An afternoon at the barn.
Hosted by Emily P. Freeman and her husband, John, her sister, Myquillyn (also known as The Nester) and her husband, Chad, and their parents, Gary and Brenda Morland.
A small gathering in Winston-Salem, North Carolina that promised to be full of stories, music, and conversation to encourage awakeness of mind and soul to living art and Christ-honoring vision.
That was the invitation.
One that I was all too excited to accept.
Even though I only have what I’m more often referring to these days as barely a hint of a vision. The hazy beginnings of a dream that I’m not at all certain of, but that I’m [often imperfectly] trusting the Lord to unfold.
When Saturday came, I was nervous. But I also knew there was something in this. Something I needed to see. Something I needed to hear. Something I needed to experience.
And The Barn did not disappoint. It was altogether lovely. In a quiet and thoughtful and peaceful sort of way.
Though I’m not convinced I executed my attendance perfectly.
I met two women from Virginia on the sidewalk right before the doors opened and they readily welcomed me into their little group. They were friendly and delightful and made the day so much more fun! But I could have mingled more. I could have talked more. I could have shared more. I could have asked questions more.
But instead. I listened. I watched.
And you know what? It may not have been perfect. But it was good.
It was good to be an observer for an afternoon. Of people. Of beauty. Of art. Of Christ.
It was good to be a fully engaged listener without the pressure to process out loud, to figure everything out, to respond immediately (or even at all).
As I was getting ready to head out, I stopped Emily to say thank you, but I told her I couldn’t quite put my thank you fully into words … because I couldn’t quite express the depth of my gratitude for this afternoon of soul awakeness.
And do you know what she said? “That’s okay. You don’t have to.”
And the same freedom that surrounded the entire afternoon event was somehow wrapped up in that statement.
Because this afternoon wasn’t about a “supposed to” or a “should”.
It was about leaning into the truth that we were created in the image of this Creator God. And when we make art with our lives – not just of the traditional variety, but when we do the things that make us come fully alive – Christ comes out and is glorified.
And I came to The barn desperate for that freedom, desperate for that truth. And in a season of life where I feel as though I’m clinging to Christ out of sheer weakness and total desperation more often than not, these words were perhaps the most needed and most beautiful:
“You can’t get too desperate for Christ.” – John Freeman
The afternoon At the Barn gave me soul space that my too-full calendar and over-committed self have all but pushed out.
Space to breathe, to listen, to intentionally lean further into Christ, to acknowledge some desires He’s placed on my heart, to just sit with those desires and to pay attention to them, to ponder, to reflect, to give them back to Him.
Space to be reminded of my eternally secure identity (an image bearer of the most High God), to be reminded of my purpose (to glorify Him), to be reminded that being is more important than doing, but that some of the doing allows Christ to come out of us because He’s designed us to reflect Him well through our unique expressions of art … in A Million Little Ways.
And for that space At the Barn, I am grateful.