Some of these are from photos my husband and I took in Germany as we walked around Nuremberg, as we whizzed by in a bus, a couple are from photos friends took on their travels, and one I found in a magazine and just had to paint. I LOVE watercolors! What an amazing adventure it has given me. I’d love to travel in Europe again but we’re holding off on the big trips until the world and all the drama has settled down.
I read a quote from the 18th century Anglican pastor, George Whitefield this morning that was so powerful. If you are anxious or stressed by the world at large or your own world, I pray this encourages you:
“The safest place in the world is in the hands of the living God. The Father protects His children in the hollow of His hands, and His Son walks with them along the path He has chosen. The prayerful take no detours. They don’t play it safe, they walk in safety.”
Be brave, trust God, step out in faith and trust your Heavenly Father, the Holy Spirit who intercedes for us, and our loving Savior who loved us to the cross and back.
I’ve been painting with watercolors since Christmas 2015 when I decided I’d experiment with the process. I’m still experimenting, to be honest! People have asked me to teach them to paint. I wouldn’t know where to start! Each painting I do I find I am still learning more. I imagine that’s how the creative process works.
I love to play piano and to sing. Music and art are both different sides of the same coin of creativity. I can remember telling someone that as I’d stand and sing before a congregation of people, I had the sense I was speaking an emotional heavenly language to one person. By that I mean, each person received it themselves and the person next to them, the same. It was a powerful realization that maybe that is similar to how Jesus reaches us – all of us in real time receiving what He has uniquely for us. Yes, of course I have no clue about that imagining, but it struck me as MY way of understanding the power of Jesus to the world, one person at a time.
One of my favorite authors, Jan Karon the writer of the WONDERFUL Mitford series of books wrote**, “Something out of nothing. Isn’t that the very crux of the creative process? Isn’t that, in the end, one of the great keys to living!” **the Mitford Bedside Companion, Jan Karon. As I take a blank piece of white paper, some clean water, a handful of paintbrushes, and paints I endeavor to create a representation of something that SAYS something without words. As singing speaks melody and the piano speaks without words, paintings create an emotional reaction. They tell a story that you, the viewer, understand individually from your own perspective.
So I invite you, from your unique perspective. to take a watercolor journey and hopefully find some peace and a measure of hope as you see from a different viewpoint. I can’t impact but one person at a time. But I pray that, should this encourage you, you would share with one other person to brighten their day.
Saying goodbye is so terribly hard! We rarely say “goodbye” when we’re just walking out the door as I think about it. It’s more likely, “Have a good day”, or “I had a great time”, or “See you soon!” Goodbye sounds so final and serious with long term implications.
Today I attended the funeral of a lovely, sweet, much-loved friend who very unexpectedly stopped breathing one night a few weeks ago. In that moment, her stunned husband was a widow, her kids were motherless, and grand babies without a Grandma. There was no warning for this event at all and everyone was shocked and surprised. On some level, we know we’re going to die. Don’t we? But do we really think about it and what it might mean?
I’m not writing about insurance, advance directives, or going through “your stuff,” although all of the above are valuable and worth the effort. But, after sitting through the emotional time of remembering this sweet life this morning, I realize again that our time is FLEETING. You or someone you thought you can’t live without, will be gone. This is a BIG destination and one that quite possibly ought to get more of our consideration. . . Because. It matters!
“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life and will not be judged, but has crossed over from death to life.” John 5:24
After Lazarus died, Jesus went and spoke to his sister Martha. “Then Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”” (John 11:21-27).
“I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.” John 14:6
Belief does not require effort on our part. It requires submission. It requires trust. We don’t have it all figured out, after all! Trust is bending a knee to the One who has all the answers and believing He will lead the way and guide us safely home.
The best of all is that our goodbye is NOT quite so final or serious. When we lose a believer to death, we have confidence we will see them again and in a much better place. To have someone know that you are entrusting your eternal destiny to the Only One who can do something about that, is powerfully encouraging for them. Today I said goodbye to my friend Richelle rejoicing she made it Home. No one saw this one coming and it is a great sorrow. For sure, she will be missed. But “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13. She has made it home to paradise. Goodbye, my sweet friend.
I have several dear friends and family members who have been broadsided by life in the last several months. Unimagined events seem to have stolen their future hopes, robbed them of their health, and taken lives of loved ones. We seem to have come face to face with realities in our personal lives for which we really weren’t prepared. In addition, the status of our world and the rumors of war have us staring in disbelief at a new normal that grows darker and more unsettling by the day. We don’t recognize our lives or the world in which we live.
Where do we find solid ground when all that we thought we know seems lost? How do we face and process the battles that demand our attention and where do we find encouragement to continue on? The best place I know to find courage and hope to deal with difficulty is in the words of the Bible.
Jesus’ infamous disciple, Peter wrote, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. …” 1 Peter 5:6, 7. Due time. Sometimes due time is going to take awhile. But in the midst of your pain, give Jesus your fears, stress, and anxiety because He CARES and will be close to you.
Jesus cares about what we care about. He came from the Father to live among us and be tempted as we are. He was hated, betrayed, mocked, ridiculed, savagely beaten, and then nailed to a cross – He KNEW how hard his human life would be, but He chose to come to provide a way out: SALVATION in the power of His name. By trusting in His sacrifice on our behalf. By acknowledging He is our only hope. And believing in what only He can do. We have access to His peace and our eternity with Him.
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deut 31:8
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16
Lord, we are in a world that can at times be stressful and heart-breaking. We need your love, mercy, grace and very presence to help us just to stay on our feet and keep breathing. Help us to keep our eyes focused on You. There is much we will never understand about life. There is much we despair of as we live in these difficult times. Yet we trust that this was known from the beginning and You have us in the palm of your hands. I pray those who do not know You, would SEEK You. I pray You would reveal Yourself to them. And for those of us who love You but are hurting by the storms all around, I pray Your mercy and grace, in the power of Jesus’ name.
How much we need You, Lord. You have promised through the ages to BE our living hope, our Rock and our Redeemer. Who else was foretold as was Jesus so many thousands of years before He was born? What other religious leader’s name, place of birth, method of execution, and plan for the ages was ever revealed and in such absolute accuracy BEFORE they occurred?
How grieved many of us are by what appears to be the actions and plans Satan and his army of fallen spirits manifesting in our nation and our world. The darkness is swirling and encroaching, but You are our protector and our provision – our HOPE. You warned us the world around us would become more and more difficult in the end times. The statues of great leaders of our country being knocked down, murders, lawlessness, immorality, suicide, ongoing virus fears, and the mandate to change our nation into something very dark and immoral – to name but a few – have robbed us of what we knew as “normal.” Wars and rumors of wars and saber rattling is now very apparent on the horizon. None of this is a surprise to you. You warned us of these things throughout the Old Testament in Daniel, Ezekial, and Isaiah to name a few of the many. And Jesus himself told us. He came to get our attention, to point the way and in His excruciating death on our behalf, to BE the Way.
“When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’
“Jesus replied, ‘Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me'” (Matthew 11:2–6).
I sit at Your feet this morning, Lord, and my spirit is warmed by Your great love and the protection of Your grace, mercy and power. And my heart is strengthened and renewed. Forgive me when my desire to be a peacemaker or a voice of any kind, may be received as a clanging gong. Not everyone will agree with or like me. But Your words are trustworthy!
Help us to be Your hands and feet. Help us to stand on Your Word of Truth. We need You, Lord and YOU are the only hope for our world.
1 Peter 1:3-5 NIV  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you,  who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.