Jennie Schut, Founder of FlyForward, Author of Waking Up Grey, Artist, Speaker, Retreat leader, Mom of four daughters, Wife of James.
The Fly Forward vision is to foster communities who experience relational nourishment, growth and deeper connection with God, self and others through the exploration of our intrinsic creative nature.
Fly Forward is a non-profit organization that aids creative and spiritual exploration, awakening and flourishing through educational materials, small groups, retreats, workshops, leadership training and art instruction.
My story of Awakening:
I've always been somewhat creative. But after becoming a wife and a mother and all that that means and having experienced some hurts around my creativity, the creative parts of myself began to deteriorate as I neglected them. It was like a piece of ice in a warm drink. The essence was still there, but as moments and days went by, the ice cube would shrink and threaten to disappear completely. Before the ice cube melted away entirely, I came to the realization that I needed some regeneration in this area. I started on an exploration of some terrain that I had never walked before. I took a drawing class and discovered that I could draw. This dormant part was a catalyst for me into the creative process. I became a lover of the creative process. Any creativity I became involved in became a long conversation with the Lord. I began to learn to reparent myself, understanding that the process of "making" was extremely valuable. In the process of creating, I am learning to value the process rather than the product. To enter into the mystery of art rather than drawing conclusions to that mystery is where life is. It becomes an act of worship. Art becomes our cathedral.
I will give you a snippet of what I've been up to since this whole crazy process began!! I've been doing a lot of drawing and painting. I went to Peru in 2006 to teach art to beautiful Peruvian kiddos. Mixed into the calling to make art is also a calling to help others retrieve their own ability to create. I wrote a book called Waking Up Grey: An Exploration of Creative Awakening. It is designed to help others into this process and to unlock and release creativity that we all have the capacity for. I have led many groups of women through the book and finish groups with listening retreats. I am training leaders to facilitate groups through the book. I have returned to school recently and have earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in painting. You can see my artist website at jennieschut.com.www.jennieschut.comI have also enjoyed being a speaker for different venues. I have enjoyed a trip to Italy to study art as a part of my studies. You can look on the blog page to hear about my experience there.
In Waking Up Grey groups, many are finding a kindred fellowship of artist community and support. If you are looking for support in a small, intimate setting, a Waking Up Grey community may be just the thing. New groups are always starting. To find out how to get connected into an official group led by a trained facilitator in your area, or to learn how you can lead your own group, please send me an email and I'd love to talk to you!
Here's what people are saying about Waking Up Grey:
"I realized I wasn't stuck in my creativity, but stuck in my spiritual growth. I had false views of my Master. I feel like I have just changed a prescription for eyeglasses. I have a completely different view and relationship in my life with Him than I ever have. He is different than what I knew before. I am different. My husband and I are more intimate. I am truly thankful that this has found me and that it is such a safe place." - Amy
"We discussed many issues I had been wrestling with. It enlarged my thinking on creativity greatly." - Betsy
"Waking Up Grey is a fantastic study for artists that has helped me tremendously in my creative pursuits. When I came, I was creatively knotted up, but week after week, Jennie led us through thought provoking insights, I began to untangle the knot. By the end of the 11 weeks, I noticed that I had learned to look at my art from a completely different perspective. Art is something that God is doing through me! I believe this book will be used by God to transform thousands of women's lives through art." - Bethany
"My fellow Searchers are a huge blessing to me - I'm moving forward in journaling and drawing due to their courage and encouragement to me. We have shared so much of the heart, they will be 'Artist' friends forever." - Nicky
"I knew that I had some areas of artistic wounding and being a member of one of Jennie's creative groups helped me find a place to both create art and experience a safe community of fellow artists.The encouragement, healing and growth have been great blessings in my spiritual and artistic life! Thank you, Jennie, for the timely invitation to walk the creative path with you!" - Tori Grant, Artist
"This course has felt like taking a cloth stopper out of a bottle. Little bits of creativity would trickle through but the flow was interrupted. It has also been a means of experiencing God's overwhelming presence through my creative processing. The best part is that I know it's just the beginning. The dam is about to break." - Holly
"I never considered a speaker an artist until someone suggested I do Waking Up Grey. My creativity went from black to color as I dug deep into the insecurities buried in my heart, and then let them go, with tears, laughter and love. Waking Up Grey deeply affected my soul and my business as I allowed myself to crawl out of my self-imposed cocoon." - Sandy
"Waking Up Grey helped me to embrace how God really made me, to be creative. I hadn't allowed myself to cherish the unique ways that He has created me, thinking that those longings were not worthy to be pursued. I am now chasing after opportunities to express myself and discover ways to see and express God's creation. I am also embracing my story more fully now, instead of clinging onto painfulness in my life." - Tiffany
"Waking Up Grey embraces my creativity with a generous invitation to explore and fulfill the essence of who I am. The message and process of seeking my life with creative lenses brings clarity and richness to the mundane and ordinary task of living my life." - Sharon
"Jennie reminds us that creativity is a natural expression of our worship. When we know the Creator deeply and beautifully, our creativity is free to soar." - Debbie
"I understood for the first time how much we avoid connecting with God, even when we don't realize it. Waking Up Grey enabled me to sit in the hard places with God and press into connecting with Him. I realize that if we can press through our resistance to God's presence, we experience an intimacy and vulnerability with Him. If we can make it to that place, I found that it's the place where His creativity is birthed in us." - Nikki
"Jennie Schut's work offers both the 'nudge' and shoulder of a friend who is meeting God in her journey, inviting us to pause, to look more deeply into how He is beckoning us individually to come to His table and be satisfied with nothing less than His presence. Like few other books or studies, Waking Up Grey has been a hand-penned invitation to invest time exploring the inner recesses of my heart with Jesus. The Lover-of-my-soul has lightened my load, grieved with me, laughed with me, and danced with me in His great love in ways that have indeed transformed my day-to-day and strengthened me for the battle." - Carole
"While effective in its renewal of individual creative LIFE, Waking Up Grey also serves to steward the SOUL and friendship in unspeakable ways!" - Diane
"So often we set up camp on lonely, boring islands void of excitement, community, and real invigorating life. Walking through Waking Up Grey with other ladies invited a life raft full of other hurt, healing, and hopeful women to join my journey...the adventure of resting in my Creator's care and expressing HIS goodness!" - Brianna
"Waking Up Grey has gone light years beyond the idea of creativity for me - it has been incredible therapy and blessing, especially in teaching me how to begin to love myself as God intended." - Anita