There are plump raspberries, tangy almonds, dried apricots, cheeses and chocolates. There is wine, tea, and a gathering of women. My friend Tracy summons us a few times a year, teaching us to count our days. She calls it a “Bucket List Party,” and guides us to scratch out our dreams, as if the act of writing could lift them to life.
“What’s your number one?” She asks after rounds of listing, highlighting, ordering.
“I want to create art,” the svelte mother of three speaks. “I can see it in my mind. I just have to do it.” We talk about holy hours, set times, art as worship, and the one, single step it will take to get started: an appointment in the garage, a moving of bristles and brushes, a shifting of schedules and a block of time.
“I’m a mess,” I tell her, my chipped toenails in sudden contrast to her heels. “But I’ve written six books.” If this messy blonde dressed in fatigues can do it, then this classy momma in leather skinnies can find a way to reign in her days.
Have you ever become enthralled with creating? Obsessed? Like you couldn’t stop because that would mean you had to walk away from the smooth brushstrokes on canvass; the trail weaving through the forest; the house that’s almost finished? Ever reminded “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” you pull yourself away from Creation, knowing that the next day you will see with eyes less bleary.
To create is our bent. It is God’s as well. He never ceases to weave new life: a tiny baby, a flower, a fawn, a fish that stuns; a masterpiece swept across canvass skies. So men daily set about their creations: websites, books, photos, the art of the win. No one knows why creation brings such joy; we just do it. Partaking quenches soul hunger.
Tracy longs to go to chef school for her fiftieth birthday. She questions her own longing: is it “unspiritual”? Should she be feeding the hungry instead of pairing almonds with apricots? Rescuing souls instead of stirring with a wooden spoon? Simultaneously, her husband fulfills a longtime dream and builds an outdoor kitchen. A local preacher takes them up on an offer to baptize in their pool. Through her culinary flair and his BBQ set with tile and stools, they open doors for spirits to rise.
Go ahead and create. Create all you want. Create homes for people to gather; create furniture for us to marvel; create a landscape for me to walk on, create a new wine and a new dress, a new dish and a new song. As long as your intention is good, create!
Move your brushes from one side of the garage to the other. Set it up. Make a time. Paint. Write. Sketch. Build. Dream. Make a list of dreams — not “shoulds” – and they don’t even have to be “coulds.” Just scratch some dreams that would make your heart happy. Wildflowers in the bare meadow. A closet of things you love to wear. A clean cupboard. A weekend of romance. A getaway. Beautiful shoes.
Funny thing is, it was the girl at the Bucket List party, who said her “Number One” was beautiful shoes, who made us cry. Hot pink sweater, cinched belt, sassy boots: tender tears streaming down her flushed, kind face. She whose list was topped by “Beautiful Shoes” has feet of two sizes, 13 children’s, 6 women’s.
“Beautiful shoes,” she gasped, face cinching, tears diverting as she wiped them away.
The cool thing is, the young one on the other side of the room, the fashionista, is going to dial her in. She’ll find her those new shoes; it’s her gift.
Created, to create! And when we do what we were created to do, we bless.
When we bow in humble posture, God creates us to be more like Him.”Create in me a pure heart, oh God,” the psalmist writes. (Ps 51:10)
What are you creating that brings purity to your life? How can you make space for Creation in your days? Ponder this: you are imago dei, made in the image of your Creator. Ask Him how best He creates through you?
Pursue moments when you can meet with him to taste the sweetness of your soul’s hunger satisfied. Jesus was a builder, a designer, a molder and a shaper, and He now lives and makes His being through you.
When God saw all He had created, He said it was good. So, go create, and enjoy it!
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
Jennifer is a captivating speaker. She keeps the listener hanging in wonder of what’s coming next! Her presentation is not only absorbing, it reveals the truth of God’s power to heal a wounded spirit.
Barbara Brown, Former Stonecroft Ministries Regional Representative, San Diego, CA
“The ‘P’ word [perfection] may be the heaviest burden women bear. All the misguided things we do to attain it can keep us away from what we need most – the unconditional love of God the Father. The Girl Perfect Study Guide gives you a map to the wholeness you were created for.”
Nancy Ortberg, author and former teaching pastor at Willow Creek Community Church
“The Girl Perfect Study Guide shatters the lies girls and women believe and points to the ultimate truth, which really does set us free. I am confident that this study will help thousands discover a beauty, purpose, and worth that truly lasts. Thank you Jen for exposing the ‘perfect life’ and inviting girls to experience God’s ‘perfect love.'”
Allie Marie Smith
Allie Marie Smith, Founder of Wonderfully Made
One of the best testaments to what Jennifer is doing for the young girls and women of today is a comment from my eleven-year-old granddaughter: “Grammy, I want to read this book and hear her again. She’s good and I learned a lot.” This is exactly what I experienced from a grown-up perspective when I was introduced to Jennifer Strickland’s amazing story. Read it and see if you don’t get the real story from an icon model and a powerful speaker of truth.”
Thelma Wells, D.D. (Hon), President of Woman of God Ministries
Andrew Doan, Concord Christian Academy, Concord, NH
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