Tag Archives: grace

growth in change: a post for [A Beautiful Mess]

— this past April, i had the privilege of writing for a dear friend’s blog (check it out here). this post was an honest display of my struggle with change and trusting in God’s plan. by His goodness and grace, i am excited to share the story of where God is taking me next. but first, i take time to remember where i have been. —

if you were to look through my art journal, you would find a common theme.

change.

i really don’t like it. and choose to deal with it through writing, painting, ripping paper, scribbling, painting more, ripping more magazines/paper/tape… you get it.

change means things are no longer in my own control.
and change means that i must fully put my trust in the Creator of the Universe.
and that scares me. because, well, i can’t control the Creator.

while change is inevitable, time and time again i have stood face-to-face with change, showing her my angriest face. and as a result of that, all i found was deep pain. the changes occurred, despite my efforts to stop them. at times, i felt like my heart was literally being torn in half. these changes were significant- friends getting married, graduating from college, moving to a new city, moving to a new state. and now i face the completion of my graduate program- which means redefining my identity as a student to an employee, a workin’ girl, a real adult (i think…).

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throughout all these experiences, i have been learning how to accept change with grace. i have also learned that i have serious control issues. it has become a bit of a joke among family and friends. i like being in charge and i like when things go my way. there are times when this control (or “organization”, as i like to call it) works to my advantage. but more often than not, it leads to a lifestyle of inflexibility and lots of disappointment. so, like i said, i’m also learning about grace. and as i learn about and practice grace in my own life- there is growth.

i find that the seasons can be the most beautiful example of grace and change and growth. here in the PNW, i have seen snow and ice turn into gorgeous shades of pink and yellow. as spring arrives, the trees start to bud and flowers begin to bloom. bright yellow daffodils grow wildly on the side of the freeway and tulips add sparks of color wherever i look. and the beauty of it is that the change from winter to spring is a process. these flowers did not bloom overnight. it has taken months. and there are still trees that need to blossom, flowers to open up, and vines to produce fruit. change, with grace, is a journey.

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this next change is a big one. finishing my Master’s degree and learning a style and rhythm of life that does not include papers, research, and due dates will be an adjustment. what will i do with my time? what will my new rhythm be like? where will i live and work? as i finish up my internship in Washington, i begin to search out where God might have me in the next stage of life. and saying that, is a lot easier than doing it. i feel like i am constantly asking God for His lead in my next step. then i say, “amen” and start thinking about all the things i need to do. there it goes, i loose trust in Him the minute it becomes about me and what i need to do to make things happen my way… Lord, help me.

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i vividly remember a conversation i had with Kristin a few years ago. i shared with her that i couldn’t wait until the day when i had my life, my emotions, my relationships “all together”. Kristin paused, and with the most love and grace said to me, “you will never have it ‘all together’, my dear.” and she’s absolutely right. things are always changing, growing, and adjusting. i am continually learning to show up to my life instead of being frustrated and anxious about each process. i can’t plan the next steps. i don’t know what will happen. and that.is.scary. but i know that the Creator is in control. no matter what. and for that, i truly am thankful. because let’s be honest, i am a mess. i am not in control of my own life. and i will re-learn this throughout my entire earthly existence. but by the GRACE of God, i am alive from one day to the next. i learn more about the Creator and more about myself through each situation that presents change. and invites grace. and produces growth.


perfectly impurfikt

well, it’s been a while… yet again. i feel like this is the journal that i’ve neglected to write in. but i won’t let those feelings get in the way! despite the lack of blogging in the last month, i am dedicated to this space and am ready to continue writing. so here it goes:

this past weekend, i had the honor and privilege of spending time with a group of women who all had one thing in common. we were perfectly imperfect. it may sound like a nice tagline, but to each of us- stringing those two words together was unheard of. either we were perfect or we were imperfect. it was impossible to be both. we gathered to learn from each other and listen to one another. trying to describe the conversations will not do them any justice, nor am i in a place to share them. but i write to tell you that the conversations during group sessions and one-on-one were real and from the deep parts of the soul. these women are soul sisters that will continue on this journey with me no matter how near or far they may be. if you are a soul sister reading, thank you for simply being who you are- raw and real, beautiful and bold. thank you for showing up to life and facing it’s challenges head on. you are in my heart.

art piece that came from this weekend. it is truly a beautiful mess.

allow me to let you into a glimpse of my journey with perfectionism. i’m not quite sure where it began, but somewhere along the way, i got this idea in my head that i had to be perfect. it did not come from my parents or from my friends. i believe it came from a culture and society that pressured me to be the smartest, the prettiest, and talented at not one, but many things. and of course, these things are nearly impossible. so naturally, i “failed” at all of them. i was not the smartest, not the prettiest, and not talented at a whole lot of things. so i was imperfect. and i didn’t know how to deal with that. i exhausted myself by trying to live up to all these and it’s only by God’s grace that i am alive after it all.

but after 19 years of trying to live in perfection, i began to ask a lot of questions. and over the past two years have slowly began to find some answers. i have come to realize that i will never be perfect. and while that seemed heartbreaking at first, it actually gave me room to breathe. i can now live in freedom and grace. i know that i am absolutely and 100% imperfect and i have never felt better about it. this realization is something i have to choose to live out daily. it is easy to forget and default to perfectionism and control. but it is in moments like that, in which i have learned to pause and take a deep breath… i have learned to accept the emotions and circumstances and failures as they come and learn from them. i know that i can be okay when life feels completely shitty. i have come to a place to start listening to the God within me, searching the truth inside of me, and living that out each day. perfectionism is not my truth. grace is my truth. freedom is my truth. peace and strength are my truth. ultimately, these truths are what i believe God wants for my life. so i am showing up to my life, living in my truth, because i actually believe that i am worth it and i know that i am loved by the Creator of the Universe.

with all that said, i encourage you to face your perfectionism. whether it be with art, with writing, with speaking up to share- be bold. be impurfikt. grab a maker and scribble across a page in your perfect journal, it is beautiful because you created it. write from your heart and know that it is good because it came from your soul. speak up and share what’s on your mind because your voice needs to be heard. i’m learning to show up to my life, will you journey with me and show up to yours?


trees

i have this thing for trees. i know right off the bat, it seems a bit strange. but let me explain myself…

it began at a retreat last april. there was a group of women that shared an incredible weekend together- learning, growing, and challenging each other in the patterns of our lives. it was the last day of the retreat when one of the women pointed our attention to an enormous tree in front of us (see below). she began to describe the tree as feminine, full of shape and curves, branches going in different directions, but yet it was just right. the tree was nurturing, warm, and was deeply rooted.

keeping these words in mind, i suddenly began to look at trees differently. i found such comfort in them. a few months after the retreat, i co-lead a team of 7 other college students on a trip to Ghana, West Africa. while we were there, we visited a village with one of the most incredible trees i have seen in my life. when i asked what kind of tree it was, the answer was simple: it’s a shade tree! well shade was not it’s only purpose. the people of that village, with just a few handmade benches and a choir in the making, met for church under that tree. and that tree became our home when we had an opportunity to stay the night there. we hung mosquito nets from the branches and slept underneath the beautiful African sky. that shade tree is a place of rest, a place of hope, and of strength where faithful believers gather to worship the Lord.

church under the tree

the shade tree

we have such a wonderfully creative God. trees are so elegant, strong, masculine and feminine, peaceful, loving… i find many characteristics of God here. we are covered with grace and love and the shade from the abundant leaves remind me of this. the trunk and branches remind me that we have strength and wisdom from God. are you finding the connection? while i can’t go back to these two trees when i need rest, comfort, grace, etc.- i find what i need in God and i have these pictures to help me remember. below is a piece from my journal that was inspired by artwork displayed at one of APU’s chapel programs. i am continuously learning to trust God…

and all i can do is say hallelujah. i thank and praise God for being faithful, for giving grace, for loving, embracing, for guiding, comforting, and strengthening. i know that i can’t do this thing called life on my own and i look to the majesty of a tree to be reminded of the King or Queen that lives in you and in me.

— that rhymed :)


scribbling 101

this whole art journaling thing really took off my sophomore year of college. my roommates and i took an art class with T. Graves (that’s what we called her…) and were required to do a painting. i quickly decided that i didn’t like painting concrete things. it might have been because i attempted to paint an incredibly beautiful picture that my dad took in Italy and i just didn’t feel like i was doing it justice. but i think it had more to do with the structure of it all. my painting turned out alright, but i wasn’t overly impressed. it was a lot of work. and took perfection. and in the end, it still didn’t look as good as my dad’s photograph. when the class was over, i continued using the paints and started doing art the way i wanted to. it wasn’t a graded assignment and heck, i didn’t even know if anyone else would see it. but i went from painting a pristine picture to scribbling like a 3-year-old because it was liberating.

remember what it was like trying to stay inside the lines of coloring books? there was always a little part of me that wanted to run that crayon like crazy over the entire picture, but it had to be perfect. teachers used to yell at kids who scribbled outside the lines. “don’t scribble. color nicely,” they’d say. sometimes, i feel like i have to live life inside those lines. trying to be perfect and pristine. but guess what? i can’t live life that way. i’m gonna mess up and i won’t get it right every time. grace catches me when i fall and freedom is there to let me- be me. somehow, scribbling seems similar. it calls for imperfection. there are no requirements in scribbling. i hold my crayon or maker or paintbrush and without any hesitation at all, i put color on paper. and there is beauty created in the mess.

there is nothing perfect about this art.  i worry about even calling it art sometimes because it seems like such a disaster. but that’s all a part of it. there’s something unique about each piece. something beautiful that catches a person’s eye. i believe this is exactly what God sees in humans. sometimes we feel like a scribbled, messy pile of (fill-in-the-blank). and yet, i believe with all my heart that something in us catches the eye of God and fuels a desire in Him or Her to continue giving us grace and freedom. grace is a mystery to me, but i know it exists and that i need it daily. and while freedom waits for me to let go of all i carry, i know there are times i hold on with all i have because it seems comforting. thankfully, God gives us these things lovingly and without hesitation.

while i believe God is generous in giving, i also believe we have to choose to accept. this is one reason why i do art. it is a physical way of engaging my hands and my heart to the things i have been given. God is there waiting for me to take a hold of Him. and sometimes scribbling helps me to grab on to that grace and freedom and love. so don’t be intimidated by the word paint or create, thinking you have to paint these immaculate masterpieces. think: scribble and be free.