root: noun 1. An essential part or element; the basic core; 2. A primary source; an origin ~

Growing up as a country girl in rural Kansas, I had a lot of time on my hands to be creative.  I explored my big imagination with everything from masterful mud pies to crafty crafts for 4-H.  I was simply on creative fire during those uninhibited years.

No question about it, I am a dreamer and a drifter.  Like many, I have spent countless hours pondering life’s basic questions:

Could there be something more to me?

What gifts could I possibly give back to this world?

How could I love people out loud that might make a difference?

Could I do something meaningful to a make a mark on this world?

So many questions swarming in my head!

Through the years, I fought so hard to keep that dreamer, creative heart “perfect and pure.”  With the reality of my childhood coming to a close, I experienced life hitting me like a Mac Truck.   That “perfect and pure,” creative heart had became torn and bruised.  Yet, amazingly that heart loved more than I could have ever anticipated.

The Torn Edge(s)” of my life were in full motion, whether I was ready or not.  I had no idea those torn edges would be overflowing from lack of worthiness, self acceptance, grace and, most of all, minimal forgiveness.

It wouldn’t be for many years later that the true purpose of those heartaches and torn edges of my life would come into fruition. With a lot of self-reflection, I have come to realize that all of the heartaches and torn edges, when strategically arranged, can make something so beautiful and, most of all, purposeful.

As a recreational therapist in the mental health field for a few years after college, I learned to help people by creating a diversion (or stress release) that would lead them to a place to feed their passion.  Little did I know how this skill would later be used in my own life.

What would happen if I tore this paper?

The true defining moment became reality one late night as I began to tear paper. I realized the tearing paper and the creation of something purposeful would prove to be the best therapy that I could have been blessed with.  A defining moment emerged in the discovery of me, as I stood and wept at the crossroads of my life.

God carefully and strategically placed words and torn paper upon my broken and bruised heart.   The words that were handcrafted would define my path of healing and loving myself again.

Luke 10:27 “LOVE the Lord your God with all your heART and with all your SOUL and with all your STRENGTH and with all your MIND;” and, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

I realized that I must learn how I can LOVE myself as my neighbor.  For too many years, I gave so many pieces of my heart out that I didn’t have any pieces left for myself.

God had taken the skills that I had learned as recreational therapist and applied them to me.  He created healing by allowing these torn pieces of paper to pass through my hands and be arranged in a way that I could hear the message.

Eventually, I did get some of the pieces back, but they were torn and bruised.  I honestly didn’t feel like they amounted to anything except to be a constant reminder of pain and unworthiness.   I truly had no idea that those pieces would be the most important piece to the heART.  As I took all of my torn edges and arranged them on the canvas, they made something beautiful, meaningful and purposeful.

As I mature, I reflect on my roots.  Not my grey roots, but my creative roots growing up in rural Kansas.  A time of honesty, freedom, creativity, and grace.  I am completely blessed to have all of my torn edges no matter the size, shape, and color because they are purposeful for something far larger than myself.

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