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.

Healing Transparency -Telling Our Stories

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Telling My Story, Marcia Carole

In order to heal from trauma, genuinely love others, and receive love, it is important to tell our stories. We need to be transparent and make connection with others in order to come out of hiding. Telling our stories to empathetic listeners brings connection. Making art to tell our stories is a redemptive bridge, to be more transparent with our stories using: few, if any, printed words, many colors, shapes, pictures, stamped papers, fabric and other materials on hand. This type of art has been very beneficial to me, and to many I have served through the art making. It has been that bridge to make connection with empathetic listeners.

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Telling My Story II, Marcia Carole

As little or as much of our stories can be shared when “telling” our stories this way. As we begin to feel safe because others are vulnerable in telling their stories, and we see the art-making has been therapeutic to our hearts, we can move to wanting connection with others and be vulnerable. We begin to gain certainty that our stories need to be heard, and that the telling of our stories is important. Safe people can speak truth, love, forgiveness, worth and value, prayer and correction into our stories as we tell them. We begin to see our stories are important as well. Healing may begin as we expose and release dark parts of our stories by bringing them into the light, thus taking their power and shame away.

Here is one redemptive project (with examples posted throughout this blog post.) You ask four questions to participants in order for them to “fill in” the four quadrants around the painted papers “cross” you have given them. Here are the questions.
Can you tell me about your beginnings?
When was a time you celebrated in your story?
When was it hard in your story?
What do you hope for your story?

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Telling My Story Using Houses To Represent Me, Marcia Carole

The art making can be a powerful bridge to release trauma, since trauma is stored in the non-verbal parts of the brain. Participants begin to move along in their stories, and they often see how courageous they have been. They can feel empowered to forgive, let go of shame and grow up as a result of telling their stories. The art may begin this process, and may lead the participant to ask for more help, begin journaling, or seek a counselor or support group for more healing. As one translator once told me, “I didn’t know art could be so powerful.”

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A Four Quadrant Project Made In Central Asia

“This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6:16).

“Until we can receive with an open heart, we are never really giving with an open heart. When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help. We all need help….Vulnerability begets vulnerability; courage is contagious.” – Brené Brown, The Gifts Of Imperfection