Deeper Roots

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Well Watered Trees, Watercolor in Nicaragua, Marcia Carole

The past couple of days have been resting days, yet again. I’m off the chemo pill this week, so it makes no sense that I am so weak. Maybe I picked up yet another virus? All I can do is lean into resting, yet again today.  While I lie in bed, I often listen to a number of teachers, who help me to think about my faith. Today, I spent a bit of time with a teacher in Jeremiah 2, in the Old Testament.

“Your wickedness will punish you; your backsliding will rebuke you. Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake the LORD your God and have no awe of me,” declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty.” Jeremiah 2:19.

What was the underlying problem for God’s people? No awe of God, no reverence or holy fear of God. So, I got to thinking….In my moments of sin, I am not in awe of God, but of something else – maybe my comfort or happiness or pleasure or success or my reputation. I do think, as a Jesus follower, the Holy Spirit prompts us to keep away from malice, envy, bitterness, all the sins mentioned in 1 Peter,etc. but we don’t always heed God’s promptings. I think, at that moment, what we/I treasure or what we are in awe of, directs our actions, thoughts, words.

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Well Watered Tree Bearing Fruit, Watercolor, Marcia Carole

As I have spent, and continue to spend, so much time lying in bed, resting, seemingly doing nothing… the Lord is working away. He has repeatedly convicted me of my sins over the years, lovingly prodding away at my lack of awe-led obedience moments, for so many years, in so many situations. I weep hot tears with Him when I think of my lack of obedience and head-strong actions. I ask His forgiveness and mercy for choosing: comfort, pleasure or happiness over obedience, as I endlessly nap.

These are dark, hard, hard days of destroying cancer cells, and, sigh, some good cells, too. However, I imagine these are golden days in tearing down lesser things taking my worship while building up my God-awe, by my confessing sin/rebellion, in so many hidden corners He is revealing in my soul. Then, He is building God-awe in those torn down places. My only hope is in knowing I am that tree (Psalm 1) God planted in streams of living water, with my roots digging down deeper than they’ve ever had to go before. And it’s truly painful. However, my awe-filled soul roots, can be in nothing less than Jesus and His righteousness. God is making certain of that.

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Psalm 1 Tree, Watercolor, Marcia Carole

Storyropes™ and Prayer

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A vital part of the work I do, along with team members, is praying through women’s stories as they share their art, and thus their stories. The art often reveals dark, traumatic or shameful parts of their stories. Wrong choices, words, actions are confessed. There are people to forgive, through prayer, as one’s story is shared. Abusers are brought to Jesus and the work He has done on the cross. Jesus has died for each of our sins, and for every sin committed against us. Justice has been done. Payment for wrongs have been made on the cross.

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A participant sharing her storyrope™ in Kirkland, Washington.

One friend recently stopped me in the middle of a parking lot. She had made her storyrope™ a couple of weeks earlier, with a friend I had trained. (She had not wanted to make a story rope™.) She was so excited to tell me – “I get it now – bringing things to Jesus – and now I CAN FEEL HIS LOVE!” We hugged, and I just stood there and thanked God for His kindness, mercy and grace.

I really understand her excitement over actually FEELING – really sensing God’s love in a tangible, experiential way. Until trauma, violation, deep sorrow, etc., is lifted from our hearts, it is often very hard for us to feel anything. Making art to help tell our stories can lift trauma from our hearts, as we bring these things to God in prayer, and we may begin to FEEL all sorts of emotions for the first time – including God’s love.

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This type of prayer, done with art, is intense, important work. Each woman’s story is handled with careful listening and praying. Lies are disputed, truth is spoken into each part of each story shared. And then, trauma seems to lift, and many women can feel, maybe for the first time, love – the love of Jesus, and the love of others.