Meet, Know, Follow

As we move forward on the paths of life, we will encounter loss. It may come gradually over time slowly filling us with anguish. It may happen suddenly causing profound and devastating shock. But loss is unavoidable and however it happens, we are forced to face the changes – ready or not.

I met Jesus in my mid-twenties after years of rolling my eyes and changing the subject when He became a topic of conversation. I was searching for Him even though I didn’t realize it was HIM for whom I was searching. One day, God found me. To my amazement, I met my Savior and was captured by the “Hound of Heaven.”

Over many years I came to know and build a relationship with Jesus. I studied the Bible. I attended a church learning under a Godly pastor. I began to recognize Jesus’ voice leading me, and as the years went on and the pain of loss began to tear deeper into my world, I clung to Him. I trusted His faithfulness and great love for me even though I did not understand much of what was happening in my personal life. I KNEW He loved me although I lived shrouded in emotional and relational struggles. He did not take away my pain, but He was there with me everytime I cried

God led me through one painful step at a time. After many difficult years, He led me slowly out of that hard season of loss into a time of joy and abundance. I learned that although He may not answer my prayer as I expected it should be answered, He did have an answer. And it was one I never would have dreamed.

FAST FORWARD Loss continues to follow me of a different sort. From my youngest years I knew I would sing. It was just built into me – even though the reality of it scared me. I first picked up a microphone to sing a solo before our church when I was in my mid twenties. I was terrified! But the joy of communicating a powerful message with beautiful music was like nothing I could have imagined. I continued to sing for over 4 decades loving the sense that I was communicating from the depths of my soul. I sang to an Audience of One regardless how many faces were in front of me. God heard. And each person sitting in their seat heard, each receiving it themselves – as one. Singing was one of the ways I defined my life. Music was a Big Deal to me.

About three years ago, I realized my “instrument” wasn’t working as it always had. I felt as if I had somehow swallowed someone else’s vocal cords! My range was rapidly changing, my high notes disappearing. I lost confidence in my ‘identity’ as a soloist. I realized it was time to hang up my soprano hat. And that has been and continues to be difficult for me. I have lost part of what had been part of my identity. Yet I FOLLOW Him where He leads. I trust Him as I walk the path of my life: sometimes in light, sometimes in darkness – not often knowing what lies ahead for sure. But I TRUST Him, wherever He takes me.

If God has seemingly taken something important from you, I know it hurts. There is grief and sadness, confusion and pain. There is a period of mourning for our loss – there is no way to avoid that. But He is always there! He KNOWS. He CARES. He DOES have a plan for our lives and it likely looks nothing like we had imagined.

Here I sit. Writing to you. Painting now and again when my paintbrushes scream to be taken into the light. 🎨 I could NEVER have imagined in my wildest dreams that I would write – that I would PAINT, for goodness sake! That I would care so much to share what the Lord has taught me over 50+ years of holding tight to His hand. That my paintings would bring a smile to someone’s face is such a surprise. Writing and painting did not happen until my voice began to fade away…

I pray these words might encourage you in your season of grief or loss. He is FAITHFUL and He will continue to use you in ways you may not have yet considered.

I have followed and trusted Him these many years since He ‘caught’ me. And Jesus has loved me well. He has forgiven me for every mess I’ve made, for every heart I’ve wounded, for my anger and frustration and hurt for so many years – He has loved me and will love me, to the last breath I take. And He is there for YOU. All you need to do is call out to Him and invite Him into your wounded heart.

Trust 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.

Meet, Know and Follow Jesus is the mission statement of my home church, Traditional Service at Sun Valley Community Church, Tempe, AZ

Let there be light✨

Christmas by Candlelight

This is That Time of the Year and we are all having a bit of a problem believing it. The calendar, the ads, the decorations everywhere you look all remind us Christmas is Coming! But I have to admit I’m having a bit of a problem getting in the mood. This year has been so unimaginable that Christmas doesn’t seem real. But we made the effort and put up our Christmas decorations last weekend. My husband and I got busy making Christmas visible on the exterior as well as the interior of our home in hopes that we might catch some holiday spirit. 🎄

As I’m sitting here trying to feel anything remotely like childlike Christmas spirit, I began to notice a common thread in our decorations – twinkling bright lights: lights on our tree, our mantle, our roof – everywhere it seems. And these lights bring us joy. The usual look of our home has taken on a happy, colorful sparkling warmth markedly more cheerful than at other times of the year. We love our home, but at Christmas time it takes on a holiday glow.

In the very beginning, Genesis 1:3, God said, “Let there be light.” Jesus said, “I am the Light of the World” in John‘s gospel; chapter 8:12. Light is God’s gift to us – it dispels darkness, reveals color, brings warmth, clarity, joy and reveals truth. Jesus told us he was the Light of the World – to light our way through the darkness of life and BE our Truth. The glow we see all around us this Christmas season is but a faint reflection of the great Light God’s love shines on those who seek Him.

So from wherever you sit as we begin this month of Christmas and Hanukkah, maybe you will view the lights all around you as a reminder of God’s great love. If your heart struggles, I pray you will look around and see in the bright lights that God sent His son to us not because we deserved it, but because He loves us. He proclaimed the Good News through a heavenly choir of angels to the shepherds in the fields and lit up the sky with a brilliant blazing Christmas star to guide the way.

Good News of Great Joy

I’m feeling a bit more Christmas spirit as I think on these things. We all need to be reminded to look up when our mind might be telling us not only to look away but to shut our eyes completely! Let’s keep our hope and trust in God and celebrate Christmas in whatever form it may appear in this crazy year of 2020. Bring it on, Lord Jesus!