The road to Wrecked

A few months ago I left a comment over on the Modern Prairie Girl‘s blog. She emailed me back and I knew I found an online kindred spirit. (This internet thing is for reals, y’all.)

I could love Lara simply for the fact that she lives in the pacific Northwest (a few hours from where I grew up), but there is so much more. She was writing and wrestling with the same ideas that were buzzing through my head (& heart). I asked her to write a post for my blog and create a piece of artwork. She so graciously agreed. And now…I am finally posting her {long overdue} beautiful works.

So without further adieu… my friend, Lara Blair.

The road to Wrecked

I was driving the kids to school and as usual, we were racing the clock. With a quick look left to check for cars, I saw her.  In ripped up shoes, with matted hair and stains running up and down her pants, she lumbered along the busy road.  I winced as I watched car after car buzz by her, waiting for one of them to catch her sleeve and roll her into a ditch. She was unconcerned and seemingly out of it.

I wondered how this woman wound up smack dab in the middle of suburbia. I also wondered, after I drove past her, why I failed to pull over and offer my help.  After all, the book Wrecked had been sitting on my nightstand for days.

This was my opportunity….and I missed it.

Jeff Goins, the author of Wrecked, has a way of reaching inside your chest and gently squeezing your heart with his words.  Like many books I’ve read on the subject, I was moved by his stories of service and compassion. Yet, this time I wrote down a detailed list of what I could do to journey down my own wrecked road.

Of course, topping the list was the lofty idea of heading to a poor village in Kenya. Our family financially supports a school there, but I yearned to sit in the bare bones classroom and serve the children with my hands.

As if Jeff was sitting across from me at the table, I could hear the words that he would say. He would remind me that “Kenya” was all around me. The heart ache, the need, the suffering…it’s all here. Be it bustling suburbia, quite countryside or busy city, strife can rain down in buckets. Just one umbrella yielding soul can make a world of difference.

With my list in hand, there were a million questions and worries taking up real estate in my head. Then came the epiphany:  Jesus just asks us to show up. He doesn’t ask us to know where to take a homeless woman on the road or understand everything about addiction and mental illness. He simply asks us to be there, show compassion and love the way the master did.

Another favorite author, Jen Hatmaker, had the verse Feed my lambs running through her mind as her family created a hands and feet church in downtown Austin, Texas.  She felt strongly that her life should be devoted to serving the lost instead of preaching to the saved.

After reading her words, I began to notice that His lambs were everywhere. It’s the phenomenon where you’re made aware of something and it begins to show up in spades.

As a fine art photographer who feels things deeply, I tend to create art that represents what’s going on in my life. The books I was reading were causing deep longing for connection through service.

I began to make a piece about these sweet lost lambs in the world, but I had a block and couldn’t make progress with the art. I’m experienced enough in the studio to know that creative blocks can be flushed out through diligent prayer and journaling.

The light bulb lit up.

It finally occurred to me that we are all His lambs.

Suffering, sadness, and hardship circulate through our collective veins as fallible humans. Heaven knows I was a wandering, afflicted lamb in distant pastures more than once in my life. I decided to depict this in a self portrait and insert into the piece.

 

 

We may be lost, but thankfully, we are not in this alone.

The grace that is granted to each of us every moment of the day is astounding and at times, a concept very hard to grasp. What I do understand in full is that we are to extend this grace to others because it has been gifted to us without cost.

God asks us to reach out with gentle hands, hearts exposed to the elements. It is then that we will have the privilege of being wrecked.

 

Lara Blair is a talented photographer and artist. She recently released her first book Photographing Dogs: Techniques for Professional Digital Photographers.  She blogs at Modern Prairie Girl and also The Ignited Heart where she writes on faith & creativity and hosts amazing retreats (that one day I will attend). You can also find her on facebookinstagram, and twitter

*More beautiful artwork inspired by Wrecked, the book, coming soon!

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