What to do with broken pieces in your life

We planted a peach tree 5 years ago, and I killed it Father's Day weekend...

stacy spangler art blog

We planted two peach trees 5 years ago, and this year is the first year they have blossomed with beautiful large peaches. I tried to help my husband out with the yard Father's Day weekend, and my mowing skills got the best of me. I somehow got the row bar caught on a low hanging branch, and it snapped our little tree in half. I cried, cursed myself, and continue to mourn that tree each time I look out into the void space in the yard, wondering how I could be so stupid. I picked all the large green peaches off the crumpled branches hoping they would ripen, but I ended up having to throw them all away. 

stacy spangler art blog

Lately in my art practice, I've been obsessing over pieces. Scraps and leftover pieces that would normally go in the trash but for some reason, I can't seem to discard them. As I started doing the Daisy Yellow Index Card a Day challenge this summer, fun little collages started emerging from the basket of scraps I have accumulating on my work desk. It dawned on me, that this is how my life feels right now. It's fragmented. I'm in between some major life seasons, and I'm not quite sure how to move forward. As I sat frustrated in my studio, a few things became crystal clear. 

God has been so good to teach me so much through my art process. It's like He uses what I'm working on as a visual parable to help me learn more about His character in the midst of my struggles. The past few years have been a season of change and challenge for me. Just like that little peach tree that I've nurtured these past few years, I think I've arrived through this season, only to be broken. But I know it's just a season, and not all seasons are fruitful but always leave room for growth and beauty.

I've been in a creative rut lately and decided to participate in the Index card a day challenge just to give me a purpose and keep my hands moving. These small and simple floral collage have started to emerge into a theme, and I now have a happy little collection. As I sat pilfering through my scraps and pieces of paper, cardboard and other leftovers, I thought of all the larger works and collections of art I've created over the years that resulted in this collection of pieces. 

It's like God spoke to my heart and said "I can make something beautiful from your pieces, if you will let me". 

We all have pieces, sometimes broken pieces; bit and scraps left over from the big things that come into our lives and leave us surrounded by so many fragments we don't even know how to start picking up the pieces. We can discard the scraps, or we can take them, give them to God, and see what beauty He can bring forth. It may not look like we envisioned it, but beautiful none the less.

Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." and Isaiah 61:3 reminds us that God can make beauty from ashes.  

God has created us to create (Genesis 1:27). He gives us the gift of creativity for pure joy, for provision, for connecting with Him. He teaches us about our life, our struggles and His character as we create, and we can learn from others too as they express themselves through art. My experiences, struggles and joy are all reflected in what I create, even though sometimes I'm not really aware of it. 

I'd love to hear what you have learned about yourself and how it's reflected in your art. Do you have moments where God teaches you through your own creative process? 

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