At the end of September, I attended the Writer’s Barn event at The Nester’s barn. She and her sister, Emily Freeman, hosted it, along with singer-songwriter Christa Wells. It felt brave to go–something I never would have done if Evan hadn’t convinced me, and something I still feel funny talking about with people. I want to start so many sentences with, “Well, when I was at the barn…”
When I met Emily Freeman, I cried. I walked up and said, “I just have to hug you and thank you for what your writing as meant to me, for how it’s changed my relationship with Jesus.” My eyes filled, and I quickly changed the subject to where she bought her necklace so that I could keep. it. together.
I’ve been reflecting on why it seemed like such a big deal to meet Emily and Myquillin and to actually see–live and in person–Myquillin’s barn. It’s true that I’ve read their blogs for years, I’ve heard them speak on podcasts, I follow them on Instagram and Twitter, I’ve purchased their books on the release dates and devoured them, underlining and highlighting and dog-earing the pages as I went. I have soaked up every bit of work they’ve done.
But what’s more is this: their art has completely changed my relationship with Jesus, and by extension, the way I operate in my daily life.
From each of them, I learned that it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful–whether “it” is my home or my relationships. I have learned to let go of my unrealistic expectations of perfection, and to instead embrace my real life exactly how it is. I have learned that I need not wear a mask or obsessively sweep the crumbs off my floor, because I am accepted and loved perfectly as I am. I have learned, from both of them, how to be most authentically myself in the presence of others…whether it means putting more holes in my wall or crying every time I talk about Jesus.
I’m not saying it very well here, but the point is this: my whole life had been spent striving for perfection, and laboriously seeking the approval of others, but I hadn’t even realized it until I starting reading Chatting at the Sky and the Nesting Place.
At the beginning of the event, Emily mentioned that every seat in the barn had been prayed over, and I almost cried again. In many ways, being there felt like a culmination of the past few years. It felt like an opportunity to soak up Jesus’ presence in the company of like-minded women, to praise Him for the ways He’s been transforming my heart, and to acknowledge the manner in which He went about it.
The day began with prayer and it ended with worship, and I think it was all of us, saying a collective “Yes” to grace and art and Jesus.
You know in Genesis, when God tells Moses to take off his shoes? That’s how it felt. Holy ground.