Showing posts with the label hope

Be Kind

BE KIND ____________________________ I have a pattern. When crisis comes, whether it be personal or nationwide, I begin mulling things over, measuring my response, weighing my words, contemplating what I may have to add to the noise, the frenzy, the quick responders who sometimes speak and then think. I’ve often chided myself for not being “quick on my feet” when it comes to arguing or taking a stand. Yet I know God created me this way for a reason. My words can be like a whip. I have a veritable vocabulary-stocked Arsenal, and without thinking I can cause bomb-like damage when I choose to shoot off those words without wisdom leading the charge. I have hurt plenty who have crossed my path, but the years have been kind and taught me much. KIND (a four-letter word) One we all should practice more daily. When I don’t have the words I’d like to express at times, I turn to those who do. The following is from @holleygerth in her book #fiercehearted: “We aren’t called to be NICE. (also a four

How Long?

I went on a biblical spelunking expotition ( think Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin ) this morning. I was looking for David’s plea of “how long”. I knew he’d raised it, because I know David throughout the Psalms is oh so much like me. In my quest for the verse pictured, I scampered among these other gems: “Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?” Psalm 2:1 “You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!” Psalm 4:1b “Give ear to my words, O LORD; consider my groaning.” Psalm 5:1 “My soul also is greatly troubled. But You, O LORD—how long? Turn, O LORD, deliver my life; save me for the sake of Your steadfast love . . .” Psalm 6:3   “Why, O LORD, do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?” Psalm 10:1  More confirmation of what the Spirit has been impressing on my heart all week. I am not alone in my  anxiety, in my pleas for answers, in my groanings, in my questions, in my confusion, or my wondering where God is in

BEHOLD the Beloved

With so much time to think, I have been pondering and avoiding the pondering. How about you? Are you using this time to dig deep into your own soul and your inherent motivations for why you even do life the way you’ve chosen to do it? Are you asking yourself the tough questions? Delving into your own psyche and seeing how a time like this pandemic unveils the best and worst of who we are at our very cores? To be perfectly honest and keep this post gut-level real at its very ugliest, I have spent far more time contemplating my next quarantine snack than my core motivations. I’ve been self-focused on my own allergy-provoked sniffles and what they might mean beyond the seasonal pollen-ridden air, instead of seeking to check my heart and why I care so much about so many things that truly matter little in the grand scheme of who God created me to be in the first place. I have scrolled and jumped from one report to the next, one meme to the next, one complaining tirade to the nex

Homeschooling?! You CAN Do This . . . and So Much More

“ What’s on my mind?” Facebook poses this question; the following is my answer in long form. All the people freaking out over “homeschooling “. I’m not going to cover every perspective here, because I am well aware of the myriad of different situations going on in the millions of homes around this country that got the news their children will now be home for possibly the next MONTH. What I am specifically going to address are those of you who are able to have one or both parents at home during the day — especially those of you who are full time educators in some capacity of young elementary-aged students. First, if you are NOT a professional educator, remind yourself of this every morning when you look in that mirror and wipe the toothpaste spit off your bottom lip: “I taught my own kid to brush his or her teeth all by myself.” Next go help that same kid or kids to make some breakfast: cold cereal, instant oatmeal, a toaster waffle, or pancakes if you’re feeling ambitio

Angels Among Us

I've been painting angels lately. My mind and my paintbrush have been consumed with them. I'm not sure if the increase in my thoughts about angels has been in tandem with the recent loneliness I've felt, but I have certainly stepped up my study of them in Scripture. Angels are among us. Scripture confirms this over and over. Sometimes they are named. Sometimes they are part of a "heavenly host." God sent His messages through an angel multiple times throughout both the Old and New Testaments. My paintings and my studies are certainly not the end-all, be-all representation of what a biblical angel might be, but they are what I have been inspired to scrawl out on canvas. When it came time for God to make His most important announcement ever, to begin the story of redemption for all of us, He chose to send the angel, Gabriel, to Mary. Let's take a moment and step back into that scene: " And he came to her and said, 'Greetings, O favored o

God Holds Both Light and Darkness

Light and darkness. My favorite time of day on both ends of the spectrum is when those first slight streaks of daylight begin to break through the darkness, and the converse of it found in the very last moments of light left before the entire landscape is engulfed in velvety blackness. I love the hope found in light splitting through the darkness and awakening a new day. I admire all creation staying hushed until daybreak as well, instinctively knowing the signal comes along with that rhythmic rising of the sun. The end of the day has its charm in my heart, too. I find it endlessly satisfying to watch the sunset and see the stars emerge twinkling amidst the growing inkiness of the nighttime sky. Unique as the number of days in existence, the colors and display are ever-changing. Yet the cyclical nature of it brings comfort and peace. Both the light and the darkness find their home with God. He spoke and they did His bidding. Until He called light into existence, darkness cov

Shaking My Fist or Trusting

"Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him." Job 13:15 (NKJV) I only put the first half of this verse on my image. Isn't that how we all want to remember it? We want to remember and BE remembered for trusting. We want to survive the slaying an come out on the other side as the one who faithfully trusted, who soared above her circumstances and saw it through to the other side. Job said more in this verse, and I follow his lead as well. Here it is in the ESV: "Yet, I will argue my ways to His face." vs. 15b He goes on to say in verse 18: "Behold, I have prepared my case; I know that I shall be in the right." Does God shirk away from our arguments? Is He afraid of our shaking fists or well-crafted "case"? Does He stifle our voices and tell us we can't come before Him with questions? In each case, I believe the unwavering answer is "NO". Unfortunately, I don&#

Surrender, Sunrise, and Solitude

Any morning people out there? You know the type. They bounce out of bed with eager anticipation of what lies ahead, a smile already on their lips, words quick to follow. Coherent phrases, goals assembled, an agenda to be conquered. Or maybe you're more like this: you set the alarms on your phone . . . for 6:00, 6:05, 6:15, 6:20, 6:30, 7:00, then you hit the snooze on that last one until you absolutely have to stumble out of the bed, drag yourself to the coffee pot, and hope today you remembered to put the coffee beans in the grinder before dropping them directly into your favorite coffee mug. I fall somewhere in the middle of that second shot. I inherently am NOT a morning person. I admit I've missed all too many sunrises in favor of few more minutes communing with my pillow. I have made the mistake of putting unground coffee beans in the coffee maker, only to realize my morning brew has far less appeal if I'm expected to chew it. However, all joking aside, I am fi

Now You've Gone and Done It

Awakened early this morning with a combination of chaotic sounds drilling a veritable drum beat in my head. The bondage to coffee is awakening a beast within and the mixed tape tripping inside my brain simultaneously crows "Jesus, Name Above All Names" and Katy Perry's "Hot 'n Cold" , of all things. I try to squelch the second in favor of the first, all the while reminding myself whose I am and that fear need not be my master . . . again today. The sweat pours, I right myself on the only side that doesn't send shooting pains, and I am jarred into full consciousness with my heart in my throat and its wildly tapping an oddly mingled tempo. What is already true today? I am unemployed. I am 52. My son did not graduate last night with his classmates. My daughters do not live under my roof anymore. I am an artist. I am divorced. I am in pain. Constant pain. I am still a believer in spite of all that threatens to cause me to stray. I am sinful. I am fallible.