Archives for category: depression
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Revelations 2:17

I have had five encounters with incredible women of God over the last few days, and each time I have been awestruck in how, in each of these cases, the person has had the exact gifts and abilities for that moment.

The first was a wonderful artist friend who, because I couldn’t really move, took time to stop and be still with me. And so we sat and chatted, and out of that came great healing and realisation for both of us that we just don’t stop and seek the face of God often enough. Through my struggling she was encouraged to stop and be still.

The second was one of joy, and laughter and the occasional Lindt chocolate which lifted my spirits and restored my hope; made me feel accepted when I felt tired and removed and isolated.

The third was simple acceptance of me as I am, making my inability disappear as we talked and celebrated the success of others

The fourth spoke truth into my life. She didn’t even need to be near; she just understood and spoke truth over me, removing doubt and fear and guilt that did not need to be.

And the fifth encouraged and loved. She swept in like a practical angel, sorting and aiding before praying beauty and restoration over me, affirming my identity and sense of worth at the exact moment it was being rocked.

To these five incredible women, I thank you, knowing that my journey is smoother and more full, more beautiful because of your intervention and love x

 

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If I’m being honest I haven’t been in the shed properly for a while. Sciatica is a loud condition and my mind hasn’t really been able to rest enough to paint with integrity. But I started these three pieces. I was surprised to select red as the base for these paintings… I think they’ll end up being white but the red underneath seemed important.

I remember naively thinking I would do a series of paintings while I was giving birth 12 years ago. I even got the canvases ready and primed. But then pre-eclampsia took over and that was foiled. But I remember being mindful of the colour of pain and my conclusion is the same today as it was then. It is white. Blinding white. Computer screen brightness white. White so stark it makes your head pound and your eyes close tight and your whole body curl tight, which is exactly the opposite to the response encouraged response to pain which is to relax and embrace and breathe through it.

Last night was a bad night. In my wisdom I decided to come off the stronger pain killers, which in short was a mistake. I have never known anything like it. No position was pain free. Nausea and dizziness contributed their fine qualities and without the care and compassion of my children and husband I think I would have wept all night.┬áNeedless to say the stronger pain killers are welcomed back with open arms….. I cannot allow my kids to see me like that. But the whole thing gets you thinking.

I recently watched the film ‘Cake’ starring Jennifer Aniston, and her depiction of a woman in chronic pain was just so moving. The journey of choosing to live, of wanting to try, to get better was portrayed so brilliantly. It’s not dislike the film ‘Girl interrupted’ which I watched years ago. A similar journey. I have also recently met up with an incredibly courageous woman who has gone through so many operations and pain over the last eight years it’s unspeakable. And yet she is still standing, still loving her boy, still fighting with everything she has to live. ┬áThat is courage standing right there.

Don’t you find that it’s only when you lose something you appreciate it fully? Putting on your socks, sitting down for a whole meal, thinking clearly, little things. Our bodies are just so incredible, just so intricate. But it is when they don’t work that all these things we take for granted are realised. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. We ARE fearfully and wonderfully made. And that is what these pieces are about.

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I’ve used sewing patterns over the top of the text to refer to this but, again with most of my paintings, by the time we get to the finished piece these may not even be visible, but the fact that they are here now is important to me. We are fearfully and wonderfully made.

It’s a most peculiar thing. For a long time I have had a drought creatively but something over the last two weeks is slowly being released. Been looking at the theme ‘Shadow’ for the up coming Lichfield Prize associated with Emporium, Lichfield. I’ve taken the theme literally for both pieces with an additional twist. For my own I’ve tried to explore the two sidedness to my personality: the hiding, dark negative thoughts, withdrawn and often haphazard side contrasted to the much more presentable and confident positive side, the shadow of the darker one always present but often subdued or pushed back by the positive one. Weirdly, part way through this piece I couldn’t get the lip colour correct and this coincided with a random nose bleed….. the exact colour I needed!!

The second piece is of my Nana and will be much more realistic, a pencil drawing on crumpled paper. The thought behind this one is to explore the growing truth that as one becomes older, one can seem to become a shadow of our former selves and yet all that we are is still present and tangeable to those who know and love us. The scariest thing about this piece is that after sketching in the initial outline to ensure composition and accuracy of feature placement it looked a lot like me, which I suppose is predictable but startling all the same.

Enjoying the sunshine and the shed and the pigeons landing and hopping across the roof as I come to terms with my own mortality and try to embrace the whole of my personality.

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Three canvases….. work in progress

Such a painfully slow process but the stain paintings are getting there slowly. Layers and layers of paint are poured onto the canvas and left to dry of their own accord, allowing the paint to spread across or not as gravity and texture allow. They are currently outside, basking in the beautiful sun while I clean the bathroom!! Mmmmm. I’ve got it wrong somewhere! I’ve worked out what I was trying to say some in that I think I am being found again. Lost myself for a while there, which happens to me every now and then, but slowly realising that all is not ‘grim and dark’ as Small feels in Deb Gliori’s marvellous book ‘No matter what’.

The pieces are ironically about stepping out: stepping from that place of safety, of darkness even, of comfort and of complacency and into the nothingness of trust and faith. It’s like the sky…. so incredibly vast and big and more than I can comprehend and yet I feel like we are called, every now and then, to step into it, not quite knowing what is ahead and not quite knowing where it will lead. In between the darkness and the sky is some stitching which has the appearance of a ladder and I think this is where I currently reside, not so white knuckled as I think I was a few days ago but hesitantly sitting on the rung and maybe swinging my legs a little, contemplating my next potential step. I am not yet standing, nor am I letting go of the rungs, but as the work continues I usually find that the whole process is therapeutic and a means to my own courage and learning. Maybe this is why they have taken so long.

Canvas one stitching complete

Canvas one stitching complete

After a busy week of family activity and preparations for a craft fair this Saturday, I knew time would be precious and scarce so I made sure I earmarked a good two days to stitch….. and I’m pleased to say that I’ve completed three out of the four canvases. Whoop whoop!!

Canvas two and three stitching complete

Canvas two and three stitching complete

I’ve only photographed two and three on the frames but canvas one is ready to go too. So exciting to see it all come together.

If I’m being honest it’s been a bit of a grey week; sometimes it gets so busy my head spins. But a wise old man spoke into this situation for me yesterday, ringing me out of the blue to share a thought that spoke directly into where I was. “It’s so important,” he said, “to notice the detail and embrace the grey days.” We went on to talk about how just doing the mundane things with an prayerful attitude helps you to notice the colour, because it is still all around you. So today I’m going to be mindful in everything I do, noticing the emergence of spring all around us as we do the school run, looking at people’s faces as I do the shopping and being present with my children. My grey days are about to get a whole more vibrant.