Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Elsheimer Urges Artists to Answer Creative Call

The delightful and funny author, speaker, musician and artist Janice Elsheimer treated the members of FCCW to a deliciously engaging evening during their April 9th weekly meeting.

DSC04580 - Compressed

Her words were a feast of encouragement not only for those who wonder if they are artists, but also for those who do acknowledge their creative gifting but so far haven’t understood that it is an actual calling. An artist can be one that paints with colors or words or musical notes or plants or any of a hundred other mediums, but because she was speaking to a group of writers, the reality that Yes, I am a writer, was permanently impressed on the pavement of our minds.

Janice taught us that those endowed with creative gifts are especially connected to the heart of God – God the Creator, and that for these gifts we are responsible to Him. They are meant to be cultivated and executed not only for us, but through us for the sake of the world. Janice also presented the fact that artistic gifting usually partners with the gifts of teaching, wisdom, and prophesy.

We were privileged to not only view firsthand but also to hear a short excerpt from her 1973 ‘hippie’ journal with a peace sign on the cover. As she read the entry aloud, it was easy to see that the energetic and adventuresome woman she is today is the same adventurous and energetic young person who recorded in that notebook. The final words of her entry were “Truck on!” We all laughed. She encouraged us to keep a journal as well, and recommended that we write in it for only 20 minutes a day. “Not ‘I have to journal for 20 minutes’, but rather, ‘I will only journal for 20 minutes’. She assured, “If you journal, you’re a writer”.

She encouraged us to be avid readers in our individual genres, and to remember that though everything we write may not be classified as a ‘Christian” project, nevertheless it will be informed by our worldview. Her attractive personality enhanced her words, causing them to be unforgettable. In fact, I can still hear her admonishing us to be proud of publishing success “not because, I’m all that, but because He’s all that!” Amen!

As a child, Janice, like many of us, wasn’t encouraged to pursue a career in the arts, though that’s what God had placed within her. Her parents, like many, believed her creative gifts were hobbies rather than possible career paths. (This blogger can certainly relate.) But God is sovereign, His gifts and callings are irrevocable, and He promises to fulfill His purposes for each of us. Janice has certainly proved His faithfulness. Today she is not only educator and teacher, avid gardener and accomplished musician, but also the author of three published books which include Grounded in the Garden, Word Weavers, and the best seller entitled The Creative Call.

DSC04591 - Cropped

The Creative Call was originally written for creatively gifted students that needed direction, but has become the attentive and nurturing parent that many Christian ‘would be’ artists desperately need. God is using this book to ‘fill up that which is lacking in the (creative portion) of the Body of Christ’. There is nothing else like it available. Earlier in her life she had looked hard for a book that would minister to her as a Christian artist, and couldn’t find exactly what she was looking for, so, she wrote it herself. Today Christian artists in many fields are thankful that she heard the creative call.

As the meeting ended, I wished I could just take Janice home for encouragement and clarity whenever I needed it, so I bought The Creative Call. After I returned home, I read the first two sections of my newly signed book, and was awed at the wisdom and skill in which the nutritious words were presented. I even cried a little as some of those words reached deeper than is humanly possible. Anyone who is hungry can feast on the words of wisdom that Janice has obediently transcribed for us, for she preserved within the pages nutrients we will need in order to reach our full stature.

Thank you, Janice, for your obedience in feeding the sheep. Keep on truckin’ sister!

By Claudia Barrington, FCCW Member

No comments: