It began with this image...well really it began almost a year ago...well really it began almost 58 years ago. I can't explain all of this right now. I am still in process of so very much. Emotions are stirring. I hope to better understand and be able to share more down the road a bit.
I started this canvas almost a year ago. There are probably 15 starts and stops on it. These colorful splashes appeared this morning. Then came the "what next"? I had no idea...I have not painted on canvas in ages...I seem to not be able to finish a dang thing. I have worked a lot in my journal. But that comes easier for me.
I covered the whole thing with black paint, it's much darker in person. The words, "don't fill the void...sometimes we must feel it. Let it be." came to mind and heart. So I wrote them.
It will stay like this for a time I think.
My mother passed away a few weeks ago. I did not have much of a relationship with her. She left home when I was 4. Though I would see her off and on she was a mother in name only. I attended her funeral. I was mostly numb.
So, I am living with the tension, with the unknown, with the messiness, with the confusing and conflicting feelings. I am going to try to stay with those feelings and not cover them with things that make me feel better and not feel them. I need to feel them, even if I don't want to.
So for now this painting hangs in my living room where I can see it each time I walk into the room.
As a reminder to feel...
This is a journal page I created sometime last year. "We breathe the smoke of the spiritual battle" Just like children breathing in second hand smoke living in a home with a smoker we breath in the atmosphere of our homes. To some extent, this molds us. We come away with various beliefs about life and ourselves and others.
We can only pass down what we have...or don't have...
But God can and does bring healing, restoration and freedom.
I am beginning to breath the fresh clean air of freedom.
What do you turn to when you are stressed, angry, hurt or lonely? What do you use to numb the pain or soothe the ache? What if, for a season you did not numb the ache? What if instead you chose to stay present and feel the pain and ache and not run to that thing? What if you left space for God to swoop in and do something new?
It could be hard, it could hurt, a lot, pruning usually does...
It could make you crabby and ugly for a time...
but it could also begin to make you more lovely...
His heart has longed for this day. To find the one to walk this journey with.
Her name is Megan.
Yes, we will have two Megan's to love.
Will you join me in praying this day is a joyous one, that we may be in the moments and soak it all in. That as we walk this week with all that may still need to be done with joy in anticipation and not become overwhelmed...
study the Bible and pray regularly but still fight bouts of sadness they can't explain?
feel distant or resentful toward God when things go wrong?
feel guilty because even though they have " the answer" in Christ, that answer doesn't seem to work for them?
These empty valleys of the Christian life can become dark nights of the soul where we wonder if God can still see us. Many times, however, God breaks open the depths of these valleys into wide open spaces in which we can discover that knowing Christ amounts to much more than attending church, having friends from church, reading a devotional book and listening to Christian music. These moments of truth reveal parts of ourselves no one has ever seen. We show them to Christ, fearing He may not be pleased, but instead He takes our hand and walks with us through a time of examining ourselves in light of God's grace and mercy."
This is an excerpt from the book Healing Hurts that Sabotage the Soul, by Curt Grayson and Jan Johnson. You can download it for free on Jan's website, janjohnson.org.
I have experienced all of the above and those feelings may creep back in from time to time. Being a believer in Christ does not make it all better...we still struggle...sometimes it's seems even harder because parts of us begin to wake up that once were numb and asleep...and if someone tells you otherwise they are lying.
There are many, myself included that have faith, but if we are honest with ourselves there are more times than we like to admit where we wonder why we struggle with so much junk and why life is not looking like we expected.
We may wonder at times if this faith thing is even real. We wrestle with God on many occasions and in doing so our faith is often strengthened, but there are also times we get stuck and have a hard time moving forward. Just because our faith is not working in the moment or the way we expect does not mean it is not real. Sometimes our sight gets blurred.
Jan has published many insightful books and her website has tons of resources, many free.
I also wanted to share this from Healing Hurts:
"A special note to anyone who has quit attending church: we were both on the verge of joining those ranks when we began this process. We were burned out Christians, tired church leaders who believed the church was no longer helping us get our spiritual needs met. We had misunderstood God and were worn out from trying to understand Him. We pray that if you feel this way, you will allow God to re-ignite your faith in Him and help you find safe places to heal your hurts."