As I faced (and continue to face) very intense, life-long mental health struggles that can be very disabling, challenging and disturbing for me, I remember spending many evenings outside at home just watching and photographing the sky as a way to try to help myself stay alive and survive. Seeing, watching, taking note of, and eventually capturing the clouds I saw seemed to naturally become one of the many ways I coped with my own intense, heartbreaking and disturbing reality. I appreciated the beauty, the colors, the variety and uniqueness of what I saw in the clouds, and how the clouds seemed to tell a story—and sometimes I could relate to the story I saw in them.
Through multiple devastating and traumatic experiences, the Bible had been misused and God misrepresented as I was treated in unhealthy, harmful and destructive ways by others. This resulted in my time spent reading the Bible (something I’d faithfully done for multiple decades that—in the past—had been safe and uplifting) becoming an extremely overwhelming, very difficult encounter which caused me to engage in intense self-criticism, self-condemnation and self-harm. But I wouldn’t give up on God—deep down I trusted His faithfulness and goodness rather than the human harm I’d experienced (though this harm was extremely wrong, intensely painful and deeply devastating). I’m thankful God didn’t give up on me and continued to communicate His care for me, perfect love for me and His understanding through His creation by showing me stories in the clouds.
The clouds seemed to tell a story I could relate to—in a way I could visualize my own experiences in the formations, light, darkness and colors I saw. It was like being able to relate to the story I saw portrayed in the clouds was a way God showed me He sees me, the brutal truth of my devastating experiences, my understandable thoughts and behaviors due to my traumatic and harmful personal experiences and that He still cares for me when I feel abandoned, used and misunderstood by some people that I once trusted who were no longer trustworthy.
We all have a story. Perhaps you can relate to parts of my personal story. And it is my hope that somehow, sometime, in some way, maybe you can find some hope in your story.
You can see more behind the scenes images and content about my CLOUDS project here.
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