- Choose one of the pieces of art in this journal.
- What is the first thing that caught your eye? Breathe deeply and gaze on that for a few minutes.
- Now, look at the whole picture. Take it in slowly. Reflect on what you are seeing for a few minutes.
- Then consider the following questions:
a. What emotions does this image evoke in you?
b. What does the image stir up in you, bring forth in you?
c. Does this image lead you into an attitude of prayer? If so, let these prayers take form in you. Write them down if you desire.
- Now, offer your prayers to God in a final time of silence.
Original painting by Esther Fleet
“It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18
The word that largely inspired this painting was “dependency”. It’s an idea that’s usually revolting to us as a culture; we tend to prize independence and self-sufficiency. But I wonder more and more about the beauty and sweetness of depending upon others— recognizing that we lean upon the labor and support of so many, and that we in turn are relied on in a myriad of ways.
Trauma significantly impacts our ability to depend upon other people; how significant that evil and sin can so damage our ability to live in trust and enjoy reliance on those closest to us. We become bitter and fearful, afraid to be vulnerable. We look down upon ourselves for needing help or support or care— yet God knew we needed others, even at the very first breaths of the world.
Learning to trust other people in a truly vulnerable way has taught me about the character of God and His plans for our lives, and reminded me that He is always our Shepherd, forever seeking us and comforting us— we can never be so lost that He cannot find us.
Into the Garden, 2023 | By Bryanna Manning | Acrylic on canvas
The wild shoreline of Lake Michigan has always felt like a holy place to me. I feel it in the vast, powerful surf and the lush growth of the forests along the shore. The lakeshore is a place where we can open our eyes and take in the beauty of creation. It feels like returning to the goodness of the garden.
I see our broader community in much the same way. We have this beautiful place that is ripe with potential for growth and goodness. If we open our eyes and step into the wild, what might God do?