The Greatest Remain

Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love. ~ Ephesians 6:23-24

How many months I’ve been at sail
pulling the beauty from the depths
until the heaviness of it seems like an anchor
that has went vastly below the light
resting at the bottom with the unknown.
Is it a bad thing?
It has me sitting still
and yet still I’m pushing full force.
Where is Your wind?
“Be still and know...” I tell my heart.
Yet in the quiet 
the tendons of my neck tighten
and the weight on my chest deepens
and I ask the hardest question -
the one I hate to ask:
“Where are You?”
Grace... only grace.

Beauty, Stay

And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us, And establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands. - Psalm 90:17

spaces open and closed
filled with color and emptiness
wrestling with the friction
centering on the steadiness
taking paths that come full circle again and again
the rhythm - it rises and falls
crosses and hatches
leans and looses

remind my spirit and mind to keep
taking in and breathing out
the inhale is preeminent
the exhale is pertinent
watch as it rises
and twirls
and dances
in the atmosphere

there is always beauty
i see it there
stay, won't you?

Perspective - Finding Beauty in the Plain Places

Lately, the Lord has been teaching me a lot about perspective. This morning as I walked by the river, I glanced down at this plain little decaying leaf and something about it intrigued me. I felt the Father's prompting to pick it up. It was very plain. As I walked on, holding the fragile leaf, I approached a little enclave with a park bench which sets nearly under the noisy bridge and the flowing river... what a juxtaposition. 

That bridge which is every morning cluttered with vehicles busily trying to get where they need to go carries me to my studio. I usually stop, darting out of the long line and pull into the park so I can have a few minutes of rest-searching for my day. Today rest found me as I was sitting on the bench studying the busy-ness of the bridge and the way the current flowed around the bridge columns. I could only think of how bland everything looked. It's a hot humid morning and the river smells bad and the traffic is noisy. I think about how we pollute our world and my heart longs for a mountain barely touched, a river rarely seen. I think about how it would be nice to vandalize the bridge columns and paint beautiful patterns there. My imagination runs wild with thoughts of how one... okay, of how I, may be able to paint the columns.... perhaps from a small boat or swinging from a tethered harness.... It would be some feat to bring beauty to the river under the bridge right here in the River Arts District of Asheville. I come back to reality and smile at my outlandish thoughts.... always thinking the impossible.... always seemingly caught up in the things that are too big to easily accomplish. 

I look down at my hands and ponder why I do this, and my eye is drawn to the leaf again... poor little ugly thing. I look closer. Why has this one found me this morning? I hold it up to the light and my perspective shifts. My spiritual eyes awaken. The yellow of the leaf comes into its radiance and the dance of light comes through the empty spaces of the decay. Beauty in the ugly. Radiance in the plain. Life in the death. I suppose it is all about our perspective. How we look at things... and whether we choose to search for the beauty. 

Cocoon Sailing - Shadow of Hope

"Shadow of Hope"
Mixed - Media
Cocoon Sailing Series (1)

This is the first piece in my new series, "Cocoon Sailing." It is made of tulle, chiffon, silk fibers, papers, purple threads,  sheet music and this amazing green woolen yarn mounted on a poplar branch.

Within the safety of the cocoon, the shadow of hope rests. There is a strip of sheet music within the tulle that says, "Shadows may fall upon the land and sea..." Have you ever longed for hope... you know Big Hope... hope that changes the world, even if in some small way? This piece is a reflection of being enlightened by the revelation of God's glory, knowing it can change things... shift atmospheres... transform paradigms... but because we know that is so huge, we cling to the soft place of the shadow of it. The hope of the Hope needs to be nurtured... thought on.... pondered. It needs to be held close within the soft words of the Father's heart. The other strip of sheet music in this piece says, "You said I was very nice to know." Isn't it beautiful that the Father says that to our hearts even when we can only hold a shadow? This shadow... the hope of Hope... seems to be the right place to begin with this series. It's the glimpse - the conception - of one day, sailing. It's the glimpse of soaring. These works are a looking back and a looking forward place for me - a way of processing some past memories and a way of artfully living into the future moments. May His grace cocoon every expression.

Birthing New Works - Sailing with His Wind

I began this morning with my walk by the river, watching the trees - no - the leaves sway over the ripples and the going-on currents. It was wonder... and I was sharing it with the Father. How good He is to give us beauty, awe, and wonder. How good He is to blow through this land... the land of my soul. I see and respond with a bowed heart... a quietness that sings loudly as an incense to Him.

A couple days ago, I was captured by an image of sail-ships on a vintage Horizon book. I've been processing the metaphor of sails and ships and wind for the past year. I've not created many things with my hands yet in the theme of sails, but many things I've painted and sculpted in my imagination. I saw a note recently in a friend's bible that said, "Miracles come from the imagination of God." I've pondered this intensely as I hold the imaginations of my heart, waiting for the birthing - the sailing. See, I want the very work of my hands to be miracles released - signs revealed, so there must be this holding of the holy within my God-embraced imagination until the delivery is evident. I've nurtured the development, and I'm feeling the revealing is near. 

I'm sensing to make cocoon-like shapes that appear to be like sails. This is a change for me - to shift to sculptural fiber forms rather than paintings... but I feel God's embrace with it for a season. I'm not sure what it will look like or how exactly it will feel. I've explored it all in minute ways in my paintings - a line here and a form there... but to purposefully process the sailing material in my hands - in the very fibers - is exciting to me. 

I've meandered through many changes over the past few months - being pulled by the updraft of God's will and blown slowly and swiftly with His myriad of breath blown into the the caverns of my being. I've taken in the hundreds of pieces He has given - the images,  the words, the songs, gifts of the minuteness of His creation. I've studied His wind. I've touched the veins of the leaves. I've watched them sail. The effect of the wind upon the waters and the land is ever-mesmerizing. Have you ever noticed how water moves? Have you seen the wind? I've felt the fibers that can hold the wind of the Spirit. I've painted the encapsulated forms of His Presence, I've sailed through the lines of His movement and touched the colors of Heaven. I've found the resting place in His Heart and He has found His resting place in me - in the very process of this creativity He has given. My sails are so full.

In the spirit of knowing that my creativity is never only my own and that God makes us all to breathe together, I keep my awareness turned to others.... turned to awe-inspiring creativity all around me. I've soaked in the rhythmic form of a vase and wondered what that movement felt like as clay under the hands. I have discovered the beauty of the dance of raku colors and the blackness produced by the charring and wondered how that hot process spoke to the potter over the fire. I've seen the delicate natural forms of trees that have taken a hundred years to produce the most intricate patterns that come alive under the lathe of a woodturner. I've watched as my friend weaves new patterns and finds a new basket design almost daily and it is confirmed that God's mercies and goodness are new every morning - and that He weaves His newness into our lives daily. Community and togetherness is so vital to our creative lives.

After the river this morning, I came to the studio and began my morning devotional - my place of connection to God's heart that readies my heart for expression. I read Oswald Chamber's Utmost about steadying my heart and awareness on Jesus - and that when we do that, then, He will be our all in all. I want His all in all of me - His breath in every cavern - every fiber of my sails filled with wonder.

Almost daily, I search for inspiration from another creative: a painter, fiber artist, dancer, writer, musician, dramatist... on and on.  It is in their sharing and my soaking in of their unique creative message that I continually stay fused with creativity that is outside myself.... that is the opposite of self-awareness. The celebration that comes into my heart when I see another artist effectively translating beauty and wonder gives rhythm to my sailing. It helps me to feel part of the fleet.

So this morning, I landed on the TED video by Janet Echelman: Taking Imagination Seriously. (Watch below.) In the video she shares about her process of creating billowing, building-size fiber sculptures that literally transform the atmosphere. I was so in awe as I watched her forms move into the rhythms such as I have painted. She truly had created the ever-transforming visual shapes of the wind. Actually, she had only created a form that could capture it and reflect the wind. Isn't that what we are to do. Capture the movement of God and reflect it? Her sculptures appear to carry the movement of God. They are transforming the stagnant caverns inside people. At the end of her video she shares how the business-like people of a nearby building left their work and laid under her sky-filling billow, watching the effects of the movement change and transform. Surely their spirits shifted with the movement. 

May we be observant. May we have keen eyes to see the wind in the sails. 
May the growing imaginations inside me find their birthing moment. As Jane Echleman says at the end of her video, may we forever be "sharing the rediscovery of wonder."


Your Unfailing Devotion

You gave me life and showed me your unfailing love. My life was preserved by your care. ~ Job 10:12

Head in hands... bowing low with worries I did
I ranted and raved
and said You were not taking care of me.
I trashed your sufficient grace again... 
acting as though you were not good... 
as though You were oblivious to my heart.

I lost direction. 
Forgive my wrong turn.
I could have been run over by the chaos of my looking away.
I could have been crushed in my turning...
and I felt the ugly fear of it -
the fear and inward cycle-down of refusing to see You.

And then...
in Your unfailing love.
You found me again.
You spoke into my heart - 
into my need - 
into my desperation.
Even when I had stopped my ears
You spoke into... me.
You broke through my stubborn barricade and 
loved me.

Who am I to receive this goodness?
Who am I to have these blessings?
Who am I to know Your love with this intensity?

I am Yours... 
Your Beloved.

Come rest here God
in the sanctuary of me.
Cleanse it out of all fear again
(You've done it before so many times.)

Every thing I feared,
You dissolved 
with timely words.
Covered with 
unexpected prayers.
Filled up with expressions
and closeness
and connection
and vision fulfilling
right in front of my eyes...
and in my heart.

You always run after me...
like a man madly in love running after his lady.
I'm always amazed that I can even capture Your attention...
much less, Your Devotion.

This little drawing and writing of pieces and parts...
my devotion to You...
How small it is compared to Your Unfailing Devotion.

What a God! 
What a Friend!



My wind-swept sails trust your touch
You blow through my grain... I'm catching your breath in every single thread
My scribbles jaunt to find the image...
and there it is...
another sail
another ship
another time and place and essence and ebb and flow,
another dream lifting it's slumbered gaze to You.
I sit on the bow... leaning into the vessel,
the cavern of me...
the crevis of me...
and all the others who have swept me away are lost somewhere in the chaos
as I peer in...
see in...
turning an ear and a heart
to your silence...
as I float on...
I hear your song.


You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit. ~Job 10:12

providence |ˈprävədəns; -ˌdens|nounthe protective care of God or of nature as a spiritual power

the way it all fits
jagged lines
my mind flits
reach above
see the whole
in all
the definitions
to see
the dream
the destiny
the design
the humble 
and the high
the me
the You 
the others around
the times
the seasons
be found

Clinching the Straight Line

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

~ Psalm 3:5-6

Awake at 4:00 am... tossing and turning... thinking of all to do... for weeks, how I've pressed and worked and juggled the thousand things... and You said, "Come away with me this morning." How tenderly You call to me Jesus, and yet still it took me an hour to manage to draw my busy mind into your Presence. I've been so busy... how can I so easily move on without finding this place with you every morning... forgive me.

Ink to paper, as I lay down the lines.. the busy lines that are surely catapulting my life into another level - into a direction and a destiny I can't even view yet.... this one thing I ask of You... please remain my One Thing... my constant friend, confidant, resting place, my stability, my straight line. Jesus, I know you love the designs, the busy patterns, the ponderings of my quick mind and the quiet slow spaces too... yet in the swirl of it all, I want to clinch until my knuckles are white to the very simplicity of loving you - the strong tower that You Are. 

Never let me forget to run to you, to simply talk to you, to bring every question, worry, thought, idea, and exciting new thing to You first... to You, my very Best Friend.

As I write my words to you, Your words in the prayer music meet me exactly in this place... and it is confirmed in my heart that you always make the path clear - You pull the threads of my heart. You lead me when I surrender. My forever friend, how I trust You. 

It feels like coming home. 

His Everything

His Everything

I drew this one upside down.... reaching up... stretching my lines up toward the top of the paper. It became this flowing rhythmic mixture of lines and shapes forming an upward arrow. That was my sentiment to the Lord - I was just simply saying to Him, "Everything to You God... the whole tangle of it pointed in Your direction. Everything... the whole of me... stretching toward Your heaven... Your will and majesty."

And then I realized it was upside down... my sharp edge of the paper is always on the left, so I flipped it... and I saw it...

He is directing His Everything - the Whole of HIM towards me... wow... overwhelming love rushing down to my dirt-made existence.... who am i that you are mindful of me?

What a God we have. :)

What is man that You take thought of him,
...You crown him with glory and majesty!
~Psalm 8: 4-5

Extravagant Beauty

May 16, 2012

Extravagant Beauty

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, And there is no blemish in you." ~ Song of Songs 4:7

A picture of a peacock caught my eye this morning and I just picked up my pencils and card-stock paper that I keep at my desk and began to sketch. I love peacock feathers... so beautiful. As I drew out his plumes... wanting to only hint at the beauty and not define it too tightly, I began to think about what the peacock means metaphorically. So after I finished the sketch, I did a search for quotes about peacocks and across the board the references were about arrogance and haughtiness. I thought this was so sad. How sardonic we are. The peacock is only being exactly who God created him to be. He puts on no strut that God didn't give him. We have a God that loves extravagance and extraordinary beauty and the display of His God-beauty in His creation.

So often we as Christians, in our false humility, want to pretend that beauty is only found in lowly things and that extravagant beauty is somehow superficial or wrong. How would a peacock look to you if he mangled his beautiful plumes in the mud to cover his beauty. Would he be righteous then? Of course, he should display the glorious design God gave him. You know, that display of beauty is a little glimpse of God - of His Beauty. How dare we devalue it.

How has God made you beautiful? Are you displaying it? Do you recognize and celebrate the beauty around you - in others around you?
What do your plumes look like?

Devotional Art ~ Findings

May 15, 2012

Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you. ~ Psalm 9:10


I have not been drawing every morning. For a few days it has gotten away from me and instead of finding my resting place in it, I've dreaded it and said I just didn't have the time. I have felt something stirring inside me though and I knew this morning I could not let another day pass without putting it down in color and line. 

So out of the dryness of the past few days, I picked up the dry pen... no ink... no color - it wouldn't write. So I pushed harder and still no ink.... trying to force the pen to do what it had no ability to do. I found that what it could do was enough.... so I pressed into the paper the flowing lines... the search for harmony.  I could feel the Spirit moving with me though I could barely see the lines. I rubbed my fingertips over the paper and was pleased at how I could feel the movement - the very indentation of the the rhythm. When I applied the blues and purples... the lines came forth visually. 

Isn't that so often the way we walk through our journey - pressing through even when things seem to not be working... trusting in faith the movement of the Spirit with our spirit... feeling the Presence lead us in the direction we need to go even when we can't quite see the whole picture. And then God comes like a flower releasing colorful pollen over our findings and He brings everything to light... everything then forms and the design is revealed. So thankful I picked up the dry pen today and simply drew. He always makes sense of my simple offerings.

Devotional Art ~ You Know Me

May 10, 2012

“You make known to me the path of life...” ~ Psalm 16:11
You Know Me

You are so wonderful. You move me... and I must respond. Your Spirit flows and forms these beautiful lines. I partner with you... my unique design coming through these fingertips you made. You draw life out of mere clay... my jar is full of your wonder. I lift my eyes up to the hills... where does my help come from? It’s YOU. You give me wisdom as the line and color form. You are so Beautiful.
Doodling is such a simple thing, yet so profound. I’ve always had the same formations in my doodles - from the time I was a child until now... still the same loops and jags and circles and spheres. It’s amazing to me how my doodling is as much “me” as my eye color or the sound of my voice. 
When I was in 7th grade, I remember how I used my doodling to make a design of my name... writing it and doodling all around it - causing the lines of my signature to be drawn out into a beautiful design with color and swirls and flow. How prophetic that was. As I, at that tender age of twelve, was growing into more of “me,” you were giving me a picture - a prophecy - of who I would become - one who loves your raw design, color and flow. Wow... this just being revealed to me as I write. You are such a good Papa! 
So I remember those signature designs.... “Pattie” made into a piece of art. :) How sweet you are God that you care that much for me. Makes me want to be beautiful for you.... like a little girl in her very best dress-up costume... tiara and all. :)
I also remember that I made those doodle name designs for all the others in my class - just thirteen of us who had been with one another since Kindergarten in our little tiny school. We really were family. :) I made those name designs for everyone... each with the lines and colors of their signature drawn out into a beautiful design that included them and yet was beyond them. That was prophetic too. I wonder what you were saying through my twelve-year old hands? 

Devotional Art - Seasons

May 7, 2012

Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. ~ Song of Songs 2:12
I love the majesty of the Spring
and yet the Spring this year has quickly come and almost gone.
You gave the word of the passing of the winter...
oh how we hold on to the cold places,
praying for warmth, 
yet evermore pushing off the blankets of comfort
in hopes to find our own way-
our own plans that will work,
that will comfort,
that will heal the frostbitten fingers that strived for beauty.
Yesterday the tears filled my eyes at the news of your majesty.
The winter has past and the spring has come.
I’m a season behind.
It’s okay.
I feel the pushing bloom
of Your heart awakening in my branches.
Your plans for me are good.
I am only one tree in the forest
yet these branches will sway to worship You.
This wooden heart will sing...

Devotional Art - Journey Home

May 5, 2012
Journey Home 

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. ~ Psalm 139:1

Three years ago today, my sister died of acute liver failure. She became sick a month prior and quickly... too quickly passed away from us. I’ve not written much about this... because still, even after three years, the words... right words... just aren’t there. 
I’m not writing to get compassion for myself in losing my sister... it’s very personal, but I hope to lend something to you that may help you during a difficult time. Art heals. While my sister was ill and grew worse, I painted. I created. I processed and found places of comfort in the safe place of divine creativity. While she was ill, I had a show coming up that was titled, “The Journey Home.” It was about finding our true home in the Presence of God. I did not know that she would be there soon. 
As I dealt with the month of her sickness, hospitals, procedures... emotions... horrific things... I still kept painting. I was pushed by the deadline of getting the show together, but my need to paint was so beyond just the deadline... there was a deadline in my soul.... a knowing that I had to paint to stay sound... to stay “okay” ... to be resolved.

I hoped the ending was going to be good and that she would pull through and be okay too. That we, as a family would have this testimony of endurance and victory... but on the day that I had my show laid out on the floor of the gallery... ready to hang... she died. I had left the gallery to go home to make the call to my mom... because I knew she had passed and I couldn’t hear that in the midst of the art gallery. 
The news ached through me.
The show was scheduled and I had to hang it. Friends wanted to come help me, but somehow... just getting in the gallery and putting those “paint through it all” pieces on the wall was something I had to do without comforters. So I went and hung my heart on the walls of that gallery. The gallery was at MorningStar, where I had been equipped to do the work of the ministry... where I had been trained to be a warrior. I was a wounded warrior that day, yet putting that “Journey Home” on the wall that day was my battle. 
We left to go home to Virginia after I hung the show. I remember my weary Mama falling into my arms... every ounce of her collapsing inside and the results of that weight in my arms... oh what despair... I’ve never known. I ached and yet held strong... for that moment anyway. My opening reception was the day of her funeral and as it was announced as part of a conference... it had to go on. It did. The days passed and the grieving sunk deep and the Lord comforted my heart... but not until the day I got back home to Charlotte and went to the gallery alone to be with those artworks did I find true rest. There in the paintings were answers... that I didn’t even know I had asked. There in the fibers of those pieces were assurances I hadn’t even know I would need. It was a refuge... a home.
The day my sister died, I called one of my closest friends, and she said to me, “Pattie, the Lord knows you. He knew that on this day you would receive this horrible news, and that you would have your art sitting on the floor of that gallery, and, though it’s so hard.... He’s got you. He holds you. He knows you.” 
And though after three years, I still don’t really have words to make sense of it... I have images, and colors, and textures, line, form, and symbolisms.... they speak softly of my journey home.... her journey home.... but most of all they speak of a path. A sanctuary. A home.

As I sketched today for this devotional... my frustration jabbed at the paper.... still a little anger that she is not here and about all the ways we failed to reach one another while she was... but soon... in the first few circles I felt the Lord come in and develop this structure... circles pushing together... spaces of understanding pushing together that without words gives me a solidity to the ripped places of this life. An image feels more solid than a thousand words. 

Devotional Art ~ Puzzle

"...he who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." ~ Phillipians 1:5-7


Today I organized a thousand pieces of information. Wirey-ness patch-worked here and there. The press of time flowing and then jarring one way and another... until it began to form. Good news came today... a piece of good news that will shift and change and make everything... all our pieces - different. As the puzzle of the project formed and came together into a beautiful expression of something so much bigger than me, yet something I was born for, I look at the way You, Great Mystery, love to give a line here, a snippet there and You piece me together in the same fashion. Will I be different? Once again, different? And once again, exactly who I was born to be? You love the mystery, Oh Mystery. Your puzzle is so intricately beautiful.... just black and white beautiful. 

Devotional Art ~ Unfolding

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. - Jeremiah 33:3 
thoughts rising
as I pull up the depths of your words to me
up out of those promised places
they wander
and turn 
the thoughts find the place of expression
in the spiral
in the turning it over with a friend
the fear unravels and dispels
and I’m left with 
just beauty.

Devotional Art ~ Bending to Hear

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths ~ Proverbs 3:5
The fire by night.
The cloud by day.
If only it were always that easy to see Your movement, Oh God, and know the perfect direction. Just to simply pack up and follow when the sign pointed the correct way like the children in the wilderness did. Correct. What a word that is.... brings in insecurities of not being able to find myself in that place - correct. “You did not get the answer correct.” “The correct answer is....” 
All I know to do when I can’t see the way is to listen for it. I’m bending to hear your rhythm - Your Voice. Bending like a tree blown by your wind, I wait to hear - to wring the fleece - to feel Your breath blow me like a sailboat upon smooth waters. You are so kind to me and I know Your plans are good for me. They are plans to prosper me and make Your light to shine upon me. You are a good daddy. You never leave me alone. Your kindness will chase me down. I cannot see just yet today, but I believe. 
And I remind myself... that You love mystery. It is sweet and I rest again.

Devotional Art ~ Narrow Way

April 27, 2012

Narrow Way

"... the gateway to life is very narrow." ~ Matthew 7:14

Keep me Father... because today I only have time for one stark line... yet I enter through it to Your Heart...

Help me hold tightly today to You... even in my busyness. I'm glad I can find your narrow gate at a moment's notice.

In all that clamors for my attention, You are still my One Thing.

Devotional Art - Ascend

April 26, 2012

He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
    out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
    and steadied me as I walked along.
~ Psalm 40:2
You have made a ladder that carries me
I don’t even have to climb
You lift me up 
from under
the weight of my own mud humanity
Your water drips and pours through this human land
I am built up 
I penetrate  - no  -  RISE - through the surface of mortal skin
and narrowly ascend with You.
“For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.” ~ Ephesians 2:6

Devotional Art - Broken Beauty

April 25, 2012

Broken Beauty
O God our Savior
You care for the land and you water it;
You enrich it abundantly.
The streams of God are filled with water...
~ Psalm 65:9

As I began to sketch blue this morning with that wonderful glass-like pencil... pure pigment of water blue... I pressed too hard and it broke... snap.... “Oh... it broke.” So I took what was left of it, the smaller portion, but the one with the ability to keep drawing, and I drew out the message of Your Heart, oh God, my Savior. You will enrich this land with your water.
How many times, longing for your water to cover this land, these mountains, have I pressed too hard... I so long for your water to fill this land. I’ve felt Your blue green streams. I’ve felt it coursing through my spirit from Your Spirit. I’ve felt your streams of water and I have to ask this morning, “Have I broken something in the very laying down of it - in the expression of it?” And your wind comes again... your sway and swerve of Your Unfailing love pushes through my heart and mind even as I draw the sway lines of Your Spirit. You are teaching me that I can still function... bring Beauty... even with the broken things... even up and out of the broken places. Nothing is wasted with you God. 
You are a cool refreshing drink of water. You bring life to death. You are Sanctuary.

Devotional Art ~ Fly Me Away

April 24, 2012

Fly Me Away

“Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame.
 Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated...
 For your Maker is your husband—
 the LORD Almighty is his name— 
                                                                        ~Isaiah 54: 4-5

I always thought it would be romantic to go up in a hot-air balloon. I dreamed of that when I was a little girl. Fly me away oh lover of my soul. The day is done when I walked up with you out of that desert leaning on you, my Beloved. Now it is time to fly... The power flows into the fabric that has formed this lifting place... The tethers barely hold the massive carrier as I climb into the holding place with you Beloved. The fire and the wind roar and I’m ready to fly. I’m ready to sing a new song. I’m ready. I’m ready. The tethers release and I fly with you.... my hero... my rescuer... my friend... my Bridegroom. 

Devotional Art ~ Shifting Sails

Monday, April 23, 2012

Shifting Sails
Psalm 32:8
I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shall go:
I will guide thee with mine eye.
For a few months, the symbolism of sails and sail-ships have been ever prominent in my mind and inner visual processing and listening. The Lord has given me so many guideposts along the way in this thread of thought - a sail-ship in a vintage magazine, a sermon with the theme of sailing, a major rush of His Spirit through song and word of knowledge, songs and poems that surprise me out of the blue,  and gifts of sail-ships by my sweet husband who sails with my heart in ways that mirror my little-girl heart hope dreams. 
It all began at an art exhibit called, From these Hills, where there was a piece of art utilizing a sail-ship. It was a mechanical sculpture with a painful arrangement of gears and cogs turning and working... striving to turn a lone glass of water that had a sail-ship engraved on it. I stood there watching the rocking laborsome “movement” that it took to turn the glass at a pace that was gut-wrenching to watch. It was as if it was almost standing still. The water sat still - it could become stagnate or evaporated because the motion... though it was vigorous and harsh... did not affect the water... there was no movement there.
This piece disturbed me... got at the deep frustration in my heart. How much did I see this harsh violent working in the areas of my life, from ministry to relationships to even my own artistic journey? Why all that work for nothing? Why the slow slow process? The depravation of these hills - the spirit of poverty - of never having or being enough was ever-present in that work and it knocked me in the chest - it took my breathing - it made me furious!
The impact would not go away. The piece lived in my mind for days and yet, still does. It did what good art does - it arrested my attention - it made me listen to God. 
So there it began... with a challenge to surrender my sails, pull them down and sit still in roaring waves if that’s what it took. I decided in that time that I would not let the water get stagnate. I would also never again work that hard or involve myself in a mess of mechanics like I had seen to try to sail. I determined to believe that in everything there is grace. The only way I knew to sail into Grace was through love... so I ran headstrong into more purposed love than I ever have - you know, the love that hurts to give. It was my test.
I learned to love more deeply. I’ve always been purposeful about loving people well, but honestly, when things were hard with relationships, especially the ones that I really could walk away from, well, I would run away... take the easy road. Loving through adversity is not easy. Loving when love is not wanted is difficult. Learning to rest as the motion of the grinding gears continually crushes around you, yet you are found in a sweet rhythm of His Spirit, is painful to be in the midst of. As others push and pull and futily oil the gears, it is difficult to not put your hand to all the craziness again. I’ve learned that love sometimes means to not help others you care for... to not enable their striving. Sometimes love is saying no and setting boundaries that displease people you love. It’s a hard one to learn.
So as I sat yesterday in church, listening to a sermon about faithfulness, I got the understanding. I could feel a turning of the sails, a swift pull on the cables of my heart setting me on course away from that slow-turning container... and I feel the wind of His Spirit blowing in new directions. My sails have been lifting again over the past few months on this journey and His calm love has transformed my rhythm. His banner over and around me is Love. We have to know the Love of God. May we understand the width, depth and height of His Love. Without it, we have nothing.