I love to paint, obviously, but there are times I just need to bury myself in a book. I love mysteries, detectives, historical fiction. And I love being encouraged by a story teller who is able to draw me in as if I were watching a movie. Recommendation: if life is overwhelming you and you need a lovely escape, try reading (or rereading!) the Mitford series books by Jan Karon.
Whatever I choose to read, I continue to read the very unique book known as the Holy Bible. Holy simply means unique, set apart, sacred. Here are just some of countless reasons this book is worthy to add to your reading list: the most popular book of all time; written by over 40 authors from varying backgrounds over a time span of aproximately 1500 years; written in three different languages from different continents (and from such unique places as the desert, prison, royal courts); it is the most vetted document in history; holds the answers to life’s biggest questions; and is woven all through from Genesis to Revelation with the theme of God’s great love and redemptive plan not only for His people Israel, but His people referred to as the Church. Gotquestions.org.
In a world where truth is subjective, there IS a place where truth is available. I cling to the truth of the Bible, the Word of God. He tells us His story – HISTORY – and we find hope in times that are confusing filled with division and untruth. If you have never opened this amazing book, I encourage you to start. Ask God to reveal His truth to you and you will find HOPE and direction for your life
Every week I come to ‘this place’ asking the Lord to give me a message of encouragement, direction, and/or hope to share. I felt a strong pull on my heart many years ago to post something other than memes and political wrangling on social media. My weekly ”blog” was birthed on my Prayers and Paintbrushes Facebook page. It has been almost a year and a half that I have had an official blog on my prayersandpaintbrushes website and though one soul may read my words – or 100 – each soul is prayed over. I am retired after a lifetime of working. I never thought retirement would be a possibility and I certainly never thought I’d be writing a blog let alone being a watercolor artist with well over 300 watercolors and a website! Today I feel led to share a little bit of my story hoping it might encourage you to keep on keeping on – regardless of where you find yourself today.
At the age of 60 I was living a new chapter of my life. Recently divorced and living alone for the first time ever, I never expected to marry again. Several years later without one blind date or attempt at internet matching, I did marry again – a wonderful newly widowed gentleman I had known slightly from church and my office. At the age of 65 I was a bride! A year later I found myself unexpectedly retired and after over a year of soul-searching and even trying to find work again, with my husband’s encouragement and support, I realized it was OK for me to be retired. But I am a bit of a social butterfly and I missed the daily interaction and purpose for my days.
At the invitation of a friend to a painting party, I picked up paintbrushes and wasn’t able to put them down! That single time event became a catalyst for another new chapter in my life. in 2016, Prayers and Paintbrushes was born. I have painted commission people, pets and places and prayed with each painting that I wouldn’t screw it up! That’s where “Prayers and Paintbrushes” originated. Shortly after I began sharing my artwork on Facebook I felt the urge to point to my Source of hope and direction and my writing career began.
I share this very abbreviated story to share these thoughts with you… I am in my 70’s. Much of the world looking at my age would think my life is finished – I have nothing left to contribute. But I beg to differ. Speaking for ANYONE of ANY AGE reading these words, I remind you your life isn’t over until it’s over. Regardless where you find yourself, God can use and bless you. Seek Him! ASK HIM! Invite Him in and ask Him to show up and show off in your life! He loves you. He has a plan for you even if you cannot even begin to see it. You may have one day left of your life! Some reading this may feel that is truth. Some may have have decades left – but we can only live one day at a time REGARDLESS of how many we have left. Give that day to the One who can in all things work for good – in your life and through your life.
In a very dark time many years back, God very literally spoke this verse to me:
I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper YOU and not to harm you, plans to give you A hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart“ Jeremiah 29:11-13
Even when I could not see the reality of these words, I clung to them. I pounded on the gates of heaven and reminded God I was believing Him for these words to be true in my life. And he’s been faithful and true. CALL on Him. Come and PRAY to Him. SEEK Him with ALL your Heart. Believe Him even in your disbelief! FAITH doesn’t mean knowing – it means trusting.
What does God want of me, of you? He wants us to give our lives to Him and believe Him for the outcome.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16, 17
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5,6
Whether one person hears these words I write and finds our Savior, or one hundred, I lay this effort at His feet. I seek to be used by Him with or without my paintbrushes.Please comment or message me privately if you need encouragement as you live out your story✨
Lord, I want to be a light in the darkness; a beacon that draws a weary sojourner to a Rock of safety and Hope. There is no shortage of places to go to find “news.” (That word has taken on a whole different meaning these days.) There is certainly very little encouragement to be found and no shortage of Bad News to send us into a tailspin. So I hope to be something different: a voice with a prayer and a paintbrush, directing eyes and thoughts away from “News” and back to Hope.
“Heading Home” is my 1st painting of 2021. I wonder what it speaks to you…
We in Arizona have some of the highest virus numbers in the world right now, I believe. God help us~ So I’m hunkering down a bit more trying to keep the “COVID glitter” from having another body to infect or spread even further, as my daughter so cleverly puts it. My BLOG is an attempt to reach out – to you! I need people in my life so this is another way around the pinch of the pandemic to spread encouragement rather than infection. To share the powerful truth of the love and presence of God, even in the midst of the chaos all around. God is still on His throne! He is not surprised or alarmed! He still has His arms open to provide comfort and forgiveness, healing and peace. And I throw in a little watercolor to comfort your eyes as well~
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
”When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. Ps 8:3-5
Forgive me where I fall short, Lord. I need Your hands to lift me from discouragement to where I should be in Your presence. Help me love and forgive, to understand to intercede, and to be a Light of Your love. And I lift up our nation this day, praying for Your hand of grace over a broken and dispirited country as we inaugurate our President tomorrow. Praying in the powerful name of Jesus, Lord. AMEN