Wednesday, June 22, 2011

In the Image of the Maker

"Mom, I had a moment."
"Tonight. A moment. You should have seen it. I was called on stage to do the rap, and it was AWESOME..."
Bran continued another five or so minutes, recounting in detail the thrill of performing in front of several hundred 6th-9th graders at a church function. Once called up on stage, he explained to the crowd his grandfather's challenge to memorize a several-minute-long rap about giving your life to God, and then launched into a dramatic version of the song.
Did I mention HUNDREDS of kids?
And - he was simply visiting with a friend. It's not even our home church.

A good friend's son who had also attended the event evidently went home and, shaking his head, asked his dad, "How on earth did they ever convince Branson to get up there and do that?"
Convince him?! I think my son would have paid money to get to perform.
To have his moment.
And even though I didn't get to see it,  I've enjoyed the scene my imagination conjured up, and it thrills me to think of my son in his element.

Branson's experience was all the more intriguing to me after spending last weekend in North Carolina at a retreat geared toward creativity, about using your God-given gifts. Christa Wells, Nicole Witt and Ann Voskamp, came up with the idea a couple of years ago to set aside a weekend for encouraging women to "make."
A quote from the In the Image of the Maker retreat site:
Women who make with paint and cameras and music and words, with books and babies and textiles and food and all things of everyday, uncommon beauty...
How do we watch for beauty in ordinary?  How do we make music from emptiness? How do we carve space for creativity when we barely have time to brush our hair?
The premise of the retreat was that God is a creative God, and He created us in His image to create, to make.  
The retreat worship was meaningful, rich. The teaching encouraging and motivating. Small group discussions invigorating. And - very fun to navigate five mapquest routes, a blackout on cell service, and getting on the wrong airplane with my dear friend Krista. I'm quite sure we irritated more than a few fellow travelers, but we had a ball.
Christa & Nicole not just leading worship, but in the midst of worship
Ann - spoken words as eloquent as her written ones
Traveling buddies
And in the midst of it all, I just happened to read Max Lucado's Cure for the Common Life going and coming from this retreat. Talk about overkill - or at least feeling pounded on the head about living our life to the fullest. And I'm learning - it's a message we can't hear enough. That we're created uniquely, for a purpose, and to get moving on that purpose.

Often when I'm stumped, particularly in writing, it's because I know I'm not the world's most renown expert on a topic. That others have said it before me, will say it after, and probably better, so why even say it?
But the idea that no one will say it quite like me - not better or worse, just different - takes away that excuse. No one else will create it, or design it, or make it quite like I will. Or you will.

A couple of Lucado's quotes:

"You cannot be anything you want to be, but you can be everything God wants you to be." (pg 18)

"Make a careful exploration of who you are the work you've been given, and sink yourself into that." Gal 6:4 MSG

"You can do something no one else can do, in a fashion no one else can do it." (pg 19)

Ann's speaking, Lucado's words and fabulous stories, and watching my son's exuberant joy from getting to be on stage all cause me to reflect a bit and ask, what have I done well and loved doing? What have you done well and loved doing?
May each of us carefully explore, sink ourselves into it, and ENJOY the

...For another impression of the retreat, check out Krista's musings.