Room

Moore'sKnob

Dear Artist Child,

Making room just might be the highest form of creativity there is. Room in your heart and life for the Christ to enter in. In all your making and creating, your preparation and celebrating, is there room? Nothing fancy is needed. No expensive accommodation, no gourmet food, no art masterpieces.

Only you and Me.

I need only a manger, a place for you to feed on my presence and love. I am here. I have taken up residence in the Stable of your life and am making all things new. You may look around and think your life is nothing special. You may see only humble surroundings of wood and hay. But I am here, with laughter and love, in the midst of  it all.

Create from this place…from this hallowed room where I have come to abide.

Your loving Father

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“…so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;

and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints

what is the breadth and length and height and depth,

and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge,

that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.”

Ephesians 3:17-19 NIV

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For more letters…

Letters to an Artist: Imagined Letters from the Father to His Artist Child

Pregnancy

Macy'sGift

Dear Artist Child,

You live in the in-between. That place somewhere between conception and birth that is often so difficult and painful in the waiting. Having begun numerous paintings and knitted garments, you are now working diligently day by day to bring them to fruition, to birth them into being, so that others may enjoy them. So too is your life an ongoing pregnancy of expectation and hope. The temptation is to quit the work at hand and either start something else or abandon creating altogether.

Stay in the game. Stick with it. Work your stitches one by one, your brushstrokes layer upon layer. The fullness in you can only be birthed by your daily faithfulness to carry and nurture that which is inside you.

Wait with expectation and hope for the fulfillment of what has already begun.

Your loving Father

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“For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.”

Romans 8:19 NIV

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For more Letters…

Letters to an Artist: Imagined Letters from the Father to His Artist Child.

Space

Wonderland Path(lowRes)

Dear Artist Child,

Create space today. Empty, quiet, non-doing space for contemplation, for listening, for remembering that I am here.

I in you. Emmanuel.

This creation of space is every bit as important in your artistic work as the things you actually bring into being. Like a painting that needs negative space for the subject to thrive, so too your life needs margins around all the hustling and bustling.

This is the beauty of Mary’s offering–space for the Christ to be born in her and into the world. Intentionally expand the negative spaces in your heart and in your everyday life where you can rest, breathe, and be filled with my presence.

Your devoted Father

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“And he said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’

For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.”

Mark 6:31 ESV

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For more Letters…

 Letters To An Artist: Imagined Letters from the Father to His Artist Child

The River

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Dear Artist Child,

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God. It is by these waters I beckon you to come and sit. Here is a place, not only to draw, but to draw near to Me. It is here I restore your soul and re-establish a sense of nourishment and fullness. In the silence of the river, by just listening, you can hear my voice. By these waters your mind is stilled and you know me. I call you by name.

Here by the river there is no need to prove oneself to others. All grasping and striving falls away. There is no need to keep up appearances. It is only you and me. My love infuses your mind and heart. These waters then trickle into every thought, each word, all your creations. To be sure, the vast tributaries of this river run wide and long, in and through every highway and byway of life. Whether you are busy with work and domestic duties, whether you or loved ones are suffering, or whether major life events are tumbling in on you in rapid succession, my river is always flowing nearby, underneath, all around. When you create, you can hear its babbling brooks more than at other times.

So find time to knit or paint, write or make music. Or simply sit by the river with me, doing nothing, filling your heart and mind with my presence, my love, my peace.

Your loving Father

“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,

the holy place where the Most High dwells.”

Psalm 46:4 NIV

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“Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said,

rivers of living water will flow from within them.”

John 7:38 NIV

jenniferedwards.com

Dance

ButtercupField Dear Artist Child,

This vision you have of your life as a maker, is given to you for your encouragement. Yet somehow it becomes, in your mind, a standard from which you are always measuring yourself and falling short. This was not the purpose of this gift.

Your efforts to move in the direction of this vision seem only to inch you along the way. You receive bits and pieces of the path laid out for you, and you delight in them. But when you stand still for very long and look around, it feels as if you are farther away than you had thought.

I want to remind you that your creative life is less a road with an achieved destination, and more like a grassy field, vast and hilly. This field of creativity encompasses your entire life. There will be days for making a family, for making beds and making meals, for making books and illustrations, for making sweaters and hats, for making drawings and paintings, for making money, making friends and making memories. But it is one entire field in which you live and make and have your being.

This field is not static. It is always changing and evolving. I am dancing with you in this field, leading your steps as you look to my Face. You need not fear that you will miss out on this vision you see of your future creative self. Indeed you are right now in it! There are simply more wildflower-filled hedges to discover and explore in the coming days.

Trust me. It is happening. Right now.

I’ve got this.

 

Your devoted Father

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you

will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

Philippians 1:6 ESV

“The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”

Psalm 24:1 NIV

“My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, LORD, I will seek.”

Psalm 27:8

Cease Striving

LightonaHill2

Dear Artist Child,

I see how weary you have become of trying to figure it all out. Each day your level of frustration rises as you try to ascertain how to live this creative life I’ve given you. You fret over what artistic work or project to tackle next. You resent the day to day activities of just living which seem to hinder you from accomplishing what you feel you must in your art. There’s a restlessness even as you put your hand to a creative task. This is due to having come unmoored from your true identity as my daughter, child of the King.

You have a vision of yourself as an artist in the future. I gave you this. Yet it is not for you to go about making this happen. That is MY work. Like Abraham, after receiving the promise I made to him, you are now trying to bring it about in the ways that seem right to you. Cease your striving dear one. I am knitting my will in your creative life, one stitch at a time. The only thing you need do is continue making things. Don’t worry that those things may not appear to line up with the goal or trajectory of that vision. Leave all that to me.

Take joy in the artful life I’ve given you. Lay hold of the beauty in each day–the mundane activities, the faces of family and friends, and the creations that run through your hands. Cease striving to “make it happen.” In so doing, joy will happen and restlessness will abate.

Your loving Father

“God, you have made us for yourself,

and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you.”

― Augustine of Hippo

Suffering

RSFront

 

Resurrection Shawl. various fibers. Spring 2013

Dear Artist Child,

You wonder, if you can, in any way, identify with the suffering my Son endured in his years here on earth, in his final days facing the Cross. You wonder if you suffer at all as an artist, wife, mother, teacher living in the Land of Plenty. His suffering seems agonizingly other than anything you have ever experienced.

And yet…

*You know the feeling of being misunderstood in your art and in your faith. So did He. On a much larger scale. (John 1:11)

*You know the incongruence between what you were made for and the limitations you live within. So did He. To a far greater degree. (Philippians 2:5-11)

*You know the pain of longing to create something beautiful when your world and its demands seem to keep you from doing so. So did He. Only moreso. (Mark 1:45)

*You know the agony of knowing what you will have to endure in the days ahead. So did He. He sweat blood at the thought of it. (Matthew 26:36-46)

*You know the difficulty of finding Beauty in the midst of pain and suffering. So did He. He wept over it. (John 11:1-44)

*You know the seeming defeat that sin, both yours and others, has wrought in this world. He knew this too, though He Himself had no sin in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21) What agony it must’ve been for the Holy One to live in and among sinners and their sin-ridden world. It was for this He came. This was to be His Magnum Opus. His Masterpiece. The final strokes in a painting He had been working on since Genesis 3.

As you experience your life, dear Artist Child, in all its forms of suffering, take comfort in knowing that your God knows and understands it all first-hand! (Hebrews 4:15) He plumbed the depths of suffering, drank it to the dregs, on your behalf, that you might only experience mere shadows of that suffering. (2 Corinthians 4:17) That you might live in Beauty for always and for ever.

Now go and create out of that knowledge.

Your loving Father

 

“Little children, you are from God and have overcome them,

for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

I John 4:4 (ESV)

Inspiration

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Dear Artist Child,

Did you know that nestled in the word “inspiration”  is the word “spirit”? Though inspiration comes to you through many channels, it is rooted in and flows from my Spirit to you. This is how I guide my artists, leading them to the next creative work for their benefit and others’ enrichment.

My Spirit works through anything and everything. Leaves crunching under your feet lead to a poem. A hike in the woods weaves a melody in your head. The face of your child leads you to draw. The autumn sky shows you a particular glaze for those bowls of pottery you made. Everything in my creation in-spirits you to create. Receive these inspirations and delight in them.

Furthermore, look for them! Certainly my inspirations come when you least expect them. But you can develop a habit of searching for them, as if you were combing through the weeds for the delicate wildflower. It is always there, even in places of pain. My Spirit calls to you to see the Beauty I have for you.

To be inspired is to be in my Spirit. Keep in step with the Spirit, and you will never lack inspiration for your art.

Your loving Father

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,kindness,

goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control;

against such things there is no law…

If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.”

Galatians 5: 22-23, 25

Direction

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Dear Artist Child,

When, at long last, you feel you finally have direction in your creative life, take care to remember your Director. I am He who guides your life and all your creative pulses. I am the One who leads you to paint, to knit, to play music, to write books and poems, to be creative in all you do. Enjoy your experience of being guided. Revel in the knowledge that you are on a path laid out just for you. But hold it all with open hands, willing to go in any direction I lead you.

Just because it seems like you have a new direction, doesn’t necessarily mean this is it for ever! As you have experienced in the past, you may discover other creative paths to walk in the future. The key to knowing where to go is to keep your eyes on me, your Father and Director.

I, myself, am your Direction. Not portrait painting, or designing knit and crochet wear, or landscape painting, or sketch journaling or book making. These are all part of the creative path I’m leading you on. Walk hand in hand with me and I will surely guide you in the way you should go!

Your devoted Father

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.”

Proverbs 3:5-6

Release

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Dear Artist Child,

The hard work is done. The preparations are over. All the proofreading, the rehearsals, the framing, the practicing is done. Now you stand on the precipice of the performance, the book signing, the art show opening, the exhibit. Now it is time to let go. To release the baton and hand it over to me.

To be sure, you have already been practicing this skill as an artist even as you prepared. Daily you released outcomes into my hands even as you diligently worked to bring about the creative project you’ve been working on. Now give over to me all that happens from here on–the reviews, the sales, the attendance, the critiques and the casual responses. These are all mine now. Entrust them to my care.

You will likely have days and moments when you need to release these things into my hands again! As the positive responses come to you, as you read a less than positive review, as the sales trickle in, you will be tempted to take the “results” of your creative labor back into your own hands. Stop right there and hand it over. Do not deride yourself for needing to do this. Simply hand them over to me again and again.

Release and trust. I’ll take care of the outcome, no matter how grand or small. Now’s the time to move on to your next creative project.

Your devoted Father

“Let us not become weary in doing good,

for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Galatians 6:9