Beauty from Brokenness: Sunflowers After Sorrow

Vincent Van Gogh had a favorite expression: “sorrowful, but always rejoicing.”

Henri Nouwen said of Vincent:

“His life and paintings illustrate the three components of the spiritual life.

In solidarity we cry out with those who suffer.

In consolation we feel deeply with those in pain.

We offer comfort by pointing beyond our shared human pains to glimpses of strength and hope.”

Vincent himself wrote: “In a picture I’d like to say something comforting, in the same way as music.”

Art has a way of re-framing the darkness we experience in our sorrows, and helps us to see the light and the sunshine of hope that brightens life once again.

We have cried with those who suffer and felt deeply with those in pain this week.

We need comfort to be pointed beyond our pains to glimpses of strength and hope.

May we find this comfort in a glimpse of the sunflowers after the sorrows.

van Gogh Sunflowers

“I’m thinking of decorating my studio with a half dozen pictures of sunflowers, a scheme in which raw or broken chrome yellows will burst forth against various backgrounds — blue from the palest Veronese green to royal blue — and framed with thin wooden strips painted in orange lead.

The kind of effect you get with stained-glass windows in Gothic churches.” – Vincent Van Gogh

Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy. Philippians 4:8 VOICE

Help us Lord to decorate our lives today with sunflowers, to rejoice again in light and life, and find comfort in the beauty of the glimpses of strength and hope all around us.

Linda CrawfordLinda Crawford

 

 

 

More Beauty From Brokenness:

Lost and Found

Lost and Found

Recycled Orchestra

Recycled Orchestra

The Becoming of an Artist

The Becoming of an Artist

Photos From Friends: Love We Must

It’s been a difficult week. Too much darkness and too many sorrows.
Our hold on our love for life, perhaps a weak grasp.
But love we must.
Love we must.
 holding life
THE THING IS…
to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, *How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.

ELLEN BASS in “Mules of Love” © 2002, BOA Editions, Ltd.

Run for your life from all this. Pursue a righteous life—a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy. Run hard and fast in the faith. Seize the eternal life, the life you were called to, the life you so fervently embraced in the presence of so many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:11-12 MSG

Linda CrawfordEmbracing life, running the race with you to win.

Linda Crawford

Six Minute Sabbath: Pushing Back the Dark

You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a lightstand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a lightstand—shine!  Matthew 5:16 MSG

Let your light shine!
Let’s push back the dark today!

Email subscribers click here to watch the music video, Pushing Back the Dark.

More Six Minute Sabbaths:

Beauty from Despair

Beauty from Despair

Need You Now

Need You Now

A Friendship Story

A Friendship Story

Photos from Friends: Hometown

Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life. Psalm 23:6 MSG

I grew up on a Lane, four houses long.

A chestnut tree to climb on, a path through the woods to walk to school.

trail

White colonial homes and wild rose bushes, silhouettes of sailboats and lobster boats . . .

colonial house

sailboat

lobster boat

The opera of the gulls . . .the silence of snowfall on the trees. . .

snow

The salty sea air was my breath, the expanse of ocean–my dreams unbounded.

IMG_2452 kport 5

My hometown.

kport 3

Its beauty lives on within me every day of my life.

Linda CrawfordThank you God, for my hometown.

Prayer for You: EVERYTHING

The LORD is my strength and my song

The LORD is my Banner

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer

The LORD is my shepherd

The LORD is my light and my salvation

The LORD is my strength and my shield

The LORD is my portion

The LORD is my helper

Exodus 15:2; Exodus 17:15; Psalm 18:2; Psalm 23:1; Psalm 27:1; Psalm 28:7; Lamentations 3:24; Hebrews 13:6

Lord is

Our times of need are EVERY day Lord!

Linda CrawfordPraying the Lord will be your EVERYTHING today.

Linda Crawford

Writing in the White Space: God Writes in My White Spaces

There are days . . .

and then there are other days.

When writing in the white space becomes a challenge instead of a joy.white space page

When dancing is paralyzed and singing is made mute.

The sun shines, but my eyes see only clouds, my body feels only thunder and lightning . . . and my spirit–cold.

Words tumble and fumble with each other and pebbles of thoughts are prickly instead of polished.

Even a prayer is too complicated to create.

Only tears come easily.

My white space stays white.

I am empty, with no words to offer God in praise or thanksgiving.

No words at all.

I feel the void of the emptiness between the margins of my life and fear I have lost my faith somewhere in the blankness of the unwritten page before me.

I lay my pen down.

“Pick it up.”

God writes in my white space:

white space words 2And finally, I remember . . .

With God, the white spaces are never empty.

White spaces are a place of surrender that create an open space that only God can fill.

May God fill your white spaces today with His words and His love.

Linda Crawford

Linda Crawford

 

 

We celebrate the beauty of words…written in the white space–the empty room of freedom of thought–where words are created that sing, dance and illustrate life’s beauty.

Take a white space break today: 3 minutes…you, a pen, and a blank piece of paper.

Breathe…and write.

More Writing in the White Space:

Margins

Margins

The Colors of Faith

The Colors of Faith

Joy Floats

Joy Floats

Six Minute Sabbath: My Passion

Love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy. Mark 12:30 MSG

Take six minutes today and give Jesus your all in worship . . .

all your PASSION.

(If you are unable to see the video in email click here to view.)

Give to the Lord the glory due to His name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness or in holy array. Psalm 29:2 AMP

More Six Minute Sabbaths:

Everything is possible

Beauty from Despair

Need You Now

A Friendship Story

Beauty from Brokenness: The Redefined Dresser

God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him. When I got my act together, he gave me a fresh start . . . I feel put back together, and I’m watching my step. God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes. Psalm 18:20-21, 24 MSG

Broken.  Used up.  Rejected.  Abused.  Abandoned.

$5 dresser

These words defined the story of this dresser as it sat in the broken furniture section of the Re-Store. A $5 orange sticker pleaded for someone to recognize a splinter of hidden value left.

$5 for solid wood.

$5 . . . the price for hope.

The artist saw it . . .

The redeeming value.

The new life.

The hidden beauty.

A renewed purpose.

Adopted for $5 and brought home, the artist set out to redefine it for its new future.

Dictionary pages – words that define life – were pasted over damaged skin and frame.

New handles,  new paint, and hundreds of pages later . . .

dresser complete Redefined.  Redeemed.  Re-purposed.  Renewed.  

Rewritten.

God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes. Psalm 18:24

Take our brokenness Lord.

You are THE ARTIST.

Redefine the abuse, abandonment, rejection, pain and sorrows.

Redeem us to new life.

Rewrite the text of our lives with YOUR WORDS OF LIFE.

Make us beautiful and useful to your kingdom once again.

Linda Crawford

Praying for God to redefine us in the light and life of His truth today.

Linda Crawford

(My daughter Sarah, who sees the beauty that can become from brokenness, redefined the life of this dresser.)

Beauty from ashes, that what God promises us.

Beauty, recycled and made new from the broken pieces of our lives..

We celebrate the amazing and sometimes miraculous beauty of recycled and reclaimed art…and renewed artists.

More Beauty from Brokenness:

Lost and Found

Recycled Orchestra

The Hidden Chair

The Becoming of an Artist

Photos from Friends: Seeing the Beauty

the leaf that wants all the attention

the leaf that wants all the attention

Who out there has a lust for life? Can’t wait each day to come upon beauty? Psalm 34:12 MSG

A camera and a whisper from God sent me on a journey last spring . . . searching for beauty in the pain.

These are the unedited photos I took around my house–as far as I could walk at the time. I saved them in a folder on my computer, entitled  it “small victories” and gave them the captions you read here.

These pictures became the evidence of my small victories–the smallest of small baby steps away from pain and darkness into the light and life of healing.

This is the day God started to color my dark world beautiful. The day the simple, ordinary views of my life became extra-ordinary glimpses of the beauty of LIFE all around me.

This is the day I understood the scripture above–that to recover my lust for life–to experience my pain and darkness redeemed–was about eagerly searching each day for the beauty OF LIFE.

Psalm 23:6 says that God’s love and beauty chase after us every day of our lives.

This spring day last year, I finally turned around to see it.

inanimate curves of life

inanimate curves of life

pink from dry leaves

pink from dry leaves

green and growing

green and growing

growing in the clouds effects

growing in the clouds effects

necklace for a dead flower

necklace for a dead flower

grids of life

grids of life

buddies

buddies

the designs of life

the designs of life

outside the frame of life

outside the frame of life

Beauty in blues

Beauty in blues

Walk on a rainbow trail: walk on a trail of song, and all about you will be beauty.

There is a way out of every dark mist, over a rainbow trail.   – Robert Motherwell

Praying for you to turn around and see the beauty and love of God chasing you, where you will find your rainbow trail, and where God colors your life beautiful each and every day.

Linda CrawfordLinda Crawford

More Photos from Friends:

Focus

The Kingdom's Perfumery

The Face of Beauty: The Time to Live is Now – Lygon Stevens

Sharing Lygon’s story again this week, meditating on the resurrection life Jesus desires for me to live.

Yes, the time to live is now. May I be such a desperate searcher and live it so beautifully . . .

I am a work of art, signed by God.

But He’s not done; in fact, He has just begun…I have on me the fingerprint of God. Never will there ever be another person like me. In all the world I have a job to do in this life that no other can do.

Can you see the fingerprint of God on me?

Lygon climbling

Lygon Stevens once carried my eight-year-old daughter. After a few bumps on her knees from tripping over shoes that were too big, a teen-age Lygon scooped her up and transformed her frustrated tears into joy.

She became a hero to me right then.

Lygon was a gentle, quiet girl who was amazingly strong in her devotion to the Lord and in her physical and mental ability to climb high–very high–mountains. Tragically lost in an avalanche in January of 2008, she would not be found until late June when the snows melted. Only her camera and journal were recovered by her climbing partner, her brother, who miraculously survived.  In Lygon’s journal, in addition to being able to read her last thoughts on earth, her family discovered the astounding beauty of her written words and her intimate relationship with the Lord.

It is my hope that whoever might read the pages in this small book would not see a victory won by greatness, or determination of self, or a uniqueness in a person that brings them to high heights…I can only Lygon journal hope that the reality of human frailty and the inability to do anything outside the will of the Lord God would be evident. This is not the account of the journeys of a young girl, no, it’s the message that that girl is allowed to write of the glory of the Lord God Almighty…He is the reason for living and for whom I will someday die. There is nothing without Him, no god beside Him, and only by Him was I chosen as a witness to tell the world of His great deeds.

I remember hearing her parents say at her funeral that they realized, through reading her writings, that Lygon was always more His than she was theirs. I personally cannot thank them enough for their generosity in sharing her words with us. Lygon was, and always will be, a Hero with a capital H.

She is the face of beauty in a life well-loved. A life well lived.

A legacy of a life well written, left for those of us to read who, as her mother Sarah said, “still have a peak to summit.”

The Time to Live is Now

The time to run and wake up every morning excited about what the world might throw your way is Lygon on mountainnow. The time to lay low in turmoil and humility before God is now. The time to seek and find, the time to change and learn is now…

Now is the time to live. Not tomorrow, not in ten minutes, not in twenty, not when you are good and ready. But don’t think you have to do this and become this — your full duty is to love the Lord so much you would lay down your life and value His will above the richest gain of earth…Be a desperate searcher. Yes, the time to live, and live truly, is now.

♥ In loving memory of Lygon and Sarah Stevens ♥

To order the book Cairns for the Climb from the journals of Lygon Stevens and to read more of her story click here to go to the Lygon Stevens Time to Live is NOW website.

Day of Discovery has produced a full-length documentary The Time to Live is NOW on Lygon’s life story. The links below are to the preview and the full 90 minute video.

Linda Crawford

 

 

More Faces Of Beauty:

Me

Me

Amanda

Amanda

Embracing the Gift of our Days

Embracing the Gift of our Days