Free Indeed

Easter is coming!  That glorious celebration of when Jesus died and freed us from all of our sins.  When He sacrificed it all to prove His amazing love for each and every person He designed and created.  The day He perfected love.  What a blessing!

Do you feel free?  Or are you letting the chains of this earth and the weight or worry press you down?  When we let God’s freedom truly fill our souls a lightness consumes our souls and bodies.  A joy can overtake us… a peace.  My hope is that all of you feel a bit of that freedom, that you believe with your whole heart that you are free indeed, this day and all the days to follow.

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Called Jesus

You will notice that a lot of the artwork for awhile is landscape orientation.  I challenged myself to work this direction for an entire journal.  Partially for something new, and partially so I have no excuses when it is time to create a calendar for next year.  🙂  It ended up being really refreshing actually, and I think I will always have at least one journal going like this now (I tend to work in several at a time, so in case something is wet and I have extra time I can keep painting or working in the other books.)

These verses come from the Christmas story.  We all know God really challenged Mary, and Joseph, with this pregnancy.  It was something unexpected, totally new, and He left them with no excuses to carry out this mission of parenting Jesus.  The good thing for them was God gave them explicit directions the whole time…go here, name him this, fulfill these prophecies…that would make it a little easier, but still I am sure this blessing was a challenge at times.  The directions God gave them would be refreshing, peaceful…one less thing to decide.

God had already ordained this perfect name for our Savior.  Can you imagine if Mary and Joseph would have needed to make this decision????  Whoah.  Talk about a heavy load.  And thank goodness they were willing to listen and follow God’s words to them.  Jesus is such a comforting word to call on.

What directions is God giving us today?  Are we listening and letting Him challenge us?  The challenge may be refreshing and the perfect antidote to what we need, we just need to give in, no excuses, and go with it–and let Him bless us beyond imagination.

 

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Well with my soul…and facebook :)

Just a quick post today of one of my favorite pieces and songs ever to help me test the Facebook link.  It has not worked for three weeks and finally I called in a professional to help me (Shout out to Crystal Silver!).  Prayers that this posts!   Here is the story of the song which has forever touched my heart:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It_Is_Well_with_My_Soul

and the song:

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Children of God

Just listen to this song…No Longer Slaves/ Child of God by Bethel Music…it is everything I have written about this week.  It is so very comforting.  I often listen to music as I paint and I knew I needed to capture this.  My image came out as a vine of flowers, a blueprint in the background, one big beautiful flower, surrounded by others, that keeps on going and going, blooming in grace and the blush of love.  Your image might be different.  Just close your eyes and soak in the promise in the lyrics of the song.

Be blessed today dear ones.

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Blueprint

I am not sure where this idea came from (me or somewhere else)…but I do like the analogy.  Blueprints are a design plan or other technical drawing or model for engineering and construction.  They are a plan, map, layout, representation.  They are needed by a construction crew to carry out the master plan of an architect or engineer so that the structure is safe, sound, and lasting.  Blueprints used to be printed on light sensitive paper, the most accurate way to reproduce the negative image of the original drawing.  This process creates white lines and a blue background on the special paper.

So if we are making God our original design, and our life is the blueprint then:

  • we are a light filled print of the original–made in His image
  • we are an accurate reproduction of the master plan–He planned each one of us without flaw
  • we are a structurally sound and safe construction, a work in progress, built from the ground up
  • we can trust that God is present in each and every piece planned and needed for the final structure
  • we can believe that the end result will be outstanding and loved by God
  • we do not need to be afraid for God is in every process and always with us

 

 

 

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Do Not Be Afraid

Jeremiah 46:  27 and 28

“Do not be afraid, Jacob my servant; do not be dismayed, Israel. I will surely save you out of a distant place, your descendants from the land of their exile. Jacob will again have peace and security, and no one will make him afraid.
28 Do not be afraid, Jacob my servant, for I am with you,” declares the Lord“Though I completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you, I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you but only in due measure;
I will not let you go entirely unpunished.”

Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon is coming to lay waste to Egypt and make it his, but I love that God tells His chosen people over and over, “Do not be afraid, I am with you.”  I love that God is downright honest with them: shit’s gonna get real–it’s going to be bad,  no one is going to get away with anything, we will have some crap to deal with.  It is life on a sinful earth separated from the perfection of God.

But over and over and over God promises He is with us, there will be peace and security at some point, He will not take us to the brink of destruction, but will redeem us and pull us even closer to Him.  He says, “I will surely save you out of a distant place.”  I don’t think God was only referring to land places.  I think He meant any distant place in reality or in our mind that pulls us away from His loving embrace of safety.  He knows where we are–near or far from Him, nowhere is too far that He can’t see us and pull us back.  Jesus is always with us.  There is no need to be afraid.

I find comfort in that.  I hope you do too.

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Be Transformed

(NIV version) Romans 12:  Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  That is really standing out to me right now.  My mind has felt like that burst of color up there the last month or two…tons of colors and lots going on…all of it scatterbrained, non-committal, feeling guilty and anxious that everything I do is wrong and not good enough.  And then I realized that the winter depression got me more than I thought this year.  I didn’t spiral down, but it still has its grip in ways I can’t control as much as I would like to.

But it is okay, God sees me and my crazy brain and sees that I am trying to give it to Him.  And no matter what He sees me as holy and pleasing.  He will transform my mind and renew me.  He will help me discern what is real and what my brain is making up.  He will lead me to what is good, pleasing, and acceptable.

And this is true for all of us.  He sees us all as wholes.  Holy.  Pleasing to Him.  He wants to transform us–free us of our sin, fill us with His love.  Shine through us with His glory.  Change all the crazy colors to His pleasing colors–a rainbow of promises that He keeps.

Today I pray we are all transformed by God’s loving grace.

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Butterfly Prayers

I know I feel a lot better when I take the time to actually pray each morning.  To really talk with God about what is on my heart, the people I am concerned about, and more.  This artwork was a little doodly and nothing special, but the more I looked at it one day the more it made me think of prayers lifting up gently to Jesus.  Soft, yet incredibly strong butterflies with perfect instincts.  Fragile, transparent bubbles.  There are so many different kinds of prayers, yet Jesus hears them all.  He considers them all.  And He is strong enough to follow His plan and send us back what will lead us down His path.

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Tend my sheep

Who are His sheep?  Jesus told the disciples over and over and over to tend His sheep.  And He told them over and over how to be good disciples.  Do you think He was trying to get across the message that not only do we need to take care of all of those around us, but also our own faith and well being???

It’s awfully hard to walk around being a beacon of light when we aren’t showing ourselves any mercy or kindness.  It’s awfully difficult for others to take us serious as Christians if we are being hypocritical.  It’s awfullyexhausting to give and feed others constantly if we aren’t feeding ourselves.

I am making a list of what I need to change about my attitudes and habits this Lent season.  I need to get back into Bible study with others.  I need to find a way to serve.  But first I need to make sure my attitude is in the right place.  Do you ever feel this way?

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True Judgements

Ugly art.  Judgment.  Kindness, mercy.

What do those three have to do with each other?  The stuff I made last night was seriously ugly.  I am on spring break and I escaped to my studio to play.  But nothing good came out of it.  Horrible stuff.  But I am judging my own art without any kindness or mercy.  I have been trying new techniques, trying to put my spin on artwork inspired by other artists.  Well it didn’t work out like their’s.  As it shouldn’t.

How I should look at those artworks is like this:  I tried something new, I am learning something, I can learn from those mistakes, I can fix them, I can transform this morning into something better.  If I am going to judge my actions, I have to show myself a little mercy.  Be a little kinder to myself.  Be a little more honest with myself that I am not going to create something perfect and lovely every time.

And that is true whether we are talking about making art, breakfast, or whatever our work is.

I don’t know about you, but I am a lot better at showing others mercy and kindness.  I tend to have pretty high expectations for myself.  But God wants us to be kind and forgiving to ourselves just as much as to others.  Sometimes it is even more important.

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Clothing

I am ready for spring clothing…for light shirts, bare legs, sandals, bright colors–NOT heavy boots and sweaters and dulled colors.  All last week, even though it was cold and we have snow on the ground again, I tried to pretend.  I dug out some of my favorite colorful tops and wore sandals with my jeans or flats with no socks.  And I was frozen.  But in some ways it was worth it.

But what I really need to clothe myself with is the light of my Savior, Jesus.  I need to just put on an aura of His love and let that warm me.  Let that feed my happiness.  Let that be the sunlight I am so craving.

But I would still like some warm sunshine too.  Just sayin’.

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Lord of All

He is the champ.  The champion of the world.  He is Lord of not just you and me.  Not just those who choose Him.  He is the Lord of ALL.  He created it all.  ALL.  He is the most worthy King of the world ever.  The best creator.  The best leader.  The best Savior.  The best counselor.  The best father and friend.  The champion of everyone and everything.

That is why we confess when we are screwing up.

That is why we look for His messengers to lead us in the right direction.

That is why we trust Him with our sorrows and sighings and move on to sing His praise.

That is why we let Him handle it.

That is why we worship Him.

That is why we must share His love with others and invite them to understand His champion status.

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He can sooo handle it…

And the other great part of all of this:  God can handle it.  You know how some friends or family might shy away when you are in crisis?  Or when you are being nasty and making bad decisions?  (And I don’t mean leave , I just mean when they go to the other room so they don’t have to see and hear your hot mess. )  God stays.  He knows you are making bad decisions, He knows you should be confessing or listening to those messengers instead of laying around in your jammies sighing.  And He handles it.  He takes all of you…all the different bubbles that link together to be you.  He strengthens all of those links to keep you together in fact.  He sees all those different bubbles and He loves all of them.

And even better?   He wants all of that.  He longs to have our messes and sins right with all of the good stuff.  Now of course, like any parent, He would rather have more joys and proud moments than times when we need reprimanded.  But He handles it all like a champ.  The best champ of all.

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Sighing will Flee

And here is what those messengers are trying to lead us to:  Zion.  Singing.  A time when our sorrow and sighing will flee away.  The great thing is that God knows it is a winding, tricky path being human.  The great thing is that He expects us to fall off the wagon.  The great thing is that He truly does send messengers to lead us by the hand and walk those hills and valleys.  He knows that path will be splashed with angry reds, jubilant purples, and calming blues–He designed it that way.

Because it makes the singing all that much sweeter when we do get back on the right path.  It makes it all the sweeter when our sorrows and sighing pass and we see Zion.  It makes it all the sweeter when we turn to our Savior.

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Send Messengers

Why is it so darn easy to fall off and do what is wrong?  There have been things that I chose to do, things that I have said, people I am avoiding, and I know.  I know that is not what Christ has called me to do and how He wants me to be.  Just last week, I knew I needed to go to Ash Wednesday services.  I felt like I needed that confession.  What did I do?  I stayed home, by 7 I had on my jammies, had a cup of tea, and went to bed early.  I felt justified in my decision because I was so worn out and I really didn’t want to leave the house for anything.  But my soul needed some refreshing as much as my body.

Sometimes I just wish God would send me more messengers that would kick me in the butt a little more and just lead me by the hand.  And then I realize, He does send messengers.  I just have to recognize them.  I just have to listen and do what they say.  I have to make the decision to be faith full.

 

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