I’d like to share again these wise words with anyone who is wrestling with where they find themselves today. These thoughts were shared by my friend Betsy, from the book, “The Red Sea Rules.” Here is a summary of what the author, Robert J. Morgan, wants to remind us during challenging times: 1) God means for us to be where we are. 2) Be more concerned for God’s glory than your relief. 3) Acknowledge the enemy but keep your focus on God. 4) Pray! 5) Stay calm and confident and let God do His work. 6) Take one day and one step at a time. 7) Look for God’s surrounding presence. 8 Trust God to deliver in His own unique way. 9) View your current crisis as a faith builder for the future. 10) Praise Him.
Jesus sent the disciples into the boat knowing that they would be caught in a severe storm. He intended that they would experience God’s glory AND His presence in and through this frightening experience . Yes, there is an enemy hard at work and his victory has been one of divisiveness in every direction. But if we keep our eyes focused on the Son. and pray – hard and often, I believe we will see He has neither forgotten nor abandoned us. He is close to the broken hearted. We can trust Him. He is faithful.
Long ago, in a college far away and several galaxies back, I was a music major. I loved Home Ec (does anyone remember?), music, and art. I chose to be a music major because I knew it would be easiest for me to get that BA degree. I loved to sing and music was always woven into my soul. A vocal major in college, I hoped that someday I’d cut a record, sing on the radio, or somehow have a career in “the industry”! I never earned a cent from my voice. But I did finally step foot on the platform, grab a microphone and sing to an audience as a soloist in my church. At first singing a solo was daunting! I wouldn’t be able to sleep the night before. After a couple of those stressful opportunities, I prayed the Lord would take away my fear for good. Because I always felt He had created in me the passion to sing, I figured it was only fair that he handle that fear part. And He did. I learned to give my voice to Him every time before I stepped foot on stage, asking Him to use me, remove my ownership and make me His. My vocal ministry continues to this day singing with our choir in the Traditional church service.
About 6 years ago I began to paint. I hadn’t held a paintbrush in many years but once I started, I just couldn’t stop. About the same time my music ministry was significantly changing. My vocal solo opportunities had pretty much phased out as my range had diminished over time. In addition, music styles had changed, and worship teams and bands replaced ”special music” in church. Suddenly, music was taking a back seat to my painting. I was doing something very different finding great joy in the discovery process. I still marvel that at this stage of my life, I would begin something so entirely different! Prayers and Paintbrushes was born🎨
And then about 4 years ago, I felt that the ”prayers part” deserved some attention. I am a Believer. I trust and cling to Jesus as my only hope and truth; my Savior forever. He has walked me throught some horrific experiences – always with me, leading and guiding me when it seemed darkness was all around. He has been faithful. So my BLOG was born. My prayer has always been that I might share words of encouragement: offering some of the hope and peace the Lord has given me. I pray you would seek Him if you have not, that you would call on Him if you have forgotten, that you would cling to Him in these confusing and difficult times.
My theme has several variations. But my song is about my Savior.
This is my newest painting as it might be viewed framed. I hope you enjoy another view of the Arizona desert.
I love to paint, obviously, but there are times I just need to bury myself in a book. I love mysteries, detectives, historical fiction. And I love being encouraged by a story teller who is able to draw me in as if I were watching a movie. Recommendation: if life is overwhelming you and you need a lovely escape, try reading (or rereading!) the Mitford series books by Jan Karon.
Whatever I choose to read, I continue to read the very unique book known as the Holy Bible. Holy simply means unique, set apart, sacred. Here are just some of countless reasons this book is worthy to add to your reading list: the most popular book of all time; written by over 40 authors from varying backgrounds over a time span of aproximately 1500 years; written in three different languages from different continents (and from such unique places as the desert, prison, royal courts); it is the most vetted document in history; holds the answers to life’s biggest questions; and is woven all through from Genesis to Revelation with the theme of God’s great love and redemptive plan not only for His people Israel, but His people referred to as the Church. Gotquestions.org.
In a world where truth is subjective, there IS a place where truth is available. I cling to the truth of the Bible, the Word of God. He tells us His story – HISTORY – and we find hope in times that are confusing filled with division and untruth. If you have never opened this amazing book, I encourage you to start. Ask God to reveal His truth to you and you will find HOPE and direction for your life
Maybe you are a “partier” who loves to dress in bright colors and dance the night away. Maybe you’d rather sit quietly with a mocha and a good book. You might be the one who finds joy in making or listening to music and process life through the power of melody. It is always a relief and a joy when we can return to what gives us comfort and relaxation. Regardless of which personality you identify with, you are not able to be that person 24/7. The loves of your life find place in your day but do not own your day. Life has a way of pulling us in many different and often painful directions.
Whether you are walking in sunlight, nightlight, or ”beach light”, you do not walk alone. If your life is painful, stressful or fearful, look up. Reach up! and fall to your knees in prayer. Ask the Orchestrator of all that is, to guide you on whatever path you find yourself. Life is a journey. And ”it ain’t over ‘til it’s over.” Don’t quit! Don’t lose hope! In these very different days we are living in, do not crawl down a rabbit hole and get lost in the chaos and darkness. There is Hope and direction to be found in the person of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Yes, He IS. The world tells you He is not. But there is very little truth to be found in the voices clamoring for attention in our world. Consider these words written so very long ago yet filled with truth and hope for the ages:
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, whose thoughts are fixed on you. Isa 26:3
Therefore, humble yourself under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you in due time. Casting all your anxiety upon Him for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6, 7
Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you.” Psalms 9:10 NLT
“The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help.” Psalms 34:15 NLT
I tried to edit the life stories of those I loved as I was a younger person. I didn’t want them to suffer harm or hurt, and if I could FIX IT, I would try to do that. Many years and much personal pain and loss later, I learned that I am not the one who can fix anything! But I know the One who can. I pray and entrust those I love to my Savior. I give what I can’t handle straight to the loving arms of God and say, ”This is YOURS, Lord. These problems are way out of my league. So I give them to You.”
Whatever season in which you find yourself today, I encourage you to trust the Lord even in your lack of faith. Even if you have never considered that faith in God can change your life, TRUST HIM. He just may change the direction of your life in ways you could never have imagined.
“…to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power (HIS POWER✨) that works in us,” Ephesians 3:20 NKJV
I never could have dreamed I would have a platform where I might speak into YOUR life. I certainly never imagined I would paint watercolors that could appear on someone’s coffee mug or throw pillow. It was beyond any expectation that my life would have gone from such a very painful place to the birth of Prayers and Paintbrushes. But God had a plan so I just held on tight and BELIEVED HIM for what I never could have imagined.
I have included above only 9 of 65 paintings featuring the colorful state of Arizona in my Arizona Dreaming Gallery. I invite you to visit my GALLERY. Take a digital walk around and see if you might find a view that speaks to your heart. Below are two of my favorites.
Today the sky is overcast and that is a wonderful September Surprise for us this morning. Will we have rain – even Weatherbug can’t answer that question until the first drops actually fall. God knows. He, after all, oversees weather:
For to the snow He says, ‘Fall on the earth,’ And to the downpour and the rain, ‘Be strong.’ Job 37:6
He caused the storm to be still, So that the waves of the sea were hushed. Psalm 107:29
So I pray peace over you this day – wherever you find yourself and in whatever climate. And, should your day allow you the opportunity, stop by and wander among the red rocks, quaking aspens, and spiny cactus of my GALLERY. You will be welcomed.