MY STORY – Prayers & Paintbrushes🎨

On a Hill Far Away

Every week I come to ‘this place’ asking the Lord to give me a message of encouragement, direction, and/or hope to share. I felt a strong pull on my heart many years ago to post something other than memes and political wrangling on social media. My weekly ”blog” was birthed on my Prayers and Paintbrushes Facebook page. It has been almost a year and a half that I have had an official blog on my prayersandpaintbrushes website and though one soul may read my words – or 100 – each soul is prayed over. I am retired after a lifetime of working. I never thought retirement would be a possibility and I certainly never thought I’d be writing a blog let alone being a watercolor artist with well over 300 watercolors and a website! Today I feel led to share a little bit of my story hoping it might encourage you to keep on keeping on – regardless of where you find yourself today.

At the age of 60 I was living a new chapter of my life. Recently divorced and living alone for the first time ever, I never expected to marry again. Several years later without one blind date or attempt at internet matching, I did marry again – a wonderful newly widowed gentleman I had known slightly from church and my office. At the age of 65 I was a bride! A year later I found myself unexpectedly retired and after over a year of soul-searching and even trying to find work again, with my husband’s encouragement and support, I realized it was OK for me to be retired. But I am a bit of a social butterfly and I missed the daily interaction and purpose for my days.

At the invitation of a friend to a painting party, I picked up paintbrushes and wasn’t able to put them down! That single time event became a catalyst for another new chapter in my life. in 2016, Prayers and Paintbrushes was born. I have painted commission people, pets and places and prayed with each painting that I wouldn’t screw it up! That’s where “Prayers and Paintbrushes” originated. Shortly after I began sharing my artwork on Facebook I felt the urge to point to my Source of hope and direction and my writing career began.

I share this very abbreviated story to share these thoughts with you… I am in my 70’s. Much of the world looking at my age would think my life is finished – I have nothing left to contribute. But I beg to differ. Speaking for ANYONE of ANY AGE reading these words, I remind you your life isn’t over until it’s over. Regardless where you find yourself, God can use and bless you. Seek Him! ASK HIM! Invite Him in and ask Him to show up and show off in your life! He loves you. He has a plan for you even if you cannot even begin to see it. You may have one day left of your life! Some reading this may feel that is truth. Some may have have decades left – but we can only live one day at a time REGARDLESS of how many we have left. Give that day to the One who can in all things work for good – in your life and through your life.

In a very dark time many years back, God very literally spoke this verse to me:

I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper YOU and not to harm you, plans to give you A hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart“ Jeremiah 29:11-13

Even when I could not see the reality of these words, I clung to them. I pounded on the gates of heaven and reminded God I was believing Him for these words to be true in my life. And he’s been faithful and true. CALL on Him. Come and PRAY to Him. SEEK Him with ALL your Heart. Believe Him even in your disbelief! FAITH doesn’t mean knowing – it means trusting.

What does God want of me, of you? He wants us to give our lives to Him and believe Him for the outcome.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16, 17

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5,6

Whether one person hears these words I write and finds our Savior, or one hundred, I lay this effort at His feet. I seek to be used by Him with or without my paintbrushes. Please comment or message me privately if you need encouragement as you live out your story✨

In This World You Will Have Tribulation

But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. These are the words of Jesus Christ, spoken to His disciples about the “end of the age” in John 16:33. The end of the age seems to be getting closer by the minute. The news is not good, the state of our country and our world so discouraging.

SO, I cling to the hope that these times are no surprise to the Creator and Author of The Book. The Bible warns us from cover to cover of how things would look as we neared the times most famously illustrated in the book of Revelation…but don’t skip Isaiah, Ezekial, Daniel, or Romans just to name a few.

Desiring to seek to encourage and brighten a dark world as best I am able, I point to Jesus for truth and hope. But I also share my watercolors because it is my gift to hopefully shower some brightness and color into your world. Know that as I share these words, there are heavy prayers in my heart – for miracles and for redemption – to flood in every direction. Jesus’ name is POWERFUL! His is the only name people swear by, have you ever considered that? There is a reason – and it is because there is great power in His name. So I pray, in JESUS’ NAME, for the healing of our land and the future of our world. Amen✨

Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10

Pay it Forward

“My Sister, My Friend”

I’m looking for hope these days and imagine you may be as well. I need a solid rock to stand on and an anchor to afix to my turbulent mind. I’m desperate for truth and wisdom in a time that seems devoid of both. I need encouragement as well as courage and I need to feel loved as well as to give love away. I sorely miss what used to be called “activities of everyday life” and am beyond saddened as I watch these painfully disappear in the freefall of the virus: restaurants, yoga classes, travel, small groups, movies, family get togethers – the list is endless.

These are the days in which we live, dear friends, but we cannot let these difficult days take us down! We must be respectful, understanding, gracious and loving and sometimes it takes real effort. Conversations have become tricky as so many formerly agreeable friends are now at odds with one another. But it is imperative that we make the effort to love one another!

“Aspen Chorus”

I hope these words encourage you✨

Wonderful prayer of Saint Francis

Make me an instrument of thy peace, Lord. Where there is hatred let me sow love, where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness. joy.

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

So~ I am challenged to text someone who may just need to hear a word, to smile all the way to my eyes (over that awful mask) and into my voice (that is so muffled and hard to hear) that the cashier or bagger would feel valued, to call someone who might be feeling lonely. Better yet – LORD, give me an opportunity to PAY IT FORWARD this week! Help me to bless someone unexpectedly. (This brings a smile to my face just thinking about it.) I could buy someone’s groceries, pay for someone’s lunch, participate in a worthy GOFUNDME or ministry support project – whatever opportunity might present itself. Give us eyes to see and ears to hear from you that we might find JOY in the GIVING.

“Flowers in Water”

2021…now what~

I tried very hard to find who wrote the wonderful words below. However I was unable to recognize or thank the author. If you know who they are, please let me know and express my gratitude! I hope you will find these thoughts encouraging and a good attitude adjustment as we embark on this new year. God does not promise us a life of ease free from trouble. But He promises He will be with us wherever we go.

”Sunrise of Hope”

Welcome aboard Flight #2021. We are preparing for an on-time departure into the New Year. Please make sure your Attitude and Actions are secured and locked in an upbeat and upright position. All self-destructive thoughts should be turned off at this time and remain off forever. Any negativity, hate, and discouragement must remain completely stowed. In the unlikely event we lose Altitude while under pressure, simply reach up and pull down a Prayer. Prayers will automatically activate if you have Faith. With Faith, you will be able to assist other passengers. 
There will be NO BAGGAGE allowed on this flight. Now, Captain God has cleared us for takeoff. Our first destination is Love, with continuing stops at Peace and Joy. Before you deplane make sure you don’t leave any of your Hopes and Dreams behind. Once these are lost, they cannot be reclaimed. If there’s anything we can do to make your flight more enjoyable, please do the same by paying it forward. We wish you a pleasant flight! 

So today my friends, I wish you courage and confidence, health and hope. In spite of all that swirls around us seemingly determined to rob us of our hope and joy, I pray you will exercise your faith muscles and trust God with what only He can do. If you have never considered Christ to be your only Hope, I am praying now that you would close your eyes, bend your spiritual knees before Him, and ask Him to REVEAL Himself to you! Ask him to forgive you, to love and to save you. And thank Him for the incredible gift of Himself given on a cross 2000 years ago to redeem you. He is worthy of your trust.

Now, let’s toss our baggage, trust our Captain and Pilot, and activate our Faith in the Only One who can safely lead us home.

“Going Home”

2021…now what~

I tried very hard to find who wrote the wonderful words below. However I was unable to recognize or thank the author. If you know who they are, please let me know and express my gratitude! I hope you will find these thoughts encouraging and a good attitude adjustment as we embark on this new year. God does not promise us a life of ease free from trouble. But He promises He will be with us wherever we go.

”Sunrise of Hope”

Welcome aboard Flight #2021. We are preparing for an on-time departure into the New Year. Please make sure your Attitude and Actions are secured and locked in an upbeat and upright position. All self-destructive thoughts should be turned off at this time and remain off forever. Any negativity, hate, and discouragement must remain completely stowed. In the unlikely event we lose Altitude while under pressure, simply reach up and pull down a Prayer. Prayers will automatically activate if you have Faith. With Faith, you will be able to assist other passengers. 
There will be NO BAGGAGE allowed on this flight. Now, Captain God has cleared us for takeoff. Our first destination is Love, with continuing stops at Peace and Joy. Before you deplane make sure you don’t leave any of your Hopes and Dreams behind. Once these are lost, they cannot be reclaimed. If there’s anything we can do to make your flight more enjoyable, please do the same by paying it forward. We wish you a pleasant flight! 

So today my friends, I wish you courage and confidence, health and hope. In spite of all that swirls around us seemingly determined to rob us of our hope and joy, I pray you will exercise your faith muscles and trust God with what only He can do. If you have never considered Christ to be your only Hope, I am praying now that you would close your eyes, bend your spiritual knees before Him, and ask Him to REVEAL Himself to you! Ask him to forgive you, to love and to save you. And thank Him for the incredible gift of Himself given on a cross 2000 years ago to redeem you. He is worthy of your trust.

Now, let’s toss our baggage, trust our Captain and Pilot, and activate our Faith in the Only One who can safely lead us home.

“Going Home”