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