Writing in the White Space: Playing Until My Name Looks Like Me

Writing in the White Space

White space is where creativity can breathe and come to life within us.

I wrote this piece a year ago as I was emerging from a long, dark winter of pain into the spring of new beauty and life . . .

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I have a new journal.

I fill it with words that flow lazily from a high mountain stream. It’s a trickling of water really, looking for a path to forge as it wanders along cracks in the hardened soil and around the strewn pebbles of my abandoned creative self.

I write in

new journal handwriting

hoping the flowing curves and hidden joy of simulating swoopy “a’s” and “g’s” on the screen will help the words find their own curves and rhythm.

Fearfully, timidly, clutching my tattered memory of a yellow Easter bonnet with long flowing white ribbons that danced and fluttered joyfully in the spring breeze, I open the latched and rusted iron gate of my creativity.

old rusty metal padlocks on chains

Opened to the infinite, vulnerable in the newness of this life, I am young again, and I struggle to breathe the air here.

I no longer know who I am. I don’t know where the words come from, how they will shape themselves, or where they will go.

I’m too old for this nonsense, a distant school teacher voice scolds me for trading “serious work” for play.

The little girl with the bonnet turns away in shame . . . ribbons drag in the mud.

Turn back and play. This is right, this is life, the voice of the yellow bonnet whispers.

But my bonnet’s dirty now, I protest.

Turn back and look again.

I obey . . . not with faith, still in fear.

The ribbons dance again. Joy can breathe again.

I write my name with a stick in the dust:

names

girl hat 2I gently snap the elastic thread around my chin and secure the bonnet to my head so I can sit down and practice some more.

This is where I must start.

I’ll learn to breathe here drawing curvy lines in the sand until the rhythm is just right.

new journal me

Linda CrawfordLinda Crawford

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

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

Writing in the White Space: Upending the Thief

On Sunday, Jesus was welcomed to Jerusalem with shouts of “Hosanna!”

Hosanna

On Monday, he entered the Temple courts and began overturning tables and clearing out the “den of thieves” that had taken up residence there.

jesus upending

Thieves and robbers living in the courts of the temple–the holiest place of worship. . .

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. John 10:10 NIV

THE THIEF.

STEALS. KILLS. DESTROYS.

JESUS.

DRIVES OUT THE THIEF.

I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. Matthew 10:34 NIV

BRINGS LIFE.

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10 NIV

REBUILDS WHAT WAS BROKEN. 

Our temples, our lives, our hearts.

white space prayer

Prayer . . . the white space of his house for us to fill.

Love heartLord Jesus, I ask you to enter the courts of our hearts today, to upend the dwelling places of the thief, to cleanse us of the destruction and death, and to restore that which the thief has stolen from us–our lives, our love, our praise, and our prayers.

May we receive the fullness of your abundant life and beauty today, for you have written LOVE, in red, in the white space of our cleansed hearts.

Thank you Jesus. Amen.

Linda CrawfordWriting in the white space of prayer for you to behold more of the beauty of the Lord today.

 

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

Writing in the White Space: Astonished by His Grace

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! Romans 11:33 ESV

Astonished by His Grace

Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravagant generosity of God. . . Everything comes from him; Everything happens through him; Everything ends up in him. Always glory! Always praise! Yes. Yes. Yes. Romans 11:33, 36 MSG

Cathee“This is the piece I wrote after spending the night for the first time at my daughter’s home.

I placed her for adoption when she was born, so sleeping in a bed that she made up for me had a real impact.”

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

Writing in the White Space “is a canvas to be painted, a sky with endless possibilities for combinations of light and dark to streak across it . . . art waiting to happen.”

White space is where creativity can breathe and come to life within us.

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:

Vytvoreni

Vytvoreni

Joy Floats

Resurrection

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

Writing in the White Space: The Colors of Faith

You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.                                             James 1:3 MSG

As I  ponder this scripture I wonder, what are the colors of faith?

I head to the White Space, my creative writing and pondering place, to explore the images and words that spin out from the inspiration.

I start with BLUE.

And I simply write. No editing, no over-thinking, no fear.

Writing in the White Space I write for no audience, with no concern of whether others will “get it.” I write for the beauty of writing…something, anything, that captures the images of the holiness of blue…for me.

Blue

If you were to enter your White Space and write without fear, what holiness would you see in BLUE?

EVERY DAY, from today forward, you can link your own blog posts that tie to the theme of that day’s Beauty Minute post.

EVERY DAY.

If you don’t have a blog go to the Facebook page and share there. We are all created to create, and when we create something that has never before been created, and could only be created through the uniqueness of us . . . beauty happens. And we create more beauty together–as a chorus, a field of wildflowers, a gallery of paintings, and a library full of books.

We are the Body of Christ, each a vital and beautiful part of the whole.

Linda CrawfordBLUE is beautiful.

Share your beauty.

Click the photos to read past writings in the white space:

We long to create poem

Joy Floats

Resurrection

Cold

Writing in the White Space: Resurrection

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?” Romans 8:15 MSG

Writing in the White Space 2

Praying for the beauty of the resurrection life of Jesus for you today.

Linda Crawford

©Linda Crawford 2013

More Writing in the White Space posts:

We long to create

Vytvoření

Cold

Cold

Joy Floats

Joy Floats 

The Face of Beauty: Lygon Stevens

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