This Sacred Journey

This Sacred Journey

pain and loss
hope and strength
tears and fragmented life
deepest pain and dazzling joy
valley deep and desert dry
mountain top and vision fueled

shadowy and hopeless
joy and piercing pain
confusion and clarity
in and out of light
endless and forever

friends and enemies
dark anguish and shimmering light
unwavering faith and painful disappointment
difficult and yet possible
lost and yet found

scarred and enlightened
truth and revelation
power and pain
trauma and grace
journey and expansion
life and merciful death
eternity and unspeakable joy


“Forget about what’s happened;
    don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
    It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,
    rivers in the badlands.  Isaiah 43: 19-20??

Before I was a wife, a mother and a pastor, I was an artist.  I dreamed of painting every day for the rest of my life.  I graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Art, then life happened.  It does that, doesn't it.  Life has its twist and turns, it takes you places you could never have dreamed of and you end up on a new trajectory.  

I found new ways to express my creativity through messages, event decorating, scrapbooking, fliers, any opportunity that came my way. The true artist, the confident, abandoned to the process, artist was locked deep away in my soul.  
Locked away for way too many years, starved for affection, my inner artist was dying.  She was locked away and slumbered in that place hoping to one day be awakened again. 

Everything changed in 2011 tragedy struck and with it a need to process and the only thing that worked was journaling, bleeding out on paper.   

Then Carrie Todd (my hero)offered an art journal class at the church that cracked my soul wide open.  The church became a hotbed of creativity, we began painting during worship sessions, I began painting at home in an art journal and feeling like a bird with a broken wing.  Not quite flying but at least fluttering my wings, stretching, jumping and growing.  Slowly I started painting on canvas, finding my way bit by bit.  

Then in 2013 my son Justin, went to heaven.  I couldn't process.  My brain wasn't functioning and slowly I started painting.  Everything was dark in the beginning, black shapes and black words that were haunting me.  The more I painted,journaled and spent time in God's presence the pain became different.  I began to be able to own it, accept it, understand it and the colors became brighter.  I will never be without the sacred scar, an unhealed wound that will often be reopened with just a thought, a memory or even someone elses pain that brings mine to the surface.  I live with it in a Holy place, the secret is I live with it but not in it.  

Then in 2015 my world unraveled after finding out my then husband had been unfaithful basically our entire marriage(except four years, he explained).  As I listened to him tell me the different women I once again found myself unable to process.  In the beginning I just tried to wake up and not weep all day, the culmination of loss had just been too much.  But God.

Now today, the Lord has healed what was so broken.  It was a process, a creative process and a deep heart work process.  I had to dig deep into my cycles of self destruction:people pleasing, bad boys, fear, co dependence, etc.  There were cycles so deeply embedded that it took some real revelation from God to see them for what they really are. I am not done with the work, it continues on.  

These things....these cycles were just lurking behind the curtain of my life, masked in good things.  Like everything in our lives there is a good side and a bad side.  Balance is so key, but well....I had no balance. My level of intensity and devotion became a negative and that became ingrained and kept me out of balance.  Well, that among a myraid of other things. The "other things" we will save for another day. 

We all have those "things" that are just a part of us, but we can break free of them.  That's exactly what I have been working on.  

Here is the HOPE nugget:  it's working.  

Bringing things into the light, acknowledging my broken pieces and allowing Jesus into those places is working.  I see myself much more clearly, I love myself much more deeply, I love what I create regardless of what others think, I love God and trust Him in a whole new way.  

I HAVE PEACE!!  Okay, I have peace most of the time. I am not immune to the occassional freak out or melt down.  

All that to say, I am an artist and a counselor.  This is who I am, who God created me to be.  I don't need to fight it, or become someone or something else.  I just need to live in it, walk in it and experience the freedom that comes from being recklessly in love with the dreams and visions God has given me.  

Thirtythree years ago I was a kid in college who dreamed of being an artist and helping people(I worked with aquatics for brain injury recovery).  Thirty three years later I find myself having the life experience that has equipped me for that dream.  Who could have known all the twist and turns that would take me on this journey or what it would take to unlock the creativity that had been shut down 25 years ago (that is a whole other blog that needs to be written).  Seriously?  I sold motor oil, then became a pastor, then went and got my Master's in Biblical Counseling, completing and then teaching in the International School of Ministry all the while learning from an incredible community of friends. 

Friends, God knew all along what HE was creating and HE sent you to me.  Some of you were for a season and some of you are for a lifetime. 

Life is crazy sometimes but often things that look like they will kill you are actually resurrecting you!  No pain is wasted, no struggle without it's value, every last bit of your life experience is bringing forth good.  

The seed in me died at some point and life kept me focused and growing but now.....a new thing is bursting forth.  The years of being fearless, of choosing to live and not die, the brave lessons have all culminated for such a time as this.  

Everyone who has loved me shares in this, you taught me what real love was, you showed me such intimate care that I could see Jesus in you.  You stood in the darkness with me, you carried the pain when I couldn't and you believed, you always believed in me. You people, my tribe you are all an intricate part of this new thing.  

Be happy for me, join me in finding more freedom.  I really thought I was free(that's the funny thing)but there is always more!  Levels and levels of freedom to be experienced but we must engage, be vigilant to seek the deep work of the Holy Spirit and see the ugly.  Seeing the ugly is exactly what helps us to burn it down and watch the ashes turn into beauty.

It's hard work but worth every minute of it.  So for now, I am chasing my dreams.  Painting every minute I can and trying to sell my art.  Working my job and life with distinct purpose and not for anyone else but for me.  I have the power and confidence to design my own life.  I am no longer willing to settle in any area of my life.  I love myself that much.  Amazing isn't it. 

I hope you will join me in this journey.  Follow my progress, it is going to get crazy and I hope it will encourage other crazies!  I am a hope enterpreneur, a confident, bold, lover of God and others and all I want is to be ME and lead others to be their best THEM.  LETS DO IT FRIENDS. 

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