An Open Letter to Refugees

Republished from www.jessica-walker-blog.com

Dear Refugee,

I don’t know if you can hear me.

I am one voice in a sea of screaming voices.

I don’t know if my words will dare to launch themselves from page to heart, your heart, but that’s where I want them to land.

The world is a mess of war, of hatred, of pointing fingers and wagging tongues.

The violent voices, scream too loudly to give way to simple understanding, wisdom so desperate to seep into their bones.

I don’t know why they scream that way.

I guess they are afraid.

But I want to tell you something.

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I am not afraid.

I am not afraid of you.

In fact, I have been taught to lay down my life for my friends.

And I think you and I could be very good friends.

And even if we were not, I would still value your life, just as much if not more than my own.

I don’t consider my own safety, not at the cost of yours.

I think loving you is more important.

And oh, how I want to love you well.

I ache to grasp your tear-stained face in my hands and look into your eyes.

You are my equal.

And as I envision your trembling and weary frame, my heart breaks.

I want my life to be a welcome mat.

I want you to feel at home with me, to find grace with me, to laugh loud with me.

I want to be a warm, home-cooked meal and a hot cup of coffee on a bitter, negative-four-degree day.

Because when I counted the cost and gave Him my very life, I gave up the right to demand my own comfort.

I gave up entitlements.

I gave up demands.

And I cannot understand the horrors you are facing right now, but I am sorry.

I am so sorry.

I am sorry that pride paralyzes.

I don’t deserve freedom any more than you do.

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And, I know that this letter doesn’t change anything, but I pray that this would provide even just one small degree of comfort to your heart, that you would feel loved by one small person.

My friend, come on in, you’re very, very much welcome.

j. k. walker

“You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 19:34

“‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brother, you did it to me.'” Matthew 25:35-40

Forgiveness, Fellowship & Fresh Starts

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for quitting.

I’m sorry for letting my selfish discouragement affect my responsibilities.

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I’m sorry for abandoning the greatest community I’ve ever been lucky enough to be a part of.

These words, now off my chest and living on a page, are full of vulnerability. Not just because I’m not a writer, but also because they make me nervous about the past, present, and future.

As many of you have probably noticed, there has been no activity on any of our social media sites for several months. If you would like to know why, continue reading; if not, just know that things are about to change!

Last fall, there was a lot going on in my life. After starting Artfully Seeking on June 29, 2016 so many incredible opportunities quickly arose. I didn’t realize that my small idea would touch the hearts of (and dare I say, meet the needs of) so many talented, Christ followers. While I felt immensely blessed, it quickly became more than I could handle.

IMG_2307During the month of October, I attended entrepreneurial workshops at my alma mater because I wanted to take Artfully Seeking to the “next level”. Throughout the process I was able to meet so many wonderful people and gain lots of business knowledge. Everything was going well, until I stated that my goal, for Artfully Seeking, was to become a non-profit. This turned tables and I quickly became discouraged when I was continually asked, “But how are you going to make money?”

In the midst of preparing for the final pitch, I went on a mission’s trip to Tanzania. I was anxious about leaving; I needed to plan, I needed to post, and yet, I wasn’t going to be able to do either. However, the break from the busyness of California life was much needed. I also realized, during my time hosting a VBS for missionary children, that the internet is not life and I shouldn’t get so wrapped up in it.

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This trip, along with the fear of my upcoming pitch, which included no solid ideas of how Artfully Seeking would be profitable, are what discouraged me from continuing to pursue my passion. I also came to realize, as many of us do, that I was spending too much time on my phone. From looking for artists and photographs, to messaging, commenting, and liking others’ posts, I became consumed. I wasn’t present when I was with family or friends, nor could I respond, in a timely manner, to all the collaboration inquiries I’d been receiving.

And so, to be honest, I didn’t see the purpose of spending all this time, energy, and emotion on something that wouldn’t make money. But over these past few months, I’ve realized that this movement was never about me. And it was never about money.

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There have been many people who’ve reached out saying they miss seeing Artfully Seeking’s presence online. Daily, I receive emails and notifications from people looking for ways to get involved. Our Instagram followers, number of tagged photos, and hashtag usage has continued to grow. But that’s not why I’m back.

I do not care about numbers.

Of course, the more people who are encouraged by our words and work the better, but stats are no longer on my mind. I also don’t want the main purpose of this to be money making. That is why, currently, there are no products for sale on our site. The goal of our community is to support artists and their creations. I will continue to feature craftsmen and women, in hopes that you will buy directly from them.

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Fellowship is my number one priority; the most authentic fellowship that can be had through laptop and phone screens (which I pray turns into more). I do not know what the future of Artfully Seeking looks like, but right now I want to simplify it to the reason I started this journey: showcasing and supporting Christian artists.

I may post once a day, once a week, once a month, or once a year, but I want you to know that I am still here. However, it’s not about me and I honestly hope this will be the last time I am mentioned. If fact, I get extremely shy when someone greets me as the founder of Artfully Seeking.

I do this for you.

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This is not a personal blog but a collaborative one.

I am not an artist though I appreciate art. Yet, I understand that with or without me, God is still going to use you, and the talents He has gifted you with, to make a difference for the Kingdom. I’m just along for the journey and to do my part in helping spread the Gospel.

You have been there for me and now I want to be there for you. I cannot thank you enough for your never-ending support and I hope this time around will be even more of a blessing for all of us. Together, I truly believe that we can change the world.

Written by Rachel Morrison // Photos by Carly Bell

Broken Hearts, Broken World

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“Christianity affirms that at the heart of reality is a Heart — a loving Father who works through history for the salvation of His children. Man cannot save himself, for man is not the measure of all things and humanity is not God. Bound by the chains of his own sin and finiteness, man needs a Savior.” // Martin Luther King, Jr.

Romans 12:15 urges us to rejoice in times of rejoicing, and to mourn in times of mourning. We are heartbroken over the loss of so many lives in recent days, weeks, and months. Between corrupt politicians, many injustices, and so much death we are seeing that the days are indeed evil. Ephesians 5:16 affirms this but we are also given a command: make the most of every opportunity.

IMG_8389Another great quote by MLK Jr. tells us how we can do just that: “We need to pledge ourselves anew to the cause of Christ. We must capture the spirit of the early church. Wherever the early Christians went, they made a triumphant witness for Christ. Whether on the village streets or in the city jails, they daringly proclaimed the good news of the gospel.”

This is our purpose, friends — spreading the good news. Recent headlines prove that the heart is desperately wicked and beyond cure on our own. Many devastated people are asking why? They are seeking answers for peace and so some point to gun control, activism, and other human means to remedy our broken world. If you are in Christ, we hold the answer! We have a hope within us that we should be ready to share. We have a Savior that bridges the gap between us and God! He is the healer of hurts and the embodiment of love. Oh, let us mourn. As the church body we should cry alongside the world – for lives were wrongly taken – but let this spur us on to greater love.

We have promises of a day with no more tears or pain. Let our light shine and our love pour down on men, women, and children of every color. The greatest way we can show love is to point others to the Gospel, to Love Himself.

Written by Dianne Jago, founder of Deeply Rooted Magazine.

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“Made this yesterday, not even dreaming of what
could’ve happened last night.

My Father is constant and faithful. He will never change, no matter what the circumstances. I weep for this broken world, a world that desperately needs Jesus. he is mourning with us. he is the same, yesterday and today and forever.”

-Charlotte Pell

 

Photos courtesy of Charlotte Pell. Wall hangings ↠ Etsy Shop.