Beauty from Brokenness: Art from the Brokenness of Alcohol

God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him. Psalm 18:20 MSG

El AnatsuiWhat do you do when a piece of art immediately makes you cry?

You listen.

Because, in the words of Pope Benedict XVI, art has the ability to:

“speak to the heart of humanity, to touch individual and collective sensibilities, to call forth dreams and hopes, to broaden the horizons of knowledge and of human engagement.”

El AnatsuiEl AnatsuiThese pieces of art by the Nigerian artist El Anatsui are made from discarded liquor bottle caps. On a walk one day he came across a trash bag of these caps, brought them back to his art studio, and began to create art tapestries by linking them together with copper wire.

But the art is more than art to El Anatsui:

El Anatsui“I have a feeling of the presence of layers of people, right from the people who make the drink, the people who drank them, my associates and myself.”

He also feels a connection between Europe,  Africa and the Americas . . . because alcohol was an item traded for human slaves.

The destructive effects of alcohol have fueled abuse of many humans all over the world, destroyed many a family, and left many discarded hearts with sorrows, wounds, and lingering regret.

I stood in front of the first piece of art and cried, for how alcohol has created brokenness in my own world.  As I moved to listen to other pieces, I cried for how alcohol continues to create brokenness in our world.

Just this morning I read a news article of a teenage girl who drank too much at a party, and in a semi-conscious state was stripped naked and abused by two drunk teen boys. Nobody at the party stopped it.

Brokenness.

I wonder, if she could see this piece of art, would she see the small piece of it that is the story of her life–rewoven into a tapestry of hope, beauty and new life?

Would she, could she, see how much more the divine artist–THE creator, God–can take the pieces of brokenness in all our lives and weave them into a tapestry of such beauty?

I cry more. Perhaps, just perhaps, this is a small glimpse of the beauty of heaven . . . where all brokenness is redeemed, all the stories of our lives are joined, and every discarded remnant of pain turns to joy.

Where we become beauty from brokenness.

I pray you hear the hope in this art today–the hope for the beauty that can be wrought from the broken pieces of your life and mine.

Linda Crawford

Linda Crawford

The art of El Anatsui is currently on exhibit at:

The Brooklyn Museum through August 4, 2013

The University of Michigan Museum of Art through May 5, 2013

Meet El Anatsui and see more of his art on this short video:

More Beauty from Brokenness:

Lost and Found

Recycled Orchestra

The Becoming of an Artist

The Face of Beauty: Me

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14

Linda Crawford

For far too many years I could not call myself beautiful.

Today I’m going to say it publicly for the first time.

I am beautiful.

Because God says so, and has since the time I was fearfully and wonderfully knit together in my mother’s womb.

Since my birthday.

Which just happens to be today.

This year, unlike past years, I really want to celebrate it.

I want to embrace the gift of joy, give thanks for the beauty of God, count my blessings, and celebrate LIFE.

I want to put on a silly birthday hat, blow a noisemaker, and let the world hear me sing of what Jesus has done for me:

I once was lost . . . now I’m found.

I believed I was worthless . . . now I’ve found my worth in Him.

I looked for love in all the wrong places . . . now I’ve been found by His love.

I hid in darkness and shame . . . now I shine in THE light.

I spoke harsh words against myself . . . now I listen to His words of worthiness.

I suffered my pains alone . . . now I am healed by THE Healer.

I truly was blind . . . now I see.

I really see.

What Jesus has done for me.

Beauty for ashes, a garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness . . .

I was a captive–now set free!

In celebration of my birthday I’m sharing my story of finding Beauty in the Dark at Internet Cafe Devotions. Click here to read.

I hope you’ll join in the party.

Here’s a party hat–let’s celebrate all that Jesus has done!party hat

It truly is a very, very Happy Birthday for me.  🙂

Linda Crawford

 

 

More Faces of Beauty:

Pope Benedict XVI

Amanda

Lygon Stevens

Writing in the White Space: Margins

God is magnificent; he can never be praised enough. There are no boundaries to his greatnessPsalm 145:3 MSG

Margins.

The outside limits. The white space beyond the words. The boundary lines of life, the edges of the impossible.margins

I live here. In the margins, between the margins, and sometimes beyond them.

I write notes in the margins of my Bible. Scribble comments in the margins of a favorite book. Doodle in the margins when I’m bored.

There’s room to play here, in the white space of life, yet I’m constrained by the boundaries of the margins.

I know if I stray off the page, go over the edge, color outside the frame–I’ll mess up the furniture…and perhaps my life.

There are a lot of words inside the margins in my life.

“Friends” share many (too many?) words inside the margins of the white and blue “book.” They make me laugh, sigh, grit my teeth, and occasionally cry. But even the white space inside the margins feels full and noisy. I occasionally jump into the frenetic jump-rope game long enough to recite a few words, then jump out again to spectate…and wonder if anybody even noticed I played the game.

It’s too crowded there to play…or breathe.

But the margins of my writing pad are all mine. The margins in my Bible are all mine. And it’s here, exploring, studying and playing in the margins of His words and mine, I discover the healing joy, the love, and the life of the white spaces of my life.

Bible marginsI see the beautiful in the margins of life here, for beauty is God’s handwriting.

I am hemmed in by His presence, and freed to live beyond the margins of my human circumstances and emotions.

His words are illuminated by a light from within. The margins become a place to digest them, to breathe, rest, play, and become.

I ‘m safe here, living within and beyond the margins with Christ…and

I no longer fear the emptiness…or the edge.

LindaLinda Crawford

This devotion was shared at Internet Cafe Devotions and Coloring Life Beautiful, and was inspired by Ruminate Magazine

 


More writings in the white space:

The Colors of Faith

Vytvoreni

Vytvoreni

Joy Floats

Resurrection

Cold

©2013 Linda Crawford

Six Minute Sabbath: You Are Beautiful

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14

There were days past when I would criticize every little thing about myself.

My nose was too big, my freckles too many, my clothes too frumpy, my voice too soft.

Nothing I did ever seemed to be good enough . . . for me.

I never felt beautiful.

I constantly bemoaned my imperfections, until the day my husband stopped me, looked me in the eyes and said . . .

“Who are you to curse what God has deemed beautiful?”

Ouch.

I realized God knew far better than I did what was beautiful . . . and He said I was.

Beautiful.

And so are you. 🙂

Linda Crawford

 

 

 

More Six Minute Sabbaths:

Love is

Love is

Beauty from Despair

Beauty from Despair

Need You Now

Need You Now

A Friendship Story

A Friendship Story

Photos from Friends: The Kingdom’s Perfumery

“And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” John 12:3

Crushed Roses

This picture has a story to tell.

Moments before it was taken, these pink rose petals were floating on breezes perfumed with their own delicate scent.  Rose petal bundlesThey wouldn’t have been aware that within days their petals would fade and fall to perfume only a limited piece of ground.

rose distillationBut now, in the Master Perfumer’s hand, they will join 10,000 pounds of other petals and one pound of pure rose oil will emerge from the crush and distillation.

Dearest beloved, fear not!

You are part of a great distillation going on in the  Kingdom’s Perfumery.

You will only lose that which is not eternal. 

And once that which would fade is gone you will join that glorious fragrance so powerful that it fills the whole house.

“For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” 1 Cor. 2:15

Rejoice!

BinseyBinsey

Binsey, aka Carolyn, founded Two Trees Ministries with her husband in 2008, a ministry teaching the Body of Christ to unlearn their affection for the knowledge of good and evil and learn to eat from the Tree of Life, which is Christ. She also shares life-giving expressions of faith on her blog, Tree Thoughts.

 

More Photos from Friends posts:

Winter Beauty

Winter Beauty

Focus
Focus

The Tree

The Tree

Writing in the White Space: The Colors of Faith

You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.                                             James 1:3 MSG

As I  ponder this scripture I wonder, what are the colors of faith?

I head to the White Space, my creative writing and pondering place, to explore the images and words that spin out from the inspiration.

I start with BLUE.

And I simply write. No editing, no over-thinking, no fear.

Writing in the White Space I write for no audience, with no concern of whether others will “get it.” I write for the beauty of writing…something, anything, that captures the images of the holiness of blue…for me.

Blue

If you were to enter your White Space and write without fear, what holiness would you see in BLUE?

EVERY DAY, from today forward, you can link your own blog posts that tie to the theme of that day’s Beauty Minute post.

EVERY DAY.

If you don’t have a blog go to the Facebook page and share there. We are all created to create, and when we create something that has never before been created, and could only be created through the uniqueness of us . . . beauty happens. And we create more beauty together–as a chorus, a field of wildflowers, a gallery of paintings, and a library full of books.

We are the Body of Christ, each a vital and beautiful part of the whole.

Linda CrawfordBLUE is beautiful.

Share your beauty.

Click the photos to read past writings in the white space:

We long to create poem

Joy Floats

Resurrection

Cold

Six Minute Sabbath: LOVE is…

Six minutes meditating on the beauty of LOVE today…

So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

1 Cor 13:3-7 MSG

LOVE is…

More Six Minute Sabbath videos:

Beauty from Despair

Beauty from Despair

Need You Now

Need You Now

A Friendship Story

A Friendship Story

Beauty from Brokenness: Lost and Found

Lost and Found

This is small section of an art piece by Sono Osato. She created it by gathering discarded objects from the streets of lower Manhattan and then embedding them in beeswax, paint and asphalt.

Lost and Found

There are so many things hidden in the chaos of it when viewed from a distance.

Lost and discarded objects that once had a connection to a human life…or lives.

Up close, I see…

A belt buckle. A hinge. A razor blade. A button.

Keys, lots of keys.

And a nail on a red background.

The Nail

“This could be the art piece of my own life,” I thought.

I saw the hidden objects as buried stories of connections to people, events, and sorrows.

The button torn from a favorite childhood dress.

The razor blade held in the trembling hands of those who threatened to die.

The hinge from the locked door of my frightened heart before God.

The keys to that door…so many keys…that I had thrown away in my lost youth.

A nail, still covered in the blood of sacrifice, that finally set me free…

This is beauty from brokenness — up close.

Later, as I looked back at the pictures, I saw this art piece from a distance once more.

This time, the focus shifted outward from self, to a broader, more encompassing vision of the hidden beauty in the chaos of life…

I saw the young girls who just lost the buttons on their favorite childhood dress this week, and became enslaved in sex trafficking.

I saw the abused women who still bear the welts from the buckle of their abuser on the flesh of their hearts.

And I saw the prodigals…the sons and daughters who have been lost in the chaos of life…some discarded, some who ran far away, some afraid, and some simply unnoticed and neglected.

These are the lost ones, still out there in the streets, waiting for us to see.

Waiting for us to notice them and see, really see, the art piece God intended them to be.

Waiting for us to show them the blood-stained nail we carry in our hearts. To open our arms, enfold them in an embrace, and celebrate.

What was lost can be found.

Make it so Lord, make it so.

He had this moment of self-reflection: “What am I doing here? Back home, my father’s hired servants have plenty of food. Why am I here starving to death?  I’ll get up and return to my father, and I’ll say, ‘Father, I have done wrong—wrong against God and against you. I have forfeited any right to be treated like your son, but I’m wondering if you’d treat me as one of your hired servants?’”

So he got up and returned to his father. The father looked off in the distance and saw the young man returning. He felt compassion for his son and ran out to him, enfolded him in an embrace, and kissed him.

The son said, “Father, I have done a terrible wrong in God’s sight and in your sight too. I have forfeited any right to be treated as your son.”

But the father turned to his servants and said, “Quick! Bring the best robe we have and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet. Go get the fattest calf and butcher it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate because my son was dead and is alive again.

He was lost and has been found.

Luke 15:17-24 The Voice

Linda Crawford©Linda Crawford

Click the photos to read previous Beauty from Brokenness posts.

The Hidden Chair

The Hidden Chair

The Life Quilt

The Life Quilt

The Bullies Were Wrong

The Bullies Were Wrong

The Becoming of an Artist

The Becoming of an Artist

Friends Photo: Focus

Today’s photo theme is “Focus” and comes from a new blogger friend, Jim, who shares beauty and wisdom that inspires me each day at his blog: jimfields.wordpress.com

What does “Focus” mean to you?

Sometimes focusing on the details can be rather abstract, confusing, or maybe details just don’t let us see the true beauty.  Details can be choppy, crude or even obscure.

When that happens, when the big picture gets lost in the details, we have to step back and look from a different vantage point to see with more clarity.

In other words sometimes the greater beauty is seen in the big picture where the details combine and fit together.

The details of life are the moments, the efforts, the work, the play, the things that happen to us or for us.  The larger picture is our goals, where we’re headed in life, what we look forward to…And sometimes life distracts us from the larger picture – usually because we are so intent looking at how to make the best of the moment, or because things don’t always go the way we plan.

The same is true in our religious life.  The detail is the life we live day-to-day and the effort we make at helping God’s kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.  The larger picture is people, mission is people…It is helping people see the beauty in the life of Jesus Christ, the mind of God.

A balanced Christian life is living the details all the while keeping an eye to Jesus.  Sometimes we can see clearly up close…other times to see clearly we have to back off and broaden our vision.

Peace,

Jim FieldsJim

 

Popular Past Friends Posts:

Winter Beauty

Winter Beauty

Love Redeemed

Love Redeemed

Writing in the White Space: Cold

Writing in the White Space began in the white space of my journal.

white space I wrote that white space was “a canvas to be painted, a sky with endless possibilities for combinations of light and dark to streak across it . . . art waiting to happen.”

In the White Space of life I search for the prism of God . . . white space journal

and discover the colors that make life truly beautiful.

__________________________________________________________________________________

Cold

The snow clings to the branches as long as the temperature is rightkeeping it light.

But when heat begins to melt the bonds of cold…flakes turn to slush.snowflakes

Wishing to stay afloat, dreaming of a breeze to fly upon–no longer. Now water, it must fully fall to the ground to impart its own life to the soil of the earth below.

Yet it will live again, rise as vapor to mingle and dance upon the atmosphere…to become…

warm as tears, cold as art.

My thoughts long to be weightless as vapor. Not tears, but snowflakes, chilled to icy perfection so they may joyfully float as they fall.

They long to be cold, and cold is not bad.

Cold is when rest cycles start, when hidden rejuvenation happens. Growth slows, but life is not barren, just hidden–blanketed by air and water-light, dripping slowly to nourish.

Melting so deliberately.

Lord, may my inspirations float as unique flakes and be directed by the wind of your Holy Spirit. May they be free, joyful and happy just to be.

Others may scoff, criticize, and ridicule what I create, but there’s no denying the perfection of a snowflake–and isn’t that what all art is?

You see it, and that needs to be enough for me.

Without you I am nothing; have nothing. Not one single flake, one breath, one thought, one drop of blood.

Life — let mine be left and lived and shared.

No other life but this one can I lay at your feet.

Make me a melting offering.

Today, I pray…to be a flake.

Or at least a little more flake-y. 🙂

Linda CrawfordLinda Crawford