My Guided Prayer Experience

I didn’t know what to expect, really. She had talked about it on the phone with me, but was a bit vague. Not on purpose, though. More because (I’ve learned) that what happens during the guided prayer far outweighs the process of guided prayer.

We were at Creative Soul. We’d had this amazing day of Visual Prayer and then writing circles. I was feeling powerful, strong, and spirit-filled.

This lovely lady was our “guide.” She started with a soft and soothing prayer. With our eyes closed, she asked us to recall a time when each of us felt closest to God, when we could sense his presence or hear his voice. She mentioned the word joyful in conjunction with this memory. I tried to force the memory to surface and “joyful” kept blocking the memory. I threw it out and a time clearly came into focus.

This is what came to mind.

I thought I was supposed to write a Bible study. I started writing. I didn’t want it to be like all the other Bible studies out there, so I took  steps to make it different. It would be a short study, 4 weeks, 15 minutes a day, but it would pack a punch. I wrote the first three chapters, but really stumbled on the last–which was to be about following Christ.  In the years that followed, I truly have learned to follow Christ, to listen to him, to be obedient instead of sacrificial and repentant.  But then I wasn’t a writer any longer, I was a visual artist doing Visual Prayer and selling paintings and loving the life God gave me. Recently after a 3 year hiatus from writing, I’m back in the game again.

I am pretty positive I will not see success as a writer until I finish writing this Bible study.

That obedience thing I was just so confident about? ha. #notsomuch

I started doodling and writing down words that caught my attention. I don’t remember a whole lot about what Michelle was guiding us to do.

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But then she got to this new part. She told us to envision ourselves in a boat on a calm lake. The we were supposed to dive in the water and go all the way to the bottom and see a treasure chest.

I admit, I thought it was silly. I resisted. Then I thought resisting was silly because why not fully participate? So I dove to the bottom and saw my treasure chest. In it was a book.

sigh.

I know, God. I know. The book I’m supposed to write. I get it.

Then Michelle said, “Make sure you see the bottom of your treasure chest.”

What?!

Ok.

I picked up the book and there was a key, a skeleton key. (are you kidding me?!) I then saw myself using the key to open a secret compartment at the bottom of the treasure chest and once it opened, I got the sense of an expanse, limitless. I was reminded of my tattoo and the word I chose.

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I asked God, “What do I do with this key now?” I heard a response that was partially words and partially vision. I saw a bunch of doors, all kinds of them and God said that the key would open any door I wanted to open, it was my choice, I was LIMITLESS. He trusted me and the desires of my heart were the desires of His heart. The limits I placed on myself were not of Him. I was not bound to write a book that He’d never told me to write. He freed me of that anchor, gave me a key, and set me free to do as I wish.

For real.

I am so glad I decided to fully participate. It would be cliche to say I felt like a weight was lifted off of me–but indeed, it was. I don’t know what doors are in front of me, I don’t know which ones I’ll open, but to know I’m free to choose?! I’m LIMITLESS! Wow.

Because how many people are stuck in a trap of their own creation thinking God’s will is what someone else is telling them? How many people think they need to DO something to please God? To somehow earn his love and affection? If I just write this book, God will love me enough to bless me.  I be{lie}ved a lie. A big lie.

Do not fret because of those who are evil
or be envious of those who do wrong;
for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants they will soon die away.

Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.

Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Indianapolis May First Friday Featured Artist (me!!) at Fletcher Place

I am so excited (and nervous!!) to announce my work will be featured at Fletcher Place Arts & Books for Indianapolis’ May First Friday  event.

This First Friday (for me) is in conjunction with my favorite conference of all time: Mo*Con. When I started writing with publication in mind, I was betwixt and between genres. At that time, a Christian who wrote horror was the devil and needed prayer and healing and hands-laid-upon, and maybe it’s still that way a little, but it is far more accepted today than it was back then (what was that, 2007?)

One of my writing critique partners at the time, Dan Keohane, suggested I look up some horror conference held in a church in Indianapolis. One of his friends was a guest of honor and he thought I’d enjoy meeting him (Brian Keene)  Also in attendance was Gary Braunbeck. So I went and I met the Indiana Horror Writers, THE most amazing family of writers (and trust me, we ARE family at this point!!)

Visual Prayer

All that to say, on top of the exciting First Friday news: For the second year in a row, I’m bringing my Visual Prayer supplies and we’re doing a workshop at Mo*Con Saturday May 4 at around 3pm!!  Guests of Mo*Con will enjoy this session as part of the ticket price.

If you’re in the area and would like to join us for the workshop only, please email me and make arrangements. Cost of the Visual Prayer workshop only will be $25  (all supplies included.  Just show up! You’ll take home two 8×10 canvas boards with your own creation on them. I will guide you through the process!)

Following Mo*Con’s theme this year: The Mind and Spirit of the Artist, the workshop will be centered around using visual arts to calm and free the mind allowing the spirit to open into a relaxing realm of worship.

2012 {year of grace}

After praying intentionally about a word to guide my year, God gave me the word “grace.”  I knew it wouldn’t be easy because I am not the most grace-giving person. Not by a long shot. (the year before was “believe” and the previous three years the same word surfaced over and over: “simplify.”)

I had been thinking to myself what a bad year 2012 was. Maybe it was just difficult to process? Because looking back, it was a pretty exciting and overwhelming year.  I was sick for a good portion of this year, but thankfully feel like I’m on the road to recovery.

I learned a lot about (perceived) friendships, letting go of negative things, spirit-driven friendships, listening to God, obeying God, trusting God, and God’s amazing grace.  I think I worked really hard on my creativity and am humbled at the opportunitities I’ve had to share the fruits of my labor. Which makes me so full of joy and peace and love…it’s almost inconceivable.  And that makes me think that God’s biggest lesson in grace was the hard and difficult work I did (not just physical work, but mental work) is rewarded by the hard-to-fathom peace, joy, and love that comes in the form of others appreciating what I do.

Walking through 2012 with “grace” as my guide, I realized grace isn’t just something I give, it’s something I receive daily. Not just from God but from people I share this life with.  Seems pretty simple, but sometimes I don’t see the simple things (thus three years of the word simplfy! LOL)

I hope I’ll learn to give grace as well as those in my life have given it to me.

 

 

January

  • invited to do my first solo art exhibition (not jut one show, but two in two different cities!)
  • Spent 6 straight weeks, 12+ hours a day,  creating 30 new paintings for the show.

February

March

    • “Grace Undone” my first solo exhibition of my career opened at the Hammond Art Center
    • I turned 40

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April

  • Started private art lessons with Justin Vining
  • Planted a teeny, tiny garden, that turned out to be phenomenal!

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May

  • helped facilitate our youth group’s Disciple Now weekend. This was one of the highlights of the year, seeing so many kids so in love with Jesus.
  • Taught my first Visual Prayer workshop at a conference (Mo*con, Indianapolis, IN)

June

  • dad nearly died on the same day mom did two years previous, but miraculously recovered.
  • The reason for the March-May fast became more clear.
  • Started painting and drawing lessons at the South Bend Art Museum

July

    • ended Visual Prayer monthly workshops after 2 years
    • One year later. Lessons learned after Phil being fired and being forced to a house and city we hadn’t chosen.
    • Friends Angie and Stan Poole visited from Texas, hadn’t seen my dear Angie since 2006!
    • Started to see a major improvement in my painting/drawing skills after several months of lessons

Boot

August

  • Forced to leave our church after our pastor and youth pastor moved on to jobs with the state and a pastor from the past reared his ugly head again.
  • kicked off my professional photography career, it had only been a hobby until this year
  • First ever street art show  (Miller Beach, IN)

September

    • went completely gluten free
    • Taught my first out-of-state Visual Prayer workshop (Creative Soul, Grayslake, IL)
    • completed SBC church planting “basic training”
    • Second street art show of the year (South Bend, IN)
    • Second solo art exhibition of my career (Cedar Lake, IN)

Done!!!!!!

  • Third street art show of the year (Chesterton, IN)

October

  • Zane turned 13
  • Phil was hired at Con-way and started 13 weeks of management training, found out that it’s likely we’ll have to relocate.

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November

  • “Limitless” tattoo!! (which will be my word for the decade. My 40’s will be Limitless!!)
Limitless tattoo
  • dad was diagnosed with squamous cell cancer of the throat with a huge tumor wrapped around his carotid and jugular. We didn’t think he’d make it to the end of 2012.

December

  • dad survived his simultaneous radiation and chemo treatments!! Doctors are now talking long-term remission!!
  • We are definitely relocating, yet we still don’t know where we’re going!

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