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

Prayer for You: Gifts of Light

heavenly lights

So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures. James 1:16-18 MSG

Father of Light,

Your gifts are so good, given to us from the fullness of your grace. Help us Lord, not to be thrown off course by the darkness we see around us, or the emotions that quake within us. Though the sun sets and the world experiences the depths of darkness at times, your light never fails to shine and your face is never turned away from our needs.

May your rivers of light be poured out upon all the wounded, grieving, sorrowful, and those thrown off course this week. May your beauty be read, your grace be inhaled, and your love be transfused into us.

Thank you Lord, for your good and perfect gifts.

Every good gift and every perfect (free, large, full) gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of all [that gives] light, in [the shining of] Whom there can be no variation [rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [as in an eclipse]. James 1:17 AMP

Linda Crawford

The Face of Beauty: LOVE in the Face of Evil

In Boston, evil will have a face. Perhaps more than one face.

And when evil becomes a face, the image burns deep into our flesh.

Because the face of evil, the one or ones who hate, look like us.

Human.

And that hurts.

We cry with those who cry and cry out. We war in prayer, yet sorrow in our helplessness to save each other from the wounds of hate.

We cry.

For you, the victims, and your loved ones.

We cry.

For the ones who carried the broken, who held a hand, whispered words of hope, and tied sweaty shirts around bloody limbs.

We cry.

For your loss, your pain, your sorrow, your trauma, your memories.

We cry.

Because LOVE has a face. And it is us, together, weeping with those who weep. Praying for those who need prayer. Holding hands and whispering words of hope. Binding up your wounds as best we can.

LOVE has a face.

A human one.

US.

 And our faces cannot be hidden or destroyed by evil.

We will keep loving. Keep living. Keep praying. Keep fighting.

We’ll keep on running the race.

With you . . . to win.

Boston finish

This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.

Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.     Ephesians 6:12-18 MSG

April 15, 2013

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