I know I bragged on the Arise Artists team last week but wait, there is more…I can't help it. It is still Abortion Recovery Month and I just HAVE to tell you about God's goodness in our lives; the plans He has for us and how He works to see them come to pass.
A little backstory...
While I was writing this blog at the Detroit Metro airport today, I was fondly reminiscing about coming here frequently as a little girl. My family made the trips to the airport for no other reason than to watch the planes take off and land. We knew we weren't actually going anywhere mind you but, my Mom and Dad wanted us to dream big. Parents have dreams for their children-a desire to see them do bigger and better things than the previous generation. They couldn't afford to fly a family of 5 anywhere at that time but they wanted us to know that flying some place new was possible. They did not want our current circumstances to limit our future expectations and so they encouraged us to dream.
What those excursions gave me was a sense of purpose. I knew that if I wanted to venture out into the wide world to make a mark, I would have to prepare myself for the journey. I began to believe what my parents believed for me-that if other folks were going places I could too. Limited resources were a temporary situation. With planning and hard work we could be one of those elegantly dressed travelers destined for wherever. Our parents wanted to expand our horizon by showing us what COULD BE.
Tweet this: Where you start isn't where you need to stay.
When Arise Daughter started 3 years ago, part of the vision God gave me was of a "house Mother" of abortion wounded women and men who, although they were still healing, wanted help with seeing new possibilities for their life. God wanted a place for them to get "Refreshed" and then start their own ministry of reconciliation. It was and is my earnest desire to help women and men see the "next" that God has shown me for them. I want them to not only see their personal potential but also where God wants to take their ministry of reconciliation to others. Their visit to the AD 'boarding house' was to be one of active learning and growing and yes, dreaming. They would stay busy listening to Holy Spirit, creating community with others and then venture out by faith into God's harvest field to the work He was uniquely calling them to. Any additional healing, equipping and training would happen in a safe and loving community. And once God had sufficiently prepared them, they would fly away and more women would come. All I was meant to do was to assist Holy Spirit in the heart work that only He can do and to support them in any way I could.
Tweet this: Nothing is impossible for God!
As that vision began to come to fruition, I became over the moon excited to watch members start to fly! Let me share a few stories of how God is helping AD members soar to new heights while fulfilling their purpose:
Alexandra Stewart started off slowly by showing her art to the Arise Artists community in February of 2022. She is now blossoming in the ministry of restoration of sexual assault trauma victims through volunteering with Silverleaf, a sexual assault haven for women in Kentucky. Alex participates in support groups, answers phone calls and visits victims in the hospital. Just yesterday, she was guest artist for a fundraising event where she exhibited her prodigious painting talents by creating a piece in "real time."
By the end of the event her painting was auctioned off for over $200. Alex's budding ministry, "Healing Art" will be equipped to use not only the visual arts but also drama and dance as healing modalities. What I have seen for Alex is an international healing ministry through the arts and I believe she is well on her way.
Freda Ayodele has a degree in art from Columbus College of Art and Design but became a trauma art faciliator for Arise Daughter in early 2022. She then traveled to Tanzania last summer as part of an artists collective that brought art and trauma healing together. Her week long classes, which were extremely well received by local students, dealt with several topics such as anger resolution. This fall she has been asked to be a featured speaker on the healing arts in Zimbabwe (and I plan to tag along!).
I believe Freda will continue to bring healing through art as she boldly shares her testimony. Her art classes and artists collaborative events with international artists will bring hope and healing wherever God takes her.
Roxanne Fields also became a trauma art facilitator for Arise Daughter early last year. Since that time she has been the first to raise her hand and commit to leading numerous small group trauma art healing sessions using virtual meeting technology.
Roxy lead two Gallery shows for Arise Artists this year along with her Sister Freda and our top art appreciator Karen Crummie. I see Roxanne continuing to shine brightly in her role as story teller while helping women find their own voice to describe their pain from abortion, reproductive loss and infertility.
I have no doubt that her own ministry, "Roxy Fields Studio" is sure to include art classes and artists mentoring that will heal hundreds if not thousands. Detroit needs her ministry of reconciliation and I know God will cause her to prosper in every way imaginable.
Jackie Tolford has taken her nascent healing voice and is amplifying it by speaking out to protect the preborn and vulnerable new Moms. I call Jackie the number one fan of the abortion healing play "Viable" because she never misses an opportunity to share how this powerful one act play jump started her own healing journey. She is now using her sewing skills to build a ministry called "wraparoundlove.com" which will help amazing seamstresses in Panama to be seen in America. She is choosing to use the proceeds of sales to support other ministries such as the International Organization to Stop Exploitation of Women or IOSEW. Jackie will be championing Arise Artists at an upcoming event for IOSEW in Hickory, North Carolina on May 19th where not only her beautifully crafted textiles will be on display but also works affirming the dignity of life done by several Arise Artists.
I see Jackie using her voice and position to bring healing and break generational trauma
wherever God sends her.
Karen Jenkins, our newest member has seen her painting of Sophie Redmond installed in an exhibit in the Juffureh Slave Museum in Gambia, Africa. This past year she was asked to hold paint party's at retreat and healing events-something that was new to her but she was eager to try. She is using her talents to extend the Gospel message that God can use anything and anyone to heal. Her new ministry, "Abba's Girls" is poised to be a beacon of hope not only for post abortive women but also for vulnerable teens and new Moms who need godly mentoring. I see God using Karen's presence and talents to spread hope wherever she is asked to present.
So, to say I am a proud House Mother would be a gross understatement!! I get a front row seat to the work that God is doing in my housemates. He is preparing them to take journeys I can only imagine. I pray that when God fully launches them that they will write home to tell us all about their adventures along the way. I know they know that our doors will ALWAYS be open and our healing community available. And as members Erika Diggs and Tracy Scott continue to explore what God has "next" for them, they know they will always have the love and support of their Sisters as they launch.
My Sisters, arise and fly!
Much love! Sylvia
Song: Blackbird by the Beatles