You only need to spend about 6.7 seconds in my company to realise two core things about me.
Firstly, I really love tea. In fact, if you had actually met me for at least 6.7 seconds the chances are we would be drinking tea, or waiting for said tea to be served.
Secondly, I'm kind of (and by kind of I mean super-extremely) a creative person. I play instruments. I write songs. I paint big oversized pictures. I love colour and pattern and light and space. I sing. All the time. Sitting at a piano makes me feel like I'm going home. Taking something old and turning it into something new is a delight for me. Or taking something plain and turning it into something colourful. Or taking clay and sculpting it into something distinguishable. Or writing so that the words flow and piece together in an imagery that can be envisioned.
The process of sanding down the old shelves I just brought for ¥1000 and painting them pastel blue is a task that fills my heart with joy.
The reality of getting some of my paintings shipped from the UK is something I am ridiculously excited about.
If I had to sum up my personality in photographic form it would look something like this:
Note the tea. And the surplus music sheets. And the giant painting. And the lack of shoes.
Yep. I'm pretty easy to figure out.
And I guess, that what I've really learned over a life of walking and talking with Jesus, is that the way God has wired me, is often the way in which He also speaks to me. It's the way I enjoy to spend time with Him. It's the way He teaches me about His heart and His character.
There are lessons within the songs and the paintings and the conversations that I am continually learning.
Because I'm in furniture-buying-paint-creating-mode just now, I've been thinking about the first flat I bought. New discoveries triggering old memories.
I remember being 19 and looking at apartments. I'd left home a year previously to go and work for a church whilst I completed a degree in education. I didn't in reality earn very much money at all, but it just made more sense at that point in time to buy somewhere rather than to keep renting.
But because of my lack of money, my options were pretty slim.
Like, I'm not exaggerating when I say that some of these flats were rough with a capital R, if not a little structurally unsound to go with it.
My Mum and Dad came to visit for the weekend to help me check out my options, and I remember about 3 flat viewings into the day, being more than a little overwhelmed by how much work most of these places needed in order to make them fit for human habitation.
It seemed a little bit hopeless.
But then we hit one particular flat viewing. The flat was in reality, just as rough as some of the others. But the light was glorious and the windows were huge and the size was something that had obvious potential.
I fell in love with the potential.
And I knew from the moment we walked in, that this would be the flat.
My Dad, always the man with eyes that see greater potential than I ever could, began to be practical in the detail.
'We could knock down these three walls and we could remodel the kitchen and the bathroom, and we could rewire by putting false ceilings throughout, and, and, and….'
And so it began.
I bought a flat. And my parents (plus a number of friends with skills in the trades) visited over countless weekends to help turn it into something beautiful.
I lived in it throughout. Throughout the dust and the mess and the (literal) rubble. When there were no walls and hanging wires and a distinct lack of carpets. When the bathroom had no tiles and the walls had no plaster and there was wet paint everywhere. I remember sleeping one day on the uncovered, unsanded wooden floorboards in the living room, surrounded by dust and mess with my little fan heater blasting hot air at me and my head resting on some books. I remember writing essays, surrounded by paint pots and brushes that needed washing after I'd made a deadline. It was at times literal chaos.
But I loved that little flat, with it's glorious light and it's huge windows and it's open plan size.
Enough to see it's potential, and into it's potential.
And enough to go through the journey of renovation until it was complete.
And so, in thinking about my love for all things creative… My thoughts have been resting back to the God who was first of all Creator. And who is still displaying that radiant creativity from the very core of His heart and His nature in every redeeming and beautifying action that He so miraculously pours out over us. Loving us in our sinful messiness until we become the very pictures of His mercy. Drawing us from our disorder and desire for all the wrong things with the paint-strokes of His kindness and grace.
Because He makes all things new.
He is making all things new.
He's kind of (and by kind of I mean super-extremely) a creative God. He loves our worship. He loves our songs. Not just in music but in the soundtrack of lives lived for His glory. Even in our weakness He loves us. He paints the cosmos like a big oversized picture of brilliance. He loves colour and pattern and light and space. He sings His goodness over us. All the time. When I sit at a piano I feel like I'm going home because I know He holds me close to His heart. I know He loves my simple songs. Taking something old and turning it into something new is a delight for Him. Or taking something plain and turning it into something colourful. Or taking the clay of our lives and so patiently sculpting it into something distinguishable. Or writing this whole story together so that the words flow and piece together in an imagery that can be envisioned.
He's such a good Father.
It's who He is. It's what He loves to do.
Enough to go through the journey of renovation until it is complete.
Making me new.
Loving me into wholeness.