I drew an eagle a few weeks ago- you may have seen it in my last blog post. God speaks a lot to me through my art, just as he does the Bible, or in nature, and as I drew this eagle, I saw a person standing beneath it, even someone ‘in’ the eagle itself, protected by it’s shadow. As I sketched this, my spirit heard the words of Psalm 91:
‘He (She) who dwells in the shelter of the most high, will abide in the shadow of the almighty. I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress- my God in whom I trust.
For He will deliver you from the snare of the enemy, and will cover you with his feathers. Under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is your shield and buckler.’
As I drew the person in the shadow of the Eagle, these words rang over and over. But it was after the picture was finished that God had more to say to me on the subject of being in the Shadow.
The other morning as I looked at this piece I felt God wanted to speak to me about the girl in the shadow- the one He has been covering with His feathers. Being someone who has visions easily, a vision opened before me as I began to write down what I was seeing and hearing/feeling.
I approached this shadow girl, stepping under the mighty wing of God that has been covering her and protecting her, and found in her were several parts of me that I have tried to sever in shame, accusation, or simply hiding parts of myself that didn’t quite fit in with the society or culture around me.
I saw a fierceness about her mouth; a desire to want to speak and be heard- but one that has been silenced as a young child, and again in her early 20’s. I saw femininity and sexuality radiating from her body- and along with that were several years (again, since I was a child and into my 20s) that had been abused, repressed and shamed. (Not all by religion- but a lot from my years before my walk with Christ began, and then several parts in between that moment and now). I also saw a girl who was relaxed, and even considered ‘lazy’; again, a quality in myself I had shamed, when in fact, laziness is a good thing to have in balance to productivity. But when I looked in the eyes of this girl, I saw an intense anger that burned within her.
Anger, is probably the biggest emotion I saw in this girl- for anger is an emotion that I do no know how to handle. When I get angry, I tend to unknowingly shove the emotion down, and it comes out in unhealthy ways. Not explosive ways, or violent ways, but in ways of anxiety, panic attacks, ect. Growing up as a young child in an environment where anger was bad, and eventually lead to abuse- I believe this has made me very afraid of the emotion ‘anger’ itself.
When I saw all of this anger in this woman/girl, standing in the shadows, my heart broke. “What have I done to you?” I thought- and I wanted to comfort her… but I knew she was me.
I went through some forgiveness in myself, and still am walking through this time of reconnecting with parts of myself that I have shamed and shunned into the shadows behind me- out of sight, out of mind…. but she’s there. Like Peter Pan, it’s time to sew her back on, and walk forward, bringing her back into the light.
The more we walk into the light, the more clearly we can see our shadow standing with us in a healthy way, and not in a way of hiding and shame. (To me, light is the connection we hold to our Creator- where we find peace, joy, patience, kindness, gentleness, self control… and most of all- LOVE.)
I can clearly see this past year, this past part of me has been surfacing in many unhealthy ways… anxiety, pain, nightmares, depression…. and has been triggered by a lot of circumstances that I’m currently walking through myself in the present time.
This post is not to write from a place of wholeness, but from my journey of healing in a time that has been a major breakthrough for me. I know I am not the only one who has been going through some serious struggles this year- and being the holistic person I am, I am choosing to be vulnerable in my journey, and allow God to take me to these deep parts that have been hidden away- parts of myself that I’ve tried to destroy from past experiences but exploring these same parts that He has kept safe in the shadow of his wings.
I have a tattoo on my side, that runs from my ribs all the way down my legs. This tattoo is one I drew when I was 20 years old, and it was a drawing that God spoke to me about my life. Right below my arm, there is a living white rose, blooming. Her leaves are healthy, and she carries thorns upon her stem, to represent boundaries, while her leaves represent healthy seasons of living from the light. Halfway down this stem there is another rose; a dead, wilting red rose that has been cut. This rose had no thorns or leaves, and was preserved in death as we do with roses sometimes when we hang them to dry out. Around this red rose however, is a living vine. The vine continues down, alongside and intertwined with the living branch of the white rose. These two living plants flow together down onto my leg, and become a dove that represents the Spirit of God.
After a shower, I was looking at this tattoo in the mirror and it reminded me of what God is doing in my life at the current moment. That red rose was of my past; the one I tried to cut away and destroy from emotions/qualities that I once thought of as wrong or shameful.
This red rose is the same as the girl in the shadow. It was all that I tried to destroy in me, but yet, God has held it safe this whole time. In the tattoo, it’s wrapped around a living vine that flows from the Spirit. Even this spoke to me, now several years later, in this timing. It brought a whole new meaning to me from what it represented when I drew it ten years ago.
For anyone going through similar things, maybe you are feeling like there is some parts of you trying to surface in this season, but your finding yourself unable to manage it- I want to encourage you to take time to seek God and see which parts of you He has hidden beneath his wings. Maybe, like myself, these are parts of you in which the ‘enemy’ was actually your own judgment and accusation. The enemy is the accuser, and like Eve in the garden, we see he attacks the mind- our thoughts. We see in the life of Jesus, as he walks in the wilderness, again the enemy attacks the mind- constantly questioning what God has spoken.
Bill Johnson said a great quote the other week:
‘Peace is not the absence of something, it’s the presence of someone.‘
Having Peace is knowing God is with you where you are at, and in what you are experiencing. When we bring our consciousness to Him as we abide in each moment, we find peace- for he is Peace. Experiencing these emotions outside of peace, for peace and self control go together, we find we open ourselves up to easy accusation, shame, lies, and then unhealthy way of dealing with our emotions.
We are emotional beings, that is how God made us- It’s a normal part of human life in which Jesus experienced all. In this world there are many outlets which we can deal with each experience- but the choice where we find health and wholeness is our present awareness of each moment, abiding in Him.
My creator made me (us) to experience emotions in a healthy way- all emotions… for I (we) am human; I was not made to live with panic attacks or depression- and I have suffered long enough (for others who suffer with these things, you know what I’m talking about… it’s hard.) And if you are going through this too, or something similar, please reach out to another human being as you walk though this with God. Things are surfacing and we need each other to hold hands and lift up one another. Do not be afraid of vulnerability, for vulnerability is what opens our hearts to bring connection. We are made in His image… made to be connected to Him, and to each other; His image is wholeness in it’s truest and fullest form- He is Holy.
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled faces, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
– 2 Corinthians 3
Sarah Camille Soltani Icely