I don’t think I know one talented artist who hasn’t lived through some sort of pain, confusion, or a “dark night of the soul”. Artists are prophetic. They reveal the voice of God that speaks through their own perspective on life and darkness and hope. I have seen dance choreographers, musicians, visual artists, etc., reflect the beautiful human side of God… the side that says, “this is my journey with God. The crap. The ugly parts. The joyful parts. This is what my heart looks like and because He made my heart, what I have to bring is beautiful.” Artists and prophetic people are sensitive, which means I’m sensitive. Wow…. am I sensitive. I feel everything around me and sometimes it is overwhelming.
I was thinking about all of this this morning. I went to bed late having wrestled with God for most of the night. Getting up early to sit before Him didn’t sound super appealing after four hours of sleep. Words were no longer formulating on my tongue. I didn’t know what to say anymore. I didn’t know what to write in my journal. The normal stream of consciousness wasn’t flowing freely. But I got my pen out anyway because the thoughts that were coming to me were so tender that if I said what I really wanted to, I would completely lose it. Instead I wrote lyrics. My lyrics magically knew what was going on in my heart without pounding me over the head with it.
Art is prayer. An artist may not be praying to the right person in their art but inside they are begging for something, communicating with Someone, directing their soul toward something they can’t see.
Jesus, I love how you let me communicate to You in this way. I love that even though I’m not saying out loud exactly what I’m thinking, you see what I’m trying to say through my art. You see my heart behind it and it reminds me that You know me.
Lately, I’ve been feeling pulled in a zillion directions in terms of creative projects . The lack of focus on any particular area of creativity has me frustrated. I have so many things I WANT to do yet very few things are getting done. So many of these projects are on the verge of being finished yet the last steps to completion have yet to be accomplished. That song I want to finish writing? Yeah. Need to organize some time with a certain guitar player for the finishing touches. That novel that has been sitting on my hard-drive for what feels like decades? The thought of finishing the editing process has me breaking out in hives. That dresser that I keep saying I’m going to paint? I can’t seem to scrape up some extra cash in my budget to buy supplies (oh, and what’s a budget again?).
I keep wondering what it is that is causing me to procrastinate. Maybe it is that these last steps are just way too boring for me to hold my attention. Maybe it’s my fear of failure that my work might actually stink… stink really bad. Maybe it’s that I am scared of letting people see inside a little piece of me… a little vulnerable, somewhat broken piece that influenced both my song and my novel.
But as I sit here and ponder all of these excuses, one little whispered phrase keeps penetrating my psyche, “but I love to do these things with you. I take pleasure in seeing you do what you were made to do.” And that right there is motivating enough to remember what I love about creating characters and scenes and adventures on a page. If that is all that happens with finishing a book… if I just get to partake in His feeling of pleasure that I finished what I started… I finished an idea that He gave me, than I suppose that is all of the motivation I need.
Last night I sat on my sofa reading the last chapter of my first novel to my roommate, Erin. I giggled through most of it and she did too. The excitement was almost too much to contain and I found that I had a lot of trouble sleeping for most of the night. The reasons for my sleepless night this time, however, had more to do the pure joy of this gigantic feat than it had to do with anxiety or fear. I am prone to starting projects that I rarely finish… especially large writing projects so this was rather significant for me.
But being able to actually finish something I started wasn’t the only reason last night was significant. The Lord gave me the idea, plot and characters for this book during one of the darkest seasons of my walk with Him. In fact as I read through the whole book a few nights ago I realized just how prophetic it was and I was completely wrecked at how much the Lord was speaking through me as I wrote it. The book still needs a title and plenty of editing work but the powerful story it contains is finished and marks a very important season for me. I wasn’t expecting so many significant things to be happening all at once but I can see a pattern of the Lord pulling everything together as I follow His leading. As I get closer to publishing, I will share more with my readers.
Last night I went to see the premier of my brother’s film at the Little Rock Film Festival (the film was AMAZING by the way). As I was standing around, waiting to get into the theater I met a couple of older men. One was a very suspicious looking character with a long ZZ Top kinda beard, giant glasses and a baseball cap. When I asked him how he was doing he replied “well as good as you can expect an old fat man to be.” He made a living as a SAG member (Screen Actors Guild), as a guitar player and as a director and told me many wild stories about his time here on earth. Very interesting guy. His friend came and joined the conversation and he seemed much more “normal” and official. Apparently he was one the administrators of the Festival and got me in to see my brothers film for free (which, according to MovieMaker Magazine is one of the top 25 festivals in the world). This guy, whom we shall call Duke, was a film producer. I told him about my experiences trying to get into the industry as an actress… what I didn’t tell him is that the Lord pulled me out of the industry twice, just before I got signed with two major acting agencies (I was also in my mid-twenties then and much more in shape than I am now). Both times I had giant opportunities and both times the Lord moved me out of state before I could participate. Duke asked me what I was doing for a living currently and I explained to him that I was writer and did mostly freelance work. His eyes perked up then, and knowing my brother’s reputation (who is a full-time award-winning filmmaker and actor), instantly gave me his card and told me to call him.
At first I was really excited at this possible opportunity. I have been thinking about the possibility of using my gifts in this industry for some time now. But for some reason I was also very restless and had a hard time sleeping last night. I thought about how futile any type of business or creative endeavor is without Jesus in it somehow. Without perfect direction from the Holy Spirit, our hearts can get entwined with something that could potentially damage us. I felt heaviness even. And I wondered if this was really the direction I was suppose to go in. I saw the Lord’s hand offering me all kinds of goodies to choose from but what route was I suppose to take? Where was my heart at in all of this? I thought about how I want people to encounter Jesus. I want broken people to know the love of God. I thought about music and how alive I feel when I sing prophetically over the people of God. I thought about how I love to teach the things of God and to express His heart in unique ways. Would I be able to do all of these things? If I began acting again I would have to be careful of many many things… even about becoming obsessed with my body image again. If I acted or wrote for the film industry– because it is an industry full of darkness (let’s face it), I would have to be clearly led by the Holy Spirit with every endeavor I choose.
Life is such a tricky path. I don’t want to miss anything on the journey.
I’ve been waiting awhile to re-post, trying to assimilate my life back to my normal routine… which by the way has never been quite normal. Here are just a few of the happenings and thoughts that have taken place since the last time we talked:
- I started a new business! Check out my blog site for Blue Quill Writing Services. I offer copywriting and content writing services for businesses, organizations and periodicals. We’ll talk of other aspirations at another time.
- An old friend from IHOP, Luke Holter along with his wife Grace, launched their own prophetic ministry called Prophetic Sheep and came to visit this past weekend providing some much-needed encouragement and prophetic insight to our ministry and to many of us individually. For myself, it was a weekend filled with hope as Luke confirmed many things that the Lord has been speaking to me about over the last couple of months and even years. My heart to travel to other nations (not as a missionary plant per se but as a messenger proclaiming the love of the Father to those with hard hearts) and also, interestingly enough, confirmed my desire for a family (more on that subject later).
- Luke gave me a prophetic word this weekend about how I was like a cowgirl and well… he prophesied that I would marry a cowboy. Some may argue how little I am like a literal cowgirl but I think that many would be surprised at how accurate this word is. Not only did I have an obsession with horses and want to be a cowgirl when I was a little girl (we won’t mention that I also wanted to be a ballerina) but I still love being out in the middle of the wilderness by myself. I love nature and camping and am probably one of the most tough, resilient people I know. I have virtually no fear when it comes to adventure. I love roller coasters and rapids and canoe trips. I’ve done things like walk through Deep Ellum in Dallas by myself many times at 2 am having conversations with homeless men and have not felt an ounce of trepidation. Despite my somewhat prissy nature, I have always loved exploring and the possibility of danger has always been exciting to me. When I asked Luke this weekend if the vision he saw of me in the jungle was literal and if I was really going to be going to the jungle with my future husband, he responded that yes it was… and I believe him. It just sounds like something I would do. Therefore marrying someone that is similar to a cowboy sounds like a very attractive idea to me. I don’t want the wide-brim hat or the boots but someone who is rugged and resilient and adventurous and maybe a little rough around the edges like me.
- I’ve had some dreams recently that have caused me to wonder what the Lord is teaching me in the area of friendship. When I speak of friendship in this particular circumstance, I am referring to friendship with men. One of the dreams indicated that I would be learning something about this and a couple of my male friends would be teaching me. Guys have always been a lot easier to be friends with than girls have. They aren’t competitive and controlling. They are fun. They don’t get jealous (unless one of them likes you and you are getting attention from someone else). Let’s face it. It’s just easier with guys. So I guess I’m wondering what it is that I have to learn. I like and even prefer to have guy friends. But as I pondered this for a minute I thought about how I have had some seriously wrong perceptions of men in the past. Without going into too much detail, I’ve been inflicted by some pretty deep wounds from men and have had to walk through some bitterness and go through a stringent forgiveness process. Maybe I still have more to learn than what I originally thought.
I’ll leave this blog as it is for now. More to come later.
I was in second grade in Mrs. Franklin’s class when she directed us to write a fictional story about our class discovering dinosaur bones on a field trip. I remember the excitement I felt as I penned sixteen pages of glorious second-grade prose into my spiral notebook. I created an elaborate story, complete with dinosaur bones coming alive and scaring old Mrs. Franklin. I had never felt more awake in my young life than I did as I crafted that imaginary story.
In school I was not the mathematician or the scientist. I never did well in those areas but when it came to writing and literature, my teachers would often tell my parents “encourage her with this! she has a gift!”. I was a daydreamer and instead of listening intently during 4th grade math, I would spin fairy stories in my head, come up with character names and even details about their 19th century clothing. This daydreaming would come back to bite me when I received my report card but it paid off when I would win the county creative writing contest or win awards in the Duluth News Tribune for my creative narrative and eventually, in high school, become student editor of Speak Out, a column for local teens in the Ashland Daily Press.
I went on to study English Literature at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock but three years into my degree, a personal tragedy struck and I dropped out of college, heart-broken. It would be years before I was able to be focused enough to write again… or would even have the desire to do so.
Being in the prayer room while on staff at the International House of Prayer began to stir something in me that was akin to that feeling I had in second grade. That feeling of heat in my belly, probably even aroused by Holy Spirit, that would urge me to communicate ideas that were on His heart. I began writing in a blog truths that the Lord had been teaching me, but in my head, was still hesitant to acknowledge myself as a writer again.
After moving to Ottertail, Minnesota and joining the Firestarters writers group, I felt a pressure to create that I had not felt in a long time. Unfortunately, working full-time as a legal secretary, didn’t offer me a lot of time to ponder and think and create. I felt miserable at my job, exhausted all the time, and trapped into doing something that I hated just so that I could get by with my very meager income.
Then it began with a dream (as it usually does). I walked into a bedroom where both of my parents (who are no longer married to each other) were sitting on a bed. They asked me what I was reading and I responded that I was reading Journey of Desire by John Eldredge and Dreaming With God by Bill Johnson. My mom began asking me what I wanted to do with my life and in the dream I replied that I wanted to write and preach the Gospel. My mom then informed me that I needed to quit my job and said some other things that I don’t care to write about at the moment. Huh. Well I couldn’t just quit my job…. could I?
A couple weeks after that dream I had another. It was simply a snapshot dream where my boss came to me and let me go from my job. I woke up, knowing I would be let go, and that it was for a specific purpose. Three weeks later, it was exactly as I expected… my boss pulled me into his office and told me I was no longer needed at the office. Instead of distress I felt absolutely relieved. I knew it was the Lord directing me into a better path… one that fit me perfectly.
Days after my last day at the law office I traveled to Kansas City, where I still am, for a time of prayer and re-focusing. Thoughts of inadequacy plagued my mind. I’m not good enough to do this. How can I ever pull this off? Does God really desire to bless me enough that I actually get to do something that I love to do for a living? At the Awakening Service on Wednesday night, a woman from the prophecy teams spoke to me and said that she saw something creative around me. She said that I didn’t feel that I was good enough to do what He was calling me to do. I knodded in agreement. She looked me straight in the eyes and firmly told me that what I did was powerful and it would impact many. If that wasn’t enough, the Lord knew I needed some specific confirmation. So this morning, I went to check my email and noticed a message from a nightwatch leader at the House of Prayer. This is not someone that I communicate with much at all and in the email he tells me he has a prophetic word for me and that he has been thinking about it all week long. He blatantly tells me that I am called to be a writer. How is that for confirmation?
I am very eager and excited to start this journey and I know from this day forward, my life will never be the same. Aside from my primary calling as a lover of God, this is the day I know myself as a writer. And that, my friends, is my journey into this knowledge.
This is where the line is drawn.
He either takes it all or just a piece of me.
He either has my whole heart or just what I am willing to offer.
This is where I stand and refuse to look away from his torn, bloody, broken body beaten with love for me.
This is where I come to terms with my true identity.
I won’t appear a victim or martyr or dirty ugly rotten selfish whore.
This is where I leave my fathers house and come with open heart, satisfying the King’s desire for my beauty.