Liz Carver » Essays
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White Space

“It has been said that it’s the space between the bars that holds the tiger. And it’s the silence between the notes that makes the music. It is out of the silence, or “the gap,” or that space between our thoughts, that everything is created including our own bliss.” -Wayne Dyer White space is the most underrated tool that any artist or creative has in their toolbox. While this term originates in design, white space is a human principle that has relevancy in nearly every area of our lives. In design, we call it negative space. In music, we call it a rest. In our spiritual lives, we call it solitude, stillness, or fasting. In our weeks, we call it Sabbath. In conversation, we call it listening. In the Psalms, it has a literal name: Selah. As the quote from Dyer (above) gets at, it is the very absence of the thing (noise, movement, visuals) that adds emphasis and invokes the imagination. Our brains automatically put emphasis and importance on design elements that are surrounded by white space because white space is a visual clue about where we should be looking. White space provides a buffer around the important elements […]
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Rejected Stones

This devotional was written for the Eastbrook Church 2017 Lenten Devotional, “Crossroads.” Psalm 118:19-24: 19 Open for me the gates of the righteous;     I will enter and give thanks to the Lord. 20 This is the gate of the Lord     through which the righteous may enter. 21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me;     you have become my salvation. 22 The stone the builders rejected     has become the cornerstone; 23 the Lord has done this,     and it is marvelous in our eyes. 24 The Lord has done it this very day;     let us rejoice today and be glad. My nieces and nephew recently discovered Legos. What amazes me is that even my two-year-old niece Lorelai helps out. She can sit in front of the manual, carefully select the right Lego piece, check her work against the manual, and proudly hand it to her siblings to put in place. This type of careful selection is what the mini-parable found in v. 22 is about. In order to build a great structure like Solomon’s temple, the builders carefully selected the right stones, saving the most perfect stone for the cornerstone. Stones that didn’t fit the blueprint were rejected. Fast-forward about 1000 years and we find another rejected stone in Jesus. Jesus didn’t look like the right […]
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Forgiveness + Celebration

FELLOWSHIP: WHAT IT IS AND WHAT IT ISNʼT “And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” (Acts 2:42) I was recently asked to write a devotional on fellowship….this church-y word that gets a bad rep. After digging in, I now see why fellowship is considered a spiritual discipline. It is fundamental to our lives in the church and it is fundamental to the journey of sanctification we find ourselves walking along. So, what is it? Fellowship is not partying or hanging out, but it does require other people. You can’t be a lone ranger in the kingdom of God, but being in a group is not enough. You could be in a small group but not enjoy true fellowship, because fellowship must have a spiritual component. In fellowship, we are all connected vertically to God, as well as horizontally to each other. In fellowship, we do life together with other people who share a relationship with Jesus Christ. For this reason, fellowship is not a luxury, it is a spiritual necessity. The problem is that we, as humans, suck. We hurt each other, both intentionally and accidentally. […]
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Windows to Heaven

The first time I worshipped in an Orthodox Church, I was on sensory overload. I went for a class I was taking at Fuller Seminary and it was overwhelming. We chanted, we stood for around two hours, all the time, the overwhelming scent of incense was filling my lungs. Being an artist, I was immediately enamored with the beautiful icons. I went in expecting “smells and bells,” expecting to stand, expecting to see icons, but I didn’t expect to feel so supernaturally drawn to the icon of Christ at the front of the space. I was drawn to it, I studied it, I loved it. I felt stuck. In Windows to Heaven, a book on Orthodox iconography, Elizabeth Zelensky writes that in the Orthodox faith, the icon should be seen as a window that the reader looks through to see the nature of the divine. So, by looking at (or reading, more appropriately) an icon of Christ, we see not the wood and paint, but the actual divine nature of Christ. No wonder I was compelled. Zelensky goes on to write, “It is my prayer that now and then, someone will recognize the image of Christ in me and will […]
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