I am the author of God’s Creative Gift—Unleashing the Artist in You and The Creator’s Healing Power—Restoring the Broken to Beautiful.
I wrote God’s Creative Gift in obedience to God. While I was attending seminary, God planted a tiny seed in my heart, nurturing and watering it along as I learned. At the time I was training young women in the area of worship dance and embodied prayer, so I wanted to write a book for dancers filled with Bible studies. The Bible is filled with mandates and instruction for the creative Christian, and I wanted them to have a strong Biblical foundation from which to serve and minister to others.
Yet as I wrote, I quickly found that much of what I was writing applied to all areas of arts and creativity. I knew God wanted to inspire artists of all levels and genres, not simply because they are creative, but because they are made in His beautiful image. So I wrote, and just kept on writing until God said it was done. The result was eight chapters filled with Bible studies to inspire the creative Christian. HOWEVER… if you have my first book you know there’s only seven chapters in it! What happened to the other chapter?
Under the wise counsel of my dear friend Dr. Terry Wardle of Healing Care Ministries, a chapter on the dual exploration of the healing journey of the artist and the artist as healer was prayerfully laid aside for another time. That led to my second book, The Creator’s Healing Power—Restoring the Broken to Beautiful—the story of my own healing, scriptures that led me through the dark places of my journey, and encouragement to enter a creative process that leads toward healing, wholeness, and restoration with a focus on art, beauty, creativity, and worship. Within that book you’ll also find healing testimonies, poems, music, coloring pages, and inspiration from wounded healers on the journey of reclamation, redemption, and restoration themselves
You can read more about my books and what inspired me to write them here.
But who am I really? Beyond the “author” title…
I am a preacher’s kid, well, kinda.
My father was a preacher before I was born. By the time I came around, his work in Christian education had led him to a position as dean of Ashland Theological Seminary—the very same seminary I attended decades later. If you told me way back then that I would be in ministry now, I would’ve laughed. My brother, Joe? Yes! But me? Don’t think so!
Not sure when I finally realized the call on my life. Somewhere between worship team rehearsals, Christmas plays, and a desire to go to seminary, God pushed me into his will and ways. At some point, it finally dawned on me that I was already answering the call. I suppose it was part of my DNA.
I am a piano teacher’s daughter.
Growing up with a mother as a piano teacher meant that children of all ages, skills, and abilities sat at the piano in our living room and chipped away at the music lessons in the books propped on our beautiful Steinway. Day after day I heard the same simple tunes and scales—the very same ones I attempted as my mother tried to teach me piano (with little success, I might add, not due to her lack of persistence, but mainly mine).
She is a remarkable artist at the piano, but her artistry was most evident when she practiced in the privacy of our home. She benefitted from her practice by being a great pianist. I benefitted from her practice by learning a deep appreciation for music, and for finding God in the midst of her playing. To this day the piano is the one instrument that easily takes me into the Lord’s presence. It calms my soul and brings me a deep peace that resonates in my spirit.
I am a jack-of-all-trades; master of none.
I sing, lead worship, play guitar and flute. I have painted and crafted—on both large and small scales. I love drama, dance, and embodied prayer. I write—songs and books. I preach, teach, and lead. I coordinate large community worship gatherings and workshops. I teach on embodiment, creativity and spirituality. I work with people in recovery and with those who have experienced trauma and wounding to help them reclaim their bodies and sense of self. Yet, I do none of these in a full-time capacity.
In the past, I hated this aspect of my skill set, until my friend Aaron Wardle (a gifted worship leader & songwriter) told me that this “jack-of-all-trades” approach to ministry was a great asset. He admired my courage—he saw no fear in me that couldn’t be overcome by my faith in God to equip me in any given moment. Instead of waiting until I had perfected some art form, I stepped out in faith, expecting God to fill in the gaps. And he did.
And because of this breadth of experience, God has given me a heart for artists and creative Christians regardless of art form, genre, or medium. I love to see artists empowered to give their God-given creative gift to the body of Christ and to a world desperately in need of his unfailing love. He has also given me a heart for those who have been hurt on this journey, for those whose bodies feel “not-quite-their-own” due to life in this crazy, mixed-up world.
I am a wife and mother.
These priorities have always taken precedence above all other activities in my life. All decisions are made with the question, “How will this affect my family?” When I went to seminary, I took day classes and only one or two at a time so I would be home when the kids were home. It took me more than five years to complete a two-year degree.
My firm belief is that the greatest area of ministry is right in your own home. After all, if your own husband and children reject the gospel of Jesus Christ because you were too busy to be concerned with them, then you have failed to realize the mission field in your very own home.
That’s my soapbox, I’ll get down off of it now.
Above all else, I am a beloved daughter of the King.
Through Christ’s sacrifice, I am forgiven.
I am reborn, redeemed, and restored.
I am filled with the gift of his precious Holy Spirit.
I am my Beloved’s and He is mine.
…because He is the Great I AM!
Want to hear more? Read an Interview with the Author.
Jody Thomae is the author of God’s Creative Gift—Unleashing the Artist in You and The Creator’s Healing Power—Restoring the Broken to Beautiful, in-depth, interactive devotional books that are part of the Bible Studies to Nurture the Creative Spirit Within series and serve as resources for creative Christians and artists. Jody has been involved in worship arts ministry since 1997, serving as worship arts ministry pastor, worship leader and creative arts director. She has coordinated artistic involvement in church services and regional worship events through dance, drama, poetry and fine arts and performs, teaches, preaches, and leads workshops in the area of creativity, spirituality and embodied prayer. She also leads worship at local seminars, retreats and women’s events. In addition, she has recorded a devotional album entitled Song of the Beloved, which is available through Spotify, CD Baby and iTunes.
Her passion is for the revelation of God to be made more real through the prophetic use of the arts in church and formational ministry. It is her desire to portray the message of Christ’s desperate and unfailing love for His people to help sustain the hearts of the broken and weary. She is particularly interested in the way in which God uses the arts to bring formational development and healing to His people. Life scriptures include Psalm 27; Isaiah 50:4-7; and Zephaniah 3:14-17.
Activities: Leads worship, teaches, and performs through dance and drama at area churches, worship events and Healing Care Ministries events. Guest lecturer at Healing Care Ministry International Certificate Program in Spiritual Formation & Spiritual Direction. Directs creative and formative worship experiences.
Teaches on: Creativity, Healing and the Artist; Biblical ABCs of Creativity; Incarnational Artistry; Theology of Beauty; Dance as Prayer (Embodied Prayer); Portraying Scripture through Movement; Flags, Banners & Color Meanings; Symbolism in Worship Movement and the Creative Arts; Moving/Beauty from the Core; the Prophetic and Priestly Roles of the Artist in the Church.
Education: BA, R/TV & Public Communication, Ashland University (1988); MA, Organizational Communication, Ohio University (1990); and MA, Religion, Ashland Theological Seminary (2009). She is also trained in Trauma Sensitive YogaFaith, a Christ-centered approach to reclaiming the body.