20131021-Nester-BloomFall2013-1

 

Read:

Part 1 ~ Who Is the Artist and Chapter 1, Awake (pages 11-18).

Through story-telling and narrative, Emily tells us what she intends for us in A Million Little Ways:  “…to introduce practices to help you uncover the art already alive within you.” (p. 17)  Even in these first few pages, she begins to challenge the traditional definition of artist, and how we’re entwined with this Holy calling.

 

Watch:

{Subscribers, please click here to view video.}

 

Discuss:

Some of my favorite quotes are also great discussion points:

“[Artists] pull back the covering on our inner life, allow us to see things beneath the surface, things that, without their compassion, creativity, and generosity, we may have missed….  Art coming from honest hands shows us beauty, stirs up longing, and touches us deeply.” (p. 15)

Q.  As Emily shared her example about awakening, did you think of your own Sarah Masen stories about artists who stirred something in you?

“I can’t imagine anything more dangerous to the enemy of our hearts than people who know who they are.” (p. 15)

Q.  Why are “people who know who they are” dangerous to Satan?

“Have we exalted the will of God and the plans of God above God himself? (p. 17)

Q.  How does this manifest itself in our lives?

At the end of the video, Emily sums it up this way:   “I’m not just born to make art, I am art; not for my own benefit, but recognizing who I am in Christ, for the benefit of others to the glory of God.” (my paraphrase, I might’ve messed up a word or two :).)

What other thoughts did you have while listening in on Jessica’s, Angie’s and Emily’s conversation and after reading this section?   Speak up in comments below or on our Facebook page–don’t be shy!  You never know how your words might be an encouragement to others.

 

Share:

On Fridays during our study of A Million Little Ways, we’ll be featuring a guest post from an artist in our incourage community.  I’ll let you know on Wednesday whose wonderful words you can look forward to this week (she is w o n d e r f u l!).

Also, we need your participation:  please take pictures of making art/living your art and then share them on Instagram or Twitter.  (Another fun idea is to creatively stage your copy of Emily’s book like Nester’s image above.)  Be sure to add the #inbooks hashtag so I can find them; by doing so you’re giving me permission to add them to a fun collage we’ll share alongside our guest post (and if it’s easy to find, I’ll link back to your blog, too!).

 

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Helpful links and reminders:

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Okay, lovies…as Emily challenged you and me, “It’s time to live as though we believe we have something to offer.”  Let’s trust God to open our hearts to believing, really believing, He has uniquely crafted us to share in His Kingdom work!

With love and Holy wonder,

robin

 

comments:
share:
  • http://www.acookiebeforedinner.com NJ @ A Cookie Before Dinner

    First of all, thank you so very much to whomever provided a sponsored copy of this book. Without your generosity, I would not be here.

    Q1- My 22 year old cousin who lost her fiance in a car accident a year ago is the first person who came to mind. She has grown incredibly in the last year and has taken her me with her for the ride. This was one of her recent status updates. “Do you ever stop and take a moment to enjoy the life you live? More importantly, when things aren’t perfect? Despite the past year for me, despite the unexpected, freaky events at work this week, despite being an idiot and breaking my toe at the gym because I was still shaken… I’m still arriving safe at home tonight a happy person. I had drinks with some amazing girlfriends and ran into my best guy friend which instantly made my heart happy and put a mile wide grin on my face. My night became perfect once I got home. Enjoying my own company, seeing the stars sparkle, hearing the crickets and the sound of peace, the light shining across the lawn of the Marine next door working in his garage, and the smell of my neighbors campfire across the street. I am where I am supposed to be. The people that are in my life are the ones who are supposed to be with me. Whatever comes my way in life.. I will always find a reason to smile. I am content.”

    Q2- People who are living God’s art daily are the kinds of people who Satan probably hates the most because you can’t stop God from pouring out of them with every sentence, movement, and breathe they take.

    Q3- This is scary for me. It first begins with Jesus- walking with him so closely that our lines of beginning and end are blurred. But even more than that, it is letting go of “me” (or the flesh) to let Him really shine through. Vulnerability and openness can be so hard, especially in real life. It is TIME TO BE BRAVE, rip open the walls, and TRUST that God will shine.

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Oh, NJ…welcome to Bloom! You have gotten our comments off to a wonderful start (I never imagined anyone would answer all my questions, so THANK YOU!) (NOT that everyone “needs” to answer all/any of them…engagement is the greater goal, regardless of what readers would like to discuss here).

      Your young cousin is amazing; though she could be languishing in a pool of grief, she sees the good; it sounds like she sees God. What an inspiration….

      Your answer to Q2 makes me want to know God so intimately, for my life to be so lost in HIS, that Christ in me can’t help but ooze out.

      You sound like you’re taking steps to be brave–to God be the glory!

      • http://www.acookiebeforedinner.com NJ @ A Cookie Before Dinner

        It is amazing what one can accomplish in the morning when the babies are still sleeping and the coffee in the cup is so hot!

        I’m REALLY looking forward to this community, this book, and this space. I can already tell this book is going to take everything I think to be true about life/living for the Glory of the Lord and shoot it it to the moon.

        • http://www.chattingatthesky.com emily freeman

          I love the morning quiet – seems to be the best thinking time. I hope you’ll continue to be able to join us in the stillness before the waking babies!

  • CyndaP

    My first “awakening” moment was many,many years ago at a symphony concert. I don’t remember what they were playing just that it was on a Saturday morning (I thought I was so “sophisticated” to be at a coffee concert) and when the pianist began to play, I began to cry. It touched something so deep in me, I didn’t even know it was there. It was YEARS before I was able to process this as being a spiritual moment.

    • http://proverbs31dailystuff@blogspot.com Tori

      Yes, why is music such an easy way for us to experience this? I guess it’s because we allow ourselves to be open, relaxed, vulnerable during music. We need to learn to be this way during the mundane parts of life. During the ordinary or even painful times. Relaxed in His presence, vulnerable to His Art!

    • http://www.chattingatthesky.com emily freeman

      I cried like a baby watching Wicked on Broadway. Wicked! But there was something deeply moving about those performers, their generosity, their art. I love thinking of it as a spiritual moment, like you say.

      • http://www.learningalongtheway.com Lisa

        Defying Gravity! That song touched a place deep within me and I was undone. Even more when my son, then 19 and away in college, sent me a text after seeing the production live. He said, “Mom, this is your song. You live outside the box.” To be seen like that in spite of how often I am riddled with doubt and discouragement was such a gift. Then when I was finally able to see Wicked live in San Francisco, I cried in recognition of its profound beauty!

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Cynda,

      It wasn’t my first experience, but it was a beautiful recent one. I was in Munich last year when I heard the haunting music of a cellist. He was a traveling street performer, setting up concert in a public alleyway. The notes strummed off those ancient walls…and I was held captive til he stopped. Thank you for reminding me of that moment.

  • http://proverbs31dailystuff@blogspot.com Tori

    Good morning:) So happy to be in this wonderful study with you all!
    Favorite quote for chap 1:

    “Live as though you believe you have something to offer” page 17.

    Just love that!
    I spent most of Sunday looking for God’s Art around me. I was not disappointed:) I found that the more I opened my heart the more poured in and out! Not just in the overused open your heart…but consciously opening my heart looking for God’s Art to happen.
    I am NOT an “artist” but with God (and Emily’s) help through this study, I am experiencing His Art (capital A) – as she says “allowing us to see things beneath the surface” – oh, that was good!

    Can’t wait for the next chapter. I am forcing myself to read slowly. To savor each word Emily uses, to let my Spirit interact with hers producing His Art.

    • http://www.chattingatthesky.com emily freeman

      My friend (and also a fellow author) Fil Anderson said “Most of the time I consider myself a goober. But after reading Emily’s book, I realize I’m an artist, too.”

      I love that. Especially because he called himself a goober.

      • http://proverbs31dailystuff@blogspot.com Tori

        Sometimes doing God’s work requires us to look like a goober in others eyes. I’m OK with that…

  • http://sarahjoknits.blogspot.com Sarah Jo

    As a first-time participant in Bloom, I must say that this is the perfect book to draw me in!

    A “Sarah Masen moment” that stands outs to me is also of a musician… a church I attended a few years ago was just beginning a sermon series on glorifying God through your work (and especially defending the jobs that are perceived to have less inherent spiritual significance) and to illustrate that, the pastor called a bandmember to the front. A former Atheist who had started attending because leading worship was a paying gig, he played from memory Bach’s cello suite in G minor (written to evoke a mental image of God in the hearer). It was extraordinary (both Bach’s composition and Brian’s playing of it)… but more amazing still, when I encountered him after the service and shook his hand, was realizing that his hand was – I will not say deformed, because that implies that something is wrong – *blessed* with only two fingers, perfectly positioned and perfectly formed to hold his bow. I never heard how he came to play the cello, but I was deeply struck by the obviousness of his God-given gift. It gave me pause to reexamine aspects of who I am that I sometimes look at as “handicaps,” wondering if instead of being design flaws, maybe they’re tools and markers pointing me in the direction God intends me to go.

    • http://sarahjoknits.blogspot.com Sarah Jo

      Apologies, cello suite in G Major! (I decided to listen to it :)

      • http://www.chattingatthesky.com emily freeman

        “…instead of being design flaws…”

        Wow I love that.

  • http://bucketsofburlap.blogspot.com Becky C

    Well after watching this video…I feel like I could just sit on that sofa next to you three and chat :) Thanks for being so “real”, so “down-to-earth”.
    I think “people who know who they really are” are dangerous to Satan, because they connect with the heart of God. They aren’t ashamed of God’s love inside of them, and they unleash His power to do His work through them.
    I want to be more like this. I don’t want to hold back anymore…I want to be fully alive.

    Thanks so much for allowing me to follow along. I LOVE this book, and just 3 chapters in, I know it’s just for me :)
    I will be sharing a blog post soon about “A Million Little Ways”.

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Becky,

      Be sure to let us know (in comments, FB or on Twitter using the #inbooks hashtag) and we’ll shout out to you, too.

      Surely God will meet you in this space; your desire for HIM is lovely.

  • karyn

    I love pictures. I’ll just post them on my Facebook with your link.
    :)

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Great! I’ll be hunting them down!!

  • Tiana Brown

    I want to thank you so much for providing sponsoring copies of this book! I have participated in other studies but am experiencing financial challenges at this time. I am so thankful to be in community with such giving women. The generosity is living, breathing ART, displaying God’s giving nature.

    “I can’t imagine anything more dangerous to the enemy of our hearts than people who know who they are.” (p. 15)

    This quote is so relevant to me. I have been in a place over the last two years that has caused me to question who I am. Yesterday, my pastor spoke on how our current authority (spouse, parent, employee, etc.) does NOT trump our core identity. It is amazing how the enemy always tries to shake our belief in God through our identity. I believe that my Art is connecting. It is how God has used me in every beautiful moment that I can think of. When going through this “identity crisis”, I had withdrawn, disconnected. Over the past few months, with this support of the (in)courage community, God has renewed my confidence in who I am in Him through Christ. It is an amazing, grace-filled process. As I have stepped back into courage, I have connected with many women who have needed to be encouraged. LOL! God is awesome!

    Above, NJ said,

    “Vulnerability and openness can be so hard, especially in real life. It is TIME TO BE BRAVE, rip open the walls, and TRUST that God will shine.”

    This has been my experience. As we step into that vulnerability, falling face foward into God’s deep and consuming abyss of love and grace, God does shine. And we becoming that living Art.

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Tiana,

      Over and over I hear a chorus of beautiful thanks from our (in)community, and it is gracious blessing every time.

      Your testimony of how God is using you – as an encouragement to others – speaks to who He knows you to be! His image-bearer, blessed to be a blessing. Precious.

  • Anita

    After being a classroom teacher for the past 25 years, I am entering a new season in life. This is the first fall in 42 years (including my own schooling years), where I did not enter a classroom, ready for school to begin. A big part of my identity was wrapped up in being a teacher, but that is changing. God has been moving my heart and passions in new directions. It is exciting and scary, all at the same time because I have NO idea where HE is heading. Sometimes I think I catch glimpses of the future and other days I feel like I am adrift and not sure where I am heading. I just know that I want to cling to Him and His leading. The”art” of my life may be changing, but I am trusting Him that He has already prepared the way and I want to be ready to follow, brave to be obedient to His calling – all for His glory.

    • Tricia

      I can relate to “a new season in life.” Two and a half years ago, I stopped teaching in a classroom to spend more time with my family – oldest son’s wedding, move to a new house, husband’s knee surgery. Now that my youngest child has gone off to college, I’m wondering what God has in store for me. Will it be a “new” career? Will I write a book? Will I take my hobbies to a new level on Etsy? I’m not sure and yes, I have days where I feel adrift, too! I pray that you will hear God clearly in this season and follow Him with joy!

      • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

        Anita & Tricia,

        Y’all sound like you’re on the brink of uncovering new art in your lives; which makes this study perfect timing! I hope you’ll keep us posted in the days to come :).

    • http://momentswithmichellem.blogspot.com Michelle

      I, too, can identify with transitions in life. There is so much possibility, and at the same time so much trepidation. Sometimes I can envision what I hope for the future to handle. At other times, I’ve overwhelmed with grief for what is no longer there.

  • http://www.learningalongtheway.com Lisa

    Thank you, thank you for choosing A Million Little Ways as your book club title! I am so excited for the growing community of women who will be inspired by Emily’s poetic prose, by her frank offering of herself, her life and by the challenge to thoughtful response. This isn’t just a nice book to read. We will see differently at the end and in that seeing will be challenged to live differently.
    My favorite quote in chapter 1 is this: “Because you were also made to live art. It’s time to rescue our beautiful design from the dark grip of doubt and discouragement. It’s time to remember the Spirit of power and love and a sound mind who lives within us. It’s time to live as though we believe we have something to offer. It’s time to release our authentic selves into the world.”
    AMEN!

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Lisa, When I read that the first time (let’s face it, several times now) I think the same thing: A…MEN!! :)

      (and thank you for your strong endorsement of this book and its message; the reasons you’ve noted (among many) as to why it was chosen. :) )

  • http://delightfulnest.wordpress.com Emily

    Thank you SO MUCH for sharing your heart and Truth through this book! I am jumping for joy! I had never thought of the truth that since I am made in the image of God, and He is Creator, that I – by default, in my genetic code – am also a creator of art. This is so freeing!

    I recently took an unexpected pause from my (new – eek! I hadn’t even gotten things off to a running start yet!) blog to focus on prayer, family, and church needs. I was so embarrassed that I had gotten things at least started and then just dropped it all to refocus my efforts elsewhere. Not saying I shouldn’t have, because I needed a radical change in my priorities at the time. However, when I got the green light to go back to blog writing, the human side of me felt like it just wasn’t worth it because no one would want to read a blog from someone who didn’t keep momentum at the beginning.

    Then I read the introduction to your book and the first chapter, and heard God screaming “who the heck cares if you broke for two months or two years?!? WRITE. You and I both know this is your release and what a blessing your words are for others.”

    Okay, okay. Got it. What’s more, my knitting took a backseat as well, and I have redound the urge to pick up my needles whenever I have a spare moment, or in the last half hour winding down before bed. As a mother, I have become realistic about the time I can spend on personal interests, but the words God is speaking through you in this book have shown me that if I spend little bits of time creating what I adore during the day, that I will be blesse because that’s what I have been made for, and others will be blessed as recipients of my God-given creative endeavors.

    Again, I say thank you! Thank you SO MUCH!!!

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Ahhh, Emily…if you’re able, share pictures of your work on Twitter or Instagram or somehow! Tag with #inbooks and I’ll find them.

      Your comment is such a blessing–to learn AMLW is a message you need to hear!

    • http://sarahjoknits.blogspot.com Sarah Jo

      …we have much in common! And your blog is delightful :)

  • Kristin Belcher

    I too am extremely grateful for the sponsored book I received. I an not wait to bless someone in return. I feel like people who know who they are can not be shaken and Satan knows that. I am looking forward to him fearing me just as much as I become stronger in who I am every moment.

  • http://simplystriving.wordpress.com Nikki

    Oh this book is SOOOO good! I’m so excited to be participating here.

    Q1–loved the Sarah Masen reflection and immediately thought of a childhood Sunday School teacher. No matter how many times she told the same stories, we left riveted. She made them come alive and applicable to our everyday life. I cling to them even still, decades later. And every time I go to teach my 4-6 year old class, I think of her and pray His Spirit would pour on me the same way.

    Q2–When we know whom God has made us to be, the lies the enemy tries to pass off as truth are harder to pull off. When our feet are firmly planted in the image He has created within us…wow. That’s the power that has overcome this world. and it’s living in us–waiting to be unleashed!

    Loved how Emily reiterated in the video that recognizing who we are in Christ benefits others for the glory of God. It’s a gift given to us that we can then give to others for His glory. Mind. Blowing. –how He invites us into His story. Oh mylanta…

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Nikki,

      Forgive me, but did you just say OHMYLANTA? We can officially be fast friends.

      Is it awful I jumped straight to that and now your wonderful thoughts to the question prompts? :)

    • Mel Newburn

      Yes to this: When we know whom God has made us to be, the lies the enemy tries to pass off as truth are harder to pull off.

      I feel the same, Nikki! When I am firmly rooted in my identity as God’s beloved (thank you, Henry Nouwen, for using your art to build this foundational understanding in me!), I am unshakeable. Psalm 62:1-2 speaks to this, and is a verse I am constantly claiming for myself this year: My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. When I make God my fortress, there is no room for the lies.

  • http://ssmast.blogspot.com Sarah M

    I, too, wake up 2 hours earlier than my kids (right when my husband leaves for work in the morning) so I can have quiet reading and writing time. It truly is such a wonderful day for me to start the day, especially as an introvert.

    1)I’ve had many ‘awakening’ moments in my life. I have always felt very connected to different avenues of art, or what maybe I’m used to calling ‘art’ (fine arts). Poetry and beautiful writing, especially, and the lyrics and musicianship of singer/songwriter Ani Difranco blew me away in high school. She truly is the whole package to me–astounding writing and one of the best guitar players in the world. I’ve only seen her live once, but my husband bought me tickets for my birthday this Spring to see her in Vancouver–a huge gift, we don’t normally spend that kind of money. I’m so excited. Her music brings me to tears. :) I treasure her writing so much that I named my daughter–partly– after her. Anikka, with the shortened nickname Ani. It also means grace.
    2)I think people who know who they are are dangerous to Satan because liars are cowards, and he is the father of lies, cowardice. He can coerce lies but those who know who they are have the quality of courage, something he does not have. We respect and look up to ‘people who know who they are’ because they are unreserved in their courage, even if they are small and seemingly insignificant ways (like your story of the man handing you your luggage). They are unafraid to do the right thing, and to stand up for that is huge, especially if no one else seems to be brave enough.
    3) I think being brave with others is really key. Bravery to be vulnerable, to let others see our dark place, is really, really hard. I feel like I’ve just turned a corner in my life on this (I moved across the country back in February, away from lifelong friends, and family, to a new town, church, etc.) because I’ve *had* to, to have any sort of meaningful relationship in my new town. I’ve had to be brave and share with people I’m trying to get to know, and the more you practice it, the less scary it becomes. I have always loved a certain scripture since I was a kid (and I sang a song about it) but this has been SO true for this time in my life with vulnerability:

    If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

    Sarah M
    PS-Thank you so much for the anonymous donation of Emily’s book, all of you who have been a part of that. It has been a gift to me.

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Oh, Sarah…good good stuff here. Romans 8:31 is the PERFECT companion verse to be brave! When we REMEMBER its truth, our entire perspective changes. Powerful.

  • http://atshaibu.wordpress.com toyin shaibu

    A million thanks the one who sponsored my free copy of AMLW! No doubt God wants me to be here and to hear all there is to share about bringing glory to God in our own little way with what we have and where we are. I AM ART ( A product of God’s infinte imagination) and I LIVE ART!

    To comment on the question “Why are “people who know who they are” dangerous to Satan?”, God’s words already lets us know that his people perish for lack of knowledge. When we forget who we are and try to be like others, we lose the real us. This truth struck home very recently when someone very dear to me atempted to take her own life, thinking about herself only and forgettting how her life is a blessing to others. Its so true that “when we want to be something more sensible, more practical..let’s control it, contain it… in this action, we have forgotten who we are”….” And so the meaning of life is not dependent upon what we make of it but of what he is making of us.”

    I love to quote Emily again- “what makes us come alife goes deeper than what we chose to do in our professions and our free time. what makes us come alive is life, and this life is Jesus”. Period! personally, i look forward to difusing God’s fragrance to all around me as I worship, think, love, pray, rest, work and exist. Many thanks for the awakening.

    • http://proverbs31dailystuff.blogspot.com Tori

      I agree. We have to re-discover who we are in Christ. It’s so easy to get lost in the world. We don’t mean to do it but without continually renewing our minds (as Paul tells us) we can easily become someone we were never intended to be. God wants so much more for us:)

  • http://pioneerstoday.wordpress.com/ beverley

    I have been told about this God that would punish me if i sinned. It wasn’t until i was 14 and went in search of God that i found out he was a loving God, a God that would forgive me if only i took the time to say sorry. I have lived many years since then (36 to be exact) knowing i was a child of God, that God saw me has His daughter, loved and cherished. However recently many things have happened in my life, to my family and extended but close family which have left me wondering ‘who am i? God created me in his image, i know that i believe that but what does that really mean. After living through four years of deep grief am i now ready to find out what the ‘art’ in me really is? So along with your questions i am looking for answers to my life as well through what you are offering.
    Do i believe that i am art? Yes i do!
    Have i ever seen art that has stirred me? Yes the beautiful work of Simon Dewey. Having first known his wife and met him a few times before they were married, it is amazing to note the painting of the heart and spirit in his work.
    Being a latter day saints my understanding of Satan is different to those of other faiths, but that said, he wants us to be miserable like he is. He does not want us to feel good about ourselves and certainly not feel like a child of God we are.
    When we know who we are, we understand how beautiful we are, and what perfect art we make.

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Four years of grief? {{hugs}} to you, friend. It sounds like this book has found its way into your hands at just the right time. I’m praying for you in this moment, eager for you to uncover the art that is waiting to be seen in your life :).

      • http://pioneerstoday.wordpress.com/ beverley

        Thank you.

  • http://www.dawngonzalez.com Dawn

    Ok, so I’m slowly feasting on each word of this book. You guys are going to so finish this before I will. Two friends and I are going to do a slower version of a book study to really hash out some of this so it ends up being more than just a great read. There is so much food for thought in this book that I blogged my thoughts on chapter 1 and 2 over the weekend. So I’m shamelessly plugging here, in case anyone wants to click over.
    http://www.dawngonzalez.com/2013/10/untangling-fabricated-life.html

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Dawn,

      I’m smiling…when I first received Emily’s book, I sped through it; I made myself stop for the reasons you mentioned–to savor it! You’re welcome to leave links here anytime they’re relevant to a post!

  • http://proverbs31dailystuff@blogspot.com Tori

    Blogging the book club on my blog and twitter @wisdomfortoday so glad to share this great book with the readers.

    • http://proverbs31dailystuff.blogspot.com Tori

      Sorry about that the link to my blog was wrong this should work:)

      • http://www.chattingatthesky.com emily freeman

        Great idea to blog through it, Tori! I learn better when I write.

  • http://www.girlgrowsup.com Sarah

    My first Sarah Masen moment was just between me, God and His creation. I remember driving to work one morning and it was like the scenery turned vibrant in color and the road and the car just faded into the background. In that moment, the phrase “art is everywhere” popped into my head. I will never forget that drive, praising God for His beautiful creation.

    Human beings touch me with their art ALL the time, but I think that first time opened the door for me to really let it move me in the deep places of my soul.

    Emily, thank you for writing this book. I keep telling my husband (an art-loving non-reader) that he has to read it. I may end up reading it to him if he doesn’t take the hint soon.

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      :-)

  • http://www.averagehousewife.com Paula

    One of my life-mentors came to mind when I read the Sarah Masen story. She lived life fully and openly before God and others. It was beautiful because she didn’t feel the need to cut out the icky parts, because that’s where God shaped her and that’s where people grow. God was glorified through her life in the messes and the wisdom she shared.

    Satan is the father of lies, so if we “know who we are” truly, that means we are filled with Truth and the satan cannot stand against truth. He is darkness and wants us to hide the truth, but we are to be the light of the world.

    “Cashiers and cellists are capable of making art because they both have the power to influence, to be fully awake to their Maker, and fully aware of his making of them.”
    I just love the challenging idea of even the every day being an image of God, like the cashier or me as a mom. Am I being a good image bearer as I do the mundane, everyday, yet significant task of raising my children?

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Paula,

      I can’t help but think once we start asking those questions (like your last sentence) we’re on our way to where we’re supposed to be :).

  • Phronsie

    Q. As Emily shared her example about awakening, did you think of your own Sarah Masen stories about artists who stirred something in you?

    Most recently, as weird as this sounds, that happened to me when I read a Ted Dekker book. I was reading “A Child Called Blessed” and at some point in the story I went “That is what I want!”. Just to have that child-like faith and stop being so “grown-up” about it. It’s really hard to explain but I know that after reading that book something in me was awakened.

    Q. Why are “people who know who they are” dangerous to Satan?

    “People who know who they are” are dangerous to Satan because they’re better able to stand up against his attacks. They’re able to see the truth about themselves amid the lies that Satan is whispering (or yelling) at them. Not too long ago I was reading through my daily Bible reading and Isaiah 43:1(b) really stood out to me. Basically, it was a huge reminder to me that I am God’s. He redeemed me, He knows my name, He calls me, and I am His. And that’s really the ultimate “who you are” to remember. I am God’s!

    Q. How does this manifest itself in our lives? (exalting the plans and will of God above God)

    I think a lot of the time we accept things that happen to us because “it was God’s will”, but we didn’t actually stop and pray and talk to God about it. If that make sense. Or we go about doing things because we know it’s what God wants (sharing the Gospel, for example) but we don’t stop and ask God how He wants us to do it.

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      You make a good point, Phronsie–when we have an awakening moment, there’s no denying it; we remember it years later. I’m thinking of one I had years ago, when God revealed he wants me to rely on Him and no man. It sounds obvious, but I realized places I had done the opposite (my husband, pastor, etc….)

  • http://thebarnprincess.com Misty Boone

    My favorite quote from this chapter was:

    “The beauty she shared was, quite simply, herself. And in sharing herself, she showed me a glimpse of the glory of God.”

    I think that this is why “people who know who they are” are more dangerous to Satan than anything. They reflect the glory of God in their lives. When we know who we are and who we belong to, we know where we are going and our lives become saturated in that. Our lives become saturated in Him, and when people see these artists, they aren’t just seeing the artist. They are seeing THE ARTIST, Christ Himself.

    Thanks for the sponsored copies. I am really being blessed by this book. I started reading it and didn’t want to stop.

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Beautifully expressed, Misty. Love the connection you made.

  • Alexa

    This book interested me for two reasons. First, now that my children are farther into elementary school and are more independent, I feel that they need less from me. It’s made me realize that for the past several years I’ve mainly thought about what I can contribute to them, but not about what purposes I have outside of them. I’m anxious to uncover/rediscover what other passions I have.

    Second, I’m also new to Christianity and I’m trying to figure out what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus. Although I was baptized as a child, religion wasn’t a true part of my upbringing. Now that I have children, I’ve begun to reassess the importance of being a Christian. I felt something missing in my life and started wondering if you aren’t raised with faith, can you learn faith as an adult? I think you can. I’m looking forward to developing my relationship with Christ through this book and figuring out what art I’m meant to be living!

    • http://www.chattingatthesky.com emily freeman

      Alexa,

      I think you’re right – you can learn what it means to walk with Jesus no matter how old you are. I personally feel honored to be able to walk with you – even in a book way – through this time in your life, however small my part may be. I hope these words and this community is a kind place for you to do some uncovering.

  • Martha

    I remember stumbling across Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts, three years ago. In a very dark season in my marriage. Holding my firstborn 3-month-old baby girl, flying from NC to Vancouver to spend time with my sister. My soul was quiet and broken in so many ways. Ann’s writing jolted me awake in ways I couldn’t quite put my finger on at the time. Her way of writing was art to me. Passionate, unmasked, genuine, haunting. I have since followed her blog and have continued to be deeply impacted by her writing and life. Her book changed me, woke me up to living thankfully even in the midst of the darkest season of my life. I remember finding her book so striking in part because her writing was not “perfect” or polished but so often it bent the “rules” of grammar and beautifully so. I remember thinking “wait, you can do that? you can say it like that?” And in some ways, for some reason, it was genuine to me. Unedited. It made me want to write again, something I have put down for a long time, something I didn’t realize I wanted. Her writing gave me permission (or hope, maybe?) to be the real unedited me, somehow. I don’t know if that makes sense??

    “Pull back the layers suffocating the truth of who you really are. Maybe you have a dream or a desire to move into the world, something you’re always talking yourself out of. Or maybe you wish you had a way to influence others but you don’t think you do. It is my intention to help you uncover the art already alive within you. You were born to make art…because you were made to live art.” (p.16-17)

    Emily’s book is risky and wild, exhilarating and terrifying to me all at once. For a girl who has lived long working hard to please others and present a “worthy” version of myself to the world, it’s going to require a total shift in my mentality and a lot of digging to unearth what I’ve spent so long burying.

    • http://www.chattingatthesky.com emily freeman

      Oh Martha, I hope you will. I hope you will make that shift and spend the time digging because I can already tell – what you say you’ve buried? I don’t think it’s buried as deep as you think it is.

      Your art is seeping out, even in this comment. I can’t wait to hear more.

      • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

        What Emily said (I sense it, too). :)

        • Martha

          Thank you for your guys’ words!! Great encouragement!

          • Rebecca Sarine

            Martha, your statements, “Emily’s book is risky and wild, exhilarating and terrifying to me all at once. For a girl who has lived long working hard to please others and present a “worthy” version of myself to the world, it’s going to require a total shift in my mentality and a lot of digging to unearth what I’ve spent so long burying.”, resonate loudly within me. Thank you for putting words to my thoughts. Thank you for sharing openly and making yourself vulnerable.

            Emily’s explanation that God is a creator and we were created in his image and we ARE art. Not just that we are born to work or get through each day but that we ARE this art, this work that he made us. We are therefore able to live it out. I am really thinking on that.

            And reading through the comments so far on question number 2 have helped me to really see something. When I struggle in life with my identity and with my faults, then I am not standing securely in my identity in God. As his creative work. So when I wonder how in the world can I overcome my failures and struggles that seem relentless, I need to did in deeper to my identity as one who is created and loved by God. Then I will be able to live that out and hopefully not mess it up so badly.

            I am looking forward to the challenge of this book study. Emily’s book Grace for the Good Girl still brings me to tears and blows me away on a regular basis. So I am excited. The truth is that I didn’t think this one was for me like that one. But then when I heard her talk about her example of the man who got her luggage and the cashier, I saw that it was for me too.

            “Have we exalted the will of God and the plans of God above God himself?” Whoa! I would love to understand more about this. Looking forward to what is to come. Thank you.

  • Lara

    Hello:)
    This is my first bloom study and it’s such a privilege to join in as a recipient of a sponsored digital copy! Thank you so much for this blessing!
    I remember being 18 and pregnant with my first child, unmarried at that time and studying away from home, living at a YWCA residence, questioning my purpose, silently feeling alone and ashamed. The young girl who played the guitar at the compulsory Monday night chapel service, Michelle, smiled at me and afterwards came to say hello. In the 18 months I lived there, she is the one who’s name I still remember, the girl I wanted to be like, the 21 year old virgin who was waiting for God to bring her husband. The girl who prayed for me and answered my questions and most of all, never judged me. I will never forget wanting to experience the same peace and joy she seemed to just naturally exude. She was a living example of His art, and it’s so wonderful reading Emily’s book as it really is reawakening and inspiring a conscious decision to be who I am authentically… A peacemaker and keeper, a faithful friend and purposeful wife and mother, beloved and able to share that love in the everyday conversation, and the everyday tasks. Thanks Emily, for the reminder and for your courage in sharing! LOVE this book:)

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Lara, When we come *that close* to Jesus, it’s irresistible. HE is irresistible!

  • Rachel H

    I am so glad to be a part of this book study!!
    I have had many awakening moments from many different things. Nature. Music. Beautifully written words. Even well played sports. It is so much about being fully who we are created to be and sharing it with the world. Because it is beautiful and beauty draws the heart to God. And when drawn into His presence, how can one not glorify the Creator?
    I think people who know who they are prove dangerous to the enemy because they walk securely in their position as a child of God and joint-heir with Christ. They are free to be who God made them and know that everything they do, no matter what it is, has the potential to bring glory to God and draw others to Him.
    This quote by Saint Irenaeus came to mind as I read and thought about this chapter. It says, “The glory of God is a human being fully alive.”
    I pray as we continue in this study that I will become more secure in who God created me to be and be able to let go of any preconceived notions of what things “should” be and just let God be glorified throug the art I live every single day.

    • http://www.chattingatthesky.com emily freeman

      I love that quote – you’ll see it in a later chapter. How could I not use it!?

      • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

        Ha, Emily…I was confused as to whether Rachel was quoting YOU in the book or sharing that quote on her own; I’m getting the chapters a little confused since I’ve read ahead. But YOU would know exactly! (great quote that fits AMLW perfectly)

        :-)

        • Rachel H

          I read the chapter wher you used the quote today. :)

    • Mel Newburn

      Rachel H, I like when you say this: They are free to be who God made them and know that everything they do, no matter what it is, has the potential to bring glory to God and draw others to Him. I need to remember more that no matter what I do, I have that potential! In the big, and in the small of the every day!

      I was reading Ann Voskamp’s blog today, and this totally jumped out at me and was a big reality check: Does my life testify to my belief in the power of complaint – or the power of Christ? I’m praying that as I read this book, I will awaken to the fact that everything I do testifies to something/someone, and that I will remember the power of my influence. May I be able to, as Emily says, “be fully awake to (my) Maker, and fully aware of his making of (me).” Only when I live in this awareness of the truth of who (or whose) I am, will I have the capacity to live life in an artful way that testifies to the power of Christ in me!

  • http://www.vavasview.blogspot.com Virginia

    The page 15 quote in Chapter 1 “Awake” pierced my soul: “I can’t imagine anything more dangerous to the enemy of our hearts than people who know who they are.” I reposted it on Facebook and had quite a few ‘like.’ Emily…..this book! Have you invented a device where you can read my heart???? IF I were as eloquent, I’d say THE same. I’m not much use around the house…half way through it, and cannot put it down. Such a blessing, such a blessing!!!!! xoxo

    • http://www.chattingatthesky.com emily freeman

      Whenever someone says they aren’t much use around the house because they can’t put my book down, it absolutely makes my day. Because I know how I feel when I can’t put a book down and it’s the best.

      And yes, I absolutely invented a mind-reading-stalker-heart-reading device. It’s illegal in the US but I have my ways.

      • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

        **snort**

        • Rebecca Sarine

          HAHAHA! that is great. You sure did Emily. “a mind-reading-stalker-heart-reading device” God is really using you as art for his glory!

  • http://www.mypatchworkheart.org Janee White

    “I am not just born to make art – I am art” – “In the beginning….God Created” – “We are His art”

    There are so many ways this first chapter and video inspired/encouraged/challenged me. I have never thought of myself as an artist. Yes, I am a hairdresser. I used to be a musician. Child of God is who I am. BUT, I never would have thought to put ‘artist’ on my resume.

    I know that I am a New Creation, but I never connected ‘creation with created’, as it pertains to art.

    This is a whole new way of thinking……

    • http://www.chattingatthesky.com emily freeman

      Wow, Janee! I’m so glad you’re reading along.

  • Patrice

    Thanks for sending me a Free book. I love Bloom, but can’t afford to spend the $$ on books and the library hardly ever has any copies. I’m away from home taking care of a couple friends, and can hardly wait to return to get my hands and eyes on my new book. After reading all other comments and watching the vid, I’m certain of God’s hand in this selection at this particular time in my life. I am always creating, but recently decided to sell some unusual art. It is more like play than work making these pieces so I am continually awed by others reactions and excited by their response to it. I’ll try to send some pics soon.

    • http://www.chattingatthesky.com emily freeman

      So glad you’re joining us. And my middle name is Patrice so I especially like you :)

  • http://www.sara-castlesintheair.blogspot.com/ Sara Fowler

    Q1: Emily’s Sarah Mason story made me think of my reaction to watching Michelle Kwan figure skate. I’m not sure if she is a believer, but she skated with such generosity, beauty, and joy. She was 100% herself in sharing her gift. Her 1998 Nationals performance stirred me up so much it prompted me to take skating lessons as an adult just for the joy of it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okPRcajUQrM

    Q2/Q3: I think when we live authentically out of who God created us to be, it sets us apart from the mainstream culture. Instead of doing things for status, money, or to live up to the expectations of others, we are living to glorify God with our lives. Satan knows that the joy that comes through this way of living is contagious and is a witness for God.

    Thanks Emily for sharing your gifts through your book!

    • http://www.chattingatthesky.com emily freeman

      I love that Michelle sharing her art prompted you to share yours. That’s really beautiful.

  • maria

    I can’t remember being so excited about starting a book in the same way as I am about this book – I feel it touches on something that not only excites me but from what I can tell here, really resonates with so many! I think it has to do with the fact that He made us to reflect Him in our lives and that when we do that consciously, when we live and serve and make art and all that is in each of us, it makes it all the more impacting and beautiful!! This book has really opened my soul to a new awareness that will leave me changed for ever and will hopefully leave my sphere of the world all the better for it, because He is so amazing!! Thank you for writing such a treasure!!

    • http://www.chattingatthesky.com emily freeman

      You’re so welcome, Maria. I think it will be a sweet time.

  • http://www.seastararts.com jeni

    well I’ve read and shared Grace for the Good Girl and have already given several copies of AMLW to my friends and I am nervously excited to be a part of a book group where I will be sharing and opening up what’s scary inside… mostly it is Art that scares me. I always felt, coming from artistic parents, that the art had to be perfect to be recognized. I knew I had it inside, it comforted me when I was young and my mother died, yet it still scares me now as an adult. I knew I had gifts but that first chapter told me in black in white that I AM the gift. That I am art… and that feels good. Satan has his thoughts inside my head, my heart fights and the record player of failure keeps playing so that my art doesn’t always come out. Gosh I hope this is the start of something freeing and good!

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Jeni,

      I’m praying that over you now. :)

      • http://www.seastararts.com jeni

        thanks Robin xo

  • Rhonda

    This book, I believe is a life saver thrown to me by a big & loving God. I come from the before blogs generation and just happened onto “Chatting to the Sky.” I had given up on ever being able to be creative again. My last year consisted of losing my job because of health problems. My husband had already retired early due to a heart attack. We lost our home, moved to another town and into a travel trailer, all while caring for my aging parents. They passed away, one in April, one in May. I then had a disagreement with the back of a semi tractor-trailer and totaled our only car.

    I had always dreamed about when I would retire and be able to spend my time making cards and honing my digital art skills. I just lost it. Gave up. Resigned myself to never doing what I have dreamed of doing. Then…I came upon this book! Thanks to a sponsored copy, I feel a little glimmer of hope. I certainly don’t know how it will all end, as my space is very constricted, but I now believe God does still have a plan for me to somehow be creative and stay sane.

    Thank you so much, Emily, and again to the sponsor of my book and for all those who without the help, would not be able to participate in this study.

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Oh, Rhonda…mercy.

      I’m dreaming with you, thankful for you to have found and followed Emily; because she knows the One who is calling you by name, the One who threw you a life preserver.

  • Celeste

    I have been stirred by an artist. During a 20-Something’s meeting in Orlando we had a “guest” singer perform. While he sang a joyful and loving song about Jesus I drew a visual in my head of the moment he was singing about. It wasn’t until he spoke a few words (that I believe were a part of a poem before they ever became became lyrics) that fully held my attention, he said, “let it be me.”

    Let it be me that you love. Let it be me who you laugh with and have fun time with you, and let it be me that you will always be with.

    I still find myself singing those words to Jesus – and I feel it as deeply as I did the night I first heard them in the dimly lit sanctuary from a person’s whose name I do not know.

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Celeste,

      I find myself wishing that artist would stumble upon your comment….

      And it reminds me that we will never know the full impact of our lives on the people with whom we come into contact.

  • Gerrie

    I have not received my book yet, so I will just tell of the person who most challenged me to find my calling. She was my sister, Ruth, ten years my senior. We had a six year old brother, a mentally challenged five year old sister, and a 16 month-old sister when I was born. My father was a farmer who also worked a full time job. My mother was overwhelmed with the care of her children. Ruth was called upon to take over much of my care while my mither’s attention was focused on the disabled sister. When she died a few days before my second birthday, my mother and father seemed to focus their attention on the then four-year old, while I remained the charge of my then 12 year old sister. Ruth took me everywhere with her, except school, while the middle sister stayed with mother.
    Ruth was a very talented singer. I became a singer. She took me to Sunday School, Junior Choir, and later Senior Choir at church. She took me to movies, concerts, and her private singing lessons. We walked everywhere and I picked up on her open personality and faith in God. She had a multitude of friends, and when they would come to our house to dance, I was invited to be with them.
    I wanted to be like her in every way, and she helped me through the teen years. When I was nineteen, I went to live with my brother in another state. I married when I was 20, and she remained my confidante, helping me through some rough times, especially times when I doubted my faith. She sent me books, and told me about the grand moment in her life when she committed herself to Christ. I began my search with her encouragement, and eventually committed my life to the Author and Finisher of my faith.
    I have followed several artistic paths, including singing, painting, home-making, porcelain doll making and more. I am intrigued about what I may learn in this study!

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Gerrie,

      Your sister? Jesus with skin on; what a lovely tribute to your relationship and to her.

  • http://www.lindaspatchworkquilt.blogspot.com Linda

    One of my greatest joys is discovering that even in my sixth decade of life I candiscover new things about myself and about the Lord. Oh, perhaps I knew this all along, but Emily – you have a way of putting dreams into words and giving them life.
    I love this book!

    • http://www.chattingatthesky.com emily freeman

      Linda! I LOVE seeing you here. That means so much coming from you.

  • http://lifejoyfilled.blogspot.com/ Jenn

    I have always been a creative in some way or another.
    Starting around age 5, working simple crocheted chains with scrap yarn from my grandmother’s stash basket and just my fingers as the hook, I knew I wanted to create…I HAD to create, but never understood why.
    As the years went on, I dabbled in writing, painting, drawing, doll making, anything I could gather the tools and material for – still having that deep desire to form something beautiful out of the simplest smallest ingredients, but feeling like I was always somehow missing the mark.

    It wasn’t until my children were born that I had my first real sense of the beauty of creation.
    I was amazed of how the simplest, purest ingredient of all….love…could create an entire being.
    After all, isn’t that what formed us from the beginning, His love for us?

    My children grew and in their own ways became artists – my youngest son – the singer, overcoming a lifetime of speech problems to find the courage to perform on stage. When he opens his mouth…his whole heart pours out. I am so overwhelmed with who he is…who God created him to be, that I can’t help but cry each time my sweet boy (now 20) shares his talent.
    With my oldest, you see the quiet beauty in him with every smile, every kind word he speaks. His passion to help others and serve, is humbling.

    Me…I am blessed to work as a full-time licensed artist, but yet, I am still searching for what it is I am meant to create. I feel that it is just out of reach. Like maybe it’s not time for me to know what it is yet…or maybe I am the one standing in my own way and need to learn how to MOVE. Maybe I am meant to create in a different way – apart from brushes, pencils, and paints. Whatever it may be, I am ready for this adventure and excited to see where He will lead me through this study.

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      “I was amazed of how the simplest, purest ingredient of all….love…could create an entire being.”

      Beautiful.

  • http://allthesebrightthings.blogspot.com Courtney

    I am loving this book already. I’m so excited to read it because I feel like I’ve been thinking a lot about these topics in this season of life…a lot of “what am I made to do,” and learning not to be afraid to put art out there, whether it’s art in the traditional sense or just feeling free to be real and honest. It’s SUCH a vulnerable place to create something and allow others to experience it. And as I read this chapter I began to realize why. Because art is people offering up themselves and pouring themselves out. It is worship and beauty. Art is the opposite of hiding. It is more like standing up in a crowded room.
    I am so easily moved by beautiful things and by reading words that connect with me as true. So I can’t wait to get into the rest of this book, because it is giving me so much to think about!

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      “Art is the opposite of hiding. It is more like standing up in a crowded room.”

      I’m reading these last few comments late, and I’m struck with the profundity of so many wonderful thoughts y’all are sharing; I love this, Courtney.

  • http://balutzfamily.blogspot.com amanda

    This is my first time joining a Bloom book club. So excited! I am hoping I’ll find a way to stick with the schedule. I adore Emily’s writing and am giddy about reading this book.

    Q1:: I was thinking all day about a “Sarah Masen” moment and the only thing I could think of doesn’t really fit exactly. I thought back to a moment from when I was in Africa {so very long ago now} and the first time I saw a woman pounding grain. I think it was millet. The rhythm was mesmerizing. She shined joy as she moved and laughed and did her daily work. I wanted that.

    Q2:: I think the reason people that know who they are dangerous to the enemy because they’re knowing who they are stems from knowing deep down at the core that Creator God made them just so. They aren’t afraid to shine, and their light gives others confidence too. These people radiate love and generosity and Jesus. They invite others to do the same, and allow others to be and know who they are. The enemy would hate for this to become “a thing.”

    Q3:: I’ve been pondering that idea for a bit now. I will probably blog about it more as it unfolds. There’s a whole lot wrapped up in that idea. For me, anyway.

    Great questions, I’ll see y’all back here Wednesday! ;)

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Amanda,

      So many newcomers are adding much to the conversation! Welcome :).

      (and pounding grain as art…your characterization of this woman is precious.)

    • http://lifejoyfilled.blogspot.com/ Jenn

      Love the imagery of that woman pounding grain!

      • Mel Newburn

        I love this image too! Because as I read this book and open myself to what God wants to teach me, I feel a tug to not just think about art in a big way, but to think about how I can be art and bring the spirit of art (generosity, love, etc.) to the little things. I’m pondering these things: Where is the art in caring for my family and our home (think laundry, dishes, cleaning the bathroom)? What does it look like to approach every task as art? I feel like God wants to show me the potential to make art and glorify Him in the small, and I am very excited about that. And when I really think about it, I can’t think of something more artful than joyfully and thoughtfully preparing a nourishing meal for my loved ones. Thanks for the inspiring image!

  • http://allthesebrightthings.blogspot.com Courtney

    Amanda–I think that first example of the woman pounding grain fits PERFECTLY! I love that!

  • Jill

    First time book clubber here and what a great book to start out on. I got the book early in the month and have already finished it. It is a book to be savored and read more than once and I am so excited to go through it with the group here. There is so much truth to be discovered and uncovered. It is changing not only the way I am looking at myself but also the way I look at others. I am looking for opportunities to let my “art” shine – to give the art that is uniquely me for the purpose of worshipping Him. When I see others giving themselves I am seeing it as worship to Him. Three of my children sang for church on Sunday morning and I was thinking about brush strokes of color that were being painted as their art for Jesus and what a blessing it was not only to Him, but to those who heard. I appreciate that I don’t have to have a “thing”, but that my life is art. I am starting to believe that I have something to offer and that I was created to offer it. Good stuff.

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      :-) When I read comments like yours, Jill…I literally want to cheer. Thank you for sharing.

    • Mel Newburn

      Yes to this: I appreciate that I don’t have to have a “thing”, but that my life is art.

      I feel like God is teaching me that too!

  • http://displayinggodsworks.wordpress.com Kasey

    Thank you to whomever provided this book for me. You are part of living art!

    It is ironic to me that the quotes chosen for the questions are the words that jumped off the page to me as well. I am still pondering what it means to be a person that knows who they are. I thought maybe I should begin a list (I’m a list maker from way back) of what I think makes me who I am, including the good, the bad, and the ugly.

    I saw early in the comments that someone mentioned seeing their perceived “design flaws” in a new light. That would be a good place for me to begin. I’ve spent much time being ashamed. My pastor pointed out, however, that Jesus calls us “sisters”. Our identity is fully in Him as He makes us holy. Hebrews states that Jesus is not ashamed to identify us with Himself. If He is not ashamed, maybe I shouldn’t be either.

    I thought this was a wonderful starting place until I read to the statement about exalting God’s will and God’s plans over God. This is the place for me to begin. It’s hard for me not to be in the right place when God is in His proper place.

    • http://displayinggodsworks.wordpress.com Kasey

      I forgot my inspirational moment. My nephew, Elijah, was part of his church’s Christmas program when I think he was about 4. While the pianist played the music from “The Little Drummer Boy”, Elijah walked up the aisle with his drum. He eyes never left the manger. Elijah had no idea what reverent is, but that is what he was.

      • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

        Kasey,

        I’m so glad these particular passages resonated with you, too; sometimes hearing a word a few times causes us to finally HEAR it, or at least heart to the point of action. Emily’s comment regarding what we’re exalting most is poignant; it’s a GOOD thing to ponder because I suspect many of us get that all tangled up.

        And your little nephew Elijah? SO very precious.

    • Mel Newburn

      Kasey, I love that you are kicking shame in the pants and starting to live in the truth of your identity, namely that you are loved by Jesus just as you are! I am amazed too that He chooses to identify Himself with us, in whatever state we are in! Praying for you today! And for all of us, that in Emily’s words, we would be “fully awake to (our) Maker, and fully aware of his making of (us).” May we breathe deeply the truth that when He made us, He declared us very good!!

      • http://displayinggodsworks.wordpress.com Kasey

        Thank you so much for encouraging me! I join you in prayer for our friends here!

  • http://andrealeigh82.blogspot.com Andrea Noles

    Looking back, I’ve had many Sarah Masen moments. Recently, I experienced the awesomeness of the She Speaks conference. At the conference’s end, there was a space in that room that made way for the Holy Spirit, when the song Oceans, played aloud. Tears flowed and hearts sang and I will never forget the art that was made that night. Since that time, I’ve experienced God’s art in so many ways, mainly through everyday moments. He’s is speaking louder and connecting so many dots I’ve been wondering about. This book is reminding me that the art already exists within and this first chapter, Awake serves as a great reminder that God has gifted each one of us as artists. Praying I will stay WIDE AWAKE throughout the journey. So looking forward to connecting with everyone.

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Amen! Andrea!! I’m praying WIDE AWAKE over all of us!! Oh, Lord…let us see and hear from YOU!

  • Arneta

    Well, I am not new to bloom, I have read some of the previous books….but…. This is the first time doing the study, and doing it along with you all.

  • Arneta

    Oh I am soo sad… I just wrote out this heartfelt comment to post …. And all that it posted was the first sentence :(
    Anyway….. I am excited to be on this journey with all of you.

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Arneta,

      So sorry–that IS frustrating (been there, done that). Welcome, friend; what a wonderful book for you to decide to join us :).

  • http://inkingtheheart.weebly.com/inking-the-heart-blog.html Rachael

    I think the enemy wants nothing more than to confuse our identity within ourselves. When we don’t know who we are we live life wandering from this and that, never putting down roots in the true purposes that are God ordained specifically for us. If we never put those roots down we will never flourish. Becoming “awake” to the beauty within I think would mean living it out. Sometimes I feel like I am still wandering, searching for my big picture (masterpiece, number one hit, NYTimes bestselling life) purpose, and I forget about those daily moments of life that brush strokes of beauty on the canvas and will one day complete the masterpiece His is continually creating within me. It is so hard to stay small and be content with the moments, without getting lost always searching for a glimpse of the final product.

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Rachael,

      Perhaps an awareness, the desire to stay small and be content, is the best way to journey forward; if we don’t even realize we’re doing the opposite, we won’t understand our struggle. (Not sure that makes sense, but I understand you.)

  • Maria S.

    First, a big thank you and hug to the beautiful soul who paid for my book.

    If “[Artists] pull back the covering on our inner life, allow us to see things beneath the surface”, then Emily Freeman is my Sarah Masen. The Holy Spirit introduced me to her a few years ago and leads me back to Chatting at the Sky about twice a month. There, He pulls away the drapes so I can sit in utter peace and look through a window at God’s vision for my life. Not that I need to become another Emily; not at all. Rather, I hear Him gently but firmly urging me to trust my deepest instincts about who I am. And I garner conviction to cooperate with Him; not to sell out or give in.

    The life I actually live only sometimes reflects the woman I was made to be. I say this because it often feels like I’m a cog in a wheel, or that I’m running but not getting anywhere. I can’t believe that the God who loves me so completely and intensely didn’t make me for something more. When I read about “making my art” time seems to stop passing and the woman I was made to be forgives me for denying her over and over again. She gives me another chance, and I resolve to make the best of it.

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      I can’t wait for Emily to see your comment, Maria. How special for you to share the difference SHE has made in your life! So often we never know our impact, and hearing even a few instances is soul-balm.

    • http://www.chattingatthesky.com emily freeman

      I recently emailed Sarah to tell her what a gift she was to me and now to hear your words? This is so beautiful and such a gift to me. Thank you. And I’m so glad you’re here.

  • http://www.clothedinlove.org Delonna @ Clothed in Love

    Q. As Emily shared her example about awakening, did you think of your own Sarah Masen stories about artists who stirred something in you? Is it bad if I can’t think of one? I hope not.

    Q. Why are “people who know who they are” dangerous to Satan? I think when we understand who we are in Christ and who God created us to be, then we become unstoppable. We walk with an assurance that God is with us every moment of the day. We walk with a boldness that God has equipped us to be where we need to be and to do what we need to do. We walk in confidence and not fear. I believe fear often becomes the cement around our feet and makes it so we do not move forward. It allows us to believe the lies rather than the truth of who we are in Christ. To walk in our true identity should make Satan shake in his boots.

    Q. How does this manifest itself in our lives? Our society is a check list, bucket list and everything has a time & place model. We are quick to look at our works as ways to please God rather than deepening our relationship with God. God wants to spend quality time with us. Yet unconsciously we act like we have to earn God’s favor and love. Which is the complete opposite of what God wants from us. We need to keep our eyes on God and allow him to paint the canvas in our lives.

    • Mel Newburn

      I love your answer to question 3, Delonna! I need to remind myself often that God does not want me to earn His favor and love, because I already have all of His favor and love!

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Delonna,

      NO, it’s not bad!! There are likely people whose artistry HAVE moved you in the moment, but it might not have been the kind that define a season or a thing :). Your answers to the other two questions share a glimpse of who you are…a woman maturing in her faith, and an encouraging one at that!

  • Laura Leighninger

    “She offered herself honestly and beautifully, sharing something from within her laced with courage and hope. She showed me beauty and woke up a longing in me to take part in it. The beauty she shared was, quite simply, HERSELF. And in sharing herself, she showed me a glimpse of the glory of God.”
    This was the paragraph that struck me most in this first chapter. The idea that “art” is really just being the very real, honest, and vulnerable “me” that God had in mind when He created Laura, and allowing God’s glory to then shine through me to others. I ache to share with others in this “generous” way as Sarah did for Emily, but I too often find myself pulling the curtains closed, placing yet another brick in the walls I’ve built around my heart, and choosing instead to stay in the darkness, alone. This only serves to isolate me and blocks God from using me in other’s lives. It’s something this introvert really struggles with, and even more so after being abandoned by my husband. Trust does not come easily. Vulnerability feels very scary. I’m not sure I can deal with more rejection. And yet, the God who breathed worlds into existence longs to breathe through me and touch others who live in this same kind of darkness but are without His hope and love and truth. Who am I to stand in the way of that? God help me to be bold. To be honest. To be real. Help me to set aside my fears and insecurities for the greater purpose for which You have created creative me.

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Laura,

      I’m praying your own words over you right now; when you’ve been hurt, it’s understandable to withdraw. Start small. One person. Don’t feel like you have to art yourself to the world, but to one person who needs a touch of the Divine through another human. That will encourage your to open yourself to the next person…and then maybe two :).

      {{hugs}}

  • Charlotte

    Many, many thanks for the blessing of a sponsored book – my soul really needed this message at this time!

    As some others have mentioned, I too am in transition. After spending over 12 years on the mission field, where I had such a strong sense of calling that even when I experienced some traumatic things, I was not swayed from my purpose, I now find myself living in limbo and feeling very uncertain. I am still healing from the long-term effects of being on the front-lines of ministry in this fallen world and I know God has allowed me a season to process and heal – but now I’m seeking a word from Him on my next steps in the journey and trusting that His glory will spill out of all my broken places – so I’m looking forward to reading along with you all and hearing His confirmation of the Art in me!!

    I’ve had a number of moments like Emily described – one that stands out for me was back in 1995 when a missionary shared what God was doing at a critical time in the history of their country – though I heard other missionaries share that week and they all had powerful testimonies of God’s work in their ministries, there was something in what this one man shared that resonated in my heart and led me to serve in that country.

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Charlotte,

      My prayer for all those taking part in our fall study is one of Providential timing; that God brought into this group those whom he wants to minister to, in this way. In other words, I don’t think anyone stumbled here by accident :). And I’m glad you’re with us!

  • Doug Widdowson

    Q1 – 2 or 3 years ago I heard the All Ohio State Fair Youth Choir sing “The Awakening” – a song/story about a land where music doesn’t exist – only to awaken and realize it was just a horrible nightmare. Here is one part that stirs me: Awake! Awake, my soul, and sing! / The time for praise has come. / The silence of the night has passed; / A new day has begun. / Let music never die in me! / Forever let my spirit sing! / Wherever emptiness is found, / Let there be joy and glorious sound. / Let music never die in me! / Forever let my spirit sing! / Let all our voices join as one / To praise the Giver of the song!
    I have a hard time carrying a tune in a bucket but those words speak volumes to my spirit and impact how I go about my day.
    Q2 – When people “know who they are” Satan can no longer deceive you. When you know you are a child of God – the lies of Satan no longer hold true. When you know that you are a beloved child of God – Satan no longer can control you. When you know who you are – you can have life – and have it abundantly.
    Q3 – For the last 23 years one Scripture verse that has been a constant in my life is Isaiah 43:19 which says “Behold I’m doing a new thing – do you not perceive it?” I’m currently in a phase of seeing (wanting to see more clearly!) the new thing God is doing in me and calling me into. It’s a sometimes scary ride but one that also brings life.

    • Doug

      PS – Hope you don’t mind a guy joining in the discussion :) I ran across Emily’s book on another blog which caused me to purchase the book – Emily’s recent “invitation” nudged me to start reading and here I am.

      • Mel Newburn

        I personally love that you are here, Doug! Each of your three answers to the questions spoke to me! I am especially grateful of your reminder that God wants ABUNDANT life for us. Lately, I feel like I’m too tired to live life abundantly, because heck, I’m just trying to get through each day on the little energy I have. But your reminder is so powerful: ‘The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Christ is the source of my abundant life!

        I feel a tug of war that this book brings to the surface, and I hope that it helps me wrestle through further, namely feeling like I have the power to make an artful, purposeful life, versus connecting with the source, Christ Himself, and awakening to the abundance that is already within and around me. May I go on this journey with Christ at the helm!

        Thank you!

      • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

        Doug,

        I can’t remember another fella sharing in comments for Bloom before, but we’re glad you’re here! This book is special, and I’ve wondered how men reading it will process it differently than women (if there’s any difference at all….). You’re gonna be **slightly** outnumbered, but if God led you here, he has his reasons, right? :)

      • http://www.chattingatthesky.com emily freeman

        Hi Doug!

        Well it definitely isn’t a book just for women as many men have read/are reading. I’d be interested to know your perspective!

  • http://www.thestoryplaceblog.wordpress.com Kelli McKnight

    Crazy enough, I remember having this epiphany when attending a rodeo championship. I sat there and thought, ‘Isn’t it crazy that God made people desire to climb onto the backs of bucking horses and bulls? And isn’t it beautiful that He designed us all so uniquely?” I remember feeling that I was making a connection between the human artist and the Divine Creator, glimpsing the Creator within the art that these young people were creating in the ring of a rodeo. Since, then I’ve had so many “Sarah Masen” moments witnessing people performing their ‘art’ and it always always always make me praise the One who made them that way.

    I now am trying to name and nail down my own art, which pales so often in the comparison game…wrestling with God through this and finding Emily’s book to be invaluable in the process!

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Wrestle on, sistah! There are a lot of us right where you are (well, not where YOU are, but wrestling, too). It is no small thing how God moves us through Christ in other people.

  • http://www.dailydwelling.com Monica

    God is using this book to do such a work within my heart. I find myself praying to be “alive” and to live fully…to live art and display art in my life wherever I’m going. I desire to be used by God but so often feel so worthless to do so. I question the art that he has put within me. This book is giving me the courage to be me…to be the person that He has created me to be…with all my flaws and with all my strengths.

    I love Emily’s definition of making art not for my own benefit, but recognizing who I am in Christ, for the benefit of others to the glory of God. It is my humble prayer that I would do just that.

    When I think of a Sarah Masen moment, I think of those rare women in my life who have not hidden who they are and why have challenged me to be more while being my true self. I think of a group of friends who led worship in our little student group in college. They worshipped so fully and sang praises without hesitation. I also think of a friend of mine who shared parenting struggles in Sunday School this past with with open honesty.

    When people know who they are and life that out in their lives, Satan cannot attack with his lies of worthlessness. They know that God has created them for a unique purpose and trust Him first to fulfill that in their lives.

    Thank you so much for sharing this book…I can’t wait to read and discuss more!

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Monica,

      Your comment reminded me of why it’s crucial to keep my eyes on Christ; when I look around, I’ll sink every time (and fall prey to the whispers of the enemy).

  • Jennifer N

    I’m happy to be here (via a sponsored copy – THANK YOU! once again). I hope I can grow from this study, even coming from a very scary place right now where trusting God is everything, and seeing the end result – the solution that secures us financially – is seeing in darkness right now, all faith and no vision. It’s hard to find my internal art when I’m struggling with survival, but I know I can tuck this knowledge away for future use.

    • Mel Newburn

      This last year I have felt in a scary place myself. For me, it was my health. I unexpectedly had to take a big chunk of time off of work, and the financial fears loomed big. Psalm 62:1-2 were my light in the dark! I learned that when my soul found rest in God alone (not in my diagnosis, or prognosis, etc.), I didn’t feel shaken even though I had every reason to feel shaken. I experienced for the first time real peace. The beatitudes made sense to me for the first time. My friends all noticed this big work God was doing in me, and now that I think about it, even though I was in bed and feeling like a leech instead of a contributor to my family and community life, maybe being open to share the struggle and change God birthed in me was my art. I share this just to say that I think there can be art in the darkness, because I just experienced it myself. Maybe God has plans for your art in the midst of your struggle for survival! I don’t know, and I hope I didn’t overstep or offend. I am praying for you in this time of survival! I am trusting that God is walking through this time with you and that there will be some sort of diamond you discover in the rough of your life circumstances right now!

      • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

        “art in the darkness”

        yes…that is wholly possible. Didn’t God do that very thing at the onset of Creation? :)

        • Mel Newburn

          I hadn’t thought of that!

  • http://pocketfullofprayers.blogspot.com/http://pocketfullofprayers.blogspot.com/om Patty Muich

    Good Morning!

    This is my first book club ever…. be it here at bloom or away so I am filled with tons of excitement. For once I am speechless. :-) My mind is blank when I try to answer the questions. I find when that happens? I should be quiet and listen for God (just learning that one!) I just know that I want to learn what my art is!!

    I do have to pop in and say that I am enjoying meeting all of you and becoming Sisters with you (and brothers too…cannot forget that boys can read too!) I am home bound so my time with (in)courage and bloom is my church.

    It is so nice to see that there are so many here to love!

    Love to you & yours!
    Patty

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      {{Patty}}

      SO very thankful you’ve joined us! And, yes, wisdom coming from you already: LISTEN for God! Imagine that? How many times have I just blazed through without listening for those whispers?

  • Kristen

    I just read chapter one and watched the video. When I first saw this was the book for your next study I thought “This isn’t for me.” But I kept seeing the book and reading your posts abiut the upcoming study. And the more I heard and read about the book, the more my thoughts changed. And when I picked the book up at my local bookstore and read this line on the back I knew God was calling me to read this book: “Do you desperately fear you have nothing to offer the world but secretly hope you’re wrong?” That one sentence describes exactly how I feel. I am so excited to read more and watch more of the videos. This is truly a message I believe I need to hear right now!

    • http://www.chattingatthesky.com emily freeman

      So glad you gave it a chance, Kristen. I hope the words are a kind companion to meet you right where you are.

  • http://www.rhondisrosecoloredglasses.com Rhondi

    I a enjoying the book so much and underlining to my hearts content! I love one of the last things Emiy said in the video today: recognize who I am in Christ for the benefit of others to the glory of God. Thanks Emily

  • Gerrie

    I already left my comment but I am stunned to read the wonderful comments of others! It is lifting my spirit and resolve already, and I am looking forward to the arrival of my book.

  • http://bethanygracemartin.com/ Bethany Grace Martin

    I have long struggled with how to open my mouth or my writing to talk about Jesus, but spelling Him out hasn’t felt like the best approach in my relationships with people who don’t know him. I have wanted my life and my writing to point to him more, but wondered how to do it.

    I have been learning that Jesus marks my life and comes out when I least expect it, and it is always when I am being just who he made me to be. Offering help or kindness or hospitality, introducing myself to a new neighbor, writing about the wonder I find in life thanks to a kind God–all of these things are an outflow of God’s character and Life in me, even when I don’t make a point to emblazon his name on my lips!

    Emily’s words have further strengthened me in learning this. I nearly fell out of my chair when I read in chapter 1 (p. 18), “He comes into us, then comes out of us, in a million little ways.” What a God that would fill us up, then pour himself out of us!

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      “Preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.”

      That’s what your comment made me think :).

  • http://eangelinawoehr.com angelina

    It is so interesting that God has brought this book to my life in this moment. I am a mother of two little ones…I have had my thoughts of laying down my paintbrush for the tasks in front of me. My issue is not believing that I am an artist….I went to college for art I have been pursuing being creative for as long as I can remember but to read that being an artist is GENEROUS helps me. It is easy to feel that it is selfish to go to my studio and create… but at the same time being an artist in the sense of being generously who I am in ALL things is a thought that I am starting to ponder. I want to be that awakening for someone else… I definitely feel like I have been in a season where books and words have been the art that awakens my soul. I can’t remember the “first” time but I definitely need to embrace this afresh. I want to be one of those dangerous people “who know who they are” which is inspiring me to let go of all the things I hide behind in order to feel safe.

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Angelina,

      I guess being an artist CAN be selfish; it’s a paradigm shift to orient your motive and giftings toward generosity and for the benefit of OTHERS (at least for me, in some things). I find that when I’m made aware of new thinking, though…it’s hard to go back. Thank God! :)

  • Babs C.

    Okay, I’m really excited about participating in this book reading and community sharing. It’s my first chance to do so and I’m excited too because one of my friends is reading the book with me so we can share in person as well. Here’s my favorite quote from Chapter 1 “I can’t imagine anything more dangerous to the enemy of our hearts than people who know who they are.” on p. 15 and really the paragraph before too that talks about how anyone in any vocation is capable of “making art” by using their influence in the light of being fully awake to God and God’s creation in them. Then on p. 17 the four lines that start out “It’s time to…” just spoke volumes to me as if it were a song on my heart. I’m all wrapped up in the way the chapter ends in a crescendo of of poetry culminating in “It feels like redemption. It feels like art.” I’m amped up and ready to roll out all the things that “It’s time to…” do in my own heart and life. It’s time to BE ART in my now, even if my now still has difficulties. So long as I show up in a willing and genuine way, I believe my life can be art for others somehow!
    Q1 – The awakenings of my soul are too numerous to detail, but have ranged from bits in movies to quotes in sermons to seeing a post like “I love you Babe. Miss you and the rug rats.” posted by my friend to his wife on FB. Frankly, the (in)courage group has been offering me multiple awakening experiences over the past couple years and especially in the past 3 months as I have been out of work and reading more of the postings.
    Q2 – Emily has worded this so simply, but OMGoodness, this is so Power-Packed. If we could KNOW who we are in Christ, then every attempt of the evil one to dissude or distract us from our destiny would be dealt with as summarily as Christ handled the foe in the wilderness. “It is written…!!” and that is that. Moving on now to make ART in this world as God designed me to be. But like so many of my brothers and sisters, I’ve been caught up in the 18-inch wilderness that exists between my head and my heart. I can read the Word of God and see who God says I am, but believing it deep enought to act it out naturally is not as simple. Which leads me into…
    Q3 – I’m learning to find the power of rest in the spirit of God and come into deeper relationship with God my Father, Jesus my Lord and King and just communing with the Spirit that gives me wisdom and counsel as I need it. Its like the light bulb went on that this is the key to make that 18-inch journey…RELATIONSHIP. No to-do or not-to-do lists. God’s not wanting me to submit my work to him for grading. He wants me to relax in knowing Him and realizing who I am in Him and then letting “ART” flow out of me to others to touch their hearts and lives as they make the same journey. Life isn’t about me so much, except that I have to rest and Trust God so that His plans are fulfilled and Art can flow!
    I hope my rambling comments make sense. I’m just so excited because i sense I am on the brink of breaking into living out God’s purposes in my life. Time to make ART! :-)

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Babs,

      Your enthusiasm is contagious and inspiring. I could sense the energy in your words. Thank you for cheering this body onward!

    • http://displayinggodsworks.wordpress.com Kasey

      I liked the “It’s time to…” at the end of the chapter as well. It did seem to crescendo. I can’t wait to see how this plays out in our lives here!

      • Rebecca Sarine

        “the 18in wilderness that exists between my head and my heart” YES. THAT. Thank you for your comments Babs. I am here to curl up and learn to sit with God. To relax. To know Him. To let him touch me.

  • http://asouthernladysramblings.blogspot.com Katie @ASouthernLadysR

    This book came along at just the right time. I was beginning to question if being an artist was really what I am supposed to do. I love to create and share my art with others but I really didn’t know if it was was i was “supposed” to do. I know that this book was written for me. Thank you so much for “awaking” the fire that I have almost put out.

  • http://www.knowingHisname.com Annette

    When I turned 40 last year, I took an online art class because my life is lived too much in a “Christian box”. That was my moment – when the inspiration of the teacher woke something VERY big in me. I’ve continued in those art classes for 18 months now, and my soul flies when I am making “art” (use the term loosely), but I KNOW that I KNOW that God has given me those gifts. I want to use them, but He’s not speaking. It’s been 18 months of passion burning, growing, but no word from Him about what to do with them. I have no idea what He wants, or why He allowed this INCREDIBLE awakening in me. It’s hard to wait, hard to trust in silence. Hard to know if I’m forcing it and it’s just an obsession that isn’t going to go anywhere. But I feel alive when I create, and my goal is to use this passion to point people to Him. And, so, I wait. Eagerly. :-)

  • http://aemoments.tumblr.com Angela

    “I’m not just born to make art, I am art; not for my own benefit, but recognizing who I am in Christ, for the benefit of others to the glory of God.”

    This insight from Emily is one I have been trying to work out in my own life the last couple of years. When I was younger I loved art class up until the 6th grade or so. At that time the art I enjoyed started to take on the form of interior design. Through the years my interest in art and all things creative has taken many forms, though I never really felt like I landed on one particular area of interest. This has been a source of frustration at times. Despite the frustration, God gave me a little phrase for myself a couple years back. The phrase was, “my whole life is the canvas”. This phrase encouraged me to focus on the possibilities instead of the limitations I felt my life was filled with. To let my life express art in whatever form or shape it might take. And here in this book, I see Emily encouraging me to do the same thing. I love it! :)

  • http://karabutte.wordpress.com Kara

    Sarah Groves is my Sarah Masen….she “sings story.” Praying I can learn more of who I am in Christ as an artist and find what is truly life giving to me and glory giving to God. Love this sweet book.

  • http://alisonjaneagain.com Alison

    How wonderful to see this discussion (even if I’m a bit late to the party!) I’m really looking forward to going back and reading the comments and starting to get to know you all more :-)

    I have had countless experience where I’ve been touched deep by seeing someone doing what they love doing – in whatever form that takes. It’s a knowing of sorts – one of those things I can’t explain, but a feeling of fullness that I’m watching beauty at work. Outside of a ‘creative’ environment (music, visual art, craft etc), I’ve never thought of it as art, but that’s exactly what it is. Seeing someone do what they love, what they have been made to do, is art, in any scenario. And I’m always inspired to go and do the same – but I’m the first to admit that I rarely ever do.

    Which brings me to Q2 and Q3 – we’re dangerous to Satan when we know who we are, because everything we are comes from Christ. The enemy can’t stand it when we live in the fullness of the life we have in Christ, and the more we know who we are in Him, the less power the enemy has over us. I’m very much still learning who I am in Jesus, and it’s not an easy lesson, because so many of my fears and shortcomings are constantly confronted and challenged. Especially when it comes to my art – becoming a wife again, mothering, writing, encouraging, serving, knitting, renovating my house – there is vulnerability and doubt and questioning and fear all over the place. I know to embrace and live all of these parts of who I am in the fullness of Christ is who he’s created me to be, and I just have to keep trusting Him with it all – it’s a constant work in progress!!

  • Jane Underwood

    In reading all these comments, I can’t help but be ashamed of the lack of artistry I have fallen into in my own life. I can remember feeling a lot of the things people have shared here, but it’s been a while. I hope to reawaken the “artist” in myself and let God’s love shine through again. I hope this book will be the journey I need to take me back to that. Thank you for lighting the way.

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      I’m pretty sure if something is resonating in your Spirit, it’s time, Jane. Trust God in this :).

  • http://beingstepmom.com elle

    Thank you ladies for this. Emily, the way you write is amazing. I found myself wanting to underline everything in chapter one!
    I think I’m continually being awakened! Through the powerful messages at my church to the wonderful bible studies by Beth Moore and Priscilla Schier to the raw honest of the little ones in my k-1 Sunday school class. And without meaning to sound corny… through books like A Million Little Ways. I’m also so encouraged and moved by many of the blog posts here and Inspired to Action.
    Thank you Incourage for hosting this powerful and wonderful book club.
    Xoxo

  • shelly

    I love love love the idea that God put art into me when he created me, and now it is up to me to get that art out into the world! Most of us are so good with “to do” lists. What if we put: “Get the art that God put into me at my creation out into the world for others to enjoy” at the top of our daily “to do” lists?!

  • Hayley

    If I am art, I must be a collage. Music, photography, cooking, architecture, reading, knitting, fashion, home design, I love it all. It’s easy for me to see art everywhere (except maybe that abstract stuff ;) …. ) and I enjoy dabbling in a bit of everything, becoming good at a lot but not great at any one thing. For far too long I’ve felt like God made me wrong or that I’m broken because I can’t figure out the ONE thing God wants me to be great at. Ladies, God is saying that He made me exactly the way He had in mind, multi-faceted. This gives me the opportunity to be generous in a variety of ways. Thank you, Emily, for encouraging me to see myself as art.

  • http://thestrengthofabutterfly.wordpress.com Lacey

    I know I am joining this way after the dust has settled, but it is important to me, so I hope you don’t mind.
    I am art! Another way to think of this is in the fact that this body that He created is also art. As art it should be treated with similar respect and care art art is given. I think sometimes I expect my body to have no limits and perform even when I have not properly rested or fueled it or given it the awe and gratitude it deserves for all it does for me day in and day out. Concurrently, I would not look down upon any of God’s creations, but rather marvel and the complexities juxtaposed with the simplicities. The same should hold true for my body – rather than focus on the imperfections (as I see them), I should cherish and embrace the beauty thereof.
    People who know who they are have the power of God on their side to draw from during the hard times when Satan desperately tries to push us off course. But with that power Satan is conquered. He’ll try again, but by continuing to rely upon Our Creator Satan will not win!