What Creativity Really Means

January 24, 2012 | 41 comments

And this is how the day begins here every morning:

The girls and I drive down our snow-packed country lane at 5 miles per hour.

For one-third of a mile, I tarry along that stretch of gravel, steering between the creaking bones of undressed trees — all of them swaying under winter’s breath.

And the girls and I, we pray.

We talk to God about the things that trouble us, and the things that astound us. Over the years, we’ve prayed for loose teeth and lost cats; longer recesses and easier tests. We’ve prayed for new kids who sit alone at lunch, and old friends who seem to have forgotten we exist when birthday invitations go out.

We’ve prayed for broken hearts and mended friendships. We pray blessings on their days, and Light upon their paths. And we thank God for the big and the little miracles, sometimes with our tears.

And,  if there’s time before bus No. 44 crests that hill, the girls ask, “Mommy, can we pray for you?” As they get older, it happens more. They have begun to sense that there is blessing in praying over someone you love.

So they lay their little hands on my shoulders, and they lay tender words out like a silk ribbon of a song. They have a sixth-sense — a Spirit sense, I think — about what a mom needs.

They know, for instance, that I have half-dozen writing projects sitting on my desk, and that I don’t want to send any of those words out into the world until they are “just right.” And they also know that if I wait that long — until the words are perfect — that I’ll never let a single sentence fly from the nest.

My daughter Lydia — firstborn heiress to my DNA — prays the words over me. And her words … they floor me: “Dear God, help my mom realize that creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.”

I don’t know where she heard it — art class, maybe? — but I’m undone.  A lump in my throat rises. I reach a hand up to my shoulder, and set it on top of hers.

And I choke out the words, “Amen.”

I pat her hand, and I whisper it … my Amen. 


(Photos of daughter, and her art…)





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by | January 24, 2012 | 41 comments


  1. Nancy

    I get goose bumps reading this post….What a blessing to your girls that you are praying with them every morning about every life events….They will be prepared when the adult years come….

    The pictures are precious…cherish them in your heart…..

    • dukeslee

      Thank you, Nancy.

      You know, that moment at the end of the driveway every morning is my favorite moment of the day. No matter what sort of rat-race is ahead — or what has happened in the day previous — that moments brings sweet release and Jesus-peace.

      It is a gift not only to the girls, but to me.

      Thank you for your words in this place.

  2. Sandra Heska King

    Dear God, I am undone here. Bless these girls. Bless their mom. Amen.

    • dukeslee

      Thank you, Sandra. Thank you for that blessing. Love you.

  3. Hazel I Moon

    You have set a good example for your girls and they are sensative to the Holy Spirit. Heed their wise words even while they are yet children. God speaks to us in mysterious ways at times.

    • dukeslee

      Hi Hazel!

      You are so kind. And yes, I will heed their words. They touched me deeply.

  4. Joe Pote

    “Dear God, help my mom realize that creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.”

    What a beautiful prayer by your daughter! What a blessing to you as a mom!

    Thank you, for sharing!

    • dukeslee

      Hey Joe — Yes, wise words. I think she heard that statement at art class, and she knew I needed to it.

      This morning, I Googled the quote and found it. Here’s the rest of it:

      “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” – Scott Adams (American cartoonist)

  5. Christina

    Beautiful. The way the Spirit speaks through children, straight to our hearts, never ceases to amaze me. The Kingdom belongs to such as these. Blessings to you!

    • dukeslee

      A-to-the-Men, Christina! And children seem more willing to listen, methinks. 😉

  6. Laura

    The title drew me in, what would this writer say? You delivered it as you experienced it…a sudden, unexpected gift from God, spoken through a child who has learned to talk with her maker. Thank you.

    • dukeslee

      Hi Laura,

      So glad you stopped by. And yes, it was a sudden and unexpected gift. Thank you …

  7. Wendy Paine Miller

    It’s crazy how much they can teach us, isn’t it?

    Beautiful moment for me to think about this morning.
    ~ Wendy

    • dukeslee

      Hi Wendy!

      Some days, I’m convinced I learn from my children more than I teach.

      Thanks for dropping by. Have a great week, friend.

  8. joan

    Simply beautiful, Jennifer.

    Tender truths from your daughter. Her words touched me as I am in the process of completing my query for my first book. And I too need to let the words that the Holy Spirit deposited in me leave the nest.

    • dukeslee

      Joan! That is great news! I prayed for you, that you would be able to complete your query, and that you would be able to set your words free.

  9. S. Etole

    The treasure of those moments shared must be all gift.

  10. Dea

    Amen and amen. A thousand amens….

  11. Shelly Miller

    What a lovely moment, God speaking to you right there in the car through your daughter. It’s happened to me too, those wise words from such little people new on this journey of life. It makes me teary just thinking about it. How much He loves us.

  12. Lyla Lindquist

    I imagine my kids praying something different for their mom. Something about not being such a dork. But then…

    Add this to the long list of reasons I have to love your girls and the way he moves in them.

  13. Beth

    You are so blessed! Thanks for sharing that powerful slice of your life, Jennifer!

  14. brian miller

    out of the mouthes of babes…love that description of what creativity means…and how well you have raised your kids for them to want to pray for you and have such insight…

  15. Megan Willome

    My son unexpectedly blessed me this morning, so I understand. And I also understand (as I told you at Laity) the freeing impact an art class can have on a perfectionist.

  16. Jerralea

    I truly believe that sometimes God chooses to speak through our little ones! I love what your daughter said about creativity! Hard words for a perfectionist to hear, though …

  17. Deborahjoy

    heart’s gone all squeezy here…
    Love. These. Words.

  18. Linda

    It happens nearly every time Jennifer – the tears come and I feel so deeply the beauty of all of this. He takes your words and makes them a perfect fit for my heart.

  19. Katie

    I love that you’re giving the girls such a strong foundation. What a blessing for their lives!

  20. Missie

    I just got shivers! That is awesome!

  21. Lauri

    Such wisdom! I love that picture of prayer laying words like silk ribbons, so beautiful!
    I am always surprised at the power of prayer spoken out loud for someone, the Spirit truly does plant the right words. What a beautiful legacy of prayer you have given your girls!

  22. Dolly

    I got God-bumps reading this…oh the wisdom of your daughter and how wonderful that you are praying with them…love to you, my friend.

  23. Diana Trautwein

    Your words made me long for a country-lane-ride with my children of long ago. What a lovely habit to have built, jennifer. Perfect. And a wise art teacher imparted good words to your wise daughter. Now to be a wise mother and believe what you hear, right?? Right!!

  24. Christine

    It’s so amazing how He uses our children for our own growth. I agree that many days, it seems they have more to teach me than I them.

    Tears reading this. Such fruit in your girls. He is so faithful. When mothering days get long and weary, sweet words from our children can fuel us for days and days. It’s Him assuring us that our mothering, though imperfect, is perfected in his love and grace.

  25. Leanne

    That’s almost a “kids say the darnedest things” … I don’t have children of my own but I am constantly amazed by the wisdom of young ones, saying stuff that gets to the heart of the matter. How special is that “in between” time you’re building with your girls! Blessings…

  26. emily wierenga

    oh wow. oh. wow.

    i am undone.

    (thank you)

  27. Susan DiMickele

    Yeah, I am loving these girls. Someday, they will read our blogs and laugh and cry. So we continue to write and they continue to bless.

  28. Matthew Kreider

    Imagine if you had taught them that mom is always perfect. That mothers — especially this mother — doesn’t make mistakes.

    Parenting is so dangerous. And beautiful.

    And so is your writing.

  29. Tony

    Wow. It has been well said that the person who never made a mistake, never made anything. I hope your girls never forget their youthful wsidom.

  30. Lisa-Jo @thegypsymama

    Facebook told me this was one of the most beautiful posts of the week – boy were they right!

  31. Paula

    I am undone. The blessings our children can give us.. I see them as a shimmer of hope in those tought days of parenting. It’s God breathed grace to my soul just to carry on one more day. Beautiful story.. thank you for sharing.



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