I’m Standing

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A year ago, I heard a man speaking about lying flat for many months, on the floor, on his stomach, in order for his back to heal. He was my favorite speaker at the prestigious gathering. He shared his journey of all the things he had done while lying still and off the merry-go-round of active life. He started his healing journey by watching encouraging, positive movies, then moved onto darker fair, and ended his movie-watching with toxic, twisted stuff from the bottom of the barrel, so to speak. He is a pastor.

After his watching, he realized he had kind of come to the end of the creative banquet he had explored; I guess, it was kind of like he started with green, leafy vegetables and ended with double fudge sundays with dozens of shots of tequila. (Just like in the movies.) I appreciated his honesty as he shared his journey. (We are talking thousands of hours of lying still!) I’ve wandered into strange lands as far as entertainment goes, so his story resonated with me.

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Marcia Carole, Watercolor

God has His own timetable in our stories; it’s seemingly slower than the western cultures’ clocks, and God was still there at the end of the “banquet.” I think God was there, waiting for the time together with the pastor, with a tender heart. I mean that. I don’t believe for a minute that God is as distant, aloof or unkind, as we often make Him out to be in our minds. He created you and me, for heaven’s sakes. The pastor found God to be quite full of grace, kindness, empathy, truth, beauty and goodness.

How? The pastor decided to read the whole Bible – or listen to it, I think. He had that kind of time on “break.” However, as I have seen in my own healing journey, he wasn’t really on “break.” He was in a considerably deeper season of pondering life, sorting things out, catching his spiritual breath. He stopped relying on his own strength while grabbing onto God’s heart. (He had no strength to rely on, and that actually put him in an interesting, less self-reliant “I am maybe, almost like God” sort of place.) He spent time praying – talking with the God of tremendous heart. Thankfulness for this God grew in his heart.

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Vincent Van Gogh, Oils

He found the God of the Bible to be courageous, full of grace, kind, empathetic, truthful, beautifully glorious, fierce, reasonable, generous, overwhelming and good. The pastor got to know God in new, more nuanced ways, and more importantly, he realized his heart was transforming, having spent the time together. His soul was better.

After many, many months, the pastor was able to get off the floor, and jump back into busy western life. And, you know what? He was just thankful he was standing. He started his talk off with, “I am thankful I am standing here before you. ” And, he meant it. I sensed his authenticity.

In my cancer journey, I’m learning to take nothing for granted. If I actually stand, walk with my neuropathy-pained feet, change my sheets, bathe, eat, brush my teeth, make ANY art, connect with a friend on FaceTime, chat with a daughter, play Go Fish with Calvin, walk to the mailbox, then I am thankful. And I mean it much more than before this season. And, I’ve been listening, more and more, to a man reading the Bible. Little by little, I am knowing my God better. My heart will never be the same.

PS. My grandson Calvin, age 5, often tells me he is almost as strong as his daddy. (Or almost as smart, tall, wealthy – he has $17 dollars, etc.) He lifts objects in my apartment to prove his claims – from pillows to books to chairs. I marvel at Calvin’s bravado, but, then I chuckle at myself. Don’t I show that same or deeper, bravado towards God? Saying, and even believing, “I’m almost as strong, smart, tall, wealthy…. as God.” Calvin is in good company.

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Sharing The Creative Call at a Conference, and I’m a wee bit healthier!

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Collaged Books – Peru

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I made a sample of a Psalm 23 book in order to leave it with the leader in Peru. I did not bring my original, but I was happy to collage another accordion book in response to Psalm 23. Women may process their own stories while collaging Psalm 23. I pray this sample book will spur on many women in sharing their stories and God’s story of redemption.
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Here is Eisleen when she and I painted papers in Peru for her to use in collaging her own books. What a fun day in Peru!
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Lots of water and several colors of paint!
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We painted a variety of colors so Eisleen will have a nice supply.
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I use collaged art books to teach and convey Jesus’ heart for women. (I could only do this work with my amazing translators! Thank you, Flor!) This book is the story of Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well found in the Gospels.

Eisleen is planning on using collaged art books to teach the women she leads in Peru. She recently created two pages of a book she is working on to tell the story of Jesus’ encounter with the woman caught in adultery.

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Eisleen’s first two pages of her book. I look forward to seeing her completed book.

 

Storyropes™ and Story Squares in Peru 2015

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A wall of storyropes™ with the Peruvian leader, Eisleen.

I have just returned from a three week trip to Trujillo, Peru. What an amazing adventure! A team of 16 women served in seven women’s oasis centers using storyropes™ and story squares to help share personal stories. I always began our time together with a Bible teaching that emphasized Jesus’ love for women. I used my collaged art books to teach the Bible stories. Along with my American team, I was hoping to give each woman emotional courage through the Bible stories, so they could share their hearts, their stories, and release deep trauma.

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Marcia Carole teaching the “Woman At The Well” story.

We prayed for each woman. The American and Peruvian leaders divided up into small groups in order to hear everyone’s story; those who felt comfortable sharing what they could, expressed relief and healing. It was especially meaningful when the Peruvian women prayed for the American women.

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Praying through each story.
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After praying, Each woman was given a crown to remind them they are daughters of the King of Kings! We then shared a simple meal together.
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After many workshops, I felt so blessed and honored to know this dear new friend in Peru.

I’ll be sharing more detailed stories soon, but I wanted to share a first look at my time in Peru. Stay tuned for more!

Being Brave

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Still Life With Open Bible, Vincent Van Gogh

In order to collage Bible stories, I study. I study the Bible, and I listen to the spoken Bible reciting the passage I will collage. I read history of the time period. I listen to sermons on the passage. I read other people’s thoughts on the passage I will collage. I read the passage again, and listen for God to speak with me about the passage. I wait on making the art. I begin to internalize the passage; the Word works on my heart – even before I begin the art.

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You can’t just rush into collaging the Bible.

Then, I paint papers, with acrylic paints on watercolor paper, to use in my new book. I have the whole book in my mind’s eye, the colors, the scenes, and the rise and fall of the action. I know it may change as I actually start making the book, but I’ll have a “palette” of colors on paper to work with that the story prompted me to paint.

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Marcia Carole Painting Papers For Storying.

To be continued as my next story unfolds! I’ll be storying a woman’s tale of being brave. I’m trying to be brave in tackling the whole project!

 

 

 

Teaching Bible With Collaged Art Books

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Marcia Carole Teaching The Story Of The Prodigal Son Story In Cambodia

One of the “tools” in my art suitcase is usually an art book or two, that I have made, to use to tell children, in oral learning cultures, different Bible stories. After sharing God’s heart, His character or one of His amazing attributes, my team and I ask the children to make art in response to the Bible story.

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A child in India responds to the story of Abraham, Hagar and Sarah.

 

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Joyous children from a slum in India after hearing the Bible story and making the art.

Making the art helps the children to internalize the story, and it may be the only art they will have in their home. I often also give the children a copy of one page from my collaged art book because when I was serving in Ethiopia and teaching Bible stories, one child shared with me, “I will never forget this story because you shared this card with me.”

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Art card given to each child who heard the story of Noah when I was serving in Haiti.

It is always a joy to spend time with children all over the world, and to teach them the Bible truths using art!

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The children from Cité Soleil after making the art about Noah’s Story.