beauty

Jessica Ferreira painting

Severing Strings

I am bubbling with joy right now because today will be the first time I feature a guest writer/past-blogger/artist. My best friend, Jessica Ferreira, is an incredible human being with a heart that outweighs gold. We met in 6th grade, when she was heavily into her Spice Girl phase and I was only about some Hanson. She moved back to Venezuela for 7th grade, and I thought I’d never see her again. One day after school in 8th grade, I saw her standing by a wall and had to go and talk to her! The rest is history. Our friendship has cultivated and grown since then, with hilarious highs and barren lows. We get through. She is a fighter, in every sense of the word, and is a walking bottle of creativity. Today she will be sharing with us a work of art that comes from the deepest depths of her soul. Vulnerability has not always been her strong suit, but her journey to transparency is in full swing and one can only be bettered by everything she has to give.

Megan and I have been good friends for a very long time. And by a very long time I mean long enough for us to know that when a Saturday has clear blue skies and is slightly breezy, we both text each other saying, “It’s a BK Kinda Day.”

Yes, Burger King. Don’t judge.

When she asked me to guest blog for her, I was very honored, but skeptical at what I would talk about since “writer” is not the first thing I describe myself as. But alas, it is something I like to do.

When she asked me to write something for her, I got the notion from God to talk about a painting I did a little less than a year ago. The notion was more like a nudge to finally present this piece to others, even though it brings up a lot of roughness in my life.

I don’t have a name for this painting. Yet.

I don’t even know where to begin explaining it really.

However, I can tell you I painted it because I had to release what was going on inside of me. And for me, painting is the only way I know how to do that.

The months before this painting was made had brought about a relationship I had no idea would change my life. I had invested all of me into a person whom I had, at first, genuinely befriended and loved in Christ. As the time passed, however, my needs, along with theirs, became tangled in long strings of attachment; emotionally, physically, mentally, even spiritually. Those strings became thicker and harder to sever, becoming chords that bungeed as we so desperately tried to run the opposite direction. Because of those needs, we saw in each other a glimpse of mutual and unconditional love; a love that stemmed from Godly pursuit, but became twisted enough to make us believe it was all we had.

Satan is very good at doing that.

When things began to unravel (thank God) because of conviction, my life felt like the perpetual walls were caving in. In retrospect, they were actually scales falling off of my eyes.

I saw the strings that we all naturally possess. Strings that, at their proper use, are to be united for healthy relationships, with guidance from the Holy Spirit. But my strings (my needs) became connected through my selfish gain, causing not only hurt and doubt for me, but also rapture and pain in a once beautiful, unfortunately short-lived, friendship.

I wanted love and to be loved, and so I gave my needs away, letting the strings wrap around someone who was never intended to hold on so tightly.

When I started the painting, I had a very difficult time. I had to revive the pain so that it could reach the surface enough to be purged out. After a while, and after staring at it for longer than I care to admit, the lines began to flow, the colors began to emerge, and the feeling of release was finally peeking it’s way through.

The white lines around the figures are our natural, God given needs to reach out and be loved and love fervently. The colorful chords are the ones that had been attached, intense in color and strength but damaging in all ways. However, by the immeasurable Grace of God and the Cross, he severed them.

You may be dealing with issues similar to mine. Problems that are aroused by the need we all have to feel wanted and needed, but going about them the wrong way. We may have the idea that if we love someone enough, and they love us in return, they are capable of fixing us, whatever we may need fixing in our lives.

Listen friends, we are but humans, incapable of rescuing each other from the depths of turmoil. We fail at that because we are fallen. We must continually seek Jesus in order to even border the line of servant-hood and love He walked along so passionately. And Jesus did it because he knew what the Father wanted: dependance on Him. Not dependance on his disciples who loved him, not the crowds who sought him out; not even the idea of just, for one moment, taking in what this world had to offer.

He attached himself to the only source that had the power to revive him in the darkest of times, even if those times were lonely.

It doesn’t matter who or what you love, but a matter of the heart. It is not whether you are in need of something or feel you are attracted to someone, in the right binds of marriage or if are a loving father, mother, sister, son or  daughter. It is where you put them in your heart that you must be aware of.

So my encouragement is this: Be honest with yourselves. It leads to truth. Be honest with where you put people in your life. When you do that, and you realize that there may be a person that has become a chasm between you and God, just hand that to Him, for He alone can handle it. Not you. Not the other person.

I also encourage you to find ways to release these sometimes unspoken emotions. From the talents we have, the times we use to exercise, to even being vulnerable with someone; it can all lead you to a path of awareness.

God knows the ins and outs of your deepest longing. Depend on it. You are worth it.

More Than The Song I Sing.

I need God.

I need even more of Him.

More and more….and even more.

It’s a scary but also a weight lifting reality to be unveiled from the illusion that I don’t need God. I NEED HIM. For His help. His comfort. His understanding. His mighty hand. His death and life through the son. His grace. His humility. His strength. His hope. His wisdom. His truth. His courage. His discernment. His patience. His fellowship. His joy. His wild ideas and his huge calls. His whole and complete love.

Do you see? All good things come from the Father.

Without Him, I can only have specters of such things.

This truth makes me want to burst. The passion, the compassion it creates. Oh friends, it is overwhelmingly sweet.

See, when I come to this place, when I get a glimpse of such complete unity with my Creator….. I just want everyone to know. I want everyone to have Him, to hold on to Him and to be held by Him.

I think about all the people I’ve passed by; all those souls I’ve written off, whether it be for my lack of faith or because of my overflow of selfishness.

I think about high school. All of the friends and spectators who were put in my path. Everyone who saw something in me, but never got to hear what that “thing” was all about.

I think about my best friends, their struggles, and my blatant apathy towards them.

I think about my family members who know nothing of grace but only of abandonment, rejection, bitterness and self-service. And my fear of them not wanting anything to do with me.

I think about my communities past, present and future. All of the broken pieces, the wandering and the dead bones.

Thankfully He is a God that cannot be tamed, and what He wants will surely come to pass. So perhaps all of the ones I’ve passed by have, are and will get to thirst after and taste reconciliation and restoration, and just a bit of His glory.

I know that some of those reading this are not about God or religion or Christianity. I’m o.k. with that. Please, don’t write me off. We are all apart of this big beautiful painting. Lets live this life together, whether you’re here in Lake City, Florida or you live clear across the globe.

Please, ask me any question. All the questions. Stir up the wells and the deep waters. Lets dance in the rivers and carry each other through the scorching desserts.

Go, and be encouraged this Monday morning. You are not alone.

Hallelujah.

Lyrics That Stick With Me.

As I was on my way to pick Daniel up from work yesterday evening, Piano Man by Billy Joel came on the radio, and I will listen to it every time. There is one particular lyric in that song that I just love. He uses the word “bread” to replace the word “money.” I don’t know why, but it is so good to me. It got me to thinking about other lyrics that have moved/stayed with me. I wanted to share.

 

“They sit at the bar and put bread in my jar and say, ‘man, what are you doin here?'” – Billy Joel Piano Man

“Some days aren’t yours at all, they come and go as if they were someone elses days…” – Regina Spektor Somedays 

“Why’d they kill my dog and man I miss my Uncle Charles, ya’ll…” -Bone Thugs-N-Harmony Crossroads

“As the lover knows his beloved’s heart, all the shapes and curves of her even in the dark…” -Audrey Assad Known

“I wish you’d hold me when I turn my back… The less I give you, the more I get back…” The Civil Wars Poison and Wine

“And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back, so shake him off, whoa!” – Florence and the Machine Shake it Out

“All the vampires walkin’ through the valley, move west down Ventura Boulevard…” Tom Petty Free Fallin’

“Always remember there was nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name.” – Avett Brothers Murder in the City

“There will come a time I will look in your eye, you will pray to the God that you always denied, then I’ll go out back and I’ll get my gun I’ll say, ‘You haven’t met me, I am the only son.'” -Mumford and Sons Dust Bowl Dance

“In a many dark hour I’ve been thinkin’ about this, that Jesus Christ was betrayed by a kiss, but I can’t think for you, You’ll have to decide whether Judas Iscariot had God on his side.” -Bob Dylan With God on Our Side

“You’ve got no one to blame for your unhappiness, you got yourself into your own mess.” Wilson Phillips Hold On

“All these hit men look like organ grinders to me, Rock Stars on golden chains, little monkeys dancin’ round their feet…” -Edwin McCain Gramercy Park Hotel

“As the music at the banquet, as the wine before the meal, as the firelight in the night, so are you to me.” -Eastmountainsouth So are You to Me

“Now the diner in the morning for a plate of eggs, the waitress tries to give me change I say, ‘nah it’s cool just keep it.'” -Ryan Adams The End

“You’re as white as snow, but you were as bloody as a freshly cut throat… it’s the dirt in my lungs that brought You here to me, to save.” -The Lilies and Sparrows The Dirt

“Lord have mercy on my soul, I’ve had a good run but I can’t run anymore, just put me down…” -Every Time I die For the Record

“We are, we are, home for a season…” -Gasoline Heart That Girl

“Your first dawn blinded you, left you cursing the day, entrance is crucial and it’s not without pain…” -Nickel Creek This Side

“Until the sea of glass we meet, at last completed and complete, the tide of tear and pain subside, laughter drinks them dry…” -Switchfoot Restless

“When I get older losing my hair many years from now, will you still be sending me a valentine, birthday greetings, bottles of wine?” -The Beatles When I’m Sixty Four

“And this life sentence that I’m serving, I admit that I’m ever bit deserving, but the beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair.” -Relient K Be My Escape

 

What are some of your favorite lyrics?