The Power of Creative Healing

 How are our friends in the Telos Collective engaging culture, and how can they challenge and encourage us in our own context? We asked the Rev. Lauri Diamond, Missions and Women’s Pastor at Redemption Anglican Church, to share what cultural engagement looks like for her as she reaches women who have been sexually and emotionally abused.

By Lauri Diamond

Following on the heels of the #metoo social media revelation—how so many women have been affected by sexual harassment or exploitation—I began to think about what happens when these scenarios are played out to the extreme. What happens when a girl is continually abused, harassed, exploited or exposed to sexuality as a child? A broken woman may find herself in prostitution, drug addiction, and intense depression. The creativity of God is perverted by the world. What is meant for beauty becomes ashes filled with pain and humiliation. Healing is multi-layered and complex.

Art can be a part of that healing. Restored Hope is a ministry in Dallas where healing is taking place one woman at a time. The one-year program consists of housing, food, and all basic necessities required for protection and security. Since 2014, I’ve been volunteering there to do what we call “Creative Time.” Art is a common language that allows the outpouring of frustrations, praise, or a tentative release of beauty. Many of these women have never experienced a time or place where they could make something pretty just for fun, paint a picture, or write a poem. The freedom to sit under a tree and examine a blade of grass, seeing God through the beauty of His creation, is a new experience for them. My soul is humbled, almost to the point of undoing, to realize where these women have been, and to see the hope of where they are headed emerging in their art.

Similar to many #metoo testimonies, these women have been sexually and emotionally abused. Their backgrounds include prison, drugs, prostitution, abuse and overwhelming spiritual darkness. They courageously submit to a ministry of love and discipline. The daily schedule at Restored Hope is packed with counseling, doctor’s appointments, Bible studies and mentoring.  Thursday afternoon is Creative Time, which might include painting, writing, music or even cooking. Creativity has no limits, and I’ve seen God use it all for healing past wounds and building new confidence.

During Creative Time, the women’s favorite method of healing art is “prayer painting.” We begin by praying together and listening to worship music. No brushes and no rules. When you’re painting with hands and fingers, you actually feel the art happen. It’s healing to experience the texture of the canvas and the cool paint sliding over it. You never know what will emerge when the Holy Spirit is leading creativity.

One woman painted a bright yellow bird surrounded by dark angry red and called it “Hope.” She explained that she saw herself emerging from bondage. Another woman painted an abstract face with the words “My Cryin Ojos” scrawled beneath it and a cross in the center of a mouth open in a silent scream.  She called it “Inventory.” Again and again, I’ve seen art speak where words fail.

When I first started volunteering at Restored Hope, we painted a lot because that is my context. But the ministry has grown! Over the last four years, God has drawn a team of volunteers together for Creative Time. Each woman who volunteers her time and talents to lead a Creative Time is showing God’s love to her sisters. We find commonality in creating together. It’s a “Women at the Well” time of visiting and laughing while the girls create. Sometimes, it’s deep with drama, art or music. Other times, healing looks like flowers added to pieces of driftwood, pumpkins painted or canvases joyfully splattered.

No matter what the creative expression is week to week, relationships are formed, trust is built and the love of Christ replaces heartache and suffering. My passion is seeing one sister at a time restored to her place as a valued daughter of the King.

  • How do you respond to the painting “My Cryin Ojos”?
  • How can you engage your community through art and creativity?
  • Are you open to God using art in your own life to heal and restore you?

The Rev. Lauri Diamond is a deacon serving as Missions and Women’s Pastor at Redemption Anglican Church in Frisco, Texas. Lauri and her husband Tom have four grown children. Lauri is currently studying at Dallas Theological Seminary. She loves anything involving creativity, has a passion for reaching out, and thrives on connecting church and community and helping them connect with God.