Most recently, I set up a space in my home where I can create. It's one of those things that I have thought about for a while. A space just for me - not an outdoor she-shed where I can relax and be alone. No, it's a workplace where I can bring something to fruition.
Needing a little inspiration to get started, I picked up the latest copy of In Her Studio. The magazine is chalked full of pictures of studio spaces from small to big, from converted bedrooms to rented lofts in downtown buildings. Each space clearly identifies what these women breathe life into and not only that, they share their stories in vivid detail of just how they got there.
For more than a week, I perused the pages that depict the lives of these women - all 160 pages. I was spellbound, interested in seeing each woman's design choices, furniture arrangements, colour options, and the tools needed to accomplish their craft. The women's determination and drive leaped from the pages. Pictures of creative sanctuaries stole my heart. It became quite obvious to me what a person can do when they set their mind to it.
I began searching through the collection of clutter that has been lingering in my basement for too long. I quickly discovered that I had pretty much everything I needed to create my own studio. An old table, a washstand with a mirror, a chair that I bought a few years ago at an antique market, an area rug, and a bulletin board.
I worked at this space for a couple of days, adding extra touches from one day to the next - a pumpkin scented candle, another photograph, clear jars that expose so many beautiful coloured beads, writing paper, and my sketches of women, children and animals. I could feel a smile rising in the corners of my mouth as I gained a better understanding of why some women have moved their creative space from the dinning room table to their spare bedroom and even further outside of their home.
Every artist tells a story in their design and wants the world to see it, just like every writer tells a story they want the world to hear. In my studio I feel my personal values shine. My creativity is motivated by love, forgiveness, death, trust and decisions. The list is endless and yet the goal is not.
1 Corinthians 10:31 says, "Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."
But, I must confess that feelings of aloneness and alienation can sometimes wreak havoc in my world. I have a tendency to become preoccupied by the memories of my mother who passed away from cancer in 2009, to both of my sisters who no longer live just around the corner. And there are times when I am overwhelmed by the grief that consumes me when I think of how long I have been estranged from my son, Jason. There are days when I feel totally abandoned. And Satan likes to sneak into those dark moments.
Yes, in this room there is good verses evil. There is love, personal growth, creativity, joy, friendship, and freedom. I'm surrounded with pictures of the people I love. My sewing machine is ready and waiting for me to whip up another fun hat or a pillow cover.
All the colours of the rainbow beckon me to wire another necklace to give away. My pen and paper remind me to write another letter to someone in need of encouragement.
Everything in this room provides a purpose and yet inside this delightful space - it is nothing without God. He is the one who understands me and loves me unconditionally. He sees these walls around me - my life in detail before him. He loves me for who I am.
Isaiah 49:16 says, "See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me." What a beautiful expression of God's everlasting love for his people.