Why Not Become All FlameA surprise gift appeared in my mailbox last week. The large manila envelop from clear across the country contained the newly publish memoir of friend Martha Jane Petersen. Sweetly inscribed to “a sister on the artistic path,” this soft-bound volume Imaging My Inner Fire – Finding My Path Through Creating Art, is proving to be quite a read.

In May, I enjoyed two visits with Martha Jane while I was participating in the Annual Recreation Workshop at the Montreat Conference Center near Asheville, NC. We had met in the late 90’s when both of us co-taught a week-long class on art and spirituality for the spiritual formation program of Columbia Theological Seminary in GA. We have kept in touch over the years, but haven’t communicated on a regular basis. Yet, with every page I read I had the most unusual response. Again and again, I asked myself when did I talk about this with Martha Jane? It was as if we’d read the same books, been influenced by the same spiritual classics and disciplines, asked the same questions about art and giftedness and call, and spent hours talking with one another about our individual experiences of becoming and being artists.

But we hadn’t. Martha Jane has simply told her story of becoming an artist. Poetically. Personally. Passionately. And her story resonates profoundly with my own journey. I’ve deliberately slowed down the pace of my reading in order to savor this book as long as I can. To reflect on my own process and to daydream about possible art work that might emerge from this experience.

I’ve personally seen many, if not all, of the quilts and art work featured in Martha Jane’s book. And I’ve known a good portion of the story she tells, but not in the integrated depth with which she so eloquently tells her story of being and becoming woman, wife, mother, nurse, cross cultural worker, writer, pastor and artist. Regardless of whether you are a visual artist or not, this is an inspiring story of living your “inner fire” to the fullest in order to be faithfully fruitful to the gifts God has given. 

For the best in inspirational writing with rich visual imagery visit Martha Jane’s website and order your copy today. I’m ordering a number for Christmas gifts. How about you?

What was the last influential memoir you read? How did it resonate with your own story? How might it have inspired you?

2 comments to Gift

  • what a marvellous gift lynne!
    currently am reading
    which has enabled me to accept my new role
    that of armchair traveller
    a difficult thing to do as travel has been
    a consuming passion for most of my life
    but now health issues and costs are forcing me
    to give up most of my travels to interesting places

    if you can possibly read this book which is exquisitely written do so
    my sister found it on the internet for one cent (the postage was $3.99!)
    so you are sure to find a copy easily

    it has inspired me to be less resentful of my inablity to travel
    and to make the most of the memoirs of others to fulfil my interest !

  • Judy Siudara

    Not the last memoir I read but the most influencial of the last few was Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies. it is her story of her spiritual awakening and journey. funny , too, and some times irreverent, but one of those underline -this, can’t put it down books. I will be sure to get Martha Jane’s book. Thanks. Judy

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