The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me
Each week of the OM Arts discipleship training programme, called Incarnate, participants are charged with the task of creating something, inspired by a given prompt. At the end of each week, participants gather to share the artistic projects they created. Since I was the only writer participating in the programme, my assignments tended to differ from those given to the other participants.
In week 6 of 12, the participants were asked to create a confessional piece that sought reconciliation and restoration in a personal relationship or aspect of life, restoration in an aspect of the Italian culture, or any other area of brokenness that comes to mind.
As a journalist, my assignment for that week had differed from the others. I was thrilled that I didn’t have to stand up in front of the group and present something so personal.
On Friday morning, we sat down to go through the Creative Review process - where the participants share the pieces they created and the art mentors give feedback. I grabbed a hot cup of coffee and prepared to observe the three-hour-long process.
One by one, the artists stood and presented their creations. Each one invested so much of themselves into their work and shared stories of brokenness and the resulting beauty. I heard stories of broken families, abuse, sickness, and desperation - each one transformed by God’s grace into something beautiful.
By the time we took a break for lunch, I was in tears. The vulnerability shown by the participants - by my friends - caused something to shift in me. I felt the Holy Spirit compelling me to stand before them all and proclaim my own story.
To be honest, I wrestled with God on this one. I didn’t want to get up and share the ugliness of my past with a room full of people - especially not people I was living in community with. They all knew the “new” me. I hadn’t dared expose them to the darkness hidden in my past. Not to mention the fact that I hadn’t written anything out or had any time to prepare. God was asking me to share my testimony on the spot, and I wasn’t happy about it.
I reluctantly spent the next half hour sitting on a bench, sobbing, while I jotted down the story of my life. I prayed God would give me the right words to say.
I stood before my friends and recounted the brokenness that the Lord has walked me through. I told them stories of despair, abuse, and depression. I told of the lies that I had believed and the truth that set me free.
I told them how God stepped in and rescued me, redeemed me, and restored my heart.
When I told my story, I refused to be kept silent any longer and renounced any power that the enemy had over me.
I am a daughter of the King, I am deeply loved, and I am free to walk in healing.
As a journalism and media studies student, I was trained to collect stories from other people and tell them in an clear, concise, and engaging manner. I came to Incarnate with the intention of doing just that. I wanted to write about the experiences that other participants had had and how they were using their artistic gifts to impact the Italian community.
I never intended to share my own story, but God had other plans. He showed me that there is power in telling my story, that I have a voice and a duty to proclaim the good works He has done in my life.
The Lord reaffirmed my calling as a communicator through Isaiah 61.
It says God has sent us to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, and release prisoners from darkness.
I can do that through telling my story and the stories of the people I meet, and by declaring the victory we have in Jesus.
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” — Isaiah 61:1-4 (NIV