As an author myself, and a graphic designer who specializes in helping people self-publish. I know that people often need support and encouragement to write life stories they feel driven to share and use to help others through similar circumstances. But it often takes 5 years or more to even get started, if at all. God had been working on me for over a year to lead a group titled “Writing on Purpose / Writing for God” so I could help people, leaders in fact, do what He had called them to do! It seemed every group, and every Bible Study, I had ever lead came down to one thing - people seeking their life’s purpose and how to fulfill God given mission on earth.
I FINALLY figured out that my purpose was to help people identify and STEP INTO theirs! I wanted to help them to change lives and change culture, using God’s love and standards and gifts!
As both a former social worker and a long time Bible Study facilitator I had even created my own curriculum for both of those…which I knew I’d have to do for this group. But I held off. As someone with decades of autoimmune illnesses, that kind of LONG TERM commitment felt overwhelming. There would be no back up on days I was too exhausted to get out of bed, or had a migraine. So for a while I pretended I was doing what God asked. I facilitated a table at church, with someone else organizing and choosing a set curriculum that had nothing to do with writing or purpose. I knew I was fudging!
In September of 2018 I was involved in a head on collision with two wrong way drivers. I was home bound for a month, except when I begged rides to a multitude of tests and treatments. I couldn’t feel my legs and feet to even look for a new car to drive. I finally told God, “I realize how fragile life is. You saved my life for a purpose.” (Over and over actually, the year before I’d been bitten by a bat with rabies!) “So I will do anything you say, Father. I will climb up mountains if you ask (somehow), and I will be dragged through the mud for you, if that is called for. I will stop stalling, stop pretending, and step into my purpose NOW, fully and as you direct.” He told me ask specific people – out of the blue – “Is God calling you to write?” All, astonished that I knew, said “Yes.” Some added the caveat, “Someday.”
So mid-November of 2018, within two months of the car accident, we began to meet in my home twice a month – Bible Study on first Mondays, writing class and sharing what we were writing on third Mondays. Of course we have now switched to ZOOM, but not once have I had to cancel for pain or illness!
I think you will find the Group Description and Call I wrote interesting. It leads directly, albeit eventually, to this contest!
Dated November 19, 2018. “Are you:
(1) called by God to Write, Speak, Act, Sing or use your gifts and talents in the Arts to bring glory to God and deepen people's relationship with Christ. I will always mean ALL of these, but for simplicity’s sake may just refer to it as "Writing.”
(2) Wanting to build a Tribe of friendship, support, encouragement, mutual feedback and education in writing and the arts.
(3) Seeking Training/Education: (a) Dedicated to improving our writing skills, and to (b) Learning about the publishing business – both traditional and non-traditional forms. (c) Willing to implement simple marketing and social media skills to share and promote each other's writings, projects, and events that glorify God.
(4) Wanting to be part of the potential future anthology on the Full Armor of God and other books/topics.”
I let everyone choose a piece of armor they felt led to write about, trusting God to spread it out evenly. He did! But our progress was slow. I provided new writing prompts each month based on our Bible Studies and discussions, but always told people, “You can write about this, your armor, or whatever God is calling you to write.” At the end of December 2019, God directed me to separate out those who were still ‘dabbling,” and those who were committed and wanted accountability and support from the “Tribe.” Five of my core group members started blogs or podcasts they had been thinking about for years! I started creating assignments to help group members brainstorm parts of their chapters and ultimately created “Calls for Submission” just for the group to lead ultimately to create a full chapter. The first Assignment included what I called a “Mini.” It read: “What do I mean by a 'mini'? About 50 - 75 words. Spoken it would be 20 - 30 seconds long (And that is SO short, what a challenge!) Create a poem or mini-devotional, a profound insight, summary, intro, etc., related to your armor piece that could act as an introduction, or a conclusion, to your chapter."
On March 4th of 2020, I found your Engage Art contest and shared it with the group. “Let’s do this. It’s like it was created just for us!” I meant that not only by the topic, but I have used it to teach about following submission guidelines, meeting deadlines (phew – I am SO close!), the editing process, providing Author Bios, and what a FAIR contract looks like (and used it to show where other less scrupulous publishers might try to be ‘tricky’ with authors’ rights.)
That first week of March we brainstormed a video idea that would include everyone, either on camera or learning about filming, lighting, sound! One week later we were on lock down. At that point I had only scripted, filmed and edited a single 1-minute video. I am an artist, a still photographer! It was very hard to create what my mind envisioned through video software I had never worked with before. The longer COVID19 physical distancing went on, the more I realized I would have to do most of the physical production alone – though I have had incredible encouragement and support from my team.
My plan kept changing. I learned that the ticks and spasms that are a part of Fibromyalgia, but I had thought were not noticeable in person, were super-exaggerated when I filmed myself. So I nixed the ‘spoken word on film’ idea! Memory is not the fort of someone with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue anyway, so I was kind of relieved. (Can anyone say ‘self-sabotage’? Lol!) Next, I filmed clever modern stand-ins for the pieces of armor. And found that those same muscle spasms made for incredibly shaky (and BAD) video footage. Luckily I had photographed the pieces with my still camera at the same time. Now THAT is my forte. I am an artist as well as a writer...and a graphic designer.
I decided my “film’ would be a very complex slide show of my art, along with the combined “Mini’s” of my Writing on Purpose / Writing for God group members. But they turned out to be not so ‘mini’ after all. I had to PAINFULLY cut the 1.5 minute written pieces submitted to me into 30 second parts to fit the Full Armor into FIVE MINUTES! I have never prayed so much over a project in my life. Learning editing software as I went was slow going. But this is my area, my gift. Art, writing, editing, design – all for God’s GLORY! And I loved every (exhausting) minute of it!
Still, after a week enmeshed in learning and testing the limits and joys of the editing software, with images, words and sound, I began to doubt myself. “This isn’t a film! What am I doing?” I tried to add in just snippets of my videos that weren’t (too) shaky. But they just broke up the flow, and distracted from the words and message of my writers. So I checked out the Engage Art Contest Track on the App to see if there was anything new. I was so relieved to hear Juror Natalie Pohorski say to create something “Informed by the Scripture, focusing on what you’re good at, and having creativity within their limitations. But also not being tied down by the very literal.” SHE JUST DESCRIBED WHAT WE WROTE AND I CREATED VISUALLY!
“Maybe you can’t find good actors for it.” I thought, or ANY actors at all. Beyond regular social distancing, since I work as an Administrative Assistant 6 hours a week at a 91 year old’s home office, in a senior living center, I have been quite isolated! I do not want to be the one they write “a memo” about having brought ANYTHING into the residence.
And then to hear Juror Justin Taylor say, “Be intentional, be transparent, and let God do the rest.” I am amazed at the progress of my writers, some over 1.5 years, and some in a much shorter timeframe. This submission consists of NINE writers who were all transparent and genuine, and who TRUSTED ME (with God’s divine and creative guidance) to cut their pieces to 1/3 of the original lengths and put them together into a cohesive manner, and to BE THEIR VOICE. I am humbled to be representing them and to be used by the Creator of all things in such a way.
Justin Taylor also use the word “abstract.” Interestingly, it is our WORDS that at times are abstract, while the images remain concrete… yet conceptually still not exactly representational. A hockey helmet stands in for the ‘helmet of salvation;’ a keyboard for our ‘words’ - in order to fulfill our roles as Ambassadors for Christ; a boat’s life vest represents the ‘breastplate of righteousness.’ (Don’t worry, I blurred the logo!)
What a relief to hear Ms. Pohorski and Mr. Taylor mention everything I was concerned about. I am grateful God led me to listen again so I could push through my doubts – to ward off the fiery darts of Satan’s lies that my submission wouldn’t qualify for a certain category, or wasn’t good enough. Pure lies. (Another juror, Jolin McElroy, spoke to me about a 2D art piece I hope to have time to submit.)
I have definitely had to lean on God’s assistance, creative guidance and His sustaining strength for the long nights. When I cried out, “I am so tired Jesus!” He answered, “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” And immediately a childhood song came to mind and lifted my spirits and energy! “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart. Where? Down in my heart. WHERE?! Down in my heart… “.
See! It just uplifted you too! Enjoy our submission!
The writing group I lead, Writing on Purpose / Writing for God, has had an anthology as a dream since its inception about a year and a half ago. We talked about and around it for a while, as group members mostly worked on their personal writing projects, successfully getting blogs and podcasts started that they had talked about for years! Until I decided it was time to bring focus to our group project as well. I asked members to choose ‘chapters” (armor pieces) through prayer about six months ago. It’s no surprise that God had each member choose a different piece! But when the Corona issues hit, people became understandably unfocused and distracted, shifting work and school home, and navigating all of the changes and fears. So I set up writing assignments that would create small pieces that could later be placed into a larger chapter.
For the Engage Art process, I asked each to person to give me permission to use their “Minis” – short poems, prayers, or devotions meant to be either an introduction or a conclusion to their chapters. I then had the joy to read them all, and then the PAIN to have to edit and CUT them down, to get 11 pieces combined to fit into 5 minutes or less! But you will see and hear the final and miraculous outcome.
Dr. David Ingrassia mentions wrestling with the text, as well as that coming through in the art. I hope the end result shows Victory in that wrestling process! To coordinate and combine the work of nine authors and then to create a video or motion product, when my graphic design work has been only static, was definitely a STRUGGLE – but one I felt sustained in, by the beauty not just of the images I chose, but the messages from each member of my team. I had to ask them several times in the last month to pray me through the creative learning process and combining, and I have felt their uplifting in prayer.
That exemplifies beautifully the message of our submission: “Multiplicity – From Soldier to Army.” I noticed in the early writings of my group members that they often felt all alone in their battles. And very beat up with no one to encourage or comfort them through the hardest times. That may be part of a writer’s personality, but it certainly represents the last 4 months of life anywhere in the world. I encouraged my group to look at the Armor from differing viewpoints, all of which I feel became well represented in the final product.
1) We were never meant to be single solders, but a concerted and connected army. Too often people leave verses 18 – 20 off of the Full Armor Ephesians 6:10-20, when they read about the text. But it is exactly in the praying for one another (where 2 or more are gathered in my name) and speaking to others about Christ, that we become part of the BODY of Christ, as His Bride and His Army. (Ref: Matthew 18:20 and I Corinthians 12:12-27)
2) To see every piece of armor in the spiritual realm, and not get stuck on the representational piece – that may seem in real/physical armor to be only defensive or only offensive. I pushed them to write about every piece as potentially BOTH defensive and offensive weapons.
3) From that stance, to stop seeing the Spiritual Battle as a defensive one and only HOLDING ground. The one, in a war and certainly in sports, who is trying to just hold ground and defend usually gets worn down and loses in the end. Instead I wanted them to see all weapons also, and strategically, as offensive. That the goal is, yes, to destroy Satan’s lies and strongholds, but not to destroy and kill people in the process. Instead the greater goal is to TAKE TERRITORY and to ADVANCE (and enlarge) the Kingdom – to bring people TO Christ and INTO a deeper and more personal and powerful relationship with Him. After all, God’s armor intends to go in with PEACE. How creative is God in that?!
The Writing on Purpose / Writing for God Group members did all that and more. I am so excited and honored to represent this group of AMAZING writers, and to show off what ONLY GOD could do in bringing it all together – even in the most difficult of circumstances!
Concept, Photography/Digital Art, Film Design/Layout, Voice Over, Text Editor - ©Heather J. Kirk
Text / Author Credits:
1. ©Irene Smith – There is Multiplicity in Our God! – Ephesians 6:11
2. ©James Montgomery – How We Wrestle / Cleanse Us, Father! – Ephesians 6:12
3. ©Kevin - Standing Firm on the God’s Promises – Ephesians 6:13
4. ©Anna Bullington: Blanketed in Truth – Ephesians 6:14a
5. ©Heather J. Kirk – Righteousness That Latches On – Ephesians 6:14b
6. ©Gloria Cerda – The Walk of Peace – Ephesians 6:15
7. ©Heather J. Kirk – Mustard Seed Shield – Ephesians 6:16
8. ©Kaye Guerrero - Helmet of Salvation – Ephesians 6:17a
9. ©Lora Harvey – The Prayer of Outstretched Arms – Ephesians 6:17b
10. ©Lauryn Andres: Prayer of the Sword of the spirit – Ephesians 6:18-20
11. ©Anna Bullington – The Battle Cry – Ephesians 6:19b-20
Please contact Heather J. Kirk for licensing a digital copy of all or portions of the film at HJKirk@juno.com.
Many of the images can be purchased at https://heather-kirk.pixels.com as wall art, home décor and novelty pieces If you can’t find one in the extensive gallery, contact Heather for the direct link at HJKirk@juno.com
Heather J. Kirk, HJKirk@juno.com
I have many different outlets for my works, but links to ALL can be found on http://HeatherJKirk.com
And here are the separate links:
Graphic Design Portfolio for Small Businesses, Artists and Self-Publishing Authors; Editing Services: https://hjkirk.wixsite.com/heatherkirkgraphics
Speaking Engagements by Heather J. Kirk or other members of Writing on Purpose / Writing for God. HJKirk@juno.com with “Speaker Request” in the Subject Line.
Authored Books: https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B006N6C0JE
We…a spirit seeking harmony for a world that’s out of sync
I Water Dead Plants: a book of poetry and belief
Photography and Art for a Cause – a percentage of profits goes to prevent sex and human trafficking in the country where the photo was taken: https://heather-kirk.pixels.com/
Fashion for a Cause: Cause – a percentage of profits goes to prevent sex and human trafficking in the country where the photo was taken:
VIDA Fashion: https://shopvida.com/collections/heather-j-kirk
Art of Where Fashion: https://artofwhere.com/artists/heatherjkirk
Because WE Care: https://becausewecare.blog
Multiplicity – From Soldier to Army
Based on Ephesians 6:11-20 and related Scriptures
Editor: Heather J. Kirk
Group Leader and Designated “Primary Entrant” for
Writing on Purpose / Writing for God Group
submitting to the
Engage Arts Competition 2019-2020
Heather J. Kirk
HJKirk@juno.com / 480-544-3609
7950 E. Starlight Way #108
Scottsdale, AZ 85250
Multiplicity – From Soldiers to an Army
Based on Ephesians 6:11-20
Editor: Heather J. Kirk
1. ©Irene Smith - There is Multiplicity in Our God!
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Ephesians 6:11 (NIV)
Additional Biblical Reference for Narrated Text: : : “One of your men puts to flight a thousand, for the LORD your God is He who fights for you, just as He promised you.” Joshua 23:10 (NASB)
Video Narrative: The Word declares, “Put On the Whole Armor of God that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” We MUST be equipped for the battle and the journey. One can chase 1,000 and two can put 10,000 to flight. There is Multiplicity in Our God.
2. ©James Montgomery – How We Wrestle / Cleanse Us, Father!
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)
Additional Biblical Reference for Narrated Text: : : “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:14
Video Narrative: Without the truth of God’s Word, we are in constant duress between our spirit and the flesh. And so is the spirit of man, when our passion for the flesh and its desires distances us from God and victory. Principalities set up lies in the high place of our minds that consume us. It is time we take every thought captive in obedience to Christ. Like David we cry, “Search our hearts, O Lord!” Cleanse us, Father, of filthiness with the sweet water of your Word. Spring up in us the victory of everlasting life and quench our spiritual thirst!
3. ©Kevin Montgomery – Standing Firm on the God’s Promises
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.Ephesians 6:13 (NIV)
Additional Biblical Reference for Narrated Text: : : “The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” Matthew 7:25 (NIV)
Video Narrative: God asks, “What are you afraid of? The rain and rivers? The evil winds that blow and beat against your mind? Do not worry about your lives. Are we not more valuable than the birds of the air? Stand firm, place your feet upon the foundation of the Rock.”
He promised us eternal life if we confess and believe. Ask, “Do I glorify Him in all I do?” Do anything and everything as a loving service that is pleasing to Father God, then stand firm!
4. ©Anna Bullington - Blanketed in Truth
“ Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, “ Ephesians 6:14a (NIV)
Additional Biblical Reference for Narrated Text: “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14 (NIV)
Video Narrative: The belt on which everything else hinges, is like a very special blanket! Covering dishonesties and hidden agendas with the blanket of truth causes them to become visible. “Today,” the KING declares, “I blanket you and your generation with TRUTH! And I declare the eyes of your understanding are opening! Truth brings my presence, it brings reformation. Truth brings revival! It starts movements! It’s time, My Love, My Bride! For such a time as this, my Army!
5. ©Heather Kirk – Righteousness That Latches On
“…with the breastplate of righteousness in place” Ephesians 6:14b
Additional Biblical Reference for Narrated Text: “Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” Psalm 91:3
Righteousness that latches on for life – my Christ!
With a covering beyond my own, more than survive – I thrive!
A sky full of space between His yoke and my collarbones.
Burdens and penalties lifted, before Him I drifted.
Ah, but now I float in His sea of forgetfulness!
so that when lies arise – planted in my mind
that I am less or not yet whole…
this breastplate I wear is the hope of my soul.
6. ©Gloria Cerda – The Walk of Peace
“...and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. ..” Ephesians 6:15
Additional Biblical Reference for Narrated Text: “Be sober-minded; be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walked about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
Additional Biblical Reference for Narrated Text: “How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” Isaiah 52:7
Video Narrative: As we lace up our shoes, the Prince of Peace is the message of salvation we share. By His grace, we receive encouragement and the strength to fight the cares of this world with God’s son Jesus at our side.
Preparation lets us walk with a sense of calmness, an assurance and a knowledge of how this battle ends. While Satan walks around seeking to devour, God’s army walks in victory and claims the final hour!
7. ©Heather J. Kirk – Mustard Seed Shield
“In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” Ephesians 6:16
Additional Biblical Reference for Narrated Text: “So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20
Additional Biblical Reference for Narrated Text: “Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.” Proverbs 30:5
You promised a mustard seed of faith was enough.
But what if a tiny seed in the storm gets crushed?
Our shields become shells to ward off Satan’s blows,
Humbly we crawl to you, steady though turtle slow.
We will seek you ‘til we find you in both the highs and lows.
We will seek you ‘til we realize that this is how faith grows.
8. ©Kaye Guerrero - The Helmet of Salvation
“Take the helmet of salvation …” Ephesians 6:17a
Additional Biblical Reference for Narrated Text: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
The enemy seeks to steal, kill, and destroy.
But Christ came to give, live, and build on.
Through His victory on the cross we are saved and made whole,
Cleansed by His blood, yes we are redeemed by His love and sacrifice.
His salvation is our helmet, our eternal protection.
Through His Word we are continually renewed.
9. ©Lauryn Andres - Prayer of the Sword of the Spirit
“…and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:17b
Additional Biblical Reference for Narrated Text: “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 (NASB)
Oh, Lord our King!
We pray fervently that you grant us the mind of Christ,
And the wisdom and faith to wield carefully
the potential within the Sword we clutch:
the privilege to defend, the authority to pull down,
the power save a life.
Oh, Father, teach us to be accomplished swordswomen and men,
sharply cutting to the quick as Your truth redirects a life.
10. ©Lora Harvey - The Prayer of Outstretched Arms
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” Ephesians 6:18-20
Additional Biblical Reference for Narrated Text: “But He Himself withdrew [in retirement] to the wilderness (desert) and prayed.” Luke 5:16
Umbilical cord, if severed assures our death,
and so we stay connected.
Pouring out our hearts, life in upheaval,
Whispering please and praise.
Overwhelmed by grace. His love and mercy.
His blessings amidst the strife…
Amazed by His plans for our lives!
This weapon of prayer we hold and wield
fights off the enemy’s onslaught.
Even if we’re caught off-guard, He never is.
Limitless, bottomless, incomprehensible love for us.
Falling more in love each day, we learn, listen, and give to Him
more of ourselves each time we pray.
11. ©Anna Bullington - Battle Cry
“that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains.” Ephesians 6:19b-20
Additional Biblical Reference for Narrated Text: "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32
“Rise up and sit on your throne, O Jerusalem. Remove the chains from your neck, O captive Daughter of Zion.” Isaiah 52:3
The King says, “Together we can change the course of history!”
Rise up in Truth my Beloved. MULTIPLY, my Army, and take TERRITORY for my Kingdom and my GLORY!”
Curious? Interested in submitting artwork to our contest? Know someone who might be? Through April 14th, 2022, the Engage Art Contest is open to the whole world! Get your foot in the door by claiming your Artist Page now!