By Christa Parodi
When I heard the words, "He won't love you any better when you become better. He loves you 100% right now," I desperately wanted to believe, and even more than believing, I wanted to live with that kind of freedom. I had the head knowledge, but I had not really experienced the "I love you as you are" kind of love. The "try harder" and "do more" part of me wanted to see what it would be like to safely gaze into the Father's eyes and see what he sees.
As this journey unfolded, I found myself on the floor one day moving paint around a canvas with my fingers in circular loop patterns. Bravely I showed up at a Christian worship arts conference all by myself. For this serious, color-inside-of-the-lines kind of girl, this was a long over-do invitation to play-to get messy. Insecurities and the pressure to perform started to mysteriously melt away as the tears started to flow and drip onto the swirly painting. Salty tears were mixed with a rainbow of vibrant colors. Even though I did not know where this worship art experience was taking me, I knew it was my custom designed ride to finding that place in the Father's heart that I was desperately hungry for.
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While this healing encounter on the floor was messing me up in the best way possible, Jesus was gently opening doors that would impact my community back home. Sliding open two barn doors and inviting women into a sacred space where worship and art collide was the next step that took place in this unlocking of the heart journey.
Stepping foot into what I have named The Worship Barn is an invitation to simply receive love from Jesus. This isn't one of those step-by-step painting classes. Tenderly an atmosphere of vulnerability is birthed and worship flows heavenward and is so brilliantly poured right back all over us. There's nothing to produce. It's worship. It's wholeheartedly partnering with the Holy Spirit and realizing that he really is steadfast and we don't have to be afraid.
As I host workshops for women I have realized that craving a space filled with permission and wonder isn't just my own unique longing. Creatively, women are opening up those dry, weary places in their hearts. Brush strokes glide and fingers pitter pat while healing oil is released over them by the Lord. Learning how to live from that place of not having to strive has been given fresh revelation and experience in this barn. In the process of painting, God has lifted my head and led me on a journey that has helped me come to him and bring others along as well. May we stay wide-eyed, sit on the floor with our King and let him fill our lives with color so we can spread the color of love to a "God-hungry" world that is waiting with their paintbrushes.
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Christa Parodi is passionate about inviting others into a creative space to discover more about the extraordinary love of God. As founder of The Worship Barn she gives artists permission to let their worship and art collide. Christa lives in Ocala, FL with her husband and three children ranging from ages 12-19.