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.

Untitled

 

 

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.

389098_10151564232764264_1860980871_n

 

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.

Creative Soul June 2013

Time limit: 20 minutes, handwritten, non-stop writing
Prompt: (I should’ve written it down but I didn’t) Something about being in the dark and finding light (the theme for the retreat was “Bloom Towards the Light”

So. Here it is. My 20 minute, writing non-stop, handwritten, unedited piece.

Untitled

In the dark I find comfort.

Not seen.
Not found.

The mess is hidden. Oh sure, I trip over the garbage but if I fall–you can’t see it. I’m not fat in the dark. I’m not sick in the dark. I’m whatever I want. Because I can be.

You can shine a flashlight into the black hole and I’m ok with that because your little light won’t ever be bright enough to see what I’m hiding.

Going towards the light means exposing the ugly. And trust me–you DO NOT want in here. But then–you are human and you only know what you know and your vision is limited by your experience and your experience is not my experience. And you, being human, superimpose your story on top of the one I’m trying to tell. And no matter how hard you try–it will always be that way.

But God presses in and his light His light is not like yours. He blasts light so bright it consumes all of the ugly. And He moves away

leaving me in the dark again. {pause} I start to trip less. I’m less afraid of exposure. He shines it in again and again and retreats after each time time

light like night and day
like awake and sleep
He cycles or I orbit and turn on my axis. I have seasons. I realize I no longer care to be in the dark and I bring him pieces of the ugly.

It is then that my little seedling self pops up through the rich dirt fertilized by the shit of my past.I defy them by the cycle He created. The waste product of my life is the very thing that determines my growth.It pushes me up and feeds me.By design–He created me to be nourished by those things.

I will grow.
I will bloom.
I will fade.
I will die.

In this life.

He will scoop me up and transplant me into the eternal garden.

 

{restore} I’m back

Some of you know me as a writer/editor, some know me as a visual artist.

I haven’t done any significant writing or editing since the summer of 2010 when my mom passed away. I sat in her hospital room daily working on final edits for my first foray as Editor-in-Chief.

After it went to print and after just a small bit of promotion, I dropped the gig. It was too much. I had too many responsibilities and too many people to be accountable for and I could barely be accountable for myself.

I was proud of it. One story was given an honorable mention for The Year’s Best Horror (Box by Dan Keohane.) Other Editor’s Choice winners have gone on to book deals and awards and very rewarding writing careers. My (graduated) intern is working at a division of Hachette in New York City, my other (graduated) intern is working on staff at Willowcreek South Barrington. So much good came out of this one little thing.

But it was too much at the time.

Then the art happened.  And flourished. Wow it just explode or what?! So I’ve been focusing on that since 2010.

A couple weeks ago an opportunity was presented to me and I immediately said, “No way.” Then things happened rather quickly and I found myself in a position of no longer being able to say no.

So. The official news is I’m back…I’m the new (again) Editor-in-Chief of The Midnight Diner. I’m assembling a team, working on strategy, examining changes that need to be made, brainstorming what the future will look like, setting goals, and being nervous!!!!

When I chose {restore} as my word for 2013, I hadn’t an inkling of a clue that I’d come back to writing, editing, and publishing.

Wow.

And yes, I’m as shocked as you are.

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.

Listen To Your Mother {Eastern Iowa} Cast Announced

A little story:

The first Mother’s Day after my mom passed away, this girl was producing a northwest Indiana show for Mother’s Day called Listen to Your Mother. She invited me and I declined. I was appreciative and wanted to support her, but I didn’t think I could deal with the emotions. She emailed a few days later and asked if Phil would be an usher at the show. I asked him and he said yes. (sneaky girl. I love you for that.)

So many of my friends were there that night and I felt loved and I loved them and it was good for my heart.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I was urged to submit something for the Eastern Iowa show and with moving and the chaos, I just didn’t think I could add one more thing to my plate. But then, one morning right after we moved in, I was looking in the backyard of our new home and I saw some lilac bushes I’d never noticed and I wrote it. I cried and I wrote it. Then I sent it without even thinking I’d ever be chosen.

But I got the email and the announcements are made and there is my name. I will (somehow) be reading my story on stage. I’m not a stranger to the stage, that’s not the intimidating part. It’s the part where my emotions will be uncontrolled trying to tell my story. So far, I can’t even *think* of reading it without crying let alone actually reading it. It’s probably one of the most emotional pieces I’ve ever written. (deep breath.)