Could there be reasons to bring out beauty other than benefiting others? God may see a need deep within the soul of the creator for His gentle touch.
Luci Shaw wrote in BREATH FOR THE BONES, about a Canadian woman on the prairie in the 1870’s who journal-ed in her diary the benefits of her quilt-making. “I make them warm to keep my family from freezing; I make them beautiful to keep my heart from breaking.”1 This woman knew the movement of her fingers going through the fabric squares, stitching each cotton scrap together, was the way she loved her family gave them warmth to survive the frigid winters.
For the quilt maker, the up and down movement of the needle brought life to her soul. As the different quilting patches bloomed into various quilting patterns before her eyes, (log cabin, wedding ring, flower basket), she was able to survive the harsh cold winter. Creativity brought warmth to her soul so she could survive the frigid winters.
” It (Beauty) fills an emptiness in you that nothing else under the sun can”. 2
Why do we need beauty
Creating beauty reaches to the pain and even does battle against it. We may not set out with head held high waving a banner saying, “ I am going to beat this”, as we write or paint, but we engage in a subtle battle all the same. Is it because we did not ask for the fight in the first place?
Do we ask for the pain that strikes with heavy blows without warning?
Depression, Cancer, Chronic Pain?
As Christians, if we are honest, the word WHY makes its way into our vocabulary. We live in a world that is not totally redeemed. We are attacked by the same physical and emotional encounters as people who do not know the Love of Jesus.
The creative Christian has a unique opportunity to explore and work with God if the artist is opened to hear His Voice. God gives these artists an opportunity to actually fight through word and other crafts by bringing a beautiful aromatic rose into view even though it is surrounded in thorns.
A friend of mine was struck with cancer. Depression set in as much of the normal life style she knew seemed to elude her. Even though the cancer itself did not conquer her life and her basic trust in Jesus was still strong, life was so different.
God had big plans for His daughter. Beauty was used not only to help relieve her pain but to pour refreshing waters into dry areas of her soul. How?
This creative form was introduced to her by her husband. My friend not only discovered the beauty of nature through the camera, but she slowed down to take in a deeper part of God’s creation through the Macro lens.
For the woman on the prairie it was a matter of survival. The bloom of the creative patterns gave her the ability to “hang on”. In the words of my friend, “ it was about refocusing and seeing through fresh eyes. The cancer was exhausting and consumed an entire year. one I pretty much lost. Photography helped me. look at the world through fresh eyes. Perspective”
If you read the paper, listen to the news or look at the ticker tape on the TV, pain is an everyday occurrence. A Christian knows and lives the truth that God’s Kingdom is present at but we do not always experience the physical reality of that Kingdom through out every day.
Slowing down and creating allows the coming together of hearing God’s heart and expressing what is heard. See His beauty in the flower and capture it in a photo or painting. Through story, express in words the pain God feels and the depth of release one can experience in total forgiveness. As an individual, ask for a new lens to be released from your own previous pain. The result may be in prose or paintings setting you free to go into deeper worship.
Sit with Jesus. Spend time in His love for you. During those sweet seasons, express what takes place. It may never be laid out for anyone other than the two of you, but what is created may just be the deepest expression you ever know.
Creating is God’s gift to you and God’s gift through you to others. In these last two posts, review how is God calling you to go deeper in your creating? We are on this journey together.
Thank you so much to Luci Shaw and her book BREATH FOR THE BONES. It is very helpful for one wanting to go deeper in creating beauty and engaging with Our Creator.
1 Luci Shaw BREATH FOR THE BONES, Art, Imagination and Spirit. ©2007 p27
2 Ibid p,28