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The Glory of Process, Beauty in Progress and its Gardener

Have you ever been so enamored with the vibe of another person that you can’t help but obsessively wonder about the kindred connection you might have if you ever had the chance to sit down and talk?  Well, your vibe definitely does attract your tribe because that’s exactly what transpired in the session I had with this certain person I am showcasing.

I cannot explain the honor and pleasure I feel in treasuring this person’s heart.  This exceptionally special person desires to remain anonymous in this showcasing, but the crux of her beauty is no less powerful detached from a name.  She has agreed to everything I am about to share with you about her, and has endorsed this project as a dedication to any woman who has ever felt “less-than” and struggled to know her own worth.  Though I cannot publicly praise her name, I would like to adamantly express my deepest, deepest affection in who she is a woman, dreamer, lover of people, and “gardener of souls.”  In a span of 10 days, over 24 hours of painting, I had the most exhilarating privilege of intrusively peering into her innermost self, staring at the details, while listening to God express His heart in the exposure:

“See this, see that, I made it…  And here is why…  Her design is for this purpose.  This detail is for this reason.”

Oh my stars, the love He has for her is outrageous, AND I got to feel every violent wave of its intensity each time I scraped colors and blended shades just to get the right tone for her skin, hair and each allusive symbol of this painting that prophesies who she is. Every fiber of who she is in on purpose.  Every nitty-gritty thing and every intricate complexity is intentional and wrapped up in so much grace.  Her gala-smart giftedness to magnify the beauty around her is impressive, but it’s in how she beautifies the overlooked and obscure that’s truly moving.  It is innately God-given.  Her eyes are wide-open with wonder.  You know the kind I’m talking about?  They have that mystifying twinkle in them.  She’s a quiet listener and she can afford to be, because her eyes do all the talking.  She explores the silence of savoring people, but those sparkling eyes give away the secrets of the beauty she’s collecting in her heart.  She’s a lingerer and a listener, a modern-mystic who ministers through gentle musing.  (SO many M‘s in that sentence.  Wow…)

I pray with all my heart that she feels the weighty warmth of Love pressing against each detail of her being.  I also wish this for every single person reading this, may you feel the loving hands of the gentlest Artist adoringly and intentionally pressing against each detail of who you are.  May His love ambush every insecurity and kiss what’s been cursed and turn it into gold.  May your curse becomes your cure, just drop the s, shame.

Shame is a liar and we can’t afford to hide from Love anymore.  We are so amazing.  We are made to be loved so outrageously.

So let’s begin here.  With all the wildest, purest affection in my heart, I present to you this piece.  May this conglomerate of prophetic poetry and illuminative oil painting minister beauty to you and impart new vision to see and appreciate your own.

 

The Beauty Gardener

“So above all, guard the affections of your heart,
    for they affect all that you are.
    Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being,
    for from there flows the wellspring of life..”
                                                Proverbs 4:23 The Passion Translation

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To the woman who pays attention to the details.

You are a seer who sees, but also a lover who loves to listen.

As you see, you sow seeds.

As you listen, you labor in love.

You grow gardens.  You grow gardens inside of people.

It’s not that you’re an overbearing waterer.

It’s not that you’re notoriously picking at the weeds.

It’s not that you’re tying the feeblest plants to the tightest stake.

You’re not out to hurry along the process.

You see that it’s the baby-steps and small beginnings,

Patiently lingering in the beauty of progress.

That is what grows gardens in people.

You don’t listen to respond, but rather to understand.

And that’s the greenhouse-atmosphere you host: the adamant desire to understand.

Your heart to understand why some flowers are shy to bloom,

So you lovingly stoop and listen to their murmurs of progress.

No worry, no hurry,

Your soil is the softest and richest because you’ve guarded it by gardening it this way.

Your patience is a prairie all its own.  Wide open and safe.

 

 

 

To the woman who stewards beauty

In wisdom and trust, holding it loosely.

What wisdom to see that success

Is measured in the day to day progress.

You qualify the weakest “yes” as the very best,

And count that latest-bloom as an extravagant harvest.

You are fascinated with the growing stages, just as much as the final bloom.

A lonely seed, buried in the darkest tomb,

Dies, comes back to life; the grave now an earthy-womb.

The straining roots and struggling shoots.

Tediously fighting for sunlight,

Tethered to stakes just to grow upright,

But there you are, Gardener, adoring the process.

And when the blossom finally unfolds, it’s majestically effortless.

You learned this from your Father, who lingered in love for you, Daughter.

Because you were indeed His Flower, and He was your Gardener.

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Your life has become poetry in motion.

A song on a cellular level— feeling, thought, emotion.

Humming hybrid-chords,

Tears being your liquid-words.

Unable to communicate the heavy matters;

All along, the groans are the prayers your heart utters,

Giving language to your soul

The Spirit translates, making whole.

Giving praise to what’s been a mystery.

Desperately wanting to have history,

Of you and Him— You and Him completely.

Oh, adoring what it cost to know you deeply.

The breaking down,

Turning inside-out,

Unimaginable depths,

Hopes dashed, dreams swept.

Oceans you swam, people you held, affections you’ve felt

The intricate, complex ecosystem of self:

Of crisis leading to clarity,

Of grief leading to glory.

Of bitter turning into sweet.

Of winter turning into spring.

Learning to dance with the opposing winds,

Strengthening your core so it won’t break when it bends.

 

 

What has died, falling off and become the fertilizer for your new season.

What’s been taken away was never a punishment, but for the sake of mercy’s lesson;

Learning all along it was always for your protection.

Healing your eyes, removing the filters of your own self-perception.

Protecting you from settling for what you thought you deserved,

Stripping you down, back to the basics, so Love could redefine your worth.

Learning there’s grace in the moment,

That there’s never a “no,” just a “not-yet.”

Or God simply just has a better “Yes!”

There’s Hope in the “not-yet.”

He really has predestined you for the absolute, very best.

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And here you are, being loved.

There is no doubt, no more plucking off your own petals:

“He loves me, He loves me not.”

No need to knit-pick, no need to meddle.

He has laid you down in green pastures.

He has restored your soul.

Though you wilted in the dirt,

He got down on his hands and knees,

Seeing you crushed, He pressed His lips to each insecurity.

Kissed each wilted, crumpled, rumbled petal,

Like a loving Gardener would.

He loved you back to life.

And here you are, loving life back.

 

 

And here you are,

Kissing all the flowers in the garden.

Kissing, collecting pollen,

Re-pollenating— spreading it all around.

Tenderly savoring each smell,

Giving praise to each one’s own significant beauty.

Dear Miss Gardener, look at your garden!

Notice and see, how each row of the field turns to follow your light.

Notice and see, how every breath you breathe is inhaled like a sweet fragrance.

Notice and see, how many hybrids have re-pollinated in the softness of your soil.

You are the safest garden for so many shy flowers.

You are the softest soil for the most timid of seeds.

You’ve been so tenderly held, so you inherited the most gentle of arms.

You love well because you have guarded your heart well.

All you are flows from the innermost greenhouse of your soul.

You have stewarded your affections in the secret garden of His Love.

You have walked with Him in the cool of your daydreams.

You have conversed with Him in the morning mist.

You have gotten close and seek to be closer still.

And that’s why you are trustworthy with such a purpose.

You have a garden of smiles to tend.

You have thousands of hills to explore.

 

 

You gifted, glory-Gardener.

I hear the Father singing over you.

My heart responds in praise.

Your life makes me want to give praise.

JRH

Uncategorized

Solitude is for the Artist

I never realized how terrified I was of solitude until I decided to face some dark emotions and process pain.  I never realized how I glorified “busyness” as a substitute for feeling significant because deep down, I was terrified that I was lacking significance without feeling useful or needed.  I have been running around for quite some time trying to avoid this crisis.  I would have really good weeks where staying invested in people, feeling needed, feeling enjoyed, feeling purposeful for the most part, but I  wasn’t in my lane.  I was taking on too much and had all these grand intentions, but they stayed just that: good intentions.

Feeling unfulfilled and ashamed of this track record of unfinished “brilliant ideas” I kept having mini-crisis after mini-crisis after mini-crisis.  Finally after a heart wrenching disappointment and mini-crisis seven-hundred and sixty-four, my husband looked at me square in the face and with gentle-sternness said “You need to just do it! You need to stop being afraid of your own greatness and take baby-steps at your dream.  You keep distracting yourself and it’s time to stop.”

I wish I could say that it just clicked and boom, I felt super empowered by courage.  But I am even still dealing with layers of insecurity and timidity with all of this, but like he said, baby steps.  I wish I could say that this was the first time my husband had said those words, but it wasn’t.  He has probably told me similar words hundreds of times and has given me so many gracious, uplifting pep-talks in these last 3 years of marriage.

What the real testimony here is is not the embers of my dying dreams suddenly catching flame in a sudden moment of courageous breakthrough.  The real testimony here is unconditional love.  My husband’s resilient graciousness and patience.  This is the awe.  This is the real testimony of beauty.  This story.  One of many.  The tension, the sadness, the struggle, the heartache, the discouragement that set the wildest backdrop for our love to keep spelling out a vibrant, illuminating “yes” to one another.  With my most recent “yes,” I said “yes” to take this risk.  For the sake of my health, for the sake of honoring my husband, for the sake of my dreams, for the sake of trusting God, I am taking this risk: solitude.  No more chasing after counterfeit significance.  No more indulging in the addiction of busyness.  No more.

But…

While in solitude, I discovered something wonderful in the midst of all the scary insecurities and unknowns.  Solitude is for the artist.  It’s for me.  It’s rigged in my favor.  There’s so much grace in it to process and just be.  I will begin sharing the revelation of what it has looked like for me walking in a season of solitude thus far.  I truly believe this is a wonderful blueprint that gives language to those who are ignorant and afraid of solitude.

To the one who confuses solitude with isolation, this is for you.  To the one who is scared of solitude because you’re afraid of facing your truest self, this is for you.  To the one who is exhausted from going through the motions and desperate for change, this is for you.

 

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Solitude is for the artist.

Solitude is a holy occasion void of pressure and urgency.  Pressure drives the function part of us to compete against urgency & tension. Always functioning in order to complete a duty is the death sentence of artists, and ultimately, the abortion of beauty.

Solitude is sacred and essential in order for beauty to survive.  Custom, daily-grind, routine, occupation- the series of doings which requires interaction from the functioning part of us.  It initiates the “doing” part of us. Where solitude initiates the “being” part of us.

Both are important parts of our humanity, but one should never stifle the other. There must be a healthy partnership in order to thrive in excellence and purpose.

True artists find their craft as a vehicle to communicate beauty.  The kind of beauty that demands to be recreated. Solitude is the holy occasion that ministers to the emotions of an artist. Emotions are what beauty influences.

Without human emotion, beauty wouldn’t have a witness. Without solitude, an artist couldn’t recreate it.

The enemy attacks our emotions first because our emotions are the womb of beauty. Beauty is the personality of God, and its sole agenda is to communicate outrageous Love! Beauty is whimsical in essence, but the wonder of it evokes a sense of purpose.  Beauty is strategically placed.

So emotions that never experience beauty become love-anemic and enter into depression. An artist unable to detach from functioning can’t enter solitude, and stifled creativity will leave an artist feeling unfulfilled, purposeless and insecure.

 

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Artists are so important to culture.  Culture needs beauty.  Beauty is Love communicating to orphaned emotions.

The enemy is either presenting pressure to shut down emotions and exhaust the function part of us, or he is oppressing the emotions with anxiety and depression and in our frailty, initiates a lie that: our identity is in our condition.  So whenever we agree with that lie, we engage it as a concrete reality, that ushers in a lifestyle of substance dependency to cope with our emotions.  Medicating our dark emotions will numb ALL of our emotions.

Or, for a more religious ego, it appears more dignified to suppress emotions with a mindset of indifference, if there’s a fear of disappointment.  Where one might say they “care” out of caution or duty, but refuse to engage with the full depth of feeling towards a person or an issue.  But if there’s a pressure that inflicts pain, there’s a reactionary function of performance that replaces the emotional processing.  Refusing to grieve a hurt or face the root issue of why we feel urgency, anxiety or pressure will only default to a guardian emotion of rage, anger or even hate.  As much as our pride would like to get away with not falling apart in sadness for fear of appearing weak or incompetent, that sadness will just manifest in a different emotion like rage.  Rage seems like a stronger emotion, so anyone frantically upholding a strong, independent front will often hide out there.  Pride does cast a delusion that makes indifference and rage seem more dignified than sadness or tender-heartedness.  Pain is inevitable, but humans run and run and run from it.  Each human does it differently to.

God never intended for us to carry pain, but our emotions do have grace to process pain. Grieving seems scary, but grief and sadness are rigged with grace to lead us into a place of healing. The enemy wants to trick us into shutting down our emotions and “hold it all together” where God has given us grace to process our emotions. We don’t have to hold it all together because God has already got it all together. He is really great at restoring what’s broken. Holy Spirit is giving us permission to fall apart in His Presence. It’s safe there. If we refuse to face our agony, the Comforter can’t comfort us. Holy Spirit wants to be invited into our darkest emotions and lead us into a place of joy!

Comfort is beautiful. It’s a lovely quality God has & wants to express. God WANTS to express Himself. The enemy is out to sabotage the communication between God’s Love expressing beauty to our emotions. The enemy wants to isolate us from beauty and in its place, inject feelings of insecurity, unworthiness, shame and infirmity.

This isn’t something new the enemy is doing, he has done this since Eden. He tricked Eve and Adam into questioning the kindness of God so they hid when they messed up. They pulled away from fellowship with God because they felt shame. God’s response, “Who told you that? Who told you you were naked? I didn’t. I made you to be fully seen and fully accepted; basking in My smile and enjoying the Beauty of My delight.”

Detached from beauty, we forfeit thriving for surviving. We enter cycles of bondage to our pressures and anxieties. Self-preservation substitutes re-creation.

Pressure is so overbearing to anyone isolated from grace, so then the only alternative is to numb it with emotional-suppression; when actually, we are meant to be in open communication with a beauty that empowers emotional expression!  Solitude is that holy occasion where our emotions are postured to communicate with God.

God WANTS to express Himself to us! God takes beauty seriously because it’s His full investment in our emotions. He longs that we fully know who we are. He is Creator for the sake of Love. Love is always communicating as creation keeps re-creating. This is why solitude is so important, because we are creators made in the image of the Great Artist, and creativity needs rest to meditate and ponder over beauty. A healthy imagination is always immersed in the wonder of beauty.

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Let beauty possess you. Let yourself savor it. Linger in it.

Explore and express how it collides with your soul. Creativity is giving glory to God. Simply acknowledging what is beautiful releases glory. It gives praise. Praise completes the enjoyment and gratifies the emotions. It connects us to God and connects God to culture. Let God be found in beauty’s cause of wonder instead of having God be misrepresented by an overbearing religion or political agenda.

For the sake of beauty, create! For the sake of your soul, create! Creativity energizes and heals. Expose yourself to beauty so that creativity can happen. Beauty is more powerful than laws.

Art is the vehicle that expresses beauty.

Culture’s most powerful influence is art and beauty, not laws and wars.  The artists shape the future, not politics, not religion.

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So, with all my heart, I feel this conviction: to partner my role as an artist with the purpose of giving beauty a voice.  I truly feel this blog is the best YES I can say to this mandate: to give culture language for where they lack language.  To call out to the deep emotions and kiss what’s been cursed.  To love what’s been rejected.  To sanctify what’s been shamed.  And as a prophetic person, I have felt Heaven moving towards human emotion to bring revival and redemption.  The artists and prophetic creatives are rising up to give prophetic language to culture to navigate their emotions with intelligence and grace- without shame, without fear, without comparison or competition.  I feel deeply that God has it on His heart to break indifference off of the religious and arrogant, so they can feel, heal and walk in freedom in their emotions.  I also feel God is going to break addiction off of the tormented and indulgent, so they too can feel, heal and walk in freedom in their emotions.  God is after our self-esteem.  Beauty is out to minister to the human soul. Beauty is out to remind humanity that we are the crescendo of creation.  We are the baby in the cosmos-cradle.

So, dear one reading, I invite you to be loved and be known here.  I fling open the doors of my gypsy-jelly-heart and gush out all the pent-up ooey-gooey-gushy-creative-intuitive-expressions I have for you.  As I begin this journey of interviewing souls, prophesying to their emotions, translating their beauty and then showcasing their self, I pray you encounter the source behind the process: Love.  Not merely spectate it, but interact with it.  Talent is impressive, but passion is moving.  Be moved and touched by Love as your emotions wake up a little, maybe get startled a little, by the raw honesty of a showcased soul bearing witness to beauty.

Enthusiastically yours,

JRH