The Voice of the Spirit

Sarah Ellis
5 min readDec 1, 2020

When I dream of my Grammie Rose, I’m almost always hiding — hoping with every fiber of my being she won’t find me lurking around the garden of her Victorian era home. I feel absolutely absurd in these dreams. I haven’t seen my grandmother in about ten years, but I still dream about her. Often, in fact. And I’m always running, hiding, hoping that even though all I want is to stay hidden that she’ll call out to me. I’m hoping that she knows I’m there. I’m hoping she wants to see me.

I don’t remember much of childhood, thanks to my dissociative tendencies and my sheer will to survive various traumas. Yet, I remember almost everything about my grandmother. I can smell her kitchen, taste her favorite rose tea (if I really set myself to thinking hard), and even scrunch my nose over the tickle of dust lingering on the plush curtains and thrifted chairs. I perpetually dream about my perfectly maintained memories. There are bad ones, to be sure. Especially toward the end of our relationship. Things got messy. I was young. I didn’t know how to manage myself. I still barely know. But I know I long to flip through her fairytale books, stretch out over piles of pillows thrown on the guest bed, dip into the steaming water of her clawfoot tub, and talk with her. I want to talk with her about writing, art, boys, school, and God.

I’m not sure what we would agree on, or if we would even be half as close as we once were. But… I can’t stop thinking about her. So, when it came to my final Art in Christ project, I had this absurd idea pop into my head. You see, just around the time I was born my grandmother finished her first draft of a prophetic book of poems. And I thought, maybe, I would put my own spin on the cover. I don’t know if she’ll ever see it. This is just me lurking in the garden and hiding behind little digital shrubs, but I’m still hoping she’ll call out to me.

But sometimes, when we can’t cry out, God calls us to speak in ways other than our words.

So this is how I am speaking in faith, this is how I’m relenting to ten years of lamenting mistakes of my own making and of my family’s making. I began my process by gathering images of the original cover and quotes from the book itself. Which combined — created a pretty cathartic experience.

© 2010 The Voice of the Spirit, S.G.Rose, All Rights Reserved

“This inspiring anthology of visions, prophecies, parables, poems and prayers
begins with the Author’s dramatic spiritual awakening and the Divine commission to transcribe and share the extraordinary experiences,
revelations and communications that would follow over the next 35 years.”

I love the original cover. It’s half familiarity, and half my love for C.S. Lewis, which this design seems to harken to. She would laugh at me now, I think. Knowing that her crafty ways of turning old wardrobes into portals with large lion stuffed animals crammed inside grew in me a full on adult-obsession. She doesn’t know that I’ve named my dog Professor C.S. Lewis in her honor. I hope she’ll get to know one day.

© 2010 The Voice of the Spirit, S.G.Rose, All Rights Reserved

My process led me through various stages of sketching, crying, and drinking a few cups of tea off and on. I had to go on a walk in the middle of my creating. Anger about all the loss I’ve experienced was devouring my mind.

“God,” I cried. “Why do you keep taking everything away from me?” After a little bit more crying, walking, tea drinking, and a few failed attempts at assembling some educated and perfectly currated cover that would do my grandmother’s book justice, I quit. And that, oh boy, that’s when God decided to impart a few insights to me.

“I have not taken from you.” God seemed to say. “I have given you the ability to create, and I continue to give it to you freely — in every excess, because I love you.” And in that moment, I felt God stand alongside me. In all the loss I had experienced since my conception, the loss that’s perpetuated into a mass ball of chaos eclipsing in this very hellish year… I understood. So, I abandoned Times New Roman and my neutral color pallet. Yes, I would have made something publishable using those tools, but it wasn’t encapsulating the thoughts that were racing around my head. The compositions weren’t giving justice to the dreams. And they weren’t giving justice to God’s creative spirit whirling in my being, begging not to be reigned in for just once.

So I did everything I wanted. I did everything I felt. It all landed in the composition.

When I look at this cover, I’m overwhelmed. Not because it’s the best thing I’ve ever made. No. It’s not. But damn, everything I’ve held on to is apparent to me in this piece.

As it turns out, I’m not only hiding from my grandmother. I’ve been hiding from God. I don’t want people to know the pain or see the ghosts lingering over my shoulders. And that’s what being a faithful maker means. Submitting the worst of us, humbling ourselves to the work that is always bigger than ourselves. And oftentimes the things that are the most painful, are the things that will be the most meaningful to our lives.

So, congratulations, you’ve made it to the end of my emotional and creative ramble. But I hope if you get anything from this post, it’s okay to hide — just learn to cry out in the ways you can. If you can only say I love you with a pile of art supplies, I give you the gold star of approval. It still means something. To them, to God, to you. Even if it’s ten years late. Even if it might get lost in the abyss of the internet.

Just love.