Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Are You Tired? Worn Out?

Yesterday was a normal Tuesday for me. Woke up early, immediately pored myself a cup of coffee, and headed out the door to an early morning meeting. I'm part of The Production Team for Powhatan Community Church, and each Tuesday morning we meet to discuss, brainstorm and plan our services.

Later that morning I ended up talking to two wise people that God has deliberately brought into my life. I say deliberately because I didn't seek a relationship with them, but it has happened as I have opened myself up to what God's will is for my life. God has put both of them in my life as an answer to prayer. 

So, my wise friend said,".... What are you doing to take care of yourself? What can we do to help take care of you?"

Well, I do have a tendency to over-extend myself... hmmmm.

But, I also know
that about myself and try to stay very conscious of that. And then I thought about the fact that what I do creatively for God is not energy draining at all, as long as I stay strong in my purpose.

I used to serve at my old church in what I thought was God's will. See, I knew that my gifting was from God and that I needed to use those gifts to serve Him (that's in the Bible in 1 Corinthians 12). So, I used my gifts in the way that I thought God wanted, I started ministries, and did all kinds of work... but with the wrong focus. The focus was on the ministry, not on God. GOD HAS TO BE NUMBER ONE! No wonder I got burned out. 

Ok, back to my story.....
At first I didn't know how to answer that question (Hmmm... what can you do to help take care... Hawaii is out of the picture.... hmmmmm... maybe a closer beach.... hmmmmm...). 

Oh, yeah, I'm not tired or burned out. I sat in my seat here at Powhatan Community Church for 4 years, just sat there, feeling guilty at times that I wasn't doing something. So last Fall, I asked God what he wanted from me, where did he want me to serve? As doors opened and doors closed, I made my way to what has been the best use of my creative gifts and also the use of gifts that I didn't even know were gifts!! All of this has happened in what has been one of the most emotionally and physically draining years of my life. 

Through my brokenness, I have learned to trust God. 

Through my brokenness, I have discovered His incredible power.
It's not about me.....

One of my favorite verses, that I often meditate on, is from Matthew 11:28-30, it says:

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."(The Message)

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Leadership Summit

I just attended this awesome conference called "The Leadership Summit". I have told many people about it over the past few days. One thing I have noticed is, as soon as I say I went with people from my church, I see their eyes shift and something inside of them turns off, and they start to half listen because they are now filing this information into the "church" area of their brain which doesn't connect with the other areas.

I'm gonna have to get up on my soapbox now....

The Leadership Summit was not about CHURCH! It was a gathering of Leaders throughout the world. They shared their experience, expertise, failures, and advise on how they lead people. If you are a person who really wants to help change the world we live in, you should check this out..
The Leadership Summit 2009

Ok, I'm done.....

Just one question: What does "church" mean to you?
To Be Continued.......

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Community

This is what I call community. Several months ago I became in charge of "Set Design" at my church (Powhatan Community Church). How, you may ask, does a Nurse/Artist become in charge of "Set Design"?? I ask the same thing. I have NO "Set Design" experience, but that's the incredible thing about God. When you open yourself up to what His will is for your life, he just might show you. And in the mean time bring some incredible people into your life.

After spending over 3 years sitting in my seat, I finally got up again. I wanted to use my creativity somehow for God's kingdom. He led me to The Production Team and a bunch of awesome people that I now call friends. The creativity we bring to the table is amazing. I love how we spar each others ideas, and our creativity builds as we each say "what if we.... ". And the comfort level and trust we have to really express ourselves. I love that we're all so different and we can laugh at ourselves and when we have a crazy idea we all make this hand motion we call "The Squash".

Thank you, Production Team, for letting this new girl come in and find her place.

So, I sat on the floor of this warehouse last Saturday with 5 other creative people. For a while, I created the set mainly on my own. Sometimes I had help from other members of our Production Team, and for that I am so grateful! I tried so hard to develop my own team of "Set Designers", but it just wasn't happening, so I stopped trying.

So, on Saturday, as we cut and sanded and painted and made the set, I realized that I don't need a team.

What I have is a community.

These five people are also trying to find their way. We all shared our desires to use our art to reach the lost and the hurting, to show people Jesus, to be more like him and less like the people of this world. As I sat there I realized that God is doing something incredible for his Kingdom, and I can't wait to see what he plans to do next!

Won't you come along for the ride?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Some of you may know that I am an artist. I am also a registered nurse. If there were one word to describe me, I think Artist is the word. My creativity carries over into every arena of my life, even nursing.

Until recently, I thought that my artistic abilities were just a bonus, it allowed me to express myself and make the world a more beautiful place. Artists make the world more beautiful visually, just like musicians make the world more beautiful with sound. And if you didn't have any of those beautifying gifts, then your gift was to enjoy them :)

And a lot of artists are tormented by their pasts. A very high percentage of creative people come from dysfunctional backgrounds. Maybe creativity is a release from the pains of the past. I think some of my dysfunctional past is exposed in my art. It also provides a release when things aren't going so well in my life. It's like therapy. When I bottled it up (my art) and I don't spend time creating, I get depressed.

In the past, when I painted, I didn't have purpose. Well, my purpose was to paint a painting of something. And it got boring sometimes. Like should I paint a flower or a frog? Or a house or a landscape, or an abstract? Oils, acrylic, watercolor? Sometimes just thinking about what to paint sucked the creativity out of the whole project. And that too is depressing.

The kind of artist that paints like I used to paint feels empty. I've had this nagging feeling for a while that there had to be more to this gift that God gave me. So much more......

As I have spent a lot of time lately really contemplating my gifts, I've come to this conclusion...

God gave me my gift so I could represent him in this world. When I paint now, I become part of the painting. I am part of the movement of the brush, the colors on the canvas, the breath of God is in my painting. God is speaking through my art.

How is God speaking through you??