SAYING GOODBYE

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.

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.

It’s Beginning to Look A LOT Like Christmas🎄

Christmas means different things to all of us. It can be a time of great joy or a time of great stress due to “pressures of the season.” But at the heart of it, Christmas is a joyful celebration of the birth of our Savior over 2000 years ago. Below are images that speak Christmas to me – snow covered trees, cardinals, candles, shepherds and the star, hot cocoa, Christmas cards, Christmas trees, and snow-covered chapels. Whatever speaks the season to you, I pray a breath of peace, a chorus of beauty, and a warm cup of comfort and joy over you and yours this Christmas 2021.

If this Christmas is painful for you, I am praying a supernatural touch from Jesus. There has been unimaginable illness and loss these past many months. I know many who have added grief to the colors of their holiday season. And this is never something intentionally added to anyone’s Christmas list. But for many it has shown up, uninvited and certainly unwanted.

If this is you, my heart aches for you this holiday season. I pray the story of the Nativity would remind you how very much you are loved: “unto us a Child is born. Unto us a Son is given and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Almighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.”

Encourage someone who is hurting. HELP SOMEONE who could use your help. GIVE to a family or to an organization to meet tangible needs. SO many have lost so much in the recent storms! LORD, the needs of the world are beyond our comprehension. So many are grieving so much loss and suffering so much misery that it overwhelms us. But we can do something if we listen for Your nudge. Help us to be Your hands and feet especially now and in this season.

In Jesus’ parable in Matthew 25:35-40 He said, “For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.” The hearers asked when had they done that and He said, 40I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

LOVE ONE ANOTHER

Happy 245th Birthday USofA

The Color Guard

Obviously, I did not paint this picture. But what a wonderful 4th of July I shared with my husband and our family! After 18 or so months of discouraging words, masks, and social distancing, it was a joy to see countless patriotic Americans celebrating the anniversary of our freedom with big smiles on their faces! Kids waved florescent wrist bands and tiny flags, lawn chairs and picnic baskets dotted the grassy park, and thousands of people filled Veteran’s Memorial Park in the southern Arizona town of Sierra Vista for an impressive display of fireworks. The evening opened up with the color guard and a beautiful rendition of The Star Spangled Banner followed by Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture complete with members from Fort Huachuca’s military firing off howitzer canons. Don’t miss it if you’re in the neighborhood next year.

America, we pray for you. The Land of the free and the Home of the brave doesn’t seem so free or brave any longer. But You have promised us that You hear us when we pray, so we pray your words back to you, lifting our government and civic leaders before You, and praying Your blessing and healing on our nation..

God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.” Acts 17:26

“For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.” Prov 11:14

“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.” Prov 14:34

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chron 7:14

GOD BLESS AMERICAwritten by Irving Berlin

God bless America, land that I love,
Stand beside her and guide her
Through the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans white with foam,
God bless America,
My home sweet home.





Cheryl
Https://prayersandpaintbrushes.com

Power in Weakness

I felt vulnerable and discouraged a couple of times this past week. I’s not as if anything threatening was happening. But life sideswiped me. Maybe you can relate.

I read something Sunday morning that I’d seen before, but this day it just jumped off the page at me. Think about a personal message to you from God Himself! Wouldn’t that just get your attention and make you perk up your ears?! The Apostle Paul in his 2nd letter to the Corinthians tells us that at one time many years prior, God spoke to him and said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor. 12:9 NIV Think about the Creator God, our Lord and Savior, telling you that His incredible, unimaginable power works best or is perfected in and through us in our weakness. And here we are trying so hard to fix things, to strive, to earn His love (and maybe the favor of others~) And all the while, He says – No. It’s not in your power but in mine. Oh! What freedom that brings. Let go of your problems, let God help you solve them. I took comfort in those words and share them with you this morning. It made me feel safe to accept what I can’t change, realizing He can, in His time. Maybe His power is most visible as we just let go of what holds us back. Lord, help us to rest in and trust You more. Blue Moon

Praying these paintings make you smile for those moments you might feel “sideswiped” by life.

Cool water views for our hot weather! These watercolor views speak peace to me. Beaches, bays, waterfalls, rivers. For the moment I can dream. Do you have a favorite? What sound is comfort to your mind – waves crashing on the shore, the steady splashing of a waterfall, the bubbling of a creek? Paintbrushes don’t come complete with sound, but they manage to take me away for a little while.

Praying you find His strength where you might feel weakness this day.

Cheryl