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

Beauty from Brokenness: About Ashes and Crowns

Today’s post is shared by Sue Riger from A Painter’s Journey

…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. Isaiah 61:

In the 70’s my school showed us film clips of atom bomb survivors.

The radiation poisoning caused unthinkable suffering. Bandaged people walked aimlessly among the ash and rubble.

My school taught that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ultimately saved lives by ending WWII. But my gut writhed with the atrocity. I wondered how recovery could be possible.

Incredibly, post-war Japan produced a group of artists in the early 1950s who believed beauty emerges when something becomes damaged or decayed. The Gutai group professed that a thing’s inner life is released during the process. Breaking from traditional Japanese art, they produced this figure:

electric dress

electric dress electric dress Looks angelic doesn’t it? It’s called “Electric Dress” by Atsuko Tanaka.

The concept reminds me of Lodgepole pine trees.

lodgepole pine

High above the forest floor, their cones are sealed shut by resin. In patient dormancy they wait for the liberating furnace of a forest fire.

Only intense heat will melt the resin and release the seeds from the tree’s crown.

In this way beauty emerges from destruction and ashes.

Borrowing a phrase from the 70’s — this next part really blows my mind.

Isaiah says we are to receive crowns of beauty instead of ashes and that we will be called plantings of the Lord, oaks of righteousness!

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 61:1-3

Jesus – despised, rejected, scourged, condemned to die – received a crown of thorns.

Brutal beauty.

Beautiful because he willingly took it all for us. Without the suffering Jesus bore, we could not take part in the victory he offers to us. He descended into death. Total surrender.

Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. John 12:24

Oh happy news! On the third day Jesus emerged from the grave. He is alive and we receive crowns of beauty instead of ashes. By faith we join him – sprouting new growth in the midst of a suffering decaying world. Restoring broken hearts. Setting the captives free.

…all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross. Col. 1:18-20 MSG

Sue RIgerSue 

I’m sojourner.  Here for a lifetime and hoping to make it count. For me, creativity is a fun gift from God and an avenue to display gratitude for the beauty around us. My husband, three great kids and four giggly grandkids fill my life with wonder and joy. Whether looking through the lens or holding a paint brush, the creative process is a way for me to thank God for surrounding us with so much beauty.

Connect with Sue at: apaintersjourney.com

More Beauty from Brokenness:

Art from the Brokenness of Alcohol

Art from the Brokenness of Alcohol

$5 dresser

The Redefined Dresser

Beauty From the Ashes

Beauty From the Ashes

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

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

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

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