Nov 3, 2010

Creating in the Valleys of Life


At the studio, October 20, I shared that earlier that day I had seen a Pulmonologist due to a chest CT scan that came back funky. The lymph nodes in my chest region are enlarged and they spotted two other "densities" that are U.F.O.'s (unidentified floating objects, haha). The lung doctor referred me to a Cardiothoracic surgeon, to whom I meet with tomorrow morning, Thursday 11/4, for a surgical consult. They want to remove one of my ugly lymph nodes, test it and, hopefully, rule out lymphoma or metastasis (a cancer that begins else where in the body and metastasizes in the lymph nodes.) I hope they rule them out too! The lung doctor is leaning towards a diagnosis of sarcoidosis, but because I'm young (at 40, yay!) and have a young family, they want to be aggressive and catch anything really bad before it's too late. I'm good with that. I guess.

I'm feeling pretty good now, emotionally, thanks to the gazillion prayers offered up on my behalf by amazing friends. But those of you who attended the studio last month saw a very scared and heartbroken side of me. Thank you for your grace and compassion that evening. The news was just so recent, having been to the doctor earlier in the day. I wanted to cancel the studio but for the whole week prior God had inspired me with a particular idea. If I cancelled the studio, I would have cancelled what God had put on my heart for that evening. So, with every ounce of strength left in me, I proceeded with the studio. Not without blubbering and tears, however. :0) 

The idea was to prayerfully listen to the song by Casting Crowns, "Your Love is Extravagant," and then move into a creative project continuing in a prayerful spirit. We were to paint or draw whatever came to mind or heart. Just spend time with God before the "canvas" or sketchbook and see what happens. This idea God had for me the week prior was genius, as He knew I would have a difficult doctors appointment on the same day as the studio and that I needed to fulfill His idea - it was to help me see Him amidst this challenging news of my health.

About 12 people attended the studio. Some drew with ball point pens, others with charcoal or pencils or markers. Others used watercolors or acrylics. I painted on a small 8"x6" canvas with acrylic shades of black, purple, white, gold, and silver. None of us set out to create a particular piece, instead, we listened to that still small voice and created out of a place of prayer before our Creator. It was a very sweet hour.

Big uncontrollable tears fell from my eyes as we listed to the lyrics:

Your love is extravagant. Your friendship, it is intimate.

I find I'm moving to the rhythm of Your grace.

Your fragrance is intoxicating in our secret place.

Your love is extravagant.

Spread wide in the arms of Christ,

Is a love that covers sin.

No Great love have I ever known.

You consider me Your friend.

Capture my heart again.

Capture my heart again.

As soon as the song was over and I began to put paint on to canvas, using only my fingers, a peace came over me and I was suddenly energized. I had no idea what I was painting, I had no subject in mind. I just paid attention to the colors and how soft the paint felt between my fingertips and the canvas. The lyrics replayed in my head over and over and a form began to take shape. I just went with it as I surrendered my creativity to the Creator.

After about 45 minutes, it was time to close the studio gathering. We briefly shared what that experience was like and even shared our created pieces. It was really moving to hear and see how God spoke to each of us through our open hearts and creative spirits.

The piece I created is certainly no Monet. It will never be sold in a gallery or hang in a museum. But to me, it speaks of the way God holds me close especially in the valleys of life and I’m reminded of the extravagant ways that Jesus loves me.

October 2010 PaintingMy painting… 

I was so blessed by the time to play with paints with a heart centered in prayer. I connect with God in very intimate ways through my creativity. And He knew I needed to draw near to Him that night, and still to this day. As I prepare to talk with the surgeon about how he’s going to remove a lymph node from a very tricky place near my heart and lungs, I continue to snuggle into the wings of Christ. Then, as we receive the pathology report noting a final diagnosis, be it sarcoidosis, lymphoma or other cancer, I will still be singing, “No greater love have I ever known. For you consider me Your friend.”

Capture my heart again…

Grace & peace ~


Click here to hear the song.

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