Stuck in “ASSUME” mode

Flowering Cactus

How stressful that email was! I didn’t understand the cryptic words or message and my initial reaction was dread. The thorns of those cactus were prickling my spirit! I felt as if I was being called into the principal’s office and we know that can never be good. I could not imagine one reason I would get a communication so vague with such a seemingly dark shadow attached. I was instantly in stress mode!

As I have lived a lot of life and learned a lot of “life’s lessons”, I knew right away I was assuming… and the worst, at that. So I did some self talk and tried to find logic in the mists of my mind. No good! So I finally did what was the best thing and I shut off my mind and prayed. I laid my concerns at the feet of the Lord.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God, and the peace of God which passes all understanding, will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 ESV

I soon realized I not only needed to be quiet before Him as I gave Him all my “what-ifs” but I needed to be quiet so He could speak to me. I do believe we can hear from our Lord when we ask to hear His voice. I felt Him urge my spirit, ‘Leave this with me.’ Immediately I felt my anxieties begin to ease and the wicked voices that made me imagine the worst, begin to quiet.

Within minutes of this happening I received a call from a dear friend who is also a strong believer in Jesus and I shared my experience with her. We prayed together and, not an hour later, I heard from someone who was able to clarify the cryptic message and yes, I HAD assumed something totally unrelated to reality.

I share this because this kind of challenge has happened so often in my life. Before I trusted Christ as my Savior I was doing life on my own. Something would happen and I would fall into that dark pit believing the worst and be stuck there until reality showed up. As I’ve lived life as a believer in Jesus, I’ve learned not to do that! But sometimes~ well, sometimes we just forget and get caught.

ASK HIM. ASK HIM to breathe His peace over You, to take your concerns and to manage them for you. I trust these words will encourage you when you get stuck in “assume mode”

“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8.

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16

…and one of my favorite “go-to” verses is – “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will direct your paths.”  Prov 3:5, 6

When we go it alone, we mess ourselves up, Lord. We need You. Without You we flounder and often find ourselves our own worst enemy. Help ME to remember this lesson today. I pray, in Jesus’ powerful name. AMEN!

SORROW and UNCERTAINTY😳

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.

WHAT IS YOUR STORY? And WHO is editing YOUR story, anyway?

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.

Praying for you to find HOPE this day.


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!

Surely Goodness & Mercy Shall Follow Me…

Sometimes it doesn’t feel as if goodness or mercy are following anyone. I know many who are profoundly struggling and the battles on all sides seem interminable. We look around our communities and wonder how we could have gotten to such a place! We are harangued by COVID numbers and warnings and concerned about those we love, jobs and businesses are lost, and fear keeps us apart and seems to be shutting down our world.

There are many ways we can and should individually choose to deal with the issues of our “Roaring 20’s” world. We do need to be wise, compassionate and thoughtful as we confront the challenges facing us. And everyone will have a different position or platform. I choose to focus on how best I can continue to love on and bless those God has given me as well as seeking wisdom to deal with the times in which we find ourselves.

In spite of all that seems upside down these days, I trust the promises of God and the wisdom on His Word. Psalm 23 verse 6 begins, “Surely Your goodness and love (mercy) will follow me all the days of my life…” The original word “follow” is PURSUE. God is chasing after us in His effort to rescue His lambs. He is our Great Shepherd and we are certainly lost sheep! ”Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me; your rod and staff comfort me.” God’s shepherd tools guide, direct, and sometimes discipline us for our protection and safety. He is our Gatekeeper. He IS your Savior.

You may feel like a woman walking alone in stormy weather. But the Lord has not abandoned you. Your Heavenly Father and good Shepherd will never let you go. Seek Him, I pray. Confess your need of Him and give Him your anxieties – He is faithful and strong to carry them on Your behalf. After all, He gave His life to save you…

“Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on YOUR understanding. In all you do acknowledge HIM, and He WILL direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5, 6

Praying for you today✨