paintbrushes
Photo by John-Morgan

I sat there, at one spot on a table that stretched long, parked adjacent to other tables, wrapping us into a square donut of seats.

Faces blinked back at me from across the room on the other side. It was so quiet, you could hear a pin drop.

I was at an artists meeting that night.

And I was the keynote speaker.

I walked into this room with two legs, I began.

But, if you could really look deep inside me tonight…

I took a big, shaky breath.

You would see that the legs to my soul… are broken.

My lips start to tremble and my hands start to cool and shake, even though it is a warm summer eve.

I gulp and continue.

The reason is — because you see — I’ve spent a lot of the hours of my days this year in my bed.  In my home.

Afraid.

Not because I don’t love to be with people.

But, because of panic attacks.

They were triggered by memories that have come alive — doing something I’ve always loved.

Something I’ve always dreamed of doing.

Writing a book.

Places Still Tender

This is how I introduced myself to a group of painters, designers, illustrators, poets, musicians… writers.

It sure didn’t sound inspiring to me at all.

At one point, I even had to stop and collect myself.

I was overwhelmed by the surreal experience of recounting my story out in the open.

Even as I shared my story, I questioned whether there was any value in exposing pain that has been endured so privately.

I felt for sure I was making everyone feel uncomfortable and awkward.

Until I saw one woman’s eyes start to tear.  Then, another man’s head dip, in a knowing nod.

There is beauty behind the pain.

These are the words I found myself speaking into the room with my new friends.

When you get closer to what truly moves your heart, you will touch the places that are still tender.

Because that creative place where you feel most safe is often where you’ve gone — when you’ve been most wounded.

Where do you go – to find safety, to express pain and beauty, in your world?

It’s there — in those private places of freedom — where you meet with God and your creative self speaks.

That One Thing

When I finished speaking, I ended by asking if any parts of my story resonated?

The first question broke the silence.

“Have you always known you were a writer?” Someone asked.

I pause for a moment, to consider my answer.  And the response I chose to give sparked a beautiful response — stories flowing from everyone’s childhood around the table.

I’ve always been a writer, before I called myself one.

Writing has always been that one thing in my life — since I was a little girl — that no one could ever take away from me.

I didn’t have to be good at it.

I didn’t have to think about it.

Writing is just what I did.

It’s the most natural thing I can do.

The artist in me is a little girl.

The Little Girl In You

“How about you?” I scan the gazes of new friends who suddenly feel closer than the space between us.  ”When you do your thing — play music, paint, design, blog about fashion, take cooking videos, build models, write, take photos — when you create — are you doing what came most naturally to you, as a child?”

Energy suddenly stirs the room, reminding me of the wind of the Holy Spirit that once blew through a room full of disciples gathering together.  They began speaking in a way that was different — that drew people from the outside closer in.

That’s what art does.  It connects us to each other, in those places we are most vulnerable, opening what is private, finding language for what’s unspoken. For what’s important and real.

Everyone started telling their stories — of themselves — as little girls and little boys.

What they’ve always loved to do.  Before they knew what it was called.  Before it became a struggle to claim artistic enjoyment as God’s legitimate imprint of Himself in us.

The artistic you. I discovered this is everyone’s continuing journey of faith.   To touch the artistic life we all hide deep inside. It’s the artist’s way.  The child in you.

Is there an ember of God’s creative voice flickering in you?

What is the one thing you’ve always enjoyed doing as a little girl, that felt most natural to you?

Take a moment to see yourself as that little girl right now.  Where is she and what does she like to do?

As you picture her, let your heart find its way back to where it longs to return.

Because that artist in you is God’s little girl.

For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you…
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God which is in you… 

For God has not given us a spirit of timidity,
but of power and love and discipline.
2 Timothy 1:5-7

Pull up a chair.  Click to comment.  Share from your heart and let’s close the space between us.  Your company warms this place here. 

~~~~~

If you’re on the journey of faith to walk out into the world, I’d love your company.  Join me on my blog as we journey in community together. Let’s keep speaking words of encouragement and friendship with each other in our faith stories — as it’s being made and lived.  As is. 

Written by Bonnie Gray, the Faith Barista, serving up shots of faith for everyday life. 

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  1. 1

    Bonnie,
    Even as a little girl, I wrote poetry and prose – about my dogs, about my friends, about my childish observations on life. I vividly remember the creative stirrings back then. If I wasn’t writing, I was creating somehow through ceramics, watercolors, any medium that would let me shape it the way the spirit moved me. I, too, suffer from and anxiety disorder, but I have found the blessing in it that it has drawn me to a deeper relationship with God and in the process has released the even greater depths of my soul. I applaud you for being so vulnerable and in being so, you have touched MANY hearts including mine!
    Love and blessings to you,
    Bev

    • 2

      I can just picture little girl Bev, with pen in hand, wherever she went. Her dogs lying next to her, she and her friends laughing in the summer air — and then I see little girl Bev’s fingers smudged with clay and water colors. Just beautifully His.

  2. 3

    The short answer is the little girl, or young girl always loved to write, the big girl didn’t think she was good enough after a parade of rejections, but God kept telling me to keep trying and pursue with diligence and persistence, and my greatest joy is writing of Him.

  3. 5

    I love love love this post. Thank you for sharing the uncomfortable parts of your journey. And the beauty that comes from pain. I’ve always loved to write, too. Since I was a little girl. And in the recent months and years, God has opened the doors to write more but has used it to deal with things in my heart that had been hidden in the shadows. It was frightening. The very thing I loved to do sparked feelings I never wanted to feel. Or deal with. But God, in His Sovereignty, knows exactly what He’s doing. I’m blessed by your transparency. It’s hard to share the journey when we don’t know how it will end up. We want to share the happyilyeverafter. At least that’s how I’ve felt. But nothing is more captivating than real time authenticity. Thank you for allowing God to use you. Your obedience is blessing others. I pray you experience immeasurable blessings in your life as a result. Thanks again. – Jenn

    • 6

      Thank you, Jennifer! May God continue to place his hands on that part of your heart where you voice truly speaks. As is. You are beloved and hearing your voice here captivates us with Him in you.

      • 7
        Lisamarie Deering Fleenor says:

        Bonnie
        I fully believe the enemy uses the fear to hold your words back because they are powerful and healing. Knowing your battle is real and that you can put on the full Armour of God along with your faith and the holy spirit fight this battle and giving God the glory rise victorious. It is time he is telling you. There are so many that need to hear your words and his through you. Do not be afraid you are safe and he will protect you. Be strong it is time.I am speaking to both of us and speaking truth in to out lives. Embrace it!
        Lisamarie

  4. 8

    Bonnie, Bonnie, Bonnie. I’ll be coming back to this several times this weekend. Love you so, so big,

  5. 10

    This is a beautifully written reminder, Bonnie. Thank you for sharing your heart and your encouragement to press through pain and bring encouragement to those who need a reminder to keep pushing forward and the inspiration will come.

    Many Blessings,
    Brandi

    • 11

      Brandi, keep placing that beautiful heart of yours out in the open – with your photos (Dark Night Shine) and your words (Love Flood Out). You are beautiful!

  6. 12
    TK Thompson says:

    Bonnie

    I knew this was your pen before I got to the end….I just knew. Thankyou for this timely ‘Word in Season’ as I have been wrestling with my dark dog again & painfully examining my crazy life & my desperate need to get back to my creative being…..she has been lost for quite a while. This has really stirred me and bought me to tears BUT relief, ah yes there is a sense of relief as if something has lifted – thankyou; you have no idea what this piece has done. TK x

  7. 14

    Wow this is a great post. I used to write poems and draw, but as I got older I didn’t feel good enough. But my real “art” is riding horses. I got back Into riding and competing with horses about 5 years ago which closely corresponds with when I started a real relationship with The Lord. Both have opened my heart in ways I’ve never expected.

  8. 16
    Lu Wings says:

    Twice when I was a young woman…….I sat and created……and the results were so beautiful and so scary, I’ve yet to try those 2 mediums again.

    The first, I had one of those HUGE art tablets (20 x 18 or something) and pastel chaulk. NEVER done. I did drew a log fence, with a meadow on the other side Next I did page after page of faces, filled with emotion, that filled the whole sheet……..never took drawing lessons….but the expressions, the shading……they were wowing, from some Holy, untapped place within. Most were done in a single day, tho I did do others…..for about 6 months.

    The next time it was with a far smaller pad. Watercolors. Never touched them before, yet I welded that brush as if I’d been doing it forever, darks and lights on the same brush, single strokes….. this time it was trees. Every season, every hue…..all simple, no backgrounds, just the trees. They’d make spectacular cards if they were shrunk down. One day, that’s how long….

    And altho I do all sorts of creative and lovely things…..nothing compares to those two experiences. Maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to touch those again, and see what unfolds.

    Thank you, for your courage.

    • 17

      Wow. Lu, that is beautiful. How amazing the spark these two mediums made in your heart. God’s hand touching yours and opening your heart. I hope you do it again. Just to be with Him. I’m sure it will be beautiful, intimate and special for the two of you.

      • 18
        Lu Wings says:

        Thanks, Bonnie. Ya never know, there may come a day……
        I think I was overwhelmed and scared by what came out……it was Artist Quality without an ounce of training…..it took my breath away, and the accountability I felt….like if He put that in me, I should use it for Him somehow…..
        My life was falling to pieces at the time and there was no way to possibly use it FOR Him…………………
        It took ages for me to see that He was just letting me know, in a see-able way, that HE was with me and there were good things in the middle of the darkness and hard stuff….that it was His gift, free and clear…….

  9. 19

    Powerful words and thoughts…thank you.
    I want to spend time wallowing in them this week as they speak to that little girl…and encourage her that her talents are valid and precious. xxx

  10. 21

    I sit at the edge of a new chapter in my life. Before me is the wide open opportunity to make a long-time dream a reality. I’ve been a calligrapher and artist and designer for more than 30 years, at least half of that doing it only “on the side.” Now that I have lost my business and my home and moved to be nearer family, this dream is front and center: I want to share all the wonderful art I’ve learned with others. God has provided the perfect peaceful space (I kept asking for large studio space and small living space, which is exactly what he gave me in my new abode) in the middle of a wonderful woods but not far from town. So, what am I waiting for?

    It’s amazing the hesitancy and doubts after dreaming such solid dreams for so long. I’m the little girl again wondering if I’m good enough, how will I get people to come, others can do it better . . . all nonsense when laid out in the Sonshine, but very real nonetheless.

    God has done amazing things in my life, over and over again. He is trustworthy and loves me beyond measure. I read this morning: “It is in the way of duty that we find giants. It was when Israel was going forward that the giants appeared. When they turned back into the wilderness they found none.” (from Streams in the Desert for June 29) Everything I love in in front of me. I will begin by writing lesson plans and organizing a class list. It is a good place to start. God will show me the next step when I have done that.

    Thanks for the firm nudge.

    • 22

      Dear Ardie. Wow. God is opening His arms, ready to be yours, in this time of crossing into the promise land. Don’t let the fears disarm you. May your art continue to become a journey that you and God both traverse. Just keep taking the next step. We cheer you on!

    • 23

      Ardie,

      I’ve been dealing with the same type of fears and doubts, wondering if my artwork is good enough and seeing so much artwork out there that is better than mine. I’ve been trying to pursue my dream of becoming an artist and after getting so many rejections it gets very hard. The other day I tried to remind myself that I need to be “relentless” in following my dream. Hang in there and keep on keeping on in your artistic endeavors.

  11. 24

    I always wondered why, when I’m having THE MOST FUN writing, I feel five years old! The child who loved to rhyme and spell and think of nonsensical connections between the real world and the one in my imagination. Thank you for pointing that out! (Sometimes, I feel a bit “Cybil” when it happens…glad to know it’s just my inner little God girl getting out!)

    Thank you, Bonnie, for this post. The courage it took to write it – and to say it aloud to a room full of strangers – is the Holy Spirit coming out in you. Thank you for making it okay for the rest of us.

    • 25

      Oh, Cynthia! You just made me SMILE. big. Five years old you. So beautiful. So alive. She is in you. And we love her. She is YOU. Thanks for sharing! Hugs to her and you. :)

  12. 26

    I love your words and your heart! A form of fear keeps me from looking closely at what I think I might be created for- the art I long to create, but your words and your Spirit-inspired courage push me to fight the good fight. Thank you!

  13. 27

    This is so beautiful. I still cannot wait to read your book. God inspired, God healed, words written through hushes of Holy Spirit stirring. Yes … there is a reason for your words. Believe it.

  14. 28

    I so relate to spending a lot of time in bed and suffering anxiety attacks and having flashbacks of a painful past. Art helps me in tremendous ways to help heal from these issues. My God-sized dream is to use art to help other hurting women and children heal from the pain of abuse.

  15. 29

    This is very deep for me. I’m glad you gave voice to your fears for us. This is the second time in less than a month this subject has come before me. It haunts me. I don’t have memories of the little girl I was. I want to. I want to know what she loved doing. Did she have dreams? I always lived to please others and do what they wanted. I’ve grown beyond that now. I only want to please my Lord and Savior. Maybe the Holy Spirit will reveal to me who I wanted to be but more importantly who He wants me to be…and do now. I pray for the courage you found to explore those hidden places of my soul.

  16. 30

    Bonnie, your blog really touched me today and couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I have had horses for 20 years now and have always been made to feel guilty about owning them. I’ve had a couple set backs where I was unable to ride for six weeks and another time for an agonizing eight months due to health issues. And my most beloved horses recently died. This has been causing me to question whether perhaps God is speaking to me and telling me it’s time to let the horses go and move on. But then I read your blog about having safe places. Horses have always been my safe place. I never forget they are gifts from God and I use them to inspire other young women who are, perhaps, going through what I went through in my teenage years. Through your writing today, I think God has answered my question. He doesn’t want me to give up my horses. And when I realized that, such a relief came over me. I truly feel it was God speaking to me and telling me to stop questioning Him; He knows what He is doing. I’ve been following your blog and know what you’re going through and want you to know it is greatly appreciated by me. Your blogs really speak to me, especially the one today. God is working in you; He really is. You have a gift in your writing.

  17. 31
    Tetyana says:

    Thank you for this post. You are right many, many times. I realize I am wonderfully made by my Creator. I have many gifts from Him. But my sorrow is that everything in our country is get through money. No money, no life. I cannot get money through my gifts. I am safeless. My over creatured nature is panished. I have no possibility to be myself. And my health is not so good.

    • 32

      Tetyana,

      I don’t know if you’ll come back to read this or not.

      I’m glad you realize you are wonderfully made by your Creator. I share your pain of needing money, of wanting to make money from my gifts of art and writing — or even a few godly friendships, but not knowing how to do that. I’m rather isolated, and limited in my activities, on account of my health.

      I’m so sorry you feel “safeless”. That’s a hard place to be. But you are not really lost as long as you let God hold on to your hand. Jesus the Messiah, Christ, is the one who holds everything together. I think sometimes reading about others’ pain, and their belief that releasing their creativity will bring healing, can sometimes hurt those of us who find we can’t create ‘real things” even though we dream of doing so. I know Bonnie and others wouldn’t want us to hurt on account of what they are finding about healing. I’m so happy for those who are finding fulfilment of their dreams of creativity.

      It’s also possible to be creative in our minds — taking time to notice the beauty God has placed in the natural world, and has allowed creative persons to make for our pleasure of seeing them. We can notice the beautiful swirls on a turnip skin or the strange wiggly lines inside carrots and the little stars from cutting open an apple. And we can “think words, think poetry, think of artworks or music we would like to make.” We can give our creative thoughts to God as a gift for an audience of One. Him. Our worship.

      May God bless you richly today. Don’t give up on him, or on hoping he will show you how to
      bloom right where you’re planted, in the life you face every day. I just said a little prayer for you. The Bible says he “delights” in us, “he will joy over us with singing.” He’s singing over you, saying “I love you, Tetyana. I notice you, even when you think no one else does.”

  18. 33

    Every since I can remember I’ve been writing stories. As a child when people asked what I wanted to do when I grew up & it was always “I want to be an author”. As I grew up I started to feel like that dream was just that, a dream. I stopped writing for almost 15 years ( although I always kept a journal). Just in this past year I’ve started writing for creativity’s sake & it’s been wonderful & energizing. I’m hopeful to continue writing & seeing how God uses it.

  19. 34

    Bonnie -
    Wow, I can’t believe how beautifully this post fits with the healing I received from God yesterday about my “Little Girl” who loves to sing and dance. On top of that, I can’t count the number of times I have felt God leading me to read the passage in I Timothy. I kept asking God what he meant. What is the ember? It is all so much clearer now. Our God is so awesome. Thank you for sharing from your place of a little girl…thank you for the courage and love it took to share such a personal struggle and triumph.

    Blessings,
    Linda

  20. 35
    Donna Harrison says:

    The thing that stood out most while reading your blog was “the legs to my soul are broken”….That’s it. The legs to my soul are broken….Am depressed and want to write, but having a very hard time getting started. I have always had a love for words and want so badly to share my story and give voice to others stories who are similar to mine. I am praying for the Holy Spirit to blow upon me and guide me. Thank you so much for sharing with us all….

    God Bless my fellow traveler,
    Donna Harrison

    • 36

      Donna,

      I’m sad for you that “the legs of your soul are broken”. Will it help if I weep with you for your pain and sense of deprivation. I’m so thankful that the Lord God is able to produce beauty from brokenness. “He gave me beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.

      Dear Jesus, touch Donna today, and help her to realize that Christ, through the Holy Spirit, lives in her. His soul is clean and whole. And he’s not afraid for Donna’s present life or her future.
      Thank you for invigorating her life today. In Jesus’ blessed name, Amen.

      “Oh, wretched (wo)man that I am; who shall save me? Thanks be to God for the unspeakable gift in Jesus Christ.”

  21. 37
    dunlizzie says:

    Beautiful, Bonnie. And brave… for us to be simply who we were always made to be, to let walls fall in the faith that hope will indeed shine its light on our most fragile places. We are the art of One who made us in His own image as a creator, instilling that desire also in us. Since good art tells a story, sends a message, reveals beauty, etc., I’m thinking we should do the same. Glad to hear your voice here.

  22. 38

    “Ever find yourself thinking about her – the artistic you? God does. He whispering, I see you. I made you. I love you.” The post on fb caught me right off. I just read this entire post through a few tears.

    The little girl I was always thought she would write and illustrate. Stories of painters, my Great Grandmother told still ring in my head. I used to pour over the art books I could find. The little girl I was, shattered just as I turned 13. I long ago abandoned both writing and art when I could see I wasn’t good at either besides just surviving took all my energy.

    A couple of years ago I just kind of fell into stamping. That doesn’t sound like “art” to most people but it’s been a start and a joy to me as I create, working with color and learning new techniques. There isn’t a place in my life that I feel more peaceful and even a little beautiful as when I am creating on my little 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 inch bases. Even when I trash what I have worked on for hours…the process worked it’s soothing magic.

    In my head I hear mocking: “I am not any good, that it’s not art, it’s not valuable to God, that God hasn’t gifted me with any talent”, so when I saw the fb post my attention was caught!!! Thank you for this little message for my heart today.

  23. 39

    Bonnie, what a beautiful reflection. It resonates with me deeply. In many ways, I had lost that connection with my soul that expressed my passions. Numb for so many years. Maybe that’s why I go ‘back’ so often to a time where I found ‘freedom’. This little girl also loved to write, wrote her thoughts in a diary long since lost in all the moves made since then. She loved to draw. She loved to share with her friends. She loved to run, listen to music, dance. She loved to love. She does not recognize the person she currently sees in the mirror, so she rarely looks in the mirror anymore. She sees herself many times as the branch that has been lopped off because it has borne no fruit. Of no use. She wonders if that is her destiny. She knows good theology. She knows what God says about the value of His children. But how could it possible refer to her? She sees disappointment and hears disappointment in the eyes and voices of those who love her and know her potential. Perhaps she thinks God sees her that way too, because that is how she sees herself.
    Maybe one day, I can write a reflection like this. Thank you.

    • 40

      Sita, you just DID write a reflection about yourself. And may you move on to write many more. I grieve with you that you feel you have disappointed people and maybe even God. No, I’m not willing to believe that God sees her with disappointment. (Isn’t it strange how we can see the potential and the amazing beauty in others, but so often brand ourselves as “not-good”? I declare you to be “potential unleashed,” and I take a stand against you seeing yourself as discouraged. I feel that way sometimes, too. But this is the enemy of our souls speaking, not our Lovely Lord who says “the people which were not my people will be my people.” (“And I will be their God.”)

  24. 42

    Oh Bonnie, sharing your pain opens up a way for others to begin to peel back the layers of hurt in our hearts. As a young child, I covered my heart to avoid more hurt. It became a way of life and I almost forgot. But my little girl that still lives in me loved to write and to draw and to paint. Maybe that’s why I’m enjoying working with little preschool children so much. I get to listen to them, draw with them, and create fun craft projects. Often when I hit a snag in my writing, I find it’s because I am concerned more with what others think. Sending hugs to you. Thank you.

    Blessings and love,
    Debbie

  25. 43

    When you get closer to what truly moves your heart, you will touch the places that are still tender.
    Because that creative place where you feel most safe is often where you’ve gone — when you’ve been most wounded.
    Where do you go – to find safety, to express pain and beauty, in your world?
    It’s there — in those private places of freedom — where you meet with God and your creative self speaks.

    Wow thank you for this. I will definitely come back to this. I have dealt with depression and a diagnosis of a chronic illness this past year and felt unable to go to those sacred places – those private places of freedom. I am a painter and writer. And am beginning to embrace them more and more again.
    Xo

  26. 44

    Wow, you and I have so much in common. I had Agoraphobia and spent a year of my life in bed and inside. I still live with anxiety, but I live with it, I am not doomed by it. I am also writing a book, an your blog you talk about your journeys of faith and that is the name of my blog. Coincidence? Nope. God-incidence? Absolutely! I was meant to read this today. I always try to bless others. May your story bless you and you continue on your journey of faith!
    Rebecca Keeslar Krell

  27. 45
    Suzanne says:

    As a little girl, my thoughts were one of the only things that were mine. I would try to write them out. It’s always been my most fruitful means of expressing myself, but it comes with a double edge sword. Parents or siblings read your journal, other people find the note intended for a friend, the teacher gives you an amazing grade on a paper but expects an equally amazing verbal delivery of it to the class. “You have not been given a spirit of fear” is comforting and challenging all at the same time. My most fruitful means of expressing myself became the tool I put in the hands of others to potentially use against me. Punishment, gossip, criticism or just twisting my words to say something I never intended have all made me self-critical. I’m told I have a gift, a way with words, and that my writing could help others. I’ve come to realize through relationship with Jesus that being hurt is not where my problem lies, but in trusting Him even with the hard places.

    • 46

      Suzanne, Thank you for sharing your story. I can relate. I use to journal as I did devotions and prayers. However that ended when eyes and ears for whom it never was intended violated my privacy. The gossip, criticism, twisting of my words, judgment and condemnation which followed. I stopped. Even now if I write something I destroy it immediately after. Yes it is a matter of trust.

  28. 47

    Thank you for the great question, Bonnie. I was a reader, coming fully alive in the pages of a book. Imagination? What’s the output that is recognizable from a reader? Talking about the book…perhaps. I think I had a chalkboard and “taught” my neighbor friend. Making up stories to play out together. Not necessarily writing them down. It was when I was 15 and my best friend died of cancer that I became a poet. The night she died a poem just came to me. Then a year and a half later a mutual family friend (older), whose own brother had died and who was compassionate, asked me if I wrote poetry. Why did he ask? How did he know, to encourage that spark, that “moment of emotion recollected in tranquility” need in me? (quotation paraphrasing Wordsworth) Maybe all the reading and imaginative living, was modeling for me so when the time came I had it in my bones, the rhythm and rhyme? That and the singing of hymns, which I did at the top of my lungs every Saturday when mom sent me out to rake the grass my brother had just mown (hated chore that brought blisters!).
    It’s easier to call myself a teacher than a writer.
    Teaching is obvious and shorter term.
    I’m preparing to teach a middle school English class for homeschoolers and looking forward to incorporating writing as well.
    I also bake and crochet quite a bit. (Learned crochet from my kindergarten part time babysitter, and it was an on again off again love.)

  29. 48

    Thank you, Bonnie for sharing. It touched my soul and heart in places which have been barricaded for such a long time. I had to remind myself to breathe. Yes, God can create beauty from the ashes of our painful pasts, and we need to be willing to allow him to do that. Sometimes it can be hard to revisit the darkness and damage. I went and did that today in the midst of reading your post. Please continue to share as it helps those who have yet reached the freedom of doing so.

  30. 49

    You’re sharing, Bonnie, was just what I needed today. It reminded me that the creativity I’ve discovered come from God alone. I grew up thinking I wasn’t creative in the least. After a diagnosis of a disease, I was excited to find the creativity I had always longed for. It’s taken many different forms so far, but I’m excited each and every time something is created ~ just like a little girl with presents to open and show to her Abba. And the best part is that He has allowed me to share the creativity with many people.

  31. 50

    Thanks for your post. It inspire me to write today. :)

    http://enlightenedeyesoftheheart.blogspot.com/2013/06/life-giving.html

  32. 51

    Your words are always moving. The past can haunt intensely. Somehow I was able to move on. Happy in the shadow of Jesus.

    I awoke Wed. June 27 with this in my head.
    The Light of Jesus
    At the end of the day, when I crawl into bed, and upon my soft pillow I rest my head.
    I think of all that has come to pass, I always hope the goodness will last.
    The world at times seems full of dread, I arefully watch where I tread,
    I talked with you, God, of peace and fear.Is there any hope in hopeful tears?
    As the morning comes, I search for the light, that has guided my way thru the dark night.
    That lilght has been there, my whole life thru. I’ve know for a long time it was you.
    You’ve walked with me, every trial and trail, and guided me gently without fail.
    You are the one, Jesus, that kept me near. The light I followed made that clear.
    But, I doubt sometimes, if I measure up, For the One who always filled my cup.

    • 52

      This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing this with all of us. Keep doing your poetry, you definitely has the knack.

  33. 53

    When I was younger, I always loved to draw and to write. I think this is why the Lord keeps bringing me back to writing on my blogs. One of my dreams has always been to write a children’s book. Maybe now I will write one AND illustrate it! :)

  34. 54

    You did a brave thing. I believe that which scares you the most can be the most healing. You find out you are not alone. I truly appreciate your vulnerability and am not unaware of the sacrifice. Thanks. As a little girl I read, thought, wrote, and wandered about in the woods. I am still the girl who needs peaceful times outdoors reading and writing. Writing for me is a way of learning and I love to learn. I mostly journal, but when given the opportunity to write for publishing I take it. I like to write to connect with myself and others in hopes of being an encouragement as you have been to those of us reading about your journey. Press on!

  35. 55

    Bonnie, your willingness to be vulnerable, to open yourself so honestly to those artists gathered there is touching. The artist’s way really does expose us. It allows us to be real.
    When I was a little girl, I loved words. I still remember cuddling up to my mother as she read to me or recited a poem she knew. I have books from my childhood still on my shelves, treasures all. Words were my escape, my safe place; books were my best friends. I still find solace there. Keep on encouraging others.

  36. 56
    Joannie Koch says:

    Dear Bonnie, your words touch me like few others I know. I just start crying when I read your entries. Your words go straight to my heart and call forth a lost, forgotten, forsaken place in me that still recognizes the truth and light of what your life touches in me. I believe that must be some of what it means to share in “the fellowship of His suffering”. Thank you for risking. You have touched my heart deeply and Jesus is using your story to call forth life in me. joannie

  37. 57
    Kristine says:

    As I read your story. Tears came to my eyes. Your story touched a very personal issue I have/am enduring. Anxiety & Panic Disorder. It’s funny how it’s so debilitating & crippling but no one on the outside can see. I always try to remember when I am weak, I am strong with God. I am stronger now and I thank God everyday for the suffering He has placed in front of me for I now walk by faith instead of fear. Fear is surpressed anger. The child in me was angry for so long I didn’t even realize I had given it control of my emotions. I have dealt with the childhood anger, resentments, given them to God. Now as a woman, even when I fear something, I turned to God and walk out on faith. I’m no longer a prisoner to myself.
    God Bless You for sharing your story. It has touched my heart so deeply I’m saving it. So I may refer back to it. You have Gods favor and that is more important than anything.
    Thank you so much!
    In God’s Love,
    Kristine

  38. 58
    anonymous says:

    I’m almost sure that a couple of hours ago my comment was posted. i truly honor your decisions about what you leave on your website, and what you dismiss. I can only assume my “comment” was TMI. It’s okay because I enjoyed saying it aloud and I will continue to check out your postings, enjoying from a distance.

  39. 59
    Beth Williams says:

    As a young girl I didn’t do much with creativity. Did and still do like music and dancing–so to speak. Now I guess my creative juices flow in making delicious dishes for hubby. I still dance some around the rooms in my house.

    Thank you oh soo very very much for you vulnerability. Your open honest writing is appealing & very much welcome. It is my pleasure to read your writing & pray for you. May God bless you in all that you do!

  40. 60

    Bonnie, I just wish I could reach through the screen and hug you! You always encourage me so much with each of your posts. I just realized that my creative place is writing but I’ve let it kind of die but it explains why I keep having the urge to write my thoughts down, write people etc. I feel like I still have so much to work through. Thank you for being an encouragement even in your pain. Love you, sweet online friend. XOXO

  41. 61

    Cheering wildly for you, Bonnie! I am so glad you shared you story with the artists. I am so proud of you for writing all those chapters, too.

  42. 62

    Thank you for this post. I’m a dancer, I’ve danced since I was 2. I’m ALWAYS dancing, if I’m not physically dancing I see a dancer in my mind. For as long as i can remember ive wanted to move. God told me to lay down my dancing 2 yrs ago. (I didn’t know at the time, but God was moving me into a better position to support my husband, God called him to star his own bus. 5 mo after He told me to stop dancing.) this is one of the hardest things ive ever had to do, some days my heart aches just to dance. Other days I dance alone with the lover of my soul, just me & Him. Those are the times I feel the most free. IDK maybe one day dance will be a larger part of my life. But for now, I have to tell the “little girl” inside me to sit down & be still, it’s not appropriate to dance right now.
    You are right about art, there is power in it. Especially art that is God breathed. I’ve witnessed strongholds broken, mainly in myself. God can use art in such a powerful, life changing way. I think God gives us art as a safe place to go, to be 100% the person we are. Not hiding, just “being” in the art, whatever form God placed in us.

  43. 63
    Monica do Rozario says:

    Your blog was so beautiful Bonnie. The part that resonated with me ” Because that creative place where you feel most safe is often where you’ve gone- when you’ve been most wounded” . When I was about 3 , I had to dance in a concert. I had a red ballerina dress and shoes, my mother was away at the time so my dad took me. I ended up getting stage fright and being upset and not wanting to dance and my dad tore up my ballet dress and threw it in the bin with my shoes. That picture has always stayed with me , and I have forgiven my dad but it has left me with a feeling of ‘not being good enough’ in anything I do. I do strive at times and look for approval from others far too much . God is changing all of that as I struggle to keep painting in the midst of doubts and unbelief, and at times He gives me the most wonderful peace as I paint. I had a dream just last night of a small child painting with his father, and it left an impression on me as I awoke, as the painting had beautiful colours and lines in it. It reminded me of the fact that when I go to paint and create that I am not alone in the process, my Heavenly Father is right there alongside me , helping me and upholding me, helping that little child in me see the bigger picture. God bless, Monica

  44. 64

    Your message made me think of a passage in a book I am reading where the author reminds us that Jesus showed Thomas His scars so Thomas could believe. We need to be able to show other people our scars so that they too can believe.
    Bonnie, thank you for being able to share your scars with others so they might believe and heal and grow.
    Blessings to you Bonnie!
    Lynda

  45. 65

    Reading this tonight was like a little bit of a wake up call to me. As a little girl, all I needed was books. And pen and paper. That’s all. I didn’t want toys. I loved to go look in the stationary section of the store, not the toy isles. I’m still that way today. I could look at pretty notebooks and fancy pens all day. Yet, I still question what it is my gift is and what God’s purpose for me is. Amazing how going back to what my little girl self was like can shed new light on me today.

  46. 66
    Amy McVicker says:

    Oh my, this brought up memories of me as a little girl in hard situations feeling broken picking up my notebook and pen looking out the window and just writing what was on my heart. From poetry to stories. Or climbing a tree with pen and pad in hand. I love to write sadly I have not had time for a long time raising and homeschooling four children and picking up extra home duties while my husband attends seminary. This is something the Lord has been giving me a passion for again but this time it is to glorify Him and help others turn to Him and encourage them. Please pray that I can prioritize my time so I can fit this in to my life.

  47. 67

    Thank you for this post. I can relate to your experience. There are also days when I would panic because of the book I’m currently writing. I was supposed to finish it last May but many things happened that prevented me from accomplishing my plan. I thank the Lord for leading me to posts like this one that comfort me and tell me I am not alone and that there are people who can understand what I’m going through as a writer and as an artist.

    God bless you!

  48. 68

    Needed to hear this and will continue to read it over and over… I have always been one, as a child, who could entertain myself if friends were not always around through reading, writing, drawing…give me paper! Then I added sewing and needlework. Now photography and blogging and writing. Unfortunately, creative work is often not done in community. And many of us are introverts (although I can put on an extrovert personna when necessary) who find too much stimulation and too many people drain us. We march to the beat of a different drummer…kinda…but Christ is that drummer but I think, because He is personal in His relationship with us…I think we all hear a unique beat.

    I struggle with depression and anxiety…see the small spot on the dress rather than the whole dress…burdened by my uniqueness and passion to be authentic, which does not always mix with the middle of the bell curve that we see in the Church across America who get all the nice warm fuzzies.

    Part of who I am is how I can be creative…dealing with a lot of loss, chronic sorrow, and tragedy…both personally and professionally in a unique, wonderful…but demanding…field.

    I will continue to create…but seek so badly the freedom in Christ to be the woman He has made me to be.

  49. 69

    I am not sure what the little girl in me used to love to do but “play with my sisters”. Maybe that’s why I feel led to write my feelings and share with other women. I just started my first blog at http://nalday729.wordpress.com/, I have never been one to write. I have been a math teacher for 19 years; so I feel God is creating in me a new thing… knowing that it has to be from Him because it is something I have never done. I feel moved by Him when I write…like it is His words that I am penning in the natural.

  50. 70

    Reading your blog really hit home with me. I already read it twice and it brings tears to my eyes each time I read it. Lately it’s been very difficult pursuing my dream to be an artist, filled with fears and doubts, etc. Ever since I was a little girl, I was always drawing and doing crafts. I remember most of my childhood as being alone creating my own characters and stories. It was such a great place of joy and contentment. Thank you for sharing your heart and struggles on this subject.

  51. 71

    This has brought tears to my eyes because as you ask the question of what felt most natural to me as a little girl, I totally draw a blank. I was a very shy, insecure child but I have always felt compassion for those around me. I probably should’ve been a therapist as I always seem to be the place people go to discuss things going on in their lives. I listen patiently and pray that God gives me the words they need to hear for healing and encouragement. I always hope and pray that God uses me as He sees fit and not where I think I should be. He now has me in a place in my life where I’m leading a Christian women’s discussion group – who knew He would put me there – WAY out of my comfort zone – as I really prefer being in the background. I only hope to grow closer in my relationship to Him as He uses me to listen and pray for others. To God be the glory!! I can’t do any of this without Him.

  52. 72

    I have always loved to create with fabric but in recent years my teaching career has taken over my life. As much as love what I do each day I know there is a place of discontent deep within me. My joy has been making clothes, toys and a quilt for my grandsons, but I need to do more.
    The LORD often jogs my heart and mind to let my creative side come through again. I have no idea how fabric art can be used by the LORD but I think I may just step out and see what path it leads me to and which direction it takes me in. Thank you so much for reminding me of my Heart’s desire.

  53. 73

    Writing has been something I’ve loved doing from the time I was very little. Even before I could spell much at all, I remember drawing pictures with single word bubbles, and then stapling the pictures together–my little girl version of a book. I’ve always wanted to tell stories but, now 17, I struggle to feel like I belong anywhere–even in the world of writing. I just feel like nobody really wants to hear from me, like whenever I try to speak no one is really listening. I know this probably isn’t true, but it’s still the way it feels.

    And by the way, I think you are very brave to share your story with so many strangers. I have struggled with depression and anxiety, and the only person I’ve talked to about it is my sister. Thank you for writing this, Miss Bonnie. God bless….

  54. 74

    For a long time I didn’t call it writing I called it escaping. Between the pages of my notebooks I could be loved, I could be free. I could share my heart and dream about my desires. No one judged me, no one put me down. I could believe, I could believe in me.

    The last few years I have learned that I’m a writer. That people read my words to fine hope and encouragement. Read my words to find peace.

    That’s what’s special about this tapestry I form with my words. As they flow across a page others realise they are not alone.

  55. 75

    Bonnie i came from a out rageous family there was fighting,physical abuse, emotional abuse and mental abuse. i don;t have very many good memories. one thing stands out in my mind and that is fear. i have no creative side.it was taken away from me i wasn’t allowed to grow as a person. but i enjoyed your writing!1

  56. 76

    Your words always resonate so well with my own soul. Keep sharing your story, friend, because you are making a difference. Your honesty and vulnerability here has been a breath of fresh air and a constant encouragement to me.

  57. 77
    Brooke Burger says:

    Thank you for this! I am venturing out into a scary place for me. I am dancing again for the first time in eons!!! Did I mention I am 51! This really hit home. Thank you. Blessings!

  58. 78
    Karen Smith says:

    Thank you Bonnie. I too was a little girl who wrote stories and poems. Won a few contests and earned many A’s in Creative Writing. Dreamed of being a great author, not a best seller as even as a youngster I knew there was a difference. I attended conferences, workshops, classes…and here I am, still with notebooks, scraps of paper, Ipad, iPhone…I never understood the gift or realized what I could do with it. Your blog hit home for this little girl!

  59. 79

    What can I say? Thank you.

  60. 80

    Hi, Bonnie! :) Thanks for reminding me. Yes. Art is so much a part of my life. Songwriting, painting, dancing, writing. God infused so many outlets in me because He knew there would be deep wells and the waters would rise and need to spring forth. I praise God for the opportunities to share expressions of my faith and walk with Him with others. He is GOOD, indeed! :) Good to see you again!!!

  61. 81
    Sharon Roque says:

    Bonnie, thank you for the tears that started flowing along with the creative juices. I let my writing desires, and skills, sit on the back burner for way too long. I have known that God has something for me to do – and that it had to do with words. I have to admit that I have been cowardly in facing the “task”. Thank you
    for the encouragement.

  62. 82

    Bonnie, I found you at InCourage today and love your honesty. Your words just rip through me. I want to gather your little girl in my lap and whisper that verse from Timpthy you used in this blog post. I once had a little girl who struggled with confidence and self worth. You can read some of her story on my blog. I pray that God continues to pour courage into you to give you strength to continue telling your story. I am continually amazed at the many women with this same anxiety, this same timidity. Don’t you know Satan is whispering those doubts in each ear? God’s blessings on you each time you face the blinking screen.

  63. 83

    Bonnie, I know I’ve told you before, but I so admire and appreciate your honesty. Thank you for sharing the painful parts of your journey.

    As a little girl, I was always at the piano or putting on dance performances for the adults in the family. As a young lady, I was still at the piano and singing a lot but also sewing or crocheting. Writing outside of school or my journal has only come in adulthood, and it waxes and wanes. As a child, I wanted to be a writer like Jo March or Laura Ingalls, but when it came down to it I would always rather read than write.

    I don’t know if others are this way, but I find that I can only really practice one artistic discipline at a time. If I’m playing piano, I’m not writing or crocheting; if I’m writing, I’m not making much music or sitting with my yarn and hook. I still don’t feel comfortable saying, “I’m a writer,” although I know creativity is part of how God has wired me. Honestly, I miss piano more than I miss writing when I’m away from it, but writing is the discipline more within reach because of my physical limitations in this season. Perhaps the season will change again and I’ll be back on the piano bench for hours at a time. It’s interesting to see in the other commenters how many are still doing what they did as children.

    Grace, peace, and sweet sleep to you tonight in Jesus.

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