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.

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