Sunday, October 28, 2012

Living with a Whole Heart

Living with a Whole Heart © 7.5x11.5"
This is my newest piece! I actually just finished it this afternoon. This work was inspired by Brené Brown's book I Thought it Was Just Me (But it isn't)  and Sara Groves's Loving a Person - Add to the Beauty.

I read Brené Brown's book this summer. I have never leaned so much about how shame can shape us as women! What a tough topic to divulge into and side by side with vulnerability, not something I would normally be drawn to, but  when I had a mentor suggest a few books to me this summer this is the one I knew I needed to read more than anything. I know shame is something that my heart struggles with deeply from childhood scars to finding acceptance.

I love how Brené Brown speaks of Wholehearted living. This is the inspiration for the title. Choosing to be fully you, and fully honest about who you are. There is such a fragility about choosing to not simply please the people around you and try to meet all of the standards that are thrust upon us. I liked how the size of the hummingbird can represents this frailty.

The female North American Hummingbird is flying with her breast open and her inner wing exposed to the viewer. The pose in itself represents the vulnerability of sharing who we are. We are open not only to receive empathy and strength, but it can also open us to rejection and hurt. Causing us to make a courageous choice.

As I went to paint the hummingbird I did my some research on the bird as I usually do before painting, and I came across some facts that made her even more of a perfect choice! I learned that hummingbirds have a large heart in comparison to their body weight of 1.75-2.5% of their total weight. They actually have the largest heart to body ratio of all the animal kingdom. I also found that as a hummingbird is in flight their heart rate is about 1,260 beats per minute, compared to that while resting as about 250 beats per minute. I couldn't help to think about the shear effort flight takes these creatures, but how beautiful it is to watch them whiz around as if they are dancing with the wind.

I think about the effort it takes to love someone, to meet them where they are, and to seek them out when they push you away. The effort it takes to admit I am wrong, that I have made a mistake, and most of all to ask for forgiveness. I think of the effort it takes to be real, to love myself, and to grow. I think of the effort it takes to reach down to my pain to provide empathy and understanding to another, or to simply let someone else know they aren't alone in their struggle. That moment of labor is worth the flight, it is worth the refreshment of my soul, it is worth the joy that follows. The knowing of finding purpose in my existence to worship and connect.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Obstruction of Fear

Fear and Viewpoint 2.5x 3.5" ©
I don't know if you have ever felt as if you were not true to yourself, or presenting the real you because of fear. In the last few weeks I have been thinking a lot about how my fear changes the way I act.

It has been so frustrating for me. I want to show others who I am from what I see myself as, but my fear gets in the way. I get jumpy, and the nerves take control. I second guess what I say, laugh at things I normally wouldn't, and lastly become over animated with everything. I feel like this anxiety is like a wall from authenticity, a wall from my soul.

I painted this image of the tufted titmouse as an example of this struggle in me. I thought this bird was fitting after watching it in the yard, and reading about it out of my Birds of Iowa book. This little bird is almost never found with others of its kind outside of mating season. I watched it flitter here and there with a group of sparrows, tossing seed in the air. I think that it is interesting how these little birds never seem to be found in groups of their own. I thought about my fear and how I feel that it isolates and keeps me from being apart of a group, flying solo for the most part. Then I added the brick as a symbol of the fear that is present surrounding certain situations in my life. I have the choice in how I react to the wall, thus the bird having the view of the wall and away.

It helped me just to get the ideas out. I reflected more on a current situation and how I could find a way to calm my soul, reach out and trust, set a boundary for safety, and be confidently me. I settled on seeking grace to move forward in prayer, giving me the courage and the strength to go back and try again. I sat on the truth of being loved by my Creator and Savior no matter what human opinion and opposition I face. I resolved to keep what is so raw and fragile to Jesus and my truest allied friends, those who know my heart so well. I kept this little card with me as I went onward as a reminder when I needed some strength, or was tempted to run backwards. There it was bringing me back, grounding my heart once again.

"The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul."
Psalm 19:7
Another good one to check out is Isaiah 52:1

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Beauty of a Season

Fall 2012 ©
I went on a walk earlier this week and it was beautiful! This is a picture from my walk in the woods near my home. The weather was just a perfect seventy-five degrees Fahrenheit, with a light breeze blowing in the air.

Somehow I always forget how much I love fall and how beautiful it is. Off the top of my head if you asked me what my favorite season is, I would probably tell you spring with all of the new growth coming up and the anticipation of the warm summer days. It seems easy to welcome the change of spring with the melting snow.

Fall is a different story though than spring. Fall proceeds the cold, it proceeds the cloudy days to come. Fall is the death of summer and everything green. Soon comes slush and icy roads, and gray salt and sand. I often think of these things and forget its beauty, its vibrancy, and the story if has to tell.

I thought of the way God changes my heart. The place of beauty before the dark and lonesome winter to come. I thought of that moment when you feel the peace of knowing what Christ is calling you to. There is such joy and vibrancy in that moment of finally knowing which way to go, even though you know that the road will be hard before you. I think of the joy of the Israelites leaving Egypt and crossing the Red Sea. What must they have felt on the verge of the season in the desert?

I thought of the trees letting go of their leaves to move forward for winter and then new growth in spring. Fall the season of letting go to move forward to transform. I also love this song lately surrounding fall by The Blackthorn Project. Come Home To Me (Song For Laurie) | The Blackthorn Project

"Let the trees of the forest rustle with praise, for the Lord is coming to judge the earth."
1 Chronicles 16:35

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pictures of Egypt

The song by Sara Groves, Painting Pictures of Egypt has been in my head a lot.  I thought it was kind of starange sense I hadn't listened to it in quite a while. I just love the honesty of her songs though, so beautiful and makes it so easy to connect to them.
Sara Groves - Lyrics - Painting Pictures of Egypt

Makeovers © 2010
I have also been ready Isaiah 52 this week. It has been one of those times when you open a scripture and you can just feel that God is going to do something crazy with you through it but you just don't have any idea yet. I am so excited to find out what he is leading me to though! After reading it the first thing I thought about was this song after having it pop in my head at random (or not so randomly ;) ) frequently throughout last week. The parallels between the song and the scripture are undeniable to me. Both speak of leaving the captivity of Egypt. Along with captivity in general.

As I sat more with my thoughts I have been thinking about sanctification and how it applies to this. I think about slowly breaking free one chain at a time. It seems that once I feel free God like to point out a new place that I comfortably sit in my slavery afraid to move forward. "Look Carliann, why are you holding onto that chain? Can't you see it is hurting you?"

I tend to respond with how much I enjoy its company, the reasons I don't want to leave it, and proof of some past hurt of why I shouldn't let it go. I tend to make excuses like in Sara Groves work about how things were better before. I find myself saying "at least I had this or that before, at least I felt secure about, at least I knew, etc." I find it hard to make the decision to make the rough choice and move forward.

I think it is interesting as well that in Isaiah 52 ends with a prophesy of the crucifixion. I think of how thankful I am to Jesus providing the ultimate example of taking the narrow and hardest road towards freedom for us. The imagery is so vivid in verse 14;
But many were amazed when they saw him. His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human, and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man.

If He faced so much suffering for my freedom, how much is it for me to face some suffering for moving toward the freedom He is calling me to?

I know there is still a ton I have to learn from this passage still, but I thought I would share it with you. I would love to hear from you about how you might struggle with similar things. I hope this was encouraging to you.