Coloring as a Spiritual Discipline

I wrote last week about finding a "small space" in my yard.  I would go there daily to see what God might teach me outside shaded by the pines.

Lately, I seemed to be spinning my wheels, digging ruts. Fighting ambiguity about creating the "small space," I rocked out of my routine and moved my disciplined time with God out of the house and into the yard.

The first day I went out with my cup of coffee, a box of crayons, and a watercolor notebook. The crayons were going to be my attempt to bring out my “inner child.” The picture of cherise on the cup became my inspiration.

Was coloring a likeness of cherries onto watercolor paper going to change my life?
No, I didn’t think so.

Did I expect it to?
I did not.

Would I enjoy it?
I thought maybe I would.

Still I fought guilt. There was laundry to be folded, dishes to put away, and a grocery list to write. The guilt stirred my heart me to pray. Guilt became grace---a gift that moved me toward the Creator of colors.

Searching through the forty-eight choices before me, I started to talk to God as if we were sitting side by side, a conversation between two friends sharing a box of crayons and a cup of coffee.
It was such a sweet conversation.

Yes, that's what we had-----a conversation. Not that anyone could have eavesdropped. It was silent on both parts, a quiet knowing that slowed time to a holy moment.

My eyes, hands, brain worked mindlessly as I colored cherries. All the while my soul engaged to His Presence near. Soundless, I expressed what He already knew.

I have prayed a lot lately. Let me restate: I have talked to God a lot. I have witnessed prayers answered in incredible ways. But I have to admit I have been the one doing all the talking.

I was stilled by coloring.

And there my soul heard the small Voice from the Big God.

He was so patient with me as I told him how I was struggling to live in this relatively new season of life.

He understands----is not surprised.

I slipped the colors back to stand beside their companions. My cherry drawing complete, my thin soul deepened with his leading.

One thing. He gave me one thing---turned from his drawing to write on my heart one truth:
"Surrender to the grace-drenched life---learn to see grace everywhere. Truth will come in the smallest of things. Look for it."
My eyes are wide open.

The "small space" found me practicing coloring as a spiritual discipline-----a surprising encounter with "God in the yard."

Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
 (Psalm 51:6 ESV)

Thanks to L.L. Barkat for her inspirational book,
God in the Yard: Spiritual Practice for the Rest of Us, 2010, T.S. Poetry Press. Kindle Edition.


Counting the Graces with Ann:

-holding my sleeping granddaughter during church
-night rain followed by a grey day
-quiet Sunday afternoons
-orange leaves on the sassafras outside my bedroom window
-a husband worthy of respect
-Drake, the yellow dog, that makes him happy


  1. You wrote, "I was stilled by coloring. And there my soul heard the small Voice from the Big God."

    YES. For me, this is exactly what I love about making art. It changes my mind, my heart. It stills me like nothing else can. And the stillness, God speaks.

    Thank you for sharing. Your crayon cherries are beautiful!

  2. This is so beautiful Dea! Those quiet times of creating is such a wonderful opportunity to spend with HIM. I love it! "My eyes are wide open"... love how you said that! Your cherries are so sweet. Having a husband worthy of respect. Wow, that is a wonderful gift! :)

  3. love that "worthy of respect" I too am so blessed! great artwork! We are all about the great outdoors & getting the family out to explore God's creation - I've got to check out that "backyard" book!

  4. You drew that with crayons? Wow!

    My friend went outside to sit with God every day for one entire year. She sat on a little red sled, she sat in the snow, she sat in the rain, she sat in the sunshine. And then she wrote a book about what she learned. It's a good book. You might like it:


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