Prayer for You: Promise

Promise

Hallelujah! It’s a good thing to sing praise to our God; praise is beautiful, praise is fitting . . .

He launches his promises earthward—how swift and sure they come! He spreads snow like a white fleece, he scatters frost like ashes, He broadcasts hail like birdseed—who can survive his winter?

Then he gives the command and it all melts; he breathes on winter—suddenly it’s spring!

Psalm 147:1;15-18 MSG

Hallelujah for spring!

Lord, we praise you today for your promise of the coming of spring after the cold, dark days of winter. At times, the darkness we experience in life feels like it will never end, never change. But you have promised, you give the command to melt the cold of our sorrows and breathe the breath of new life into us . . . new life that comes from the transformation you have wrought in the dark.

May those who have experienced dark and sunless days break free today.

Linda CrawfordMay we all turn our gaze heavenward and behold . . . the beauty we long to see, and the beauty we are meant to be!

Linda Crawford

 

 

The piece of art above was created for me as a birthday gift by my dear friend Becky Schultea.

See more of her inspiring art at:

Becky Schultea

 

Writing in the White Space: Has the Fight Gone Out of Me?

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 God’s beauty in our lives.

Yesterday’s Beauty Minute, Pushing Back the Dark, inspired Cathee to sit down and write in the white space . . . it’s a beautiful thing when God meets us there.

Has the Fight Gone Out of Me?

For days I wallow in dark shadows

all thought of pushing back the darkness gone.candle

I can only cry one thing, over and over and over.

How long, O Lord? How long?

It’s not a good question.

No answer ever comes to that question.

“As long as it takes,” someone quips and I frown.

Don’t hand me clichés right now.

They’ll never stoke my wavering flame.

But I know it’s true – that answer is true.

Is it that I don’t have what it takes to push back the darkness?

If I don’t push, will I be engulfed in blackness so deep it swallows up what little light is left?

Can darkness extinguish light?

What happened to the Dragon Slayer?

She used to travel with drawn sword ready for battle, relishing the very idea of it.

How do I get my fight back?

I need a breath to blow on the small flicker that’s left

A holy bellows that can ignite the few sticks that remain of my hope.

So breathe on me now, O Breath of the Spirit.

Set me ablaze once more until I can see the beauty shining through

And I watch the darkness flee as you carry me on the wings of your light.

Jesus

But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired. Isaiah 40:31 AMP

CatheeBe still and aware of God’s presence, within and all around.

Cathee

Cathee Poulsen is the author of Thresholds & Passages and Quiet Places, books that lead to a peaceful rhythm of worship, work, rest, solitude and community.  She’s a word-stringer by profession and obsession, hopelessly devoted to Jesus and Bob and recognized in public places by her laugh. You can follow her on Twitter @CatheePoulsen or at her website http://catheepoulsen.com

More Writing in the White Space:

Astonished by His Grace

Astonished by His Grace

Margins

Margins

Resurrection

Resurrection

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: Everything is Possible

Everything is possible

Mountains to climb, storms to endure, raging rivers to cross.
Famine and fear, battles and brokenness.
In His HandBe still and know.
He is God.
All things are possible.

More Six Minute Sabbaths:

You are beautiful

You are beautiful

A Friendship Story

A Friendship Story

To Create

To Create

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

Beauty from Brokenness: Recycled Orchestra

Instruments from trash
“Despite living in dire circumstances, if a person has initiative and is creative, even trash can become an educational tool that could change someone’s life and the lives of others.”

An kid’s orchestra in a landfill. Cellos made from oil cans, saxophones from spoons, violins from metal pans. 

Inspiring. Beautiful. Wonderful. Amazing.We send back music

And challenging.

Imagine what we could do if we transformed the trash in our own lives to art and music.

Imagine what you could do . . .

 

More Beauty from Brokenness:

Lost and Found

Lost and Found

 

The Becoming of an Artist

The Becoming of an Artist

The Life Quilt

The Life Quilt

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

Beauty from Brokenness: The Bullies Were Wrong

He reached down from heaven and rescued me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemies, from those who hated me and were too strong for me. They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress, but the Lord supported me. He led me to a place of safety; he rescued me because he delights in me. Psalm 18:16-19 NLT

I had an entirely different post planned for today.

God planned this one.

It’s been a rough week for me, and I’m sure for many others. The physical pain I have battled for over three years decided to attack me with a vengeance again this week.

And on these days, all pains begin to hurt.

On these days, when I can barely breathe beyond the physical pain, the voices of the bullies decide to take advantage of my weakness. They rise up from the past and start to ridicule, poke, punch, and knock me down again.

You are nothing. You are worth nothing. You are ugly.

You think you’re a little angel–but you’re NOT!

Even though I am surrounded by light, life feels dark.  Even though I am blessed with words of love and affirmation,  I struggle to believe anything in me is redeemable.Transformed

I writhe against the pain, battling to believe in the beauty that is me.

And even though the physical pain does not yield, the emotional battle must be won.

The lies of the bullies were not, are not, and never will be true.

We have all been wounded by words, some more than others, and as I fight the lies once again tonight (even as I write this), I wonder if perhaps we can go to battle together…to drown out those voices that sneak in to exacerbate our pains.

Bully Free Zone

Today, let’s create a bully-free zone in our lives.

Let’s speak LOUDLY and OFTEN of the beauty we see in one another.

Let’s share the message of healing–the message of love–the message of beauty.

Share the video below. God put this video directly in my path last night…because I needed it.

I believe you do too. And somebody you know needs it.

Watch, allow God to reveal your beauty, and share. So many of us need to hear the message of beauty…over…and over…and over again.

Praying for all the wounded, broken, and in pain today.

Linda Crawford

 

 

Past Beauty from Brokenness posts:

The Hidden Chair

The Becoming of an Artist

The Becoming of an Artist

The Life Quilt

The Life Quilt

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

Six Minute Sabbath: To Create

God created human beings; he created them godlike, reflecting God’s nature. Gen 1:27 MSG

It seems a mystery to me–where the vision, voice, and melody of creative inspiration originates.

Beethoven Piano Concerto #3

Piano Concerto #3 handwritten score by Ludwig van Beethoven

Yet we, as created beings ourselves, were designed to create. To paint pictures that have never been painted, compose music that has never been heard, write words that have never been spoken, and dance to choreography that has never been danced.

To create beauty–to create what has never before been created–brings glory to THE Creator.

Today, this story and piece of music inspires me to give glory to God for endowing us with the ability to create such beauty. May it inspire you to embrace the notes of your own creative melody–because we are all created to create.

Beethoven: Imagining the Notes

When Beethoven performed his Piano Concerto No. 3 in concert for the very first time, he had no music. His friend, who turned the pages of the music for him that night, later wrote:

“I saw almost nothing but empty pages; at the most, on one page or another a few Egyptian hieroglyphs wholly unintelligible to me were scribbled down to serve as clues for him; for he played nearly all the solo part from memory since, as was so often the case, he had not had time to set it all down on paper.”

Lord, may we embrace inspiration, and be infused with courage, to create works of  beauty to bring you glory!

Linda Crawford

©Linda Crawford 2013