Archive for the tag “Christian”

what if…


I dream of green places—wild woods, cold creeks, salty beaches, breathtaking mountains. I dream of quiet happy gardens full of chirping birds and the smell of basil and tomato vines.

I dream of pushing paint across grained surfaces, of sweating over nails and wood, of stretching and tying fabric into form. I dream of ink and words and far away places.

In my dreams I know I don’t want to be known simply as a ‘good’ person, too kind to dismiss and yet too bland for real words. I want my name to bring up dreams and hopes and a fight for more—but more than that I want my name and all that I’ve lived to be inexorably tied to my lifelong pursuit of the One Great Love.

I’ve spent hours cutting dreams out of my heart that don’t make sense, that don’t fit into a reasonable time frame. I’ve cut out the dreams that are too hard or that will take more than I think I possess.

But what if…my love of nature will help me sooth a friends soul today. What if my painting will inspire new hope for a loved one. What if my garden’s produce will feed a hungry soul. What if my inked words give a blistered heart a ledge to hang onto.

It’s time to step into the wild, and reclaim passion. It’s time to drop my fear of becoming colorful, my fear of life. It’s time to believe that God created me and all my dreams for a purpose. That God can use it ALL for the good.

I’m starting to see that cutting out dreams is a brazen lie from the Enemy; this notion that me, my heart, my passions, were just too much and all wrong. I’ve believed for too long that I must become small to make myself less of a burden on the world around me.

It’s time to grow large and wild and give out of the abundance of that beauty.

What is the deep dream you are afraid to pursue? Do you think it’s time to go after it?


Lying Still

Lies are an odd topic for a ‘good, Christian girl’ like me. I laugh and tell people I’m not a liar. When I lie my face burns hot, my tongue trips, and I can’t hold eye contact to save my life. But recently, in my pursuit of freedom, I’ve found myself digging out of a mountain of lies.

When I felt pain, I told myself it wasn’t pain and buried it down deep. When I felt fear, I told myself I wasn’t afraid and I ran far. When I felt anger, I told myself it was wrong and held onto a crackling, happy smile.

My lies added up to one terrible cost, a life of depression and the death of who God made me to be. And I, a being meant for great movement, was left lying still.

My lies cast dark shadows and my being doesn’t give off the light of the One Who Saves. This world needs all the light it can get, but I’m left unable to speak about freedom. My lies deaden my senses and I can no longer trust myself. Trust is necessary to make to decisions and to create.  My lies steal my ability to truly love. Without love I become isolated.

Lies are one of the Enemy’s greatest weapons, because ultimately, the crime is pinned on me. Until…The Great Love rescued me again. I write because I’m free. I write because I believe fewer and fewer lies. I write because I can’t help but speak about Hope.

Do you lie to yourself? Are the lies holding you back from what God created you to do?

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galations 5:1


IMG_0241“Evangelism is just one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.” D. T. Niles 

Every morning I wake up hungry.  But minutes race forward the moment I open my eyes.  I pretend they pause while I sleep, but really, they’re always ticking.  I feel their insistent pulses.  What time is there to feed my hunger when time is ticking, racing?

My need comes before I open my eyes.  It’s unfair.  I hate that it chooses me before I have the power to kill it. I would beg every morning for bread to assuage my need if I wasn’t so ashamed.  Ashamed that I never feel full without Him.  Is He disgusted by my broken, needy sounds?

The hunger regenerates inside me, a new flavor of deficiency for every day of the week. Blue and sad.  Angry bullish red.  Thick black and fearful.   Why must my humanity be dependent on meeting my terribly great needs?

This morning, may I have the strength to listen to my hunger and feed it.  Not ignore it like some petulant child. May I celebrate the mornings that hunger is met in Your voice.  And may I press forward in the mornings when silence forces me to sit uncomfortable, waiting for You. May I remember that Your hope is not brittle.  It is as sure as sun rising.  May I remember to thank you for Isaiah, Psalms, for friends, for kind books, soft and deep. May I remember to thank you for the wind that breaks through the pins in my hair and the thoughts in my mind. And today may I be one beggar leading another beggar to You.

essential community

heatherMy Sunday school class has been studying wise words from a man who lived through the Nazi terror, Deitrich Bonhoeffer.  He was a Christian, a writer and fearless.  In fact he wrote several books while underground.  (I figure if he can write while dodging Nazi’s, I’ve got no excuse!)

Anyway, he unpacks the concept of community, a word I’ve always felt was simple and really meaningless in my life.  In fact, I relegate community to a low spot on the totem pole because I’m what people call an introvert.  But Bonhoeffer talks about how community is absolutely essential to our lives as Christians, in fact it’s in our DNA to live in community.  I’m simplifying this to the extreme, so please take time to explore this further because let me tell you, God has really been speaking to me about intentional community.

Being an artist is difficult, sometimes impossible.  And I think being a Christian artist is even more challenging simply because we are speaking about life altering things.  It might be wrapped up in a children’s story but it is none the less important.  Community is what keeps us going through the tough times, walks with us through the hard questions and celebrates with us in our victories.  We are in some sense, prophets.  We believe God speaks through our art.  We believe he inspires our work.  And through our entire lives we will always be wrestling with and unpacking the implications of this mysterious relationship between God the Creator and human artist.  I’ve found great comfort and strength through exploring and working through this with my artist community.

Talk to me about your community.  Do you have a community?  Is there anything that happens in your community that you find to be particularly helpful?

words to build life on


I’m always thankful when I find material to write on during devotions.  One of God’s kindnesses to me!  I just finished reading chapter 6 in the Message version.  And it had me re-examining my life in many areas but let me just tell you the part in context with living as a Christian with a calling (people we ALL have a calling…mine happens to be writer/artist.  I’d love to hear what yours is!)

“There’s trouble ahead when you live only for the approval of others…” [Luke 6:26 MSG]

I have a great way of trying to make myself feel good by pleasing others.  I call it Christian duty.  I act like if I can make everyone happy with me, my life will be peaceful and happy.  I can turn phone calls, finances, laundry, cooking, and a host of other responsibilities, big and small, into my Christian duty.  And it’s true, we are asked, expected, to do many of these things with good reason!  However… my motivation, my focus is wrong, and this is how I know…

I still have this nagging sense of guilt.  Heather you should also have done… you know she will be mad at you if you don’t… they must think you hate them because you didn’t…  But it’s nine o’clock at night and now feeling guilty and exhausted.  And to top it off, I feel unfulfilled, like I’ve accomplished nothing.  And then I’m simply an unpleasant person to live with.

I told you all that I have started writing at 6 a.m.  Not everyday, but on days when I have to leave early for work and won’t be home, this is what I do.  I’m not a night person so mornings work best for me.  When I do this, I have a sense of peace for the rest of the day because I did my work.  My work, the work GOD called me to do.  And somehow, the rest of my work goes a little easier.  Making God-pleasing the focus of my day changes things.  Shock!

I am a work in progress.  This idea of putting God first and what he’s asked me to do is a very new concept for me.  And it hasn’t been a smooth process.  Still isn’t.  But it’s better than where I was before.  God gives us life changing, freedom making solutions.  He speaks them into us through many ways, the Bible, music, friends, life events.  What are we doing with the truth he’s giving us?

“These words I speak to you are not mere additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living.  They are foundation words, words to build life on.” [Luke 6:47 MSG]

I would love to hear from you!  Are you struggling with fitting your calling into your day?  Has God shown you a way to fit your calling in hectic/confusing life?

the art of living full

Stillness.  To be instead of do.  I was sitting on my couch in the room where the sun comes in the mornings.  My tender back still raw from vertebras moving in wrong directions.  When my back gives me trouble it usually has to do with inner turmoil.  So I’m sitting, tears coming because I stopped for 30 seconds and let myself feel instead of sucking it up.  Problem was this annoying emotional time was taking up my carefully carved out artist time.  Which was making my back hurt even worse.  Heather you’re failing ran ‘round in my head so many times it turned into a catchy little tune.  So as I’m pouring out my problems to God, he tells me to slow down.  And then he says because I am moving so fast I can’t see.

I need to be able to see as an artist.  We artist rely heavily on our senses, and all my panic, my rushings, deaden the senses I need to be an artist, to be a wife, a God-lover, and a compassionate human being.  Being an artist for me is an outflow of my experiences as a human.  But if I’m not experiencing, what do have to work with?  Nothing.

The thought of slowing down makes my hands shake.  To literally just be in a moment feels nearly impossible.  It’s like I have adult ADHD and I can’t remember or focus long enough to really be human.

Breathe.  Deeply.


Be where you are and nowhere else.


Breathe in.

Speak with God.  He listens.  And he talks back.


Feel free to remind me to be in moment if you see me.  God said he came so that we may have life to the full.  Hectic craziness isn’t living.  As always I’d love to hear from you!!

Give us this day our daily bread…

I ignore the words because I am not in need of bread.  What do I need?  I need time.  I need someone to help me balance the five hats I’m wearing daily.  I need resources.  I need peace.  I need inspiration.  I need time to play.  I need time to sleep.  I need energy.  Bread is the least of my concerns.  Samantha Bennett said a few things recently that I haven’t been able to shake out of my head.  She inspired this post.

The mere word Christian does not encompass the amazing complexity of my relationship with God.  But suffice it to say a few years ago I happily gave up all plans, goals and hopes I had for my future and told God I would do whatever He wanted me to do.  In the middle of Malawi I’d had a taste of what God had planned for me and I realized it was infinitely better than anything I could ever cook up.

So I set out on trying to live a new way, asking Him to give me the plans for my life.  And then Life crept in.  And I ended up wearing a monument length of hats on my head and I forgot to ask God what He had planned for me.  And the amount of what I was doing was throwing out my back.

This week in two minutes flat, Sammie is sitting cross-legged on the floor, explains how God will literally give me what I need every day for the work He planned out for me that day.  My daily bread.  And she says that she’s found God’s plan for the day typically is a shorter to do list than what she would have written out.

What?  My knotted, aching back eased for a moment.  He’ll give me all that I need. He knows what I need to do today.  That includes my art, my marriage, and my mundane (i.e. groceries, laundry, cleaning toilets).  The Bible says He is a good God.  His yoke is easy, his burden is light.  He is a God of order.  He is not the author of confusion.  He is Love.  If the God who created lions, tigers and bears and the galaxy that extends beyond the border of our skies…then can I trust Him to guide me through my days, through my art, through my needs?

Do you trust Him?  I mean really trust.  When push comes to shove?  And then in the quiet, in the absolute happy times, are you willing, do you crave asking Him to give you your daily work and your daily bread?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.  I think you can tell I’m really processing this and seeking to work it out.


I separate my life into compartments.  This is me as an artist, this is me as a wife, me as a worker drone, me as a Christian.  In my head these roles are not cohesive.  I see myself as separate parts.  I don’t bring myself to these roles, I try to remold myself to fit into these roles.  Of course, when I hop back and forth between four or five different roles in a day, the remolding process gets pretty overwhelming and complicated.

And then I am surprised by how burned out and disjointed I feel.

God’s been speaking to me about this. Why am I so afraid the whole me isn’t good enough to show up?  And how can I give 100% to the roles God has placed in my life if the whole me never shows up?  Four years ago I didn’t see any relationship between my work as an artist and all the other roles I played.  But today, as I sit crying over a book called Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend, I finally understood something.

God + Heather = Healthy Heather


Healthy Heather = Productive, Happy Writer (and wife, and Christian, and employee)

God was something I used to fit in when I had time.  Time with God took away from time cleaning the house, writing my book, making money.  So I didn’t spend much time with Him.  But after hitting rock bottom four years ago, time with God became necessity.  He was my air.  He was my way out.

I still catch myself thinking, “I’ve got too much to do today, I’ll spend time with God later.”  And then I have to stop and say, “Heather do you remember what happens after you spend time with God?”

Have you heard the Bible stories where the five loaves and two fishes turn into enough to feed five thousand people?  Ok, I don’t end up with 5,000 hours in my day, but usually, after time with God, my days become so much more productive.  I have better writing sessions, I become a laundry-cleaning machine, and when my husband gets home, my heart can go still and focus on him.

Please hear me.  I do NOT believe in any kind of Christian/religious formula (i.e. if I do this God will do this.)  I simply believe that I have stumbled into the greatest relationship of all time.  Time with God changes me.  It molds me into who I was created to be all along.  And that person is more than able to fulfill the roles placed in my life.

How does God show up in your daily life?  Does He speak to you?  Do you speak to Him?  Do you think He notices or cares about your work?  Does God play any kind of a role in your art?

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