Eden Inside

There is a peace that passes all understanding.

It is not found on the plane of polarizing opposites that claw for ground daily on the religious, political, and cultural terrain before us. Our rage, fear, conviction, and guilt do nothing to move us into this greater freedom that Jesus spoke of.

There is a realm outside of the verbal and physical battles of this world that is solidly grounded in the soil of Eden where all power, all peace, and all love is perfectly expressed.

As I am learning to enter the sanctuary of rest within myself, I am finding a peace, a freedom, and a confidence that is the very nature of the Kingdom, entirely different from the “kingdom of this world”.

As I meditate on God’s omnipotence, at home inside of me, sustaining and upholding every cell, every pulse, a peace begins to emerge that is the seed of greater faith.

Something is stirring.

What was impossible through my mental might, concentrated will, zealous activism, religious intensity, and physical or spiritual disciplines has become possible as I have found a radical new kind of rest in God alone.

This is where radical provision is, where healing and wholeness, joy and safety are found, this is where eternal life is the ever present reality.

There is no fear in this place.  None.

And that changes everything.

There are layers and dimensions to this growing awareness that are changing my view of much that I’ve ‘known’, and I am amazed to be finding freedom in places where I didn’t even know I was in bondage.

Just beginning to explore Eden on the inside is turning my life upside down… in the best way possible! This has nothing to do with religious expression, tiresome doctrines, endless debates about what is right and what is wrong, whose church is better, or whose lifestyle is more sanctified; it has everything to do with freedom and life abundantly, in the power of God’s most Holy Spirit that has called us His dwelling place!  

Creativity :: A Family Affair

Creativity is nurtured in our children when we ourselves are creative. Just handing them a craft kit and telling them to “have fun”, rarely works. When they are little they want to be on your lap using the exact tools you are using, making what you are making (likely a thing without pipe-cleaners). When they are older, they want to be a full part of the idea-forming process, which involves endless dialogue, and sometimes, an uncomfortable amount of accountability (“Did you work on your book today, Mom?”).

Our children are wired to desire invitation into the sanctuary of our expression and they will not rest until they have edged into the zone with us.

So here is the tension: to foster creativity and vision at home, we must purposefully engage in creativity ourselves; yet, when we flex our creative muscles, the young ones in our life tend to overrun our time or space or tools, and it feels easy to give up because there is often so little to show for our efforts.

This lack of progress is most stressful when there is something we have to do. However, when we are creating from a place of delight and not pressure, we can extend our joy to our children by including them.  When we still ourselves enough to not be outcome-oriented, but presence-oriented, we create a space where art and life can play together.  

Our progress might be slow, our process might feel stifled, but what is really happening underneath the chaos is pure magic.

Life: hands on, beautiful connection, new-creation abundance.  

As we learn to weave little bits of projects and passions into our days, our children participate in our work for a while, and then, given the freedom, expand into their own projects and passions in time. They are learning that this is what life looks like: art, joy, delight, ideas, projects, purpose.  What a gift to give our children!

If we hold off our own creativity until the children are grown, until the house is finally clean, or until our ducks are in a row, we risk our own stagnation – that feeling of living in and between ruts that just feel dry and stuck, and we risk locking them into a small reality dependant on daily grind stuff and entertainment.

Making art will make you feel uncomfortable and alive, and it will activate potential in your children that you never dreamed of. 

Life and Passion

Out of ten births (each one a miracle), two have stood out as my favourite; the two where Ben delivered the baby before the midwife arrived. One of them was my easiest labour, and the other, one of my most difficult.

But, each time, it was just the two of us, together, in our dimly lit bedroom, communicating, making eye contact, touching, knowing, committed, crying, laughing, completing a work of Divine mystery together.

They were my favourite births because Ben and I were alone, consummating a masterpiece that began in privacy and intimacy and love nine months earlier in the same space… just the two of us, now three, Divinely connected by the spark of the Holy Spirit that breathes through passion and power, and makes us into more.

In reflecting on children, life and fertility, it has become increasingly clear that the culture has separated the vehicle of sexual intimacy from it’s ultimate intention: procreation. The world strains for physical pleasure/connectivity, while divorcing the naturally designed outcome of that passion: life, and life abundantly!

Only recently, I realized that the opposite is also true.  Gone is the small bubble of intimacy at birth – a la Adam and Eve.  The world has made pregnancy, delivery and birth a mechanical, medicalized, spectator-sport-for-experts, and gone is the natural intimacy that is inherent in the whole birthing process.

When a labouring woman is constantly observed, prodded, checked, and talked to, during a time where she needs privacy and focus and peace, fear is increasingly invited into the labour room. The whole process that began so intimately and beautifully at conception, without the help of a coach (!), seems it must end in exposure and a sort of floundering victimhood.

“…labour is an incredible opportunity for couples to connect with one another…. It is time to honour the true continuum of sexuality and sensuality that actually conceived your child to begin with… [it is possible to] experience birth as pleasurable and sensual. Ina May Gaskin says, ‘The energy that gets the baby in, gets the baby out.’” (-Dayna Martin)

New life is intrinsically connected to passion. God’s passion created us, and our passion continues the work!  What a mighty invitation to expect more and enjoy more of what was intended to be beautiful and intimate from beginning to end.

{There is not a hint of condemnation in these words… for all sorts of reasons, women experience a spectrum of birthing realities.  This is merely a reflection on a direction I believe that we can hope for, even if our own experiences haven’t played out this way.  This is the way of faith, after all: always moving deeper into awareness of God’s eternal goodness!}

White Space

After the bulge and clutter, abundance and fullness of the past month, I somewhat naturally crave and anticipate a season of clarity, lightness, and new directions.

The dream machine of my heart is running overtime, as I imagine all the things I’d like to try, and design, pull together, and create.  As I ease more into myself, I see the arts returning to the forefront of my focus in this new season.

For a decade, my heart has been dialled into “community efforts”: collecting, gathering, and connecting hearts and people. For the long season past I have spent much personal time studying, planning/strategizing family/community life, organizing connective events and forums, and seeking connection on the rugged trail that winds ahead of us.

I am sensing a strong current of change though, to move inward for a time, to settle into the rhythms of the robust little village that lives under my own roof, and once again get my hands dirty in the act of creating.

Making, building, writing, painting… if for no other reason than to delight in the process of being alive, of being inspired by the Divine muse, and engaging in the gritty process of art.

I am excited and energized to squirrel out a space of creative passion, and lay down for a time the drivenness of big plans and organizing strategies that have been such a part of the fabric of my days. Now, I enter more devotedly into the quiet spaces of inspired silence, eager obscurity, creative dreams, and paint-splattered jogging pants.

As a mother, accomplishing even the smallest personal projects is a challenge, so honestly, I don’t know where or how to birth my dreams of novels, plays, paintings, music, and dance.  But, I do believe that in beginning, where I am, even these humble attempts may produce personal, satisfying tastes of life-art that quench my ingrained purpose to ‘steward the garden’, and may even possibly bleed into a connective circle of like-hearted others. This time, however, I am waiting to see how the process manifests organically, without the micro-managing of my personal strategies; I’m ready to wait on the Spirit to guide and blossom the fruit.

I’m just ready to lay down big plans, in favour of living present in the moment; enjoying getting messy in the spaces I can steal away from washing the dishes and changing diapers. Life, here, now, is vibrant with art and inspiration and joy comes in finding ways to translate it into new forms that bring joy and colour to the world.

To follow my art process check out my Instagram: @rugged_wonder

Garden Within

When I silence,
The pressing noise
Of the quivering world
That impedes my mind with

I find a place,
Of peace
Where no man can touch
But only God can reach,
Garden of my heart.

The Holy centre
Of the Kingdom come
Hidden in me!
He abides within,
And I in Him.

The secret garden
Of His love
Awaits, like Eden.
Divine invitation
to ultimate freedom.

There I find,
resounding stillness
That fills my bones with hope
And opens my eyes
To eternity within, eternity in Him.

Light of the World

Today, we celebrate the Light of the world.

The good news is not just that Jesus came way back then, but that God is with us now!  God is in us! 

His power has pierced our darkness.

In this present moment, we have the opportunity to look into each other’s eyes and see there the Light of Love shining forth; each person, each child is a facet of God’s glory on the earth, not to be missed, but to be seen.

Look at your people today, and see them: see the Light of God inside of them, and revel in the abundance of so much beauty, so much love, so much power in your midst.  This is where the joy is to be found: it is when we still our minds from the incessant noise and simply rest in thankfulness for what is right in our midst.

Let’s dwell there longer together… this will change the world.