Grace Came Down In A Barn

I wrote the title after the The Barn event and before Thanksgiving, knowing I wanted to write about the experience, but also knowing that I wasn’t quite ready yet.  Thoughts were marinating in the recesses of my mind, traveling on a journey filled with so many emotions.  I wanted to absorb, think, process.  Then write.  Honestly, I’m still not sure I can put into words exactly what I’m trying to say. If you were there, then you know.

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If you were there, you understand how words can’t really describe what happened. You understand that much of what was said could only come from grace.  His grace bestowed upon us.  His grace allowing Emily’s heart to speak to us. His grace opening our hearts to the poetry of our art. Thank you Emily, for helping me to see that I am a poem created by God to be used in his image. I don’t know what that means yet, for this stage of my journey, but I know it matters.

It matters that I was there.  It matters that I was in the presence of people that God chose ahead of time to put in my path.  God does not work in coincidence.  He goes ahead of us on the journey preparing the way. “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8) He knew in 2008, that I would be in the barn in 2013 and he knew it would matter.

In 2008 I stumbled across the Proverbs 31 devotional blog on Crosswalk.com, Encouragement for Today, purely by an accidental click of the mouse.  This lead to reading them on other occasions, which introduced me to The Nester, Myquillyn Smith, when she guest posted, which in turn introduced me to Chatting At The Sky and Emily Freeman. And then, in 2013 I discovered Emily’s book a million little ways and  I came to The Barn.

Where I met Emily Freeman, Myquillyn Smith and Renee Swope (from Proverbs 31) and a few other wonderful people.  When I entered the door of the barn, grace was extended by a hug from Emily and a gracious welcome. Hearing her speak was a delightful experience.  After the event, meeting Myquillyn, accompanied by a hug, was a blessing.   She and Emily have both inspired me so many times through their blogs and I found them both to be sincere and real. During the event, I was seated at the same table as Renee, who has also inspired me with her writing .  It was during a conversation with Renee that she said something that stuck with me.  She was sharing a situation in which God told her “don’t resist or resent”.  I knew God intended for me to hear those words. He knew in 2008 where I would be in 2013 and what my situation would be.  He knew I would need to hear those words.  It never ceases to amaze me how God puts people in our path at just the right moment.

Resisting and Resenting had both been paramount in my life for the past 12-18 months.  I had not really admitted that to myself, but just those simple words from Renee opened my eyes.  My husband and I moved home in June of 2012 to be closer to my parents who needed help due to health issues – mainly my mother.  Her illness has been very difficult and heartbreaking.  I have resented that she and we have had to go through this.  I don’t ‘understand why.  I can’t figure out how it fits into the future we thought we were going to have.

The barn reminded me that I don’t have to figure it out. I know that God’s grace is enough. God also knew in 2008 that I would need to read Emily’s book and hear her speak about how “God is the artist and he has made us.  We are his poem and we will make art.”  Whatever our circumstances, if we submit to his will, I know that he will allow us to make art. It may not look like the art I thought we were supposed to make, but if it is his art working through us, it will be even more beautiful than I imagined.

How do I know this? GRACE CAME DOWN IN A BARN.

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Making art in Grace,

Teresa

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31:18 – A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words or 14

I had a creative writing class in high school that I absolutely loved.  That was probably when I first realized on a conscious level that I had a way with words.  That was the stirring of wanting to be a writer.  It just took me awhile to think of myself as a writer.

One of my favorite writing assignments was using a picture for inspiration.  We would choose a picture, then write a story to fit the picture.  I chose a picture of an old man that was on the back of a Readers Digest magazine.  The picture and story are long gone, perhaps hidden in storage somewhere.  I used to have a file of schoolwork at my parents, but haven’t seen it in years.

For several years Mr. Piano and I went to the mountains of Tennessee for retreat.  I could look at the beauty around me and be inspired by the “Pictures” of nature that were all around me.  A few years ago I was inspired to write My October based on the sights from the front porch of our cabin,it was posted last year on this blog. Autumn Road, another post from last year was inspired by a picture I took while on retreat.

When I see beautiful art or photographs, it can inspire words.  For me, the opposite is also true,the written word conjures up images.  As I read I can see the scenes in my mind’s eye.  Either way the words and images are linked together.  I have always wished that I could paint beautiful scenes, but then I remind myself that when the written word stirs my soul, that too is art.

One of the best compliments I ever received about my writing, was when I had written a letter to our church about the new sanctuary.  I had gone with the theme of New House Smell and had written about all the changes.  A lady from the congregation came up to me the following Sunday and said, “I loved your letter – I could smell the paint!”  It was a letter, not a prize-winning novel, but I made her connect with her senses as she read and that is what the writing is about.  Making a connection.  Painting a mental picture that makes the words come alive.

What picture is inspiring you to write a thousand words today.  Or maybe 14?

Sunlight dances in tree tops splashing across Autumn skies, covering my soul with peace.

Inspired by Grace,

Sadie