Saturday, November 10, 2012

practicing...open


Inspired tonight by these new, little, open books and this son's open arms...


I am practicing.  

I thought I had it down. 

I focused so intently on the idea of open hands & an open heart all year.  I actually thought it was a well-formed part of my inward life, like a well tooled habit?  I have honed its message in posts, written of its divine goodness, created art from its abundance. I would wake each morning with prayerful excitement on my lips -- and be certain adventure was coming!  I thought I understood. 

What happened? 


Somewhere this summer I fell down.  

I could tell you all the reasons, but I don't need to. They are universal to many of us.  Bodies that hurt and break down, relationships that grow in unexpected ways (good/bad), household concerns that don't go away, and boys (children) that have big life decisions and health hardships.  It is all part of this life.  Common stresses, right?  

I know you know.  

But sometimes there are just too many hard things.  Sometimes there are just too many.  


Today, the parts of me that are strong are strong because of God's strength.  When my life became too complicated (and too hard), I remembered the most basic thing...I don't have to do *hard* alone.

So, I am moving when God moves.  I am under His watch and care.  I am held.  He knows me, the real me, the silly hideherheadinherpillow me.  He knows the groanings of my heart and He loves to wipe the tears from my eyes.  He is my first love, my real and lasting love.  And I don't have to do this life alone.

He really doesn't leave me alone (even when run away and want to pout :).

Do you know this?  Do you feel this too?  

You are never alone.  


I have found that times like this I often retreat.  Sometimes I will find solace in reading or writing.  Sometimes it is photography or getting messy in a studio of paint.  Having art entrenched in my life is a Godsend.  I don't know what I would do without it.  It is a purging of self, sometimes completely without words, and it is as powerful as medicine and as worshipful as anything I know of (especially with something beautiful playing in the background -- I love Mercy Me "the Hurt and the Healer")

Do you feel the same?  

The ways we are tenderly held together in this space (where heaven and earth meet) is often transposed in our artistic expressions.  In our art, we allow openness to happen without thinking.  We allow divine moments to happen.  It becomes a place where brokenness is made beautiful.  We can see more clearly.  The words make more sense.  It is easier to breathe~


I still believe in openness.  I believe in living with an open heart.  I believe in stretching out my fingers and allowing life to happen -- I just have to let go of the fear that I have let in -- openness in life means vulnerability and honesty (I have learned that much!).

Perhaps this is why it has taken me so long to post. It takes courage to post "hurt" honestly and being vulnerable with you, here, in my hope filled space -- of love and lambs and messages of God's goodness.  I am holding out my hands in a pleading need for mercy and healing and peace.  We don't do this life alone and perhaps you will pray with me.  In my sharing, maybe we won't feel so alone in our tender spaces. We can hold each other up~

I am here with you.  

God is here with us.  

We will be okay...He promises.  


These journals are my current loves in my studio.  They were lovingly hand-tooled by my friend Karleigh from her sweet local studio.  I think each tells its own story and is ready with pages-open to welcome my life's art. You may want to see them for yourself?  Badger and Chirp journals

I will be sharing my hope-filled sketches with you this week~

In love and God's tender care,
jj

25 comments:

  1. Beautiful heartfelt post and wonderful photos. Many more good things to be coming soon by the sound of it.

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  2. What a beautiful post and such perfect timing. It's as if you were inside MY heart and head. Thanking you and praying....

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  3. Yes, so thankful I am not alone, and even when I wander and forget it's safe to live with open hands and heart all I have to do is reach up. So thankful we have a God who knows our frame and weaknesses. Thankful for new days, new beginnings and new mercies.

    Thankful too, for your precious, open, yearning, expanding heart!

    Grace, peace and love to you!

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  4. Thank you for sharing this with all of us. I am praying and thinking of you, you have helped me without even knowing me or that I needed help so thank you and we are here to pray with you now.
    Maria

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  5. Oh Junelle! I'm glad you posted. We all need to pray together. My prayers go out to you and your family. Life sure is one heck of a ride, isn't it? But you are correct -- we are not alone.

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  6. Junelle your post meant so much to me this Sunday morning! Life can be so bumpy wumpy sometimes. Just making it through a day sometimes is hard. Thanks for the reminder that we are not alone in this crazy wonderful life. I, like you, am so thankful I have my art that get me through the bumps along with God's grace. I am soaking up every minute of your Wild Art class. Thank you so much for sharing your talents, your grace, your blessings. Hugs and love to you sweet Junelle!

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  7. junelle...what can i say? words that were formed just seem to fly away. God used you. with this post. He used you to speak to me. i hear His truth in there. for years i have felt alone...even with those closest to me.

    'I am under His watch and care. I am held. He knows me, the real me, the silly hideherheadinherpillow me. He knows the groanings of my heart and He loves to wipe the tears from my eyes. He is my first love, my real and lasting love. And I don't have to do this life alone.'

    for last couple weeks He has shown me that i need to be more open. to be more honest. to be more authentic. to share...even my weakness and my dissapointments. to open my heart and my hands.

    will be praying with you. for you.

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  8. This is why I love getting your blog in my inbox. I feel the same down the the art being an experience of worship. Vulnerability and openness have been my goals as well. Praying for you as you seek openness.

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  9. I'm so tickled that I found your web pages! They touch my heart...I feel we are kindred spirits...you touch so many others this way too...it's apparent by reading your blog! Every time I visit I find something that is heartfelt.
    I Thank the Lord that he made us where we can love each other and pray with each other without even knowing one another...How AWESOME IS That!
    GOD IS GOOD!!!!
    Keep at it...you are doing God's Work!
    God Bless You!

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  10. When life gets hard, I remember what I know about God. He loves me, He will never leave me, He is my Strength, my Sustainer, my Salvation. I rest in His Word and in His arms. Thank you for sharing your heart.
    Love & Prayers,
    Marilyn

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  11. You are an inspiration junelle....hugs!

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  12. "He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it..."
    Dear Junelle, i am sad to hear you have had some sadness & hardship in your life lately. I will be praying for you... I, too, praise the Lord for His faithfulness & His lovingkindness that lasts forever.
    All the beautiful things you "thought you understood" -- you still do, in the depths of your heart. The Holy Spirit will remind you of those things in His perfect time. It is okay to "Simply Be" sometimes, especially when that is all you can manage.
    You are loved.

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  13. Junelle, there really aren't words for how much I appreciate you sharing and reminding me that none of us are alone - that my broken places can be healed and that God is good. I'm praying for you, it hurts that you are hurting as you give us so much - you and your lambies ;-)

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  14. Sweetest sister. I just took a walk with you in the monastery. This post is so graceful. You words are full of such poignant poise. Your honesty and vulnerability is a blessing and a healing. It truly is. Because of your hardship I dare admit that I've been in retreat most of this year. Overwhelmed by life imploding. Almost feeling all hope had been removed. But just last week - as things seemed to culminate - I suddenly felt engulfed by the feeling; but God is on our side. For some reason I felt it so strong and it began to give me the feeling of hope again- and a slither of light coming through. Able to catch my breath again. I have the feeling of being on the other side again.
    Junelle, when you are not around I miss you so so much. But it's evident that during those times - the Lord takes you for a walk. Maybe it's not felt like that at the time but it surely is when you come around on these pages again to deliver the word. Your tests and trials are for the good of others. I draw such comfort from your existence. You are a loved one.
    xo your sister,
    joan
    P.s. Those journals... swoon.

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  15. love the inspiration i find on your blog...whether words or images..always fresh, and they revive the soul..

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  16. I follow your blog with great interest and am half way thru my second Wild Ride of a workshop with you! I appreciate how "open" you are thru your sharing with your readers -very inspiring words to share and very generous with your art. May your faith and your art give you peace! terry

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  17. Love this post, your gorgeous sketch & sweet handmade journals ♥

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  18. Appreciate the inspiration and heart of this post, keeping it real is the most touch thing of all, thank you. And thank you for sharing the journals too, beautiful :-)

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  19. Amazing. I heart you tons and tons, Junelle. Keep clinging to Jesus! Praying for you and your family.

    Hugs,
    Sarah Martin

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  20. I agree that we are never alone. I hold on to that. I don't know where I would be without prayer and God's love in my life. I know that Christ can heal everything inside of us that needs healing. Sometimes it is hard to trust in God's plan. But I find when I struggle I can still have faith because I know He will never leave me alone and God knows and loves me better then anyone. I can trust in Him. In Him I find peace. I'm sorry you're hurting. Life is hard sometimes. Thanks for sharing with us. Sometimes all people put out there is an image of the best. But you sharing some heartache helps me feel better. Thank you for your honesty. We all fall down sometimes. Some days are hard. And thanks for reminding me where to look for peace. To God.

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  21. I will pray for you too. -Juliana

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  22. I am praying for you, Junelle, and I sincerely mean that. Don't you often wonder how others get through without Jesus? I don't know where I would be without Him. Health issues, adult children issues, etc., etc. I am learning to let go and let God have control of my life and the lives of my children. Life is so, so hard sometimes, but I have seen God work miracles. I can't wait to see how He works out the current family struggle we're going through, but He promises to make "all things work together for the good." I struggle to see the good when I'm in the midst of the muck and mire, but I know He is faithful. Keep looking up.

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  23. Junelle, thank you! That's what I mostly want to say to you ~ Thank you so much for letting God use you through these words.
    You are truly inspiring to me.
    I will keep you in my prayers~
    ♥Kim

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  24. ...the pain of love as a wife, mother, daughter, friend. the sweet realization that our true Love, our first Love is holding our heart in His heart. He is holding our hand, wiping our tears away, leading us places we thought we'd never be. He is reassuring that no matter how scared we are He is there. sometimes i feel like i must be the only one going through these "life" struggles. silly me. you have such a transparent, warm, sweet, calm, loving spirit. it's such a breath of fresh air these days. thank you for allowing Him to work through you. thank you for sharing your heart through your blog, art, and your photography. it is so moving and so real.
    i will be praying for you and your family. sending hugs your way.

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  25. am just getting to this post and loving it so much - it IS so hard to be completely open isn't it? And you voiced it so well - love all the comments above as I scanned through - and plan to take more time read more thoroughly once I'm at a place to soak it all in - but wanted to say that you've been on my heart all summer - I have no idea what's been going on in your life personally [& don't have to know - I know you through wild art] but I felt led to pray - and I have , and I will continue to do so - may you continue to feel the presence of THE ONE who gives peace that passes all understanding!

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