Made of Glass

chromaprocess

A few years a ago, a sweet lady came up in a ministry meeting and asked me if she could share what she was sensing from the Lord.  I said yes and she replied, “Well you have a heart that is easily crushed and God wants to give you strength.”

Um. Wow. Gee, that didn’t really ring true but I sensed there was something she really did see and that she was giving me her interpretation instead of just telling me the picture God had given her. {One of the biggest learning curves in the prophetic is to say what you see not your interpretation of what you see.}

She was going to continue but I stopped her gently and asked her to tell me exactly what she saw when God “gave” her that “word”.  She went on to tell me that He showed her a glass heart filled with flaming love.

I explained to her that the picture she saw was very encouraging because I had prayed for several years to have “a heart that was see through in love.”

I want to live a life that is see through.  Just like the glass stones above, to show His beauty within and magnify it.  Transparency, wisdom and integrity are three things I pray for and live toward everyday.

I turned 37 today.  I’m not shy about my age.  I have fought hard for every year.  I believe this is a year of promises and heart desires unfolding in epic ways.  I’m still dealing with the damage done to my body and ongoing “chronic” health battles, but I’m moving forward by grace.

My heart isn’t fragile or frail, it is fused in love with His burning heart.  This last year proved that point to me in overwhelming fashion.  I survived some of the worst things I could imagine personally and after that, well there just isn’t a whole lot left to make me afraid.  And as much as I lost, I know God has a plan to give back way more than I can dream. Brave is being transparent and not letting the words or actions of men steal the promise of God.

I love creating beauty.  I love glass, shimmer and color.  But I hate, loathe and despise wearing face masks or facial respirators. So learning glass making isn’t very practical. But a few weeks ago I stumbled on a process that creates the look of fused dichroic glass that simply maximizes the skills and supplies I already have.  No face mask needed!

I have had so much fun dreaming with Jesus about this facet. After all, I am the girl who packed mascara as a survival essential in the war-torn bush of Africa.

chromawebcardAs it’s my birthday, I thought what a great time to introduce my new line called Chroma Artisan Glass Pendants™.  Monday listings will go live on my Etsy shop but this is my launch announcement.  I am so excited to be creating small format art that is wearable and absolutely one of a kind every time.

The ancient Hebrews were told to tie tassels on their cloaks and wear items that helped them remember what God spoke to them.  Almost all my jewelry (and I have quite the collection) reminds me of something, either of the love of the one who gave it to me, the experience it came from or a truth it represents.  So it means the world to me that I’m getting to create pieces that have the capacity to “speak” to their owners in deeply personal ways.

This idea is kind of like God’s sweet birthday gift to me.  What joy!  I’ll be posting links and more information early next week how you can purchase them and/or request special orders.  All the profits go toward helping me have the level of financial support I need to continue to minister “full-time”.

{If you’d like more information on joining my support team, please hop over here to find out how to give or drop me a line requesting more information.}

I am so grateful for all your continued love and support.  You each are a gift and I thank you for taking your time with these words here.

I’ll leave you with a piece God downloaded a few years ago sitting a world a way.

birth
heaven danced
the day your face
first saw the kiss of the dawn
radiant, angels longed
to peer beyond
time’s woven lattice
catching glimpses
of dreams
spun in space
hurtling through days
yet to be
to become implanted seeds
in the womb of tomorrow
eternity written,
poetry scripted
on your heart
beat by beat discovered
reaching
for what is not yet
not yet seeing
what is now
heaven danced
the day your cry
pierced the silence
joined the song
of far flung galaxies:
sound encompassed
in the symphony of forever
vision’s voice
seeking a stave
black and white expression
papyrus enfolded rhythm
calling out
for orchestral release.
there is no dream
that can be realized
unto itself.

–michele perry , 17 oct 2009

 

To a New Level

problems

#WednesdayWord

My online worlds have a way of expanding and contracting in epic form.

The hazards of being a creative who has more ideas than a lifetime can contain.

I stand before a virtually blank canvas in every area of my life.  It has been a painful season of cutting away things, even good things, that could distract and detain me from where I’m headed with Jesus.  A time of aligning and defining and standing before a vast expanse of what could be dreaming with Him.

To be transparent, I’m still a bit hesitant in my dreaming after the last 18 months of loss.  Dreaming feels dangerous, investing my heart in a dream, any dream after dreams have been shattered feels so vulnerable, so exposed.  It may just be the bravest thing I have ever had to do.

But I have to dream.  Not dreaming is not an option.

Trusting the promise of heaven in the face of great loss is an act of radical defiance, refusing to let past loss dictate the level of future expectancy.  No problem is ever solved on the level it was created.  Well said Mr. Einstein.

In other words, loss cannot be solved on the level of loss.  Vindication for wrongs done, even if it comes, will not solve the ache loss leaves. Loss is only “solved” when it becomes a place to see-through to heaven.

And honestly I am not there yet.  Not in the way I need to be at least.  On a journey in the right direction but…

Because inspiration flows in fits and spurts in this season and I want to write here way more than I have been, I am trying to get myself on the discipline of a quasi schedule. Hah.  Well see how that goes.  Schedules are not my strong suits.

So Wednesdays are going to be #WednesdayWord days. I’ll be sharing a quote that speaks to me and some thoughts around it.  That’s the idea at least.

In trying to see my online worlds contract to more manageable formats that accurately reflect this season, all and I mean ALL (Consulting, Coaching, Training, Art Studio, Photography) my business bits are now integrated on ONE site… http://rivertreecreative.co

And of course you can find me here talking about the journey into God’s heart/ministry bits and over at SketchbookPrayers.com. For blogs, that’s it.  Done. Simple. Focused. Defined. Finally.

When we are facing problems, Jesus has plans to use them to take us to the next level with Him through them. No matter what we face or what happens we just can’t loose in Jesus.

I so appreciate each of you.  It means more than I can say that you spend time with these words.

What problems do you need Jesus to take you to another level to see the solutions of heaven for? 

He doesn’t just have the answers we need, He IS the answer we need.  May He be your answer today.

Sheepies!

sheepies-1

On a hillside in Wales, 2012

Driving through the countryside of Wales for the first time, we rounded the corner and came almost nose-to-nose with a hill full of sheep.  Totally without meaning to, I gleefully exclaimed, “Oh look, SHEEPIES!!!!”  And my friends never let me forget it.  The next week and a half, it became a running joke.  “Look Michele- MORE sheepies!”

I was laughing right along with them.  Sheep have always had a fuzzy place in my heart.  They just look so sweet and cuddly and remind me of friends a world away.  So I was super excited to get to include them in a recent design project.

Bravely You is about this wild adventure of grace becoming all we are meant to be in Him, so every now and again I’ll introduce you to one of my friends/clients who I have been honored to serve as they step into more of what God has called them into.

Recently I had a dear friend come and stay a few days and while she was here we got her brand new blog launched!  She has a passion for healthy community and extravagant purpose.  But I’ll let her tell more of that story.  I was honored to work with her in developing her brand and designing the visual identity elements for her blog, Woven Together. And now I’m thrilled to give her a shout out here so you can go meet her over in her own words at https://woventogetherbyhim.wordpress.com/.

Branding-KatHave you always wanted to have your own online space to share your heart with the world?  Drop me a line here and let’s get a conversation started on how I might be able to help you make that happen.  I offer a variety of visual identity design services to help you get started and there is never any obligation.  I would absolutely love to hear from you!

Beauty In the Storm

beautyinthestorm-1It was the first cool-ish day of the almost fall. A little damp around the edges but that’s north Florida for you. {A little secret? I really like rain most days.}

A dear friend and I took the day to stroll the streets of old St Augustine in between showers and then we decided to catch the sunset at the beach.  We didn’t see much sun but there was whole lot of storm.  The sea was magnificent and wild.  I could feel the pull of the tide standing there just looking at the waves rip across the sand.

Sun, storm, rain, sky, sea… it all speaks, whispers and shouts.  Deep cries out for deep.  His deep calls to mine.  And His love.  His love is vaster than the ocean.

As we soaked in the fury and of course captured it on our iPhones {yes both of these pictures were taken on an iPhone, crazy right?}, I stood there simply grateful.

This season has continued to storm around me, but now there is such overwhelming beauty in the storm.

I look ahead holding a virtually blank canvas to start from. The old season is finally behind and for the first time in a very long time I feel excitement brimming.  The kind of I can’t wait to get up in the morning because I can’t wait to see what my day will hold excitement.  I have no idea what it will look like but I know however life from here turns out, it is good because I know He is good.

As the year turned last week {Happy New Year on the Hebraic calendar!}, all that behind is truly behind and all that is ahead is living, free and beautiful. I will write more on the Hebraic meaning of this new year {Yes, I’m a bit of an original language geek.}  But as I stood wind-whipped marveling at the storm right on the edge of a new year, it felt saturated with meaning.

Storms come. In Jesus, they are never meant to destroy us.  They are invitations. Storms invite us to new places of brave, abandoned faith: to run into the shelter of the Most High and to step out on the waves with Him, letting them propel us higher and deeper into His heart.

beautyinthestorm-2 Storms are invitations to dance with Jesus and from the place of His embrace enjoy the beauty found only in the storm.

On the way driving to St. Augustine listening to an amazing message on how God uses storms in our lives by Graham Cooke was such a set-up from God. The whole afternoon was a love letter from Jesus.  If you are in a stormy season, I’d seriously recommend you head over here and grab the mp3 download of this message.

And if you find inspiration in stunning imagery and do Pinterest, check out my board on Storms.  You are loved friends. Deeply.  How do you dance through storms with Jesus?  Share with us over in our Facebook community here.

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 9.11.49 PM

A Creative Way to Pray

CE09.13-6Here I am again splashing this heart of mine again, split wide open on a page.  Because brave is real and brave is see-through.

This last year I’ve walked one step at a time, one breath at a time rising above the storm by grace and grace alone.  The ways I prayed before somehow have been stripped away by the gales ripping at the edges of my heart.

I couldn’t pray the way I had before.  I just couldn’t.  But I couldn’t not pray either.

My face throbbing, my heart broken, my mind scrambled, my body beaten up, my emotions somewhere between raging, raw and numb… “soaking prayer” only meant soaking through a box of tissue.  All the ways I’ve heard and sensed and saw Jesus before have been somehow dim and faint, if not totally disconnected.

But I’ve been in this kind of wilderness before.  And I know He is closer than the air I breathe even if everything in and around me screams the opposite.  I know the wilderness is a beautiful place of establishing something deeper in me than could ever be planted in a greenhouse where all is easy and comfortable.  And so I thank Him for the wilderness times.

I found when I couldn’t pray in words, I could pray in paint and color and image.  I could sit with Jesus in my studio and create. And little by little my heart began to come back to life.

My drafting table became an altar to offer the broken pieces of my life on, color saying what words could not. 

It wasn’t about the end product at all, it was about the process, about meeting Him in the process.  We so often focus on product when God is far more concerned with our hearts simply being with Him on the journey.

Some of you reading may be thinking, well I just don’t hear God period.

But beloved you can and I’d venture to say you do hear Him, probably far more than you realize.

As God has been opening this new chapter, I’ve just started a site called Sketchbook Prayers.   There I’ll be sharing images from my prayer and devotional journals.  I’ll also be opening the community aspect up for specific submissions if you decide to join us in Creative Prayer Journaling and have a page or two you’d like to share for possible posting.

sbpce-1

Stepping out can be a scary thing.  Blank pages and unknown terrain can be intimidating.  Trust me I get it.  This is a journey that has come full circle for me, as prayer journaling is how Jesus trained me as a teenager to interact with His voice and Scripture. It is my joy to be able to share with you something so central to my walk with Jesus.

You don’t have to be an artist or even consider yourself creative. You don’t have to be able to draw or sketch or paint. All you have to be is hungry for more of Jesus.  And be open to meet with Him in the text, in the moment, in the silence, in the struggles, in the triumphs.  Might that be you?

Then, please, pull up a chair and settle in.

Sketchbookprayers.com logo

Creative Prayer Journaling  as a method is my original modern twist on the ancient Celtic contemplative practice of infusing creativity into the way they interacted with God.  Creative Prayer Journaling uses visual journaling techniques and marries them with contemplative postures of prayer. It makes space and invites you to gaze at, interact with, process, reflect, enjoy, see with new eyes, receive, gain insight, experience and behold the beauty of Jesus in Scripture, in prayer and in life.

I am available to come and lead retreats {this makes for a wonderful creative weekend event!}. I’m starting to give workshops on Creative Prayer Journaling in the North Florida area this year and can customize them to serve your church, ministry, team/small group.  I’m also traveling again starting in 2015 on a limited basis beyond Florida as my health permits.

If any of this is of interest, please please let me hear from you.  Just drop me a line here, tell me what’s on your heart and we’ll see what God does!  Always and ever grateful for each of you friends.  Always.

You are loved-

Michele