Truer Truth

There is truth (our present circumstance) and there is truer truth (the history of God’s unwavering, faithful, covenant relationship with His people). Call it ‘the grand scheme of things’ if you like, but I believe we make a big mistake when we trust God only based on what He’s done for us today, or even in our lifetime.” – Raechel Myers

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There was a time as a child when I was playing at my friend’s house, and she had one of those huge plastic tubs of Double Bubble. She poured all the gum onto the floor and to my 5 year old eyes, it was purely magnificent. My little heart was overwhelmed with the hundreds of pieces of sugary goodness before me.

As I reached to begin unwrapping a piece, she said, “Actually Casey, you can’t have any of this gum. I’m saving them.” Saving them? I thought. All of them?! That’s ridiculous. That’s rude. That’s unfair. But, being the well-mannered child I was, I smiled and said, “Oh, okay. Sorry.” And then, being the closet cleptomaniac that I was, when she turned around, I stuffed all the gum my little grubby fingers could grasp into the pockets of the outfit that my Build-A-Bear was wearing. You can’t make this stuff up, people.

When my mom picked me up, I very proudly told her what I had done. I truly thought her response would be something along the lines of, “How clever of you, Casey! Your friend not sharing was unfair, and you were totally warranted in what you did. Justice!”

But she did not say that. Before I even knew what was happening, I was back at my friend’s door, crying and having to apologize for stealing, and returning those little means of 10 seconds of sweetness back to their owner.

It was a humbling realization to me when I saw that in many ways, I still function out of the same place 5-year old Double Bubble stealing Casey did.

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If you’re anything like me, you can easily try to rationalize many of the things you do merely as a response to what’s been done. And often, l get stuck in this “that’s just the way the world works” mindset. If someone doesn’t share like they should, I can steal. If someone thinks only of themselves, I can look out for myself. If someone hurts me, I can build walls to protect myself.

And here’s the thing that’s really annoying, it’s not like I’m 100% blind here. My friend not sharing her gum with me was her being selfish. Losing someone you love is unfair. Getting lied to does lower your trust. Someone walking away from you does say, “you’re not good enough.” Feeling rejected does make you insecure.

In a sense, those things are true – I truly feel those emotions and things truly happened that led me there. But in Christ, l find real Truth worth holding onto.

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I recently looked back at Hebrews 11, the chapter that depicts all these heroes of faith in the Bible, and these verses stuck out to me:

“And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:39-40

“All these did not receive what was promised.” Moses never entered the promised land. Abel brought a better sacrifice to God and got murdered. Abraham never actually saw his descendants numbered like the stars.

In each of these people’s perspective, God’s promise seemed left unfulfilled. Truly, in their eyes, it easily could’ve looked like they were forgotten, missed, abandoned. There’s no way on their own accord that they would understand fully what God was doing in real time.

Did God answer those promises? Yes. But in His timing, in His perfect way – so that not only do those promises bless Moses and Abraham, but me and you. That’s insane. That’s wonderful. Abraham could have thrown a fit about God not fulfilling His promise to Him, yet he chose to trust God anyway. There’s a reason the people in this chapter are commended for their faith – they looked beyond their circumstances and believed what God had spoken to be truer than what the world and their own hearts spoke to them.

Because ultimately, our experiences are not the truest truth. God’s story, His character, His promises, His word, His love for us – those are the truer truth.

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The truest truth is that God’s Truth surpasses what I know based on my own experiences. And while what I know based on my experiences isn’t all necessarily wrong, those “truths” are, at the minimum, significantly incomplete and lacking of full perspective, hope and meaning.

I can’t rewrite my life or even what is happening to me right now, as I sit here writing this. But I can choose to believe that God is who He says, and that He loves me the way He says He does.

Learning this is easier said than done, but trusting Him is always worth it. God promises to bless us as we trust in His truth over our own.

Dare to take God at His word, and trust Him beyond what you can see. He loves you and cares for you immeasurably more than what you can fathom. Because believing that without seeing the full picture – that’s real faith, and it’s the truest truth you can find.

Not to mention, it’s better than all the Double Bubble you can get your hands on.

“But blessed are those who trust in the LORD, and have made the LORD their hope and confidence.” Jeremiah 17:7

Written by Casey Cappa // Photos by Olivia McCash

A Lament for Hope

IMG_2148PC: Adam Dahir

The prophet Jeremiah, sometimes known as the weeping prophet, felt deeply, saw clearly, and understood the true context of placing his unreserved hope in Jesus.

In his book Lamentations, he withheld nothing from his true sense of being. What he felt and experienced, he wrote down using the rawest form of honesty in doing so. He writes in Lamentations 3, “I am the man who has seen affliction . . . he [God] has made my skin and flesh waste away; he has broken my bones; . . . my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, “My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord.”

Jeremiah feels as though the Lord has saught him out like a bear or lion waits for their prey (vs. 10-11). In this passage, one would notice that the writer does not hold back anything; there is complete vulnerability. He describes this season of his life as a time where he felt abandoned, a slave that could not get away, and utterly bitter. Can you relate to such a time as this; a time where you felt as though a target was on your back and you kept getting pierced in the dead center time and time again?

For some of you, you may read this passage and ask yourself, “Wait, is that even okay to speak about God like that?” I know that I was taken back when I first read Lamentations. It catches most of us off guard because, for our entire lives, we have lived under this expectation that we are not allowed to tell God our true feelings. We are only allowed to praise Him for the good and tell others about the “mountain” moments that He brought us to.  We’re taught that we can’t be truthful in our pain.

This lifestyle has created such an issue for Christians. By not allowing ourselves to grieve over the trials and tribulations we are facing, we miss out on the opportunity to truly experience the greatness of God’s faithfulness even in the face of our darkest days.

We just throw ‘bandaids’ on our deepest hurts and then expect them to heal on their own without any tender care. Friends, consider this, if we continue to just temporarily deal with the hurt we have, we will never be able to have healed ‘scars’ that show of the grace and mercy that got us through the heart-throbbing moments of pain. The hell-like moments are meant for growth, for a strengthening of heart, and ultimately to bring you closer to the Father.

What I love most about this passage in Lamentations is that it does not end with the destruction of Jeremiah, but rather it drastically takes a 360 degreee change.  Lamentations 3: 21-25 says, “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him.”

Jeremiah, even in that moment when he doubted God, was able to call to mind all the times that God had been faithful to provide, deliver, and free him in the past. Friend, the truth is that we are a unfaithful people by nature. BUT, I have some awesome news! Even in the midst of our adulterous hearts, our unfaithness to His love, He is faithful to follow through on His promises to never fail us or never leave us. He hears your cries and he counts your tears as they fall from your cheeks onto your pillow. He knows you and sees you and will not leave you alone. He is with you and He just wants you to be real with Him.

We must deal with our hurt. Let it matter. If your heart is broken, let it shatter, then watch God heal it to where is 110% stronger than it was before.

Not only this, but I urge you, if you are not in a season of lowness, to remember those low moments and let it produce a remembrance, a humility that guides your every day activities and leads to a continuous remembrance of God’s faithfulness and the mercies that are new every morning. He is our hope for tomorrow.

// Written by Joy Payne
Republished from Joyfully Living

Hope in the Waiting

Written by Tara Sanders // Photos by Emily Howard

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On Sunday morning, July 8th, it felt like the whole world was holding its breath as 12 members of a Thai soccer team and their assistant coach were being rescued from a flooded cave after being trapped inside for several weeks.

I had heard murmurings about the situation during this time, but the severity of it didn’t hit me until I read about the details.

Twelve young boys, ages 11-16, and their 25-year-old coach became trapped while exploring the caves during rainy season. The caves quickly filled with water and the boys sought higher ground as the water levels began to rise. Stuck in there with nothing more than a bike ride’s worth of supplies, the boys went without food for days and drank water that was dripping off of the limestone rocks.

The threat of death was very real, and logistically it was possible that they may not all make it out alive.

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Thankfully, that deep breath taken around the world was released with a rush as news broke forth on July 10th that all of the boys and their coach made it out alive. Eight of the boys were rescued by a team of Thai and international divers on Sunday and Monday. On Tuesday, the last four boys and their coach were led out of the cave. I can imagine the joy and relief that came from groups of friends and family watching on TV and the warm welcome the boys received when they made it back up to the surface.

According to an article written by the Washington Post, journalists began to flood the area as news of the story brought intrigue and watchful eyes from all over the world. It seemed that for a few short weeks the world was united by the hope that these young men would make it out of the cave alive.

While writing this, I’m realizing that there have been so many times when I have felt exactly like those boys-totally stuck. Mind you, I have never been stuck in a cave (though I have been spelunking), but I have been stuck in life in some very difficult circumstances where the chances of coming out of it seemed slim and my hope was waning. It seemed like there was no way out, no way of escape, and nothing to do but pray, hope, and wait.

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There are times when we feel like the water is rising up all around us. We are closed in on every side and unable to make it on our own. Those moments become an opportunity for God to show us how faithful He truly is.

But how do we hold on to hope in the waiting?

One of my favorite scripture verses of all time is Jeremiah 29:11.

“For I know the plan I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

It may seem a tad trite to quote that verse right now, but I have held onto these words so many times through so many trials because it’s not simply about God prospering you, it’s about God being aware of our situation and working in the midst of our waiting. Something that tends to get lost when this verse is shared is that this word from the Lord came to the Israelites when they were still in captivity. They hadn’t been freed yet and it wasn’t clear how they would get out. But the Lord said he had an idea, thoughts if you will, and that the plan was a good one.

As those boys sat in that dark cave, not even sure if anyone knew they were there, I’m sure many thoughts and fears arose from the possibility of never getting back out. All the while, there were teams of people on the outside working on their behalf and thousands of people who didn’t even know these boys pitching in to help.

Isn’t that how it is with God sometimes?

A friend once told me that “what we see isn’t really what’s going on.” What she meant was that we see the situation in front of us, but God sees the whole picture.

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This past Sunday, the 12 boys learned that one of the divers, a Navy Seal, Saman Gunan, didn’t make it out of the cave alive during the rescue efforts, when his oxygen supply ran out during his dive. In photos released by the Thai Public Health Ministry, the boys can be seen bowing their heads in prayer and some of them crying as they paid their respects to him.

He took a risk to save a group of boys he didn’t even know. Him, and so many others, selflessly gave of their time and resources to ensure the boys stayed alive, safe, and would eventually make it out of the cave.

Jesus laid down his life for us. He sacrificed it all so that we could have eternal hope. Not a hope that wains with life’s ups and downs, but a sturdy foundation that we can always lean and depend on no matter what our circumstances may be.

Isaiah 43:1-2 says:

But now thus says the Lord,

he who created you, O Jacob,

    he who formed you, O Israel:

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;

    I have called you by name, you are mine.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;

when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,

    and the flame shall not consume you.”

We have no guarantee that we will not face high waters or even fire, and those things can come in many forms-sickness, grief, shame, worry, anxiety, and troubles of every kind. We are, however, assured that God is aware and cares deeply about our suffering and that He always walks with us.

Breaking My Stride

I lived and moved with the world for a long time. For far too long, my feet fit in the shoes society handed to me, my stride agreeing with the rhythm culture had constructed. I might of told you Jesus was there too and, looking back, I know He was. I’d let you know I never let Him past the walls I built around me, though. I kept like that for years.

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Eighteen years, actually. But, at year eighteen, something changed. The world didn’t fill me like I’d always expected it to. I cried out for something more. I yearned for something different. To love boldly but to be loved even bolder, to find something that mattered more than this life. Little did I know that I was crying out to God. Little did I know that the walls I put up never kept Him out. I cried out to God and I found myself already in His arms. It was a game changer to find Him. At the time I had been making college plans for the year to come. I had a full ride and guaranteed job placement post-graduation, everything I could ask for. But the moment I found myself in the arms of God, I changed route immediately. I became a missionary.

Without knowing what I was getting myself into, I hopped on a plane to Amsterdam where I learned about who the Lord is. I learned of unconditional love and abounding grace. I came alive in a way I didn’t know I could. This love story was transformative. Knowing Jesus was metamorphic. I found myself immersed in a joy I couldn’t help but share. My heart learned of a love it couldn’t contain. I wanted more and more people to know about this Jesus I’d met. I needed to tell the world. I spent three months in Amsterdam before I hopped on another plane to Southeast Asia. There, I spent another three months working with local ministries in Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos. I shared the Christmas story in a closed country on Christmas day. I saw people who refused the idea of any God be healed of lifelong pains and change their minds. I met trafficked women and together, we redefined their definition of love. Jesus moved like a wildfire throughout Asia in a million different ways. It was unlike anything else I’ve experienced.

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After my time in Asia came to a close, I returned to America, but found that God didn’t want me to stay put for long. In only a month I will be returning to Amsterdam as a full time missionary. By doing so, I hope to aid people from around the world in going through the same transformation I did. My main focus will be staffing an Arts + Missions Training School. Through this, my heart is to see young artists collide with the love of God in order to make Him known. The weekdays will be spent arranging lectures for students where they’ll learn about the world of missions and arts place in it. Together, we will minister to Amsterdam’s homeless, tourists, those in the Red Light District, and more. From there, I will lead a three month cross-cultural outreach to somewhere in the nations. There we will put into practice all the students learned by partnering with local ministries and introducing people who never knew Him before to God. Aside from that, I will be serving a local missions base and the people living there or coming through.

I’m giddy over it all; however, there’s a few steps to take before booking a one way to Amsterdam. The biggest thing being that the Dutch government requires a minimum of a $1500 monthly income BEFORE I’m able to arrive in their country. As a missionary, paychecks don’t exist; so, I’m looking for a team of people willing to join me financially, prayerfully, and relationally. Before anything else, I’m searching for the church to back me up.

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More and more I’m realizing that we see God move in miraculous ways when the church rallies together for His glory. I want people who believe in that to embark on this journey with me. If that’s you, if you are willing and feel called to join my team as a one time giver or a monthly donor, I would be thrilled. I so look forward to welcoming you in and bringing you along. I never could have expected this calling placed on my life, and for that, I know it’s only by the grace of God that it comes to fruition.

A year ago God was a stranger. Today He’s a friend I can’t wait for the world to meet. I want to introduce everybody I see to Him. My stride matched with the world’s for far too long. I believe mine has changed so others can as well.

To donate, click here: ashtonperle.com/donate.
To follow her journey, click here: instagram.com/ashtonmsperle.

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

Writing Faith

The Bible tells us that the righteous live by faith, not by sight, but that is easier said than done; after all, it’s easier to trust what we can see than what we cannot. Some reference this verse as basis for the claim that faith is blind, but it isn’t! Living by faith, doesn’t mean we close our eyes and minds to what we are able to see and comprehend; it simply means that in addition to acknowledging the visible, we also believe there is more beyond it and choose to live for and according to that larger reality.

img_9542But the truth is that even what we can see isn’t always trustworthy, mainly because we don’t see everything. Sometimes things stay hidden for a while—or forever—and other times we just stop seeing. We can be looking at a deeper truth—be in a face-to-face stare-down with something previously hidden but now revealed—and never see it, because we have allowed ourselves to believe that what is apparent on the surface is all there is to see, and so we simply stop seeing. But faith tells us there is actually more, and living by it requires us to train our mind’s eye not to settle for what is visible, but to go digging for what is hidden behind, beneath, on the periphery, or in any of the minute yet infinite spaces in between.

img_9547Consider those Magic Eye images that were all the rage in the 90s. You remember: the ones that look like random 2D computer patterns but that actually contain 3D images only visible to those who are able to consciously shift how their eyes focus (on the “distance” behind the surface pattern rather than on the pattern itself). The ability to override the eyes’ automatic focus reflexes does not always come easily; in fact, some never master it, mainly because they give up. But that doesn’t mean the hidden images and scenes cease to be there. Because they are there, whether or not we see or acknowledge them. Knowing that and choosing to continue trying to train the brain to take over conscious control of an automatic muscle function—well that is an act of faith, a choice determined by what is unseen rather than what is presented at first sight or first effort.

No, faith is not blind. It is simply a different kind of vision, one that requires a lot of intense training over the span of a lifetime. That training comes, more often than not, in the form of a choice, forced though it may be: the choice to walk wide-eyed into each moment expectant and in search of the hidden things that will eventually be revealed only after we take the step. It is the choice to say yes to the hard stuff that will be required of us in our search for those hidden things, even when we have no inkling that they even exist, let alone what they may be. Faith understands that first-sight is not only-sight and that it may not even be accurate, and it requires a suspension of judgement and a divine level of patience that bring us face-to-face with our own insufficiency.

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Art challenges our sight, our vision, our paradigms for interpretation. Creating art, on the other hand, challenges our faith. It propels us into the battle for the hidden things in our own lives. At least that has been my experience with the creation process, especially with writing. When I read what others write, I am challenged to reconsider my conclusions about life, my paradigms, and my preconceived notions about the human experience; I am challenged to see what they see. But when I write, I am challenged to see what is still invisible in my internal landscape, and then to make it visible.

Writing is where faith rules and trains my sight to see the truer realities that exist beyond, that inhabit the space underneath, behind, above, on the periphery, and in all those in-betweens.

I could easily accept the surface-level narrative offered to me for what it appears to be, but if I want the real story, then I must go to battle for it on the page. I must fight to get past what I see with my eyes to immerse myself in the vastness beyond the limitations of my human nearsightedness.

I have been told that to be a writer, one just needs to write. Write, write, write! Write what you see; write what you feel; free write, journal, jot down thoughts and half-thoughts. It doesn’t matter if it’s bad or good, just get it on the page or on the screen. Exercising the writing and imaginative muscles is what strengthens them over time and theoretically equips a writer to eventually produce good content. And I agree with that theory. Until it’s time to make myself sit down and actually put it into practice.

img_9541For some, the activity of writing is more enjoyable than for others, and for some, the biggest dilemma is which of their many ideas to explore and flesh out first. I know I’m supposed to write—Pops has made that clear—but it isn’t usually enjoyable for me; it’s more like a battle. And my biggest dilemma hasn’t been that I have too many ideas. In fact, until recent months, it was that I really had no ideas at all. So making myself sit down to do it is really hard, almost scary: What if I really don’t have any ideas, and what if I can’t get any words out? Then suddenly a story appeared in my mind, and it came out fairly easily. Whether or not it is good writing is always debatable, but that isn’t really what’s important to me right now. The important thing is, I wrote something. I walked into the battle being waged between the visible and the invisible, and I won. The words on the screen document that fact, and regardless of what anyone else thinks of that story, I think it’s breathtaking because of what it took to produce it and because of the invisible realities and truths it brings to sight.

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Months passed, and then suddenly another story came—a continuation of the first one, which surprised me, since I believed the first was just a one-off. This new one was shorter, simpler, yet significantly harder to work out. Hard enough to make me cry actual tears, but important enough to the training of my faith that I could not walk away from it. So, once again I went to battle. Wounds were exposed, but safe places were also established. The battle I fought once again lives on the screen in words I can see with my physical eyes, and the victory contained therein astounds me even more than the first did.

img_9558A few more weeks passed, and again, when I was certain this sudden spurt of story-writing was still just an anomaly, Pops said, “There’s more. Go ahead, my daughter.” Only this time, I know it won’t be a one-off, and I know now that what seemed like isolated one-offs were actually parts of something bigger. He has not given me the entire outline, but instead has invited me to journey through it with Him one step, one scene, one battle at a time. And I have a choice to make. I know my heart will bleed, I will shed tears, this will hurt, and it will be hard. Do I run away? Or do I put my hand in His and jump into the vast as-yet unseen?

Writing is becoming my trust fall. It’s where I work out my salvation with fear and trembling. It’s how I learn to walk by eyes-wide-open faith and to defy the limitations of status-quo, surface-level living. Writing is also becoming my fight song. The hardest step to take every time I am beckoned back to the page is saying yes, but every word already birthed is a reminder that the yes is worth it, that choosing faith over sight is worth it.

And so I write. I write to find the life preserver, to cling to my Rescuer, to peer beyond, to defy limitations, to exercise my voice, to walk by faith and not by sight, to uncover the life of freedom I’ve been promised and live it indeed.

Written by Amber Crafton // Photos by Lindsay McMullen