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L.O.V.E. (Let Our Voices Encourage) Devotions

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Come … Bare Your Soul

“But the LORD God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’”

Genesis 3:9

I have a welcome mat by my home’s front door that reads: Bare your soles.

As in, bare your (feet) soles, but also bare that actual soul of yours. Smooth out that wrinkle on your forehead, calm your beating heart, and come to stillness, to presence.

The mat at my door is like a welcome sign that beckons visitors to walk and enter through, all barefoot and barely breathing, all desperate for a couch to catch their tired bodies.

I cannot help but think of how the same is true of a blank page, a blank canvas or an empty stage — they are all invitations that bid:

Come … Bare your soul.

On the blank canvas, page or stage, you are welcome to create. You are welcome to bare your heart, the very words buried within. You can create in confidence, all while withholding criticism, as you work through the wandering and the wondering of your soul.

Thinking back to the garden of Eden, to our beginning, it’s so vital to know that God’s call for humans to bravely bare their hearts was not meant to instill condemnation leading to hopelessness. Rather, it was to inspire confession leading to hope.

In Genesis 3:9-13, after they had sinned, God called to Adam and Eve, asking, “Where are you? … Who told you that you were naked? … What is this you have done?” .

With these questions, these invitations to tell truth, God presented His presence. God established Himself as an eternal audience of one, ever listening and leaning in to the laments of our living, loving and losing.

God is still that safe place — indeed, He is the safest. And He welcomes our stories, our honest words and artful songs and poems and posts and paint-filled pieces.

Could it be that black ink on blank pages might help make sense of all that doesn’t make sense in the world?

Could it be that baking cakes and stretching limbs long toward lofty skies might help release peace into every unseen piece of our lives?

We write and sing and dance that we might experience the exhale of God again, the sigh and sound of His voice that reminds us of His plan to fill our lives with light. Yes, by way of art, we can stand bare before a God who does not badger or beat the truth out of us. He is a gentle, whispering God standing with, not against, His people through it all. He moves us to breathe — a brave release to confess and gradually push back our darkest memories and moments.

God calls for you and also comes to you, telling you it is OK to bare all of who you are — even the parts that need forgiveness and healing — and through Him, you can become new in spite of it.

God, let me hear the sound and song of Your love over the lies. Help me to step out of hiding and into honest hereness. Awaken bravery as I bare my soul. Through art and the act of making things, shine a light onto my wounds and release Your healing in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

brenda x
Jo Ann Steward


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