awakening

We are mountain – living ones.

We are earth –fallen ones.

God's grace covers.

His light brings growth.

His love brings mercy

and wisdom to show

the way to hide –

to go within –

and find the answers

with no pretense.

In the deepest throws of prayer –

in the hiding place –

He'll give us truth –

a voice to tell

the way to come

out of this shell –

out of this hell.

We're coming undone

from this evil within.

This hunger for power –

it's wrong – it's sin

to treat your brother

like overburden –

like sludge and slurry

in the valley below –

covering over all the flow

of the pure,

the right,

the living.

All –

Streams, valleys,

sisters and brothers –

they are the Creator's beauty.

Is there no hope,

no place to go,

besides this sacrifice we've known?

Do you not believe in God –

the One who prods


to believe

in resurrection

in life

in love?

Why will you not embrace

the transformation,

the reconciliation,

the restoration,

Appalachia's Awakening?

Appalachia is awakening.

Like the caterpillar we crawl,

but the butterfly's time is coming.

As we steward

He will rise.

We will rise.

We will fly.

Appalachia flying, rising, soaring

Appalachia without all this whoring

Grace is for it.

Faith proclaims it.

Hope endures the waiting.

We will pass through the cocoon.

Metamorphosis is soon.


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