I am still in a bit of exhausted happy... still a little reeling from His goodness... still catching my breath and breathing Him in. (...and still wondering why we make it so much harder than He means for it to be. But more on that later!)
I just returned from a Women's Retreat in gorgeous Lake Chelan.
I was asked back in November to do an original art piece to fit the theme of this retreat. The leadership team approached me with 5 words to go on and asked me to pray and create. Wow... what an honor! I was blessed by how He spoke to me and what He showed me were His intentions for the women at this gathering. I finished the piece and continued to pray for them, but thought my part was done.
Well, wait a minute... before I get too far ahead of myself, let's do it this way:
This is an excerpt from an earlier post that Holley Gerth prompted in asking us to be bold and share our God-Sized Dreams with her... and with you... to just be bold and 'put it out there'... so back in early January, this is what I wrote:
"The call is still loud and clear... catch the vision and write it down... and so I write. I journal. I blog... and just recently, I dream again.
You see - as much as the call to write is real... and the desire of my heart is to create pictures with my words that draw you in... not to me, but to Him... what I am finding is that my REAL God-Sized Dream doesn't STOP at writing or getting published. No - God is not that small!
My Dream still is to share His amazing Abiding Love, and His Abounding Grace! My real God-Sized Dream involves creating community and sharing words and experiences - whether written down, spoken over coffee, or at a podium, where my heart can connect with yours and you can grasp, on a deeper level, the real intimacy... the passionate pursuing Love that He has for you! THAT is my God-Sized Dream. It only begins with writing!"
So - that post was written at the beginning of the year. I was then asked to teach a workshop on Prophetic Art at said retreat. (SO out of my comfort zone - but I am stepping into the pieces of me and Artist is something I am boldly standing up in.) Then I was asked to teach two classes. (My OneWord is Surprise! So I just kept saying Yes!) Then I was asked to share a bit about the original artwork and the charity (Women At Risk, Int'l) that the proceeds would go to during dinner.
The team of women our main speaker brought with her was amazing. They flowed together and really honored each other and their giftings! It was such a blessing to see them minister together! The worship was amazing... and then came the afternoon break-out sessions... To begin the classes and see the ladies faces - knowing that they were nervous, a little unsure and scared... not knowing what to expect... I loved being able to tell them that by the end of the class, they would be surprised and would have had fun! They laughed as if it were a joke... but it was true!
Watching them grasp that it's not really about skill or artistic talent... watching them pray and hear from God, then take a risk and draw or color or... you get the idea! All of that was priceless, but the best part was watching them trade art and share what God had showed them... it was like watching them each get a hug from God. Such love... such encouragement.
There was joy... laughter and tears and hugs; I-can't-believe-He-sees-that-in-me!'s and I've-Never-Told-ANYONE-that's! There was Awe and wonder and magic and Glory lingering around that room! As I watched the classes wind down, and art being treasured not so much because of the beauty of the work but because of the heart of the message, I thought - this is it! This is the beginning of the unfolding of my God-Sized Dream.
I pray that what the women took home with them was a sense of how much He loves them... of how much He is pursuing them... how He sees them. I could tell even as the retreat went on, that the women were being impacted by the awareness that God knows them... that He sees them... and that they can pray and ask the Lord for a Word of encouragement, a picture or a way to show others how God sees them.
There is a shifting and unfolding that takes place when we encounter God in a new way and I am not quite comfortable in trying to wrap up the weekend just yet! It's still in motion... He is still speaking and reminding and cementing some of what was started in the deep places of their hearts while up at the Lake.
I will write more tomorrow about why I think we tend to make things harder than He intends for them to be, so stop on by for a cup of coffee and a little honest pondering. We will talk about what made me finally pack up and leave Fear behind, and what, exactly that felt like!
For now - here are a few shots from the weekend... a few Gifts, if you will... glimpses of beauty snapped here and there in my limited time spent outside!
BEFORE much coffee consumption...
...and AFTER much coffee consumption!
Now I can SEE (all) the beauty of the Lake!
And lastly, the High Bidder & winner
of the Silent Auction for "Time to Fly"
(Isn't she precious?)
Linking up with Holly and her community of God-Sized Dreamers...