Whatever Path You Are On

Do you ever feel as if your life has you stumbling down a confusing road with an uncertain destination and wonder where on earth you are going?! I think of times I had no clue whether to choose “path A or path B” – and which one was “God’s perfect will” anyway? The life roads we had been on before 2020 suddenly made a sharp left turn OFF the paths we had thought we were safely on. These uncertain days have created a lot of division in our world and brought many to not only a fork in the road, but a huge boulder. Everywhere we go and to everyone we speak we navigate a minefield in fear we might set off an explosion! No matter what is going on in our lives, we move forward uncertain of what lies ahead or around the next corner. And as we’ve certainly learned especially in these recent days, life can throw us unexpected curves.

I have walked a very rocky path with a dear friend for several years. Her life has been painful on many levels and her faith has been a roller coaster with many stomach-dropping loops. Through the unremitting stress exponentially increasing this last year, we have prayed and asked God for what only He can do. And the months have gone on and the battles have continued raging. Then, within 48 hours, her circumstance abruptly changed 180 degrees to the positive and she was no longer on the same path at all. That which had been so incredibly frightening for her suddenly evaporated as her situation changed overnight. Too complicated to explain, the short answer is that God had NOT forgotten her, He HAD heard her many anguished prayers, He was working on it, and He finally had all His proverbial ducks in a row and made the Great Reveal. Her longtime prayers for release were suddenly answered. And her attitude was suddenly one of great relief and joy.

As I look back at all that has gone on for such a long and painful time and remember the many times she cried out, “Where is God?” “Why isn’t He doing anything?!” I know that I too wondered where He was. I have faith and knew He heard. I KNOW He answers prayers! And I know many times the painful answer is Wait. But what a lift to my spirit it was to see how AMAZINGLY God met her need! “Coincidences of timing.” No, I don’t have faith to believe in coincidences. It was God’s miraculous provision: blessing her beyond what would be a minimum answer to her need. I was reminded of one of my favorite Bible passages, Jeremiah 29:11-13.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

JOY! I rejoice with my friend. I look back in HINDSIGHT and celebrate! Yes, He was listening, He was directing her paths, He loved her all the way through hearing every prayer and seeing all her tears.

You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. Psalm 56:8.

I LOVE Hindsight! Through the rearview mirror I can see clearly what God has done. I will make an effort to REMEMBER His great acts of kindness and how He has blessed by sharing with you and by recording in my journal. I can hopefully encourage others and hopefully you, on whatever twisty road you may be struggling, to TRUST Him! To believe His promises. To remember His great love for You. And to continue putting one foot in front of the other trusting He will direct your paths. He is faithful And I for one shout Hallelujah This morning!

Beauty for Ashes

When I saw this photo, I knew I would be taking my paintbrushes to it. I know some people love abstract and free-form art. But my passion is trying to recreate something real. Isn’t it funny how different we all are?! Art is VERY personal and emotional and there is no logic to it, right? But this image, this one spoke to my heart.

This painting so reminded me of the stories of our lives. All of us have closets filled with old, broken down relics from our past: moments battered, bruised, worn, and often hidden away. These snapshots make up the stories of our lives. Some painful memories have an impact on the face we show to the world. Some secrets from the dark closets of our pasts have been given power to cripple or to rule over us. It is a new day. It is a new week. The Lord IS Risen! I pray we would open those locked doors and bring those ancient pieces hidden away into the light. Painful memories of our past do not need to define us in our present.

What is a stumbling block to you? What is holding you back? What lies are you still believing? What truth have you not looked at in the light of God’s promises?

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have tribulation. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

“…Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” ‭‭Joshua‬ ‭1:9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Most all of us have wounds unhealed: secrets gathering dust weighing us down, forgiveness that needs to happen. How can this old chair beaten with the abuses of time, pressure, and abuse be a beautiful frame for an old battered and likely discarded bucket? Yet when it is filled with glorious blooms and vibrant color, these discarded antiques bring hope and joy. God can make beauty for ashes And I count on Him for that!

This Monday after Easter, I pray you will trust the One who overcame the powers of darkness and death itself. Among the battered, broken down discards of our lives, I pray we would find HOPE to start this week with fresh eyes and a new perspective. JOY! Praying for a spirit of hope and FAITH for new beginnings as we head into spring, 2021

If you would enjoy a visual reminder of hope, I invite you to my Gallery where you will find any of my paintings looking like this (and more).

Masks, Spiral Notebooks, Tote bags, Coffee cups, yoga mats, throw pillow, STICKERS, LOL

Rejoice, He is Risen!

Easter and New Beginnings

Easter is coming! Flowers are blooming, butterflies, birds and blossoms abound and, at least where I live, real life feels like it is returning to our communities. As winter has turned to spring, the darkness of the last many months seems to be brightening and hope seems to be on the horizon.

There is something uniquely special about Easter Sunday and it has nothing to do with dying eggs, baskets or chocolate bunnies. The most profound truth about Easter is the sequence of events leading up to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. He came to us, loved on us, taught us, then died for us. This singular, incredible real-life event of history offers real HOPE to our world. And the price for this astonishing free GIFT is simply to believe and receive it, to trust and obey Him.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians‬ ‭2:8-9‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

I know many who have felt so wounded and lost this past year. So much was taken from all of us. I pray that if you have struggled at all, that you would look at Easter with fresh eyes. What can you turn from despair to hope, from lost to found, from dark to light? Reach your hand to Jesus who gave His life to buy us back into His family. Even if you don’t completely understand the cost of His gift, He will honor your faith and redeem that which has been lost.

This week we remember His suffering on our behalf as the days lead up to Easter Sunday. I recommend watching “The Resurrection” which is showing on Discovery and shares the impact this had not only on His disciples and mother Mary, but on the Romans, High Priest and other Jewish leaders. And in addition, I highly recommend the wonderful ongoing mini-series called, “The Chosen” which airs the first episode of season two on Easter Sunday 8pm ET. You can watch the entirely of season one free on YouTube or on The Chosen app.

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

Jesus loves you, this I know.

Prayers, Paintbrushes and Piano Keys!

I was wondering if I should change the name of my website to ”Prayers, Paintbrushes and Piano Keys” this week. Doesn’t it just have a ring to it? Of course I won’t change it, 🤩 but I share this with joy because like so many, I missed so much of my life this past year. This week I was invited to be at the piano a bit more often for our traditional church worship time as we slowly bring back Choir, Music! Singing! 🎶 Celebrating Jesus and celebrating life! ✨ A week from Sunday we celebrate Easter and His resurrection. This majestic celebration brings such JOY to so many as we raise our voices together in song!

I love being busy, and I wonder if you can relate —-? All has been so quiet on so many fronts for so long, but it seems it is beginning to change. Do you see it? Do you feel a frisson (I love that word!) of joy surprising you lately? There are people out walking and occasionally smiling (with teeth!), there are cars in parking lots, small groups at restaurants, and life seems to be returning to normal in some ways, at least in our communities. It is so encouraging! SPRING is BRINGING a NEW RESURRECTION this year🌻 with hope for a return to maybe a “new normal.” We hope for reconnections with family and friends, a NEW APPRECIATION for relationships, for activities, for life itself that seemed to drain away with each passing month in this last difficult year of 2020.

In this beautiful springtime, I will live my life with newfound hope. I will start by polishing my piano keys and leading people back into singing, worshiping, and making a joyful noise to the Lord. I will also pull out my paintbrushes now and again to try to capture a bit of the majesty of our Creator in our world. I will Attempt to encourage those the Lord has given me, to enjoy this spring season of life and hope.

For the Scriptures say, “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. . .”” 1 Peter‬ ‭3:10-12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

What is YOUR Music? What have you almost forgotten this past year that you need to remember or relearn? I confess I need to relearn walking, moving, YOGA – oh my gosh- I miss yoga! There are so many things that seemed to be taken from us. But we can all take babysteps. I pray each of us would begin the process of healing by looking UP and OUT and reaching a hand to help someone up from their darkness. We also might seek to give ourselves permission to live our lives and to find JOY and WONDER in the process. Many have been lost in all that this last year has wrought, and we remember and seek to comfort those who grieve. For those of us who remain, we ask that we might celebrate the gift of life and the amazing Truth of Resurrection as we move forward one baby step at a time.

Praying blessings and a Song of Spring over you today.

A Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven

What is this life about anyway? Several mornings I’ve started my day wondering what I’m supposed to be doing, and why, for goodness sake! People still tussle: is it safe to ___? my rights vs the “greater good”? VAX or no? When can I take this mask off? I confess I’ve had to have lots of heart to heart talks with myself these days! I’ve had to do some serious digging into my Control Issues Department. Can anyone relate? Are you singing along with me, “Let It Go, Let it Go~”🎶

Where do you find joy these days? Where do you find purpose? What keeps you keeping on when times are stressful and uncertain?

Sit quietly, close your eyes, taste that latté you are drinking, hear the sounds of life around you or intentionally shut them out for quiet, and ask the Lord to come join you where you are in this present moment. Give Him your weariness and discouragement and ask Him for purpose and strength for this day.

Who do I know that is struggling, lonely or hurting, who is discouraged, or needs a hand reaching out or incoming friendly text or voice? Maybe someone needs to talk and, more importantly, needs me to listen and to care about them.

Maybe I need respite. Sing or play joyful music, share a latté with a friend, take a walk and smell the roses. Life is short – we have only this moment and our hopes for tomorrow.

New Every Morning

I paint watercolors because it gives me purpose and joy. It also takes me out of myself, and sometimes getting out of ourselves is just where we need to be. Reading a good book also does that. I recommend Jan Karon’s wonderful Mitford series, starting with “At Home in Mitford”. Rereading it has brought me a remembered and treasured joy. Her writing brings some fresh perspectives on difficult times. I hope you might enjoy this treasured series.

But the best way to get out of myself is by getting into God’s Word. We desperately need to refesh our soul and spirit, and the Bible, God’s love story to us, is the best resource available to us. Packed with stories of flawed people as they were used by God, we find wisdom, truth and hope. And through it all, we find the sacrificial love of our Savior, Jesus Christ. When He was asked what were the most important commandments, Jesus said to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
‭Mark‬ ‭12:30-31‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Help us to love You, Lord, first and foremost, as we seek to find meaning and purpose in our days. Sometimes difficulties hijack our emotions and it is a struggle to climb out of discouragement. But you said the needs of our neighbor (friend, family, community) are as great and oftentimes greater than our own. Help us to take good, wise care of ourselves! But, also give us the strength and the courage to reach out to and love on others who You have put on our hearts. This road we walk called Life, is sometimes dark and discouraging, but You are always by our side and eternally Faithful.

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”   ‭‭Phil ‭4:13‬ ‭

Thank You for Your strength, Your purpose, and Your great Love Story guiding us through, Heavenly Father. Help us to keep on keeping on!