THIS GIRL... / by LIZA SNYDER

This girl's name is Tricia Robinson, and I dont know where to begin. I guess the beginning was, quite literally, a "beginners' class" at our place of worship in Birmingham. She and her hubs, and J and I, were all newcomers to this big church, and we were thrown into a class together to meet with the pastor and do a study together. Ironically, Tricia and I had attended a previous Bham church together, but never met. Now I know it wasn't time yet...meeting at that first church wouldn't have made sense. God had more of our individual stories to write before He introduced us. At any rate, we met outside the hallway of that small group and could not stop talking...it was "real" banter back and forth, right off the bat...not the typical Southern fare of nicety nice. And that was the beginning.

Between the beginning and now, the most important thing in the world happened. Tricia showed me (invited me into) how to be an artist again...how to play. To begin. To show up and do the work. To just start making stuff. To throw out the old and welcome the new. To ask God into the studio. To throw off my own expectations of what is "supposed" to be on the canvas. To talk back to my inner critic and say "you hush, quiet now...I'm working here." To journal. To take time in the morning with books and coffee. To be inspired by other artists, especially women. To listen to podcasts and look at pinterest and jot down what I like. To discover what I like. To remember comparison is the thief of joy. To admit I like Taylor Swift.  To not be mad at my old art schooling, but to embrace the present. To be grateful/thankful I have a life partner who encourages me to create. To remember we are made in the image of the great Creator, so it's only natural we create, whatever that looks like. To say to myself daily, yes, God sings over me (Zeph 3:17). To embrace the gift of community and vulnerability and real. To realize I DO like the color pink. 

This girl. This girl has given me the gift of freedom. There are a handful of women in my life I could literally live with - because I want our conversations to go on and on and on...and sometimes they do, until a little one near the phone needs something...chocolate milk or a band aid or the iPad charged. God knows we all need the intimacy of safe people. This girl reminds me that pain and heartache and my own mistakes and every detail of each of our stories are simply ways that my HP woos me to him - because they make me run His way.  

It sounds a little "woo-woo," but I do believe Tricia and I share the same frequency. 

So my question is...who is your Tricia? Who is the person you call when you're grumpy and "stuck?" Not the "yeah yeah" friend (you know...the friend who says "yeah, yeah! you have a right to be grumpy and mad!"), the friend, instead, who encourages you to take note of how you're feeling, pay attention, ask for help, and then figure out what to create next? The friend who tells you about a new art supply she bought and is excited about? The friend who emails you inspiring links or books or pictures or podcasts? The friend who encourages to risk? The friend who says "YES, you can do this! You were made to do this!"? The friend who SHARES with you. The friend who invites you and three other women to read The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron and have your entire life changed?

Whoever it is, thank that person today.