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.


Tired? Worn Out? Burned Out?

This morning our pastor spoke on God’s model for mankind to take a day of rest as He rested on the 7th day. I have to confess something. . . I haven’t been very good at that~ I tend to be a bit of a social butterfly, I must admit. I flit from one event or project to another desperately trying to keep track of what day it is and what it is I am supposed to be doing on whatever day it is.

We are all VERY different. Not everyone lives in hyperdrive. But this morning I considered something I had forgotten. God modeled a day to cease from our striving and to rest. We don’t have to push every day! We can celebrate life, celebrate God’s creation – or take a nap! I loved reading Matthew 11:28-30 in the Message translation.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28‭-‬30 MSG

Being burned out on religion is VERY common. It is all-pervasive in our world. Religion is striving and doing and effort. Faith is trust, believing, and resting – resting in what Jesus has done for us – in His “unforced rhythms of grace.” We are unable to do what Christ has done with all our “religious effort.” God came to earth and took on humanity forsaking His deity. And He willingly endured the agonizing penalty of all our sin on our behalf. All He asks is that we trust and walk with Him.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16. 17

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

The translation I am most familiar with of the above verse is “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

You may find rest listening to the pounding of ocean waves, watching the changing colors of a sunset, or watching the movement of shadows as the sun moves across the sky. You may find it in a treasured book. The desert, the mountains or the oceans may be your happy place. But even when we can’t be there, God has asked us to take a break, to rest. I invite you to give yourself permission to practice the discipline of rest. It may not be a Sunday for you. But devote a day to abstaining from the turmoils of busyness and walk humbly with your God, and you will find rest for your soul.

Cheryl