Throughout the years I have filled countless journals with countless thoughts, questions, dreams, and disappointments. I have journals for sunny days and journals for cloudy days, journals for my journey with the Lord, and some for poetry and art.
Writing has been my companion through all the different seasons of my life and has been my safest outlet for real and raw expression. Writing down what I experience has helped me so often, especially in dark times.
At some point in my story, however, my thoughts and feelings were so dark, that my writing didn’t help me sort through my scattered mind, but was a mirror to myself of the pain I was feeling inside. I spiralled, and I felt incredibly stuck. When I started seeking healing for my heart, my writing had to heal too.
I felt challenged to let God into my creative process, which resulted in me consciously making a decision to lead myself to hope every single time I picked up the pen. That didn’t mean that I stopped putting my real and raw thoughts on paper, but it meant that I didn’t stop there. I would challenge myself to end every page of my journal with hope, even if it was just one sentence that encapsulated something a bit brighter than the world I felt stuck in. I would write about my ups and downs and then add something as simple as “…and I know that God still loves me, even on the days when I can’t see why.”
And that, my friends, changed so much. As I let hope into my creative process, I made room for God in that space too.
Here is a little poem that I wrote when I felt very overwhelmed. Notice how it leads from hopelessness to hope, from despair to redemption.
- Bottled up feelings In this bottle of feelings Feelings too deep to be felt in the wild A bottle of feelings And a young tortured mind Guilty and shameful And mirthless and mean Too broken to be taken Invisible; but seen By a stranger that stops and takes with great care This mortifying bottled up letter of despair That reads it And turns it And writes something down Leaves the bottle of shame on the cold empty ground What did he write down? What words could they be? The words that he chose were "Child, you are free." -
Truth is, sometimes life is painful and our hearts are hurting. And truth is, that hope and freedom are still very real. When we feel unlovable, there are people out there that love us more than we could know. When we lose all hope, God has a future and a destiny for us. When we fall, we are gently held, and gently carried through.
What if we dared to hold space for both, the real and raw, and for defiant hope? What if what we created stirred up a joyful expectation for what is yet to come in ourselves and in others? What if it held hearts and led them to freedom?
I dare you, create. Let hope be defiant.
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