Thrilling Guest Thursday: Lynn D. Morrissey

. . . and if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding, 
and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure , 
then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God. 
Proverbs 2:3-5 NIV

Today, we return to the journey of finding nourishment for our souls through words, art and the practice of journaling.  

Join us today, as Lynn shares how God introduced her to collage as a catalyst for expression and transition. This is a two-part series, so come back tomorrow, to view some of her collage work and the discoveries behind her process.

<!–[if supportFields]> SEQ CHAPTER \h \r 1<![endif]–><!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>Art of My Heart
(Lynn D. Morrissey)












Collage for me is art-of-my-heart, my soul made visible in living color on the journaling page. I love its vibrancy and free-wheeling whimsy, its colorful playfulness and startling juxtaposition, its generating of spiritual insights and soul surprises.

But I didn’t initially gravitate to collage. I thought it was silly at best and occult at worst. I’d heard so many Christian warnings, whether from Puritanic admonitions against idolizing images or from Bible teachers’ concerns about name-it-and-claim-it visualizing techniques, sometimes called manifesting or the Law of Attraction.

But just days after my beloved father’s death, God used the art-form of collage as a significant means of launching my healing journey from grief.

Shortly after Daddy died, I attended a poetry-and-journal intensive in Denver. One of our assignments was to collage a cover for a new journal. It was at the end of a long day, and I was physically and emotionally depleted from the pain of grief. The *last* thing I wanted to do was cut pictures out of old magazines that I never would have read in the first place, in an attempt to make (so-called) art. It seemed like just about the most ridiculous Mickey-Mouse undertaking I could imagine. Though I know now that my grief overshadowed my attitude, it still wasn’t the kind of activity that remotely appealed to me.

But because I had invested so much of myself, time, and resources into the seminar and because I knew that Daddy would want me to pursue my journaling-facilitator dream, I chose to cooperate in this learning experience. I took a stack of magazines back to my room around 5:00 p.m. and didn’t emerge until the next morning!

After eating an early dinner alone in my room and getting ready for bed, I began leafing through the magazines, page by glossy page, randomly cutting or tearing out pictures, words, and slogans that seemed to speak to me. As I underwent this rhythmic process of slowly scanning and cutting, something happened that even today I cannot fully explain. The process calmed and soothed me, and my emotional pain momentarily subsided. Words and images of hope, beauty, and comfort emerged that resonated on a deep heart-level. I had not set out to find them, but God knew just what I would need to see. As I began arranging and rearranging the extracted words and pictures that I would later glue to my journal covers, it was as if God were using them to rearrange my broken heart into a multi-layered mosaic of meaning and hope. The juxtaposition of a kaleidoscope of words, colors, shapes, and images registered somewhere deep in my soul that even journaling my angst at that time couldn’t do, because my despair was beyond articulation.

Since that time I have gone collage-crazy and consider myself a Christian-Collage Poster Girl. I want to be clear to say that God speaks through the Bible, and nothing—absolutely nothing—replaces His Word for providing direct, inerrant revelation of His character and will. But God can also speak to our imaginations (which He gave us!) through Creation, art, song lyrics, books, poetry, friends, and the circumstances of our lives. One significant way He has spoken to me is through collage. God has used collage-journaling (where I collage onto journal pages and write to Him about what He shows me) to spark my creativity, help me solve problems, teach me insights and truths about myself, help me to set goals, and implement dreams.

I am not worshiping images, but God who speaks through them, the God who speaks at times through the art of my heart.

Question: Have you ever tried to use collage as a means of artistic creation and self-expression or to explore your “inner landscape”—translation: what God is showing you about your life circumstances, thoughts, dreams, goals, memories, conflicts, etc.? What were the results? How have you made collage-journaling a part of your spiritual practice?
                                                                                               
Please come back tomorrow and read about and see my “transition” collages and my thought process behind creating them.

(Copyright 2013. Lynn D. Morrissey. All Rights Reserved.)
Lynn D. Morrissey, is a Certified Journal Facilitator (CJF), founder of Heartsight Journaling, a ministry for reflective journal-writing, author of Love Letters to God: Deeper Intimacy through Written Prayer and other books, contributor to numerous bestsellers, an AWSA and CLASS speaker, and professional soloist. She and her beloved husband, Michael, have been married since 1975 and have a college-age daughter, Sheridan. They live in St. Louis, Missouri.

You may contact Lynn at words@brick.net.

Please feel free leave your comments for Lynn on this post.

11 thoughts on “Thrilling Guest Thursday: Lynn D. Morrissey

  1. Lynni! So fun to find you here! I love collage. I remember collage as a child. My parents established a family collage wall in the basement in our home. It came to life as we each cut and pasted colorful images of our own selection onto this family wall. I can only imagine now the dreams and ideas that we left behind when we moved from there so many years ago. When I revisited collage at one of your classes, it was apparent that this practice would allow me to express the things in my heart that mere words could not. Since then, I have had many opportunity to collage alone, with Kel in our coffee Thursdays, and recently in Kel's new Soul Dare class. There is nothing like it to get to the heart of matters and be able to see them in a whole new light! Just like you say here….Can't wait to see your samples tomorrow!Hugs to you and Kel too!Kelly

  2. Kelly, Welcome! I so appreciate all you share here, and had no idea that you were a collage afionado from way back. Thank you, Kelly's parents! What a neat idea for children. I hope parental readers will take note, but also create their own collages. It's just plain fun and a great means of artistic expression. Moreover, though, the surprise for me was for God to teach me through it. I'm glad you mentioned Kel's Soul Dare classes and hope local readers will avail themselves of them. Maybe Kel can write about the classes (hint, hint!) I've signed up for one. I'm glad that when I introduced collaging in my journaling classes that it resonated with your heart. I shall NEVER forget your Warrior collage. It was powerful,and I still have a copy of it. And to think that the Lord spoke to you out of a random stack of magazines that I had on hand. Thanks for visiting, and keep up the great work, o great warrior for the Lord! =]LoveLynni

  3. You might very well be able to convince me of anything! While I haven't done any collages, my oldest daughter has done quite a bit. I actually get it, the way you explained it makes sense in how it soothes the soul, not by the images, but by God speaking through any means He chooses. In my business I do get to be creative and use that outlet for not only stress but gratification. Creating is part of our heritage! Our Father made us that way! Thanks for the education, Lynn.

  4. Floyd, I always love it when you stop by and comment, and I greatly appreciate your insights and enthusiasm! Thank you! How fascinating that your daughter does collage. I'm sure she could share her insights with you far better than I could. It sounds like she is an old pro. And you are so right about creativity being part of our heritage. I think that it is our birthright, and we especially emulate God–our creative Creator–when we make art (of whatever kind: painting, collage, carpentry, writing, singing, baking, working on cars–though you'd not want *me* to do the latter)! But the point is that He gifts us all, and when we create, we are giving Him back a little of what He has so graciously bestowed. Ok, Floyd: This is your challenge to collage with your daughter! =] You'll be glad you did!Fondly,Lynn

  5. Lynn, I love the way you explained this so simply and took us into your experience… and how God uses collage to speak to your heart is beautiful! I have never done collage, except maybe long ago for school. But I feel the same calm you describe when I am drawing or painting. It must be a different part of the brain than writing… just relaxing. And I really don't understand any of those thoughts about it being evil. That is way too legalistic and off base to me, unless you were collaging things of occult nature or false beliefs or something. I love the gift this is to you and how you express it! I think God speaks to us in so many many ways (though the Bible is our one and only as you said) and as someone else said here… creativity is part of His own nature.

  6. Pam, I so appreciate your comments and support here, and I can totally relate about your drawing and painting. Yes, I think these art forms are using the right side of the brain, the less analytical, and tap into our hearts. We really are creative creatures, and I think we honor God when we create (and you, my dear, create such beauty with your lovely pen-and-ink drawings)! I'm glad you understood my heart. People can make all kinds of wrong assumptions, huh? I see you don't collage (I read your other comment first), and I would encourage you to try. I think it would resonate w/ you. I so appreciate your visting here!FondlyLynn

  7. You know, Lynn, I haven't done anything like this for years–since doing varied cut paper and mosaic stuff with my two guy kids when I was homeschooling them. I realize after reading your two posts about this that our collages were the art activity that most strongly expressed inner thoughts and feelings we weren't even consciously aware of until we started selecting seemingly unrelated elements and brought them all together. And so you got me going… Guess what I've been doing with some rare and precious free time today? Cutting and ripping out words and pics and patterns from old mags and catalogs–and it's already interesting, what I see I've "unthinkingly" selected and how they go together!

  8. Oh Sylvie, I'm so glad that you commented here, and I loved reading about your art-of-the-heart activities with your boys. I can just imagine what creative fun you all experienced together, but also how it helped them translate their hearts on the page. I would imagine for boys too this was fun for them to engage in and slow them down a bit. =] As Christians, we need ways to express our hearts creatively, while engaging us cerebrally (is that a word?! 🙂 I love the idea of merging colors, images, etc., with words. OUr hearts and minds are inextricably linked. And when we tie it all up with Scriptural principles, we learn so much. I hope you will share what you are learning at your beautiful blog. Certainly, thank you for sharing here!LoveLynnPS You mentioned catalogs! I wish I had thought to mention in my piece that EVERYTHING is fair game for collage: cataologs, junk mail, magazines, greeting cards, post cards, theatre tickets, photocopies of photos and letters (save the originals), napkins, etc. Have fun with it!

  9. What you describe here reminds me of Pinterest in the digital age. As I pick out beautiful images of place and time, along with words and phrases and pin them on boards, I create a collage of what makes my soul come alive. I think I learn a lot by looking at people's boards on Pinterest, about where their soul comes alive. Love this idea for my new art book too.

  10. I think you know that I'm digitally challenged, Shelly, but I love what you are saying here. And you make the point that photography is a great way to collage. I truly think God does awaken our hearts through creativity, color, art. I'm so glad you are back to painting…..with brushes and words!LoveLynn

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