discover your created self


O God, you are my God;
    I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
    my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
    where there is no water. (Psalm 63:1 NLT)

I started my day with GOD and Brother Lawrence. I read a few paragraphs from The Practice of the Presence of God. This little booklet contains a posthumous compilation of four conversations and fifteen letters collected by Joseph de Beaufort, a visitor to Brother Lawrence at the monastery.

The writings themselves can be hard to understand in our day, because we are more familiar with whole narratives or detailed biographies. It helps to think of this collection as overheard conversations or portions of a journal. It in not my intent to republish the whole text here, but to lift a sentence or phrase that touches my soul, especially as a I seek GOD and practice ART in His presence.

As it is the beginning of our journey, it seemed fitting to introduce some of the background of Brother Lawrence’s life. Brother Lawrence entered the Discalced Carmelite Priory in Paris after his service in the Thirty Years War, as well as serving some period of time as a footman. The Carmelite order was founded in the early 13th century near Jerusalem, and later moved into various European countries including France. Most likely Brother Lawrence joined them in the mid 17th century.

Three things endear me to him already: he lived in Paris, he was comfortable in bare feet (i.e. discalced), and he devoted his whole life to living for God.

As an artist, my life can sometimes feel monastic, in that I am often alone while I immerse myself in ART. I am enjoying this new found way of being present with GOD, marinating in His words and the life of this humble brother who wanted most of all to remain in continual conversation with His Creator.

Brother Lawrence stated his soul intention, as a call to commitment for all who pursue God:

That we should establish ourselves in a sense of GOD’s Presence, by continually conversing with Him. . . That we should feed and nourish our souls with high notions of GOD; which would yield us great joy in being devoted to Him.

After pondering what it means to remain in continual conversation with God, I decided to start my collage for today. During the process, I enjoyed seeing the pieces come together. Often as I glue down images, words will surface that direct my heart toward God.


The words that surfaced across the top of the page were “I will…trust. It’s simple. Love.” Each word or phrase became a tab on a file folder. It’s hard to explain all the meaning I glean from the chosen images, but I liked how the whole collage became a stack of files. I used more layers today, and the files reminded my heart that conversations with God take on many layers. And being in God’s presence is a multi-faceted experience.

Recurring images can often mean something to me. I noticed that I had another pen and a light fixture in this collage, just like yesterday. I will keep my heart open to what God may be encouraging in the conversation regarding my practice of writing and sharing IDEAS with others.

How do you maintain a continual conversation with God? How can you incorporate more color into your relationship with God? Have you ever wanted to be a monk?

(To see more about the stages of the process I followed today, click here.)

11 responses to “GOD+ART (DAY 2)”

  1. Kel, it was so much fun running into you at Art Mart today and blowing kisses from afar. Ha! Sheridan, my resident artist, really loved seeing you again, too! I love this post and, of course, your collage. Somehow, in initially reading your concept for this series, I missed that you were collaging daily. What a challenge–much less to write about it. I loved reading about your monkness. =] Maybe there is a little monk in all artists (of any type). As an author and singer, I, too, am often alone. And, frankly, as an introvert, I thrive on solitude. And interestingly, when I go on private retreat, I love holing up in what I call my little cell (usually at a Catholic retreat center–though I think of myself then more like a nun). But of course, I think I need fellowship and so ultimately the life wouldn’t work for me. Anyway! what I love about collage is its surprise elements . . . as if it is just waiting to tell you something you had never considered. That’s why my mentor, Kathleen (Kay) Adams, with the Center for Journal Therapy, recommendes not pre-selecting images, but just going with the flow. I realize when I employ collage in my classes, due to time constraints, it’s often more efficient to let students bring their selections with them. But I don’t necessarily prefer it. I rejoice in all God is showing you.

    Might you share with readers where you find all your images. Of course, magazines, and I consider all junkmail and brochures in groceries, doctors’ waiting rooms, etc., excellent fodder. But here’s my dilemma. I have some really neat images that I would like to use in particular collages (even if I select amongst them randomly). Sorry–it’s late and I’m not saying this well. But that said, I would hate to use a really neat image in a daily collage I’m just doing quickly for some spontaneous insight. Do you know what I mean? So how do you find cheaper and abundant sources for, say, thekind of daily 31-day project you’re doing now? Hope I’m making sense. No time to proof.


    1. Lynni- What a nice surprise that we were both at ArtMart at the same time yesterday…it was fun to talk Art with Sheridan…I hope to see some of her work one of these days…yes the surprises in collage are the unsolicited insights…and that seems to parallel any contemplative act we engage in, especially when we focus our attention on God’s Holy Spirit moving within us.

      You mention many of the sources that I use for collage…magazines, brochures, etc…I will post soon at souldare some of my recent finds for collage fodder…as to specific images, I know what you mean…I think one solution would be using a scanner (if you have one), saving the image on your computer and then printing it out . With my printer (inkjet, I need to be careful because the ink is water soluble and when I glue or add paint the image could bleed or smear.) I guess you could make a color copy at an office store if you wanted to, a little more spendy, but worth it if you really want to use the image more than once. Of course when I speak of copying images, I mean for personal use…if you are using magazines or other images for art that you plan to sell…you have to be careful of copyright laws 🙂

      Hope that helps!

      1. Kel, yes, thank you. THat does help! Where do you find your mags? Unfortunately, those I love whose paper is thick and creamy (and better for gluing down) are really expensive: Think Somerset! I used to get giveaways at the library, but they are no longer doing that. And my doctor got totally insulted when I asked her if I could take one (among many) from her waiting room. I know that she pitches them after awhile. She told me to go buy my own!

        Love what you are doing here.
        Thanks for all your inspiration, and feel free to converse with Sheridan anytime. We’ll have to invite you to her sr. art show!

  2. hi kel – it’s so interesting to read this. I recently went to a workshop with an artist from church who showed us how to journal, sort of do artistic things with a verse, with the end goal being meditating on the scripture as we go. previously, I’d drawn pictures, blogged, shared it all on facebook a lot…so this past week I’ve trying to unplug and sort of “go quiet” do it with God…BUT then I saw the 31 day thing, and now to be honest I’m sort of struggling. like “whoa, I’m right back on the computer,” you know? I don’t know…maybe this is a prayer request? 🙂 but I’m so glad to find you and your work on here…I get it. it helps.

    1. Pam- Yes the balance between quiet solitude alone with God and checking in with the online community is a challenge…I will pray that God leads you to just the right balance…I am a big fan of using a timer to help me manage how much time I spend in one arena or another 🙂

      Today, I am using a technique in my collage to meditate on the word…hope you get a chance to come back when the Spirit leads.

      I look forward to checking out your blog and facebook posts!

      1. Hello again Pam! I love your doodles…I started following you during this 31 days…I am enjoying your series…I will have to check out your archives to see the Scripture doodling!

  3. expectantlylistening Avatar

    Oh, I love this image. It is way my favourite collage I have seen on your site – just beautiful! I love the hot air balloon so much, and it’s so fun to pick out the pen, clock, paints and other routes to continually converse with God. Mmmm I will have to come back to soak this in more later. I’m excited about the rest of this series with you and Brother Lawrence!

    1. Thanks for stopping in! The hot air balloon made me happy, too. It was a newspaper clipart image that I “harvested” from a small town circular/newspaper ad…It was like coloring in a coloring book page 🙂 It is fun to see where and how God leads this journey…I’m excited too! And very amazed at how God can bring an old saint into my life to teach me about everyday living!

  4. […] this came came from a Journaling series Kel Rolf published two years ago on “God + Art,” in which she incorporated quotes from and thoughts about Brother Lawrence throughout. Happily […]

  5. Kel, I am just discovering this series, and wow, it looks wonderful! Don’t know how I missed it before, but I think we were in different worlds then, maybe. So glad you still have this available on your website, because I have decided to follow through, day by day with either writing or art prompts, and post at least some of the results on my own site. I have already done a collage suggested by this post, and today I am at least starting on Day 3’s. If all the collaging turns into the worship that yesterday’s did, this will be as good as or better than any retreat I’ve attended. Thank you much for making these series available. Not everyone will be able to respond at the time you publish them, but you never know who may pick up on them later.

  6. […] the comments on Kel Rolf’s God + Art  post that gave me my collaging prompt, I noticed the recurrence of the word “distracted” or […]

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About Me

Hi! My name is Kel Rohlf. I am an intuitive mixed-media artist, creative writer and performer. Life is a performance. I often attend.


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