The Face of Beauty: The Wounded – The Healer – The Warrior: Cheryl

I saw the warrior in Cheryl the first time I met her.

To be honest, she intimidated me. But I heard God clearly tell me to be friends, so I stepped out of my comfort zone and took timid steps toward connection.

She did too. She let me see past her armor to her wounds, and I knew it was safe to show her mine.

Cheryl is beautiful in her honesty and brokenness. Brave and bold in her witness of the Lord’s healing in the midst of pain. She cries with us, the wounded. She shares the Healer and her healing. She takes up her sword and battles for all of us–for whole and complete healing.

It’s a beautiful thing.

Wounded-Healer-Warrior

I AM WOUNDED

CherylThe father of lies would have me interpret my wounds as evidence of damaged goods, beyond repair, hopeless, destroyed beauty, marred beyond recognition.  And I will confess that I wrestle with believing these lies.

In any given week you will find me with days of believing the lies, of mourning the conquest they seem to have won.  But you will also find me with days of joy and triumph, sometimes tears of a human frame overwhelmed by the greatness of God’s love.

This last year has been a journey through the highest highs and lowest lows.  I have seen God’s favor and blessing in my life as I write and tell of His story being worked out in me.  But I have also gone through a season of flashbacks to childhood abuse–nightmares experienced awake and asleep.

These are my darkest days.

I have never, in my life, experienced my soul juxtapositioned between words of life and memories of death.

So to say I am wounded is spot on.  The deepest part of my soul has been chewed on by a vicious lion who sought me out to steal, kill and destroy.  Yes, damage has been done.

But the sweetness of God, the beauty of the I AM, the grace given through the cross of Christ is healing me.

His words are ebbing their way into my darkest memories, the dirtiest of wounds, and He is purging out the sickness of lies with the crimson tide of His love.

But to taste His sweetness, see His beauty, and know the power of the Cross means I must journey into my darkness.  I must face the deepest of pains; feel today what I couldn’t feel as a child.  I must go where I fear.  I must see what has set in motion coping mechanisms turned to expressions of sin.

And I am finding that this journey is hard, long and difficult… and I could never make it by myself.  I can’t tell you the perfection of gifts that God has placed before, behind, above and below me.

They all have names.  Yes, they are people, God’s people… whom God called to intercede for me, to listen, to war for my protection, to believe in the victory of the cross.

They see me…the real me…the redeemed me…the me that God designed before sin distorted his image.  They tenaciously hang on to that vision and they speak it back to me, especially when I can’t see it.  They hold high the banner of the cross, so when I fall, I look up and see hope.

I hope YOU will find a banner of Hope, lifted high for you to see no matter where you are in your wounded-ness and in your healing.

I am Wounded.Wounded-Healer-Warrior

I am being Healed.

I am learning to be a Warrior.

CherylCheryl

Cheryl is a speaker and writer, sharing vision and purpose for igniting the power of women who exchange curses for blessings, insecurities for confidence, and self-reliance for giving and receiving.  Cheryl encourages every heart to wrestle with the Lord, not letting go until they find His blessing.  Her healed wounds make her a qualified member of this glorious race we call WOMEN!  Connect with Cheryl at: WoundedHealerWarrior.com

More Faces of Beauty:

Me

Amanda

Lygon Stevens

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

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

Prayer for You

Lord, hear my prayer! Listen to my plea! Don’t turn away from me in my time of distress. Bend down to listen, and answer me quickly when I call to you. For my days disappear like smoke, and my bones burn like red-hot coals. My heart is sick, withered like grass, and I have lost my appetite. Because of my groaning, I am reduced to skin and bones. I am like an owl in the desert, like a little owl in a far-off wilderness. I lie awake, lonely as a solitary bird on the roofPsalm 102:1-7  NLT

desert

The Lord hears your cries. The spoken and unspoken cries of your suffering.

May He restore your joy and your strength. May He feed you with the bread of life and the living water to restore your health and revive your heart.

Comfort these I pray for Lord — these lonely owls in the desert — and lead them to the oasis of your love.  Though life may feel like a desert during difficult times,  You alone God, are able to bring water forth from rocks and rain down bread from heaven for food.

bread waterMay you drink and eat today, and know that God will never leave you in your time of distress.

In the wilderness of life–-He is there.

In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Linda Crawford

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

Writing in the White Space: Grave-tending What Was

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?”

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”

Romans 8:15 MSG, NKJV

the dead trying to look aliveThe roses look dead in my garden.

Yet leaves still cling to thorny stalks that have stood upright through snow, cold, and the wicked winds that have whipped them.

Standing. Through the darkest season.  With the barest appearance of being alive.

Grave-tending the life that once was.

Afraid to let go, lest all becomes lost to death.

Like me.

But.

Today.

Is the first day after.

Resurrection life has been offered to me.

Jesus alive, stretches out blood-stained hands, and beckons me to surrender my grave-tending life . . . to LIFE.

Take my sorrow . . . take my fear, Lord.

“What was, is past,” He whispers.

girl at the graveTurning from tending my grave of the life that was, the eyes of my child open to see what will be . . .

Wonder, joy, and the hope of things beautiful to come.

The grave is overcome.

There’s a day that’s drawing near 
When this darkness breaks to light 
And the shadows disappear 
And my faith shall be my eyes 

Jesus has overcome 
And the grave is overwhelmed 
The victory is won 
He is risen from the dead.

(I Will Rise, Chris Tomlin)

The victory over my was is won . . .

“What’s next, Papa?”

“The becoming of beautiful,”  He whispers.The becoming of beautiful

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.

More Writing in the White Space:

Astonished by His Grace

Astonished by His Grace

Margins

Margins

We long to create poem

vytvoreni

He is Risen!

He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen.

Matthew 28:6 NLT

HE IS RISEN

Enjoy the simple beauty of this music video:

I Will Rise

by Chris Tomlin

The Women Who Watched

There were women watching from a distance, among them Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the younger James and Joses, and Salome. When Jesus was in Galilee, these women followed and served him, and had come up with him to Jerusalem. Mark 15:40-41 MSG

Magdelana  -Gheorghe Tattarescu

Magdelana -Gheorghe Tattarescu

“Watching from a distance.”

Not weeping, not speaking. Watching . . . as Jesus, whom they had faithfully served and cared for, was brutally crucified on the cross.

These women were not watching in the sense of watching a TV show or a sporting event. The word “watching” in Greek is the word theoreo, which means to be a spectator of, to discern, to literally or figuratively experience, or intensively acknowledge. They watched with discernment.

They watched intensely. They watched as one who tries to enter into the experience of another.

Despite the horrific suffering they witnessed, so intense was their love and devotion, they could not turn their eyes away from Jesus.

But how could they watch? It had to be the most violent and horrific death ever witnessed.

Mary Magdalene watched, and couldn’t  leave Jesus even after He was laid in the tomb. She had seen Him perform miracles, and received one herself when He had cast seven demons out of her. Imagine the torment she must have suffered until the day He set her free. So filled with love and gratitude, she was compelled to follow Him and serve Him wherever that would lead . . . even to the cross.

Despite how painful and traumatic it was to watch, she had to be there.

Have you ever had to witness someone you love suffer?

I remember sitting in the Emergency Room with my ten-year-old daughter watching and wincing as the doctor put five stitches in the tender fingertip she had almost sliced off with a pair of scissors. I remember holding my mother-in-law during an extremely painful test as she battled cancer.

It was excruciating for me. People I loved were hurting. But . . . I had to be there.

In the most painful experiences of their lives they needed to be surrounded by love, and I needed to be there.

Love compelled Mary and the other women to endure witnessing Jesus’ suffering on the cross. They couldn’t leave—even as He suffered and died before their eyes. While others forsook Him, and multitudes of people cried “Crucify him!” the women remained faithful.

“To their everlasting honour, these women evidenced more courage, and affectionate attachment to their Lord and Master, than the disciples did, who had promised to die with him rather than forsake him.” (Adam Clark commentary)

Jesus on the cross

I want to be a woman like that. A woman who will be there, eyes fixed on Jesus…no matter what.

A woman who will watch.

I invite you to watch and pray with me today:

I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead! Philippians 3:10-11 NLT

Thank you Jesus. You paid the price for a debt you didn’t owe. One we can never repay with words, though you will forever own our hearts.

Linda Crawford

 

Love and the Unwashed Feet

Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.  John 13:14 NIV

washing feet

“I doubt she will work with you this morning. She refuses to get out of bed.”

80-something, independent-minded, and angry-at-being-in-the-hospital, she wasn’t going to budge out of her bed for anybody, and hadn’t for days.

Which is why they called me in.

She had to budge, move her arms and legs, get on her feet again, breathe deeply of life and start to move forward from the sickness that had landed her here. To not move was a slow prescription toward death.

All she wanted was to go home.

“I don’t want to get up. Just let me go home and I’ll be fine. I don’t need you telling me what to do.”

A bright sunny day lay just beyond the closed shades of her darkened room.

“I understand how you must be feeling, what can I do to help you feel better?”

“Just leave me alone.”

“I have an idea, you must be feeling sore from lying in bed so long, if you sit up I’ll massage your back for you.”

The defiance in her eyes softened. “Oh, alright, I suppose that would be nice.”

I gently washed her back and massaged her frail frame with lotion.

“I’ve got this nice chair set up and I’m sure it will feel good to be in a different position for a few minutes. We can move here and I’ll fill this bucket with warm water so you can soak your feet.”

More softening of the defiance.

Her feet were cold. They also gave evidence to how defiantly independent she was.

As her abandoned feet soaked in the warm sudsy water, she began to speak of her life. Farm girl, ranch wife, self-sufficient widow.

I sat down on the floor and began to gently scrub away the years of the lonely paths of  self-sufficiency she had walked.

She looked down at me in embarrassment, and said, “I’m sorry they are so bad, I can’t reach them anymore.”

“I know, and you’ve always been the one to do for yourself and others, so it’s time for someone to do something for you for a change.”

“This is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me,” she said, trying to hide the glistening in the corner of her eyes.

“It’s my honor.”

I scrubbed around her crooked toes and massaged lotion into the cracks of her heels.

The door opened and an astonished nurse’s face peered in.

The woman who would never get up . . . was up. She had walked, was washing up, changing clothes, and . . . smiling.

“How did you get her to do that?” she asked me later at the nurse’s station.

 “I just washed her feet.”

It worked every single day, with every single patient I saw in my work as an occupational therapist.

Jesus washing feetIt worked because Jesus did it.

He washed the feet of his disciples and even his enemy, the man who would betray him.

It was an act of love to a person with perhaps the ugliest feet ever, the man who was the most un-loveable of them all.

LOVE washes the unwashed feet.

Linda CrawfordHelp me Lord, to bow low and wash the feet of the loved and un-loved today.