white space coaxes out creativity

White space coaxes out creativity, but it takes slow and quiet time and free space.

At first, our soul is like a canvas where others
begin to paint the portrait of who we are.
Slowly, as we develop and mature,
we take the brush into our own hands
and continue painting our own lives.
Then we go beyond that,
to leave our mark on the world around us.

Erwin Raphael McManus, The Artisan Soul

Some of what we may be making room for in our white space when we subtract the obvious is creativity. Creativity that got squeezed out in the crush of our jam packed lives. Creativity that takes breathing room, unhurried time, vulnerability, courage and risk.

As I have had my ear tuned to what soothes the soul, I have noticed people say simple creativity feeds their souls: baking, gardening, photography, painting, drawing, knitting, poetry, design, riding horses, jewelry-making, songwriting, singing, playing guitar, whistling, woodworking and cooking. To me, that is because their authentic voice is finding its expression.

When I slow down, I have time to dream, use my imagination, play and bless. But remember my brown garden bunny? If the soul is shy by nature and must be coaxed out and our soul is our creative hub, then our creativity must be given opportunity and plain space to leave its mark.

For me, writing nourishes my soul and nesting too. I tend to nest whenever I get make some time at home; cozy up corners, reflect the season, change lamps around, add a pillow, light a candle or make the front door say welcome. I am tapping onto that part of me that speaks design, imagination and love for my family.

Here are my autumn nestings around my own home.

At my front door . . .

Just inside the entry . . .

Over my fireplace . . .

I guess I have been expressing myself through design since I was a girl when I painted a mural on one long wall of my bedroom. The scene was a girl on a wooden swing with rope handles in a wide leafy tree. Now I wonder if I was expressing even more than design at the time; the deep and tender heart of a free girl. My Mama was brilliant enough to give me an unhurried life to let my soul speak with paint on a sheetrock wall.

Fast forward 40 years as the time approached for my little birdies to fly the nest, I was listening for where I might pour my faith and creativity once they took flight. My friend Carolyn introduced me to a gathering of praying people wanting to respond to the trafficking of our local children. In those early days, what we heard was "home". Our response was to bring healthy home and all it's qualities to rescued children.
* family * cookies hot out of the oven * familiar faces * porch light shining * safe and loving relationships * healthy boundaries * a place for their belongings
* dinner around the table * room to create * plenty of natural light streaming in through windows

Now called Door to Grace, the emerging reply to our prayers felt like a perfect fit for me, combining my education, years as a mama crafting home for my own four kids and my strong belief that the spaces and relationships we create in Christ can bring healing. Add to that my love of thrifting and nesting and you've got H O M E.

I did not do it solo. It was loving and creative teamwork at the mercy of generous hearts. It took courage to ask for every single thing and curate a space we hoped would speak "you are beloved" to a child's wounded heart.

Here are some photos of the Door to Grace Day home where I put my nesting love to the test.

In our "heart art" room . . .

In the cozy room . . .

In the dining room . . .

Every day young girls come through the doors of Door to Grace to smiles, open arms and creative HOPE.

I wonder where your creativity will lead once you give it white space full of freedom to explore and grow and bless. Just enjoy the soul keeping in the moment, but trust that the tiny seed you plant now will bloom in layered petals over time.

Here is a place to start. Do it on your own or with a friend.

Photo by Carolyn Quatier.

Pick up this book my friend Carolyn loaned to me and choose a regular day of the week to coax out your creative soul. What a gift you will give God and your children, unhurried time to get to know the creative soul made by His hand and meant to share.