Revue: Turbulence

“Powerhouse,” © 2016 Lynn Abbott Studios. Used with Permission.

© 2018 Lynn Abbott

Paint brushes, canvases, frames, picture wire cluttered my studio last weekend.

I scattered my work everywhere.  My Labradoodle hates it when I work.  On more than one occasion, he has bumbled into a leaning picture frame, and leaped to avoid it as it toppled.

He knows a danger zone when he meets it.

If you had stopped by to visit me, you certainly would have done well to watch your step.  The mess was such that even I tumbled and nearly destroyed my work.

Stepping back to get a better view of the piece currently on my easel, I almost put my foot through another painting that lay waiting its turn in my framing queue.

Yup.  My studio exemplified absolute chaos last Saturday and Sunday.

Were she still alive, my scientific and well-organized mother would certainly object to my studio’s condition.  After all, she kept an orderly nest for her entire life.

In fact, my Dad also followed prescribed routines and methods for ordering everything from health to dirty dishes.

He once alphabetized my spice cabinet for me. I jest not.

For this reason, you would think that my genetics would predispose me to order my work space.

I do my best to tidy.  Honest, I do.

And if you were to call ahead before your visit, for your sake, I would scurry to make my studio presentable.

I do my best to tidy.  Honest, I do.

However, I have given up trying to disguise the fact that my creative process appears disorderly to a great many onlookers.

After all, each of my paintings begins as a messy wash of unexpected colors and seemingly illogical brushstrokes.

I call it creative chaos.

And though you would not likely guess it, my studio chaos actually has a pattern.

Uh, huh.  Appearances can be deceiving.

I know my work space is secretly both organized and controlled despite how it might initially appear.

I’m a “Columbo-like” artist.  Full of surprises. Or if you prefer, I’ll describe it in Bob Ross’ terms:  I excel in “happy accidents.”

However you describe me, this one thing is sure: I have a plan, a vision for every piece.  Despite my studio’s disarray, I not only pursue beauty and order through my creations, but I also follow a strict, self-imposed,  time-table for each project.

But in the beginning, my work often means turning everything upside down.

It’s tough to live through chaos.  Yet, any new creation seems to require some upheaval.

Perhaps, this is true because creativity often ushers in change.  And change frequently includes turbulence.

Honestly? When turbulence blows in, I typically bury my head in warm safe sand.

And that’s probably the reason that the Holy Spirit recently gave me a gentle nudge.

In my “Read-the-Bible-Through-From-Cover-to-Cover” effort, I made considerable progress.   My best friend marveled that I had even tackled the book of Revelation.

She knows me well. Given my ostrich tendencies, that was indeed a major feat.

I hung on for dear life as I read through John’s apocalyptic vision.   In light of the described turmoil, I prepared to run for my “hobbit hole.”

I’ll play it safe, I promised myself.

I call it creative chaos.

But Abba responded in terms I could fully understand. As John’s book of upheaval comes to a close, our Sovereign Shepherd makes a profound promise.

John records, “And He who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new,'”(Revelation 21:5).

Well, that’s some comfort, I thought.  And I promptly closed the book.

But the Holy Spirit wasn’t finished with me.

As I returned to my reading plan on the following day, I began once more with the book of Genesis.

As you will surely recall, there, in Genesis 1:1-2, Moses writes,”In the beginning God created the heavens and he earth.  And the earth was formless and void…”

I caught my breath… Suddenly, it made sense.   At the heart of who Abba is, creativity dwells.

My heavenly Father is not only the Creator, but He is the Creator both in the beginning and the end, Alpha and Omega.

His creativity is ongoing.  Eternal.

So, it shouldn’t surprise me that at times there appears to be tremendous chaos in my life.  Or even in our world.

In fact,  when chaos runs rampant, I can fully trust that our Creator is in the house, so to speak, and that He is at work.

He’s not a distant God.  He’s  “hands on.”

And when the creation doesn’t go as planned, He’s ready to rework the canvas or begin again.

By virtue of His very essence, Abba embraces creativity and He organizes the chaos that must precede a new creation.

For this reason, when life appears most chaotic, I can be sure that my Savior is on the move.  Something new waits in the wings.

Yup.  The Holy Spirit whispers Truth.

The morning that I spent in Genesis chapter 1, He graciously reminded me that burying my head in the sand does not fulfill Abba’s plan for me.

Following God means that I must wait on Him during periods of seeming chaos. After all, during such times whether I am aware of it or not, He is pulling all the creative elements together to complete His spectacular and final composition.

At the heart of who Abba is, creativity dwells.

And while I wait, I must be about my Father’s business.

Christ has given us the most significant commission: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age,” (Matthew 28:19-20).

Without a doubt and despite my sometimes feeble faith, His new creation takes shape…out of the seeming chaos that I so often and anxiously wish to avoid.

Indeed, His Spirit reminds me again and again:  before the dawn comes the dark;  before the masterpiece comes the messy middle.

From beginning to end and to beginning again, Yahweh creates and renews.

Yes, He has promised.

“Behold I am making all things new…”

That’s right.  Our Sovereign Shepherd and Creator hovers over humanity’s deep waters.

In fact, you and I can be absolutely sure that He is currently in the house, working to bring forth beauty from all that appears void.

“‘And He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying or pain; the first things have passed away.  And He who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new,” ~ Revelation 21:3b-5a

97 thoughts on “Revue: Turbulence

  1. Thank you for this excellent post, Lynn. It is a reminder that God is always involved in the chaos of the lives of those He loves and has chosen, and is always molding them into a work which will one day be a masterpiece. In the meantime, He keeps building us up from the very imperfect beings we are, until we at last reach perfection in our eternal state. Thanks so much, Lynn!

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  2. Always a reassurance when I read your words about God. I’m currently bogged down in 1 Chronicles. I am reading every name in the who-is-related-to-whom sections. I figure if God has them there, then there must be a reason, so I read every word…

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    • Oh, Jim… I wish I had an extra copy of McGee’s commentary to send you. Good for you that you are pushing through…my hat’s off to you! I’ve just finished 2Chronicles myself. So I totally understand where you are. 🙂A lot there, but sure helps to have a Biblical guide like McGee, right? Thank you for sharing. It is great to know we’re both reading the same stuff right now. You are truly a wonderful brother in Christ! I’m so thankful for your friendship! 🙂

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  3. You captured so much of life in your painting (very nice) and in word. Thank you for the encouragement. It’s still hard to trust when being tossed by the big waves against the rocks while praying “Lord can we move to plan B?”

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  4. I can’t create new jewelry without spreading my supplies out to see everything. The flat spaces disappear! In my life, God is bringing a season to conclusion, but with it comes the promise that He is about to do something new. It’s kinda comforting, and exciting, and I’m nervous too (in a good way 😉 )
    Oh, and I love this painting!

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    • Oh, I totally relate, Linda! Yes, change causes me to be both excited and nervous. I’m so very glad that God is in control! Can’t wait to hear about all the wonderful things God is doing for and through you! Your friendship is such a blessing to me!! ❤️

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  5. My kids and I have been working through Randy Alcorn’s book Heaven, much of which is about the new heaven and new earth. I think you’d enjoy it! Lovely post, as always.

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    • Yes, Meredith! It’s a wonderful book!! I first read it about 9 years ago just after my mom died. My copy is now dog-eared 😉 I love that you are reading it, too!! Thank you for your kind words and encouragement! ❤️ And hugs!!

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  6. You said: “Following God means that I must wait on Him during periods of seeming chaos. After all, during such times whether I am aware of it or not, He is pulling all the creative elements together to complete His spectacular and final composition.”

    This is where I am right now, so I relate. I am waiting on God during a time that is complicated and difficult and troubling, at times. Daily I have to trust him, because I have no clue what is coming next, or where tomorrow will take me. So, I wait, I trust, and I rest in him, and I let him lead me one day and one moment and one situation at a time. And, yes, truly God is the composer, and he does all things well, and he will accomplish his work, his purposes and his “final composition” through it all.

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  7. A great post Lynn and the painting is awesome, describes that chaos so well.

    What’s a clean workspace, especially when it comes to Art? -“I’m a “Columbo-like” artist.” I was only watching some old episodes of this show last year so I love how you describe yourself like his. He always got the job done, even if he looked as though he was moving no where fast.

    “It’s tough to live through chaos. Yet, any new creation seems to require some upheaval.” – I can imagine God observing you when your in your Studio getting ready to start on something. The messy process that takes place, the dog getting in the way, the messy danger zone and him smiling and knowing. He is there in the our danger zones and still meets us.

    Thanks for sharing

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  8. Excellent post Lynn. I don’t know why but I have a strong dislike for disorder and yet I understand the necessity for it, I just don’t always like experiencing it. And yet there is always some beauty present, even in disorder, if you look for it. Young children playing comes to mind, or a turbulent raw storm. All part of the grand masterpiece that will eventually be swept away and all things will be made new. “Eye has not seen …..” I’m pretty sure our jaws will be on the floor. I’m always amazed at how time can go by so slow and so fast as the same time. There are a lot of lessons in this post Lynn. Thank you. Grace and blessings!

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    • I can always count on you, Bruce, to take my posts to even greater wisdom and insight! Thank you! Yes, change and chaos are not my favorite either… for an artist, I’m apparently rather neat and tidy… or so I’ve been told by my artist friends… but there is nearly always upheaval in the creative process. And I while I may not find that part of it pleasant, I find tremendous joy in the outcome. That has been so true for me in my spiritual life as well. And obviously, I can’t help but think that this is how it is in God’s grand scheme of things when I look at all that is going on in the world. I’m so grateful to have friends and dear brothers and sisters in Christ like you who also look forward to God’s completed work! Thank you for your words here today! You have truly blessed me! 🙂

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  9. I laughed at “I excel in “happy accidents.”’ Bob Ross quotes are the best!! This painting is absolutely beautiful, and I can understand what you mean by there being order in the chaos. When I’ll reorganize my room from time to time, I usually start by emptying the drawers and the things that don’t have a place in my closet – thus, my bedroom floor is suddenly nowhere to be seen, haha! So, to an onlooker, or someone who attempts to enter my room in total disarray, it looks hectic – but I know how I’m going about putting everything back in its place. ❤ I loved your words on Revelation and Genesis – I adore thinking of our Lord as the Great Creator 🙂 ❤ I enjoyed this post!

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  10. Wow, Lynn! Your painting is gorgeous, and what you wrote truly lifted my spirit. I’ve never before seen the connection between the end of Revelation and the beginning of Genesis. Love it! And you gave me an idea for a new poem…. 🙂 ❤

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  11. Your paintings are great. And I totally agree with everything you said. Besides if there is no chaos, what do we expect God to fix and how are we going to have a testimony? I pray we understand that so long we love God, ALL things are working out for our good! Blessings sis😘

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  12. Hi Lynn!
    I love the idea of if there is a beautiful creation…….imagine the CREATOR! I did write on this subject once when I looked at the sky and saw as if GOD literally took a brush and stroked the colors there. I was in awe of it. If we create…….imagine how much more HE creates!
    I have found sometimes, disorder (and I like to be organized) in my writing…….I feel like the words jumble and toss around to the point of not even knowing if they make any sense. Then, somehow, GOD reveals or illuminates a scripture that perfectly “fits” somewhere and the Spirit helps me to see where to move paragraphs around etc. Do you experience this as well in your writing? My only goal is to honor HIM as a Christian writer. And I find the process of writing for ONE a deep, maturing process of faith…….especially when I don’t even have a subject and pray to GOD for HIM to send me one! UGH! I am amazed at how HE answers!
    Wish I could see your studio, and that adorable pup laying in the middle of all the chaos!! My Molly loves to park herself right on top of all my books and Bibles. Blessings friend.

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    • I love that you wrote about this as well… Isn’t it wonderful how God teaches us similar things? Ahh… the writing process is filled with rough drafts and revisions. The fact that you write and then rearrange… and that you rely so much on God for your writing tells me that God has indeed anointed your gift for writing… Love that Molly parks herself on your books and Bibles. ❤ and hugs!

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  13. So much of life is filled with what seem chaos…and your analogy of an artist’s “creative chaos” describes well as an illustration what God is doing.
    Moving to another analogy from my own life as a former Marine I remember General Mattis describing war as “organized Chaos,” and this coming from our current Secretary of Defense who as a general used the call sign “Chaos.” I’m not saying this to glorify war, but to make the point that there seems to be more to chaos than meets the eye at first in many spheres of life…and yet how we must see the trials and chaos in our life as beyond it to God’s purpose of Romans 8:28 as believers.

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  14. This is beautiful, Lynn. Your painting, the creativity process, and the analogy from it. I think it’s what makes you such a great artist. You concentrate on creating, not on orderly perfection in the process. What a comfort it is that after chaos is when we become a new creation. And a continual renewing until we will one day be His final composition in all its glory. I love how you connected the end of Revelations to Genesis – how He is the Heart of creativity and is Creator of both the beginning and the end. Thank you for all this encouragement! Love and hugs to you!

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    • Aww… than, you with all my heart, dear Trudy! Yes, isn’t it wonderful that while God had to rearrange and change things (and that seems chaotic to use since we can’t see the future), He is bringing everything about for our best? I love that! Thank you for your wise insight! I so respect and admire your walk with the Lord! Your friendship means so much to me! God bless you beyond all that you can imagine! ❤ and hugs right back! 🙂

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  15. “He’s not a distant God. He’s “hands on.””

    Amen! He is in your house, but poor dog, though! 😄 And I love the painting! I trust that all is well on your end. Take care and God bless.

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    • Yes, dear Diana! Thank you!! Sigh I was out of town last week, and I’ve just been scrambling to catch up these past few days. Overall, however, I am doing well. In fact, I was about to read my favorite blogs when I spotted your comment here… so I’ll see you at your place soon 😉 Love and hugs to you! ❤ ❤

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      • You’re most welcome, Lynn. 💙 I’m also trying to catch up with some blogs as I’ll be popping in only twice a week during my blogging break. Love and hugs right back at ‘chu and I’m happy to hear that you”re doing well! 💕

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      • Yeah, I totally understand that, dear Diana! Blogging is wonderful, but it is a time commitment! I hope that you enjoy your blogging break, and that you are able to find great joy in doing the things that you have planned for your break! 🙂 In the meantime, don’t worry about us! Love you!! ❤ ❤

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      • Thank you, Lynn. I’ve been enjoying my break, but fear not, I won’t ever forget about this wonderful community. 💙

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  16. Ah, yes, the chaos. At one speaking engagement to a women’s group, I felt an absolute wall of rejection coming at me when I declared “I praise God for chaos.” Then I took a deep breath and continued “Because God’s power is revealed as He creates order amidst the chaos.” And the tenor of the group changed completely. Then they were ready to hear the rest of my message. That was many years ago. Thank you for the validation. You have it exactly.

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