Aware

As the cows come through the gate into the neighbor’s pasture outside my studio window, I can barely see their dark bulk against the gray sky. Slowly, heads hung low, they move out into the field. I watch through the rain-pocked window, thankful to be in here and not out there.

And then I think that, often, the presence of God is much like what I’ve just observed through my window.

My world is dark and gray, it’s raining in my heart, and God comes in… slow and steady. Massive and silent. Impervious to whatever storm is going on my life, the Lord moves into the field of my pain or heartache or sickness and settles there. Quietly. No fanfare.

Its just that, sometimes, I haven’t noticed that He’s there, because I’m too focused on the rain. Or the pain. Or both.

Let us become more aware of your presence

Let us experience the glory of your goodness

I woke up this morning with Francesca Battistelli singing this bit of lyric in my head from her song, Holy Spirit. And I know that this is what I want… To be more aware of God’s presence. To feel his warmth and BIGness in the middle of my pain. And maybe sit down beside Him, so that He shelters me from the wind and rain of doubt or fear.

Click here to listen to Holy Spirit from Francesca Battistelli.

Click here to read an earlier post about this song… Appetizers.

What color is love?

Maybe it’s the artist in me, but I LOVE COLOR!!! In everything… walls, dishes, clothes, sunsets, flowers… God has created the most beautiful colors imaginable, and some I’m sure we cannot imagine and will only realize when we reach our heavenly home. But this morning, I’m stuck on red. Blood red.

All night long, The Lord was singing the same words over me. I have a broken rib from a bike wreck last week (another story for another time) so I’m not sleeping well these days. Every time I woke to turn over or get comfortable, Chris Tomlin’s song At The Cross (Love Ran Red) was singing through my head. And it won’t stop.

At the cross

At the cross

I surrender my life

I’m in awe of You, I’m in awe of You

Where Your love ran red

And my sin washed white

I owe all to You, I owe all to You

Jesus

My love can run blue if I’m lonely. Or yellow if I’m happy and silly. Or white when the momma bear comes out in me. And even pink and red when my husband is around. But Jesus’ love is that deep, dark blood-red. The red that flowed from his sides. The blood-red that flowed from his hands and feet as He hung on the cross. The red that mingled with His sweat as He waited for His Father to end His agony and take Him home.

And because His love ran red, my sin is washed white as snow. I am made pure and perfect in the goodness and grace of God’s son. A blinding white… A white that blocks out everything except the One who gave Himself up for me.

And I am forever changed. And forever grateful.

Click here to listen to At The Cross (Love Ran Red) 

Even So Come

I freed a butterfly yesterday. The poor thing was trapped in a spider’s web outside the kitchen window. Its wing had been caught at the top edge, just enough to keep it trapped but not enough to stop it altogether, so that it was more tethered than trapped. This beautiful creature would take off as if to fly away from its bonds only to struggle and flap its wings to no avail, rest a while, and then repeat the agonizing process again and again.

I couldn’t stand it. I pulled a pair of scissors out of the drawer and carefully opened the window. The butterfly continued its “take off-struggle-rest” cycle so that it was difficult to get the scissors in the right place. During a brief rest period, I was able to snip the strand of web that was keeping the butterfly stuck in the spider’s snare. In an instant, it was soaring high and fast, farther and farther away from its earthly trappings, finally free to be the creature God made it to be.

As I opened my eyes this morning, a line from Kristian Stanfill’s song, Even So Come, was singing over me and through me.

Every heart longing for her King

We sing

Even so, come

Lord Jesus, come

Come, Lord Jesus, and free me from this web that is keeping me from being the woman You created me to be.

Come, Lord Jesus, and free me from the tethers that hold me to my old life, my earthly life, my selfish and sinful life… Chains that bind me to what I can’t even see, yet they keep me from soaring toward all that you have waiting for me. 

I cannot free myself. You’ve watched me struggle to break free, and You’ve seen me worn out with the trying. 

You’ve welcomed me when I came to You for rest from the fight, only to see me return to the restraints and constrictions of my own choosing. 

Come, Lord Jesus, and sever the tie. Help me to rest in Your goodness and grace, Your mercy and unfailing love. Already, I give You the praise and the glory for it. There is none like You. Amen.

Click here to listen to Even So Come from Kristian Stanfill.

The morning after

I love the morning after a big snow. Everything is blanketed in soft white, and all the world seems hushed and still. This morning, the sun is bright and it’s as though God bedazzled his creation with beautiful diamonds… Just scattered them across the top once He was satisfied with the way everything looked down here. After covering the earth’s scars with snow, and covering us with His forgiveness so that our old self is no longer visible, our precious Lord gives more… Little jewels of grace and goodness.

It renders me speechless and I can only stand at my window and stare. And thank God for His goodness.

The morning after
Jewels, diamonds on snow
A gift of God’s love

IMG_1099

The next big thing is here!

Back in late July, I wrote about the “next big thing” on my horizon post-retirement. You can read Cloud Nine here. At that time, it was just a possibility. But today it’s a reality!! The “next big thing” is here!! Tonight, I teach my first painting class at our local community arts center. I am over-the-moon excited! And much too nervous.

I’ve painted several renderings of the piece I’m instructing tonight, and I feel confident. But this is all new to me. Don’t get me wrong… I am comfortable in front of a group or a class. I’ve taught Sunday school, bible school, choirs, private piano and voice lessons, classrooms full of kids, lead trainings for hundreds of people. Standing and talking in front of people isn’t a problem if I’m discussing music, or the Family and Medical Leave Act. But Art? Painting? ALL NEW!!!!

I feel like a little kid at Christmas. Too excited for words, wondering what’s going to happen, how it will all turn out, but knowing it’s all good!!! And so very thankful and grateful for the opportunity! It’s gonna be a long day, but I’m going to use the time to get some paint on canvas. And think about how God shows his love and goodness to us in our everyday, walking-around lives.

The song in my head this morning is a children’s song, but I’m hearing the voice of my friend, Steve Griffin, singing it southern gospel style. This one is a FUN piece to play!!!

YES! Jesus loves me.
Yes! JESUS loves me
Yes! Jesus LOVES me.
The Bible tells me so!!

God shows us his love in little ways, every day. Jesus loves us. The bible tells us so. Romans 5:8 says, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Featured image: Poinsettia, acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20. Teaching my own work in November!

Good problems. Good God.

I had trouble sleeping last night. Correction. I had trouble going to sleep last night. Once again, I was rendered sleepless by the goodness of God!

It all started with a Skype call with my daughter in Denmark. Her baby is due next week!! Everything’s going well, and I can’t wait to meet my newest grandchild. Lots of discussion about what to bring and how to pack. How am I going to get all the baby stuff AND our stuff packed?? Will I finish his/her (they want to be surprised) quilt on time?? Good problems to have, but they kept me tossing and turning.

One of my sons and his family are praying and hoping to foster/adopt a little girl. God is moving in that situation, and I can’t wait to meet my new granddaughter soon (I hope!!) I lay in my bed last night praying for her, for that whole situation, and thinking that she’s going to need a quilt just like all my other grandkids!

I get to go and spend a couple of days with my grandchildren! What am I going to take with me? Will we have time to draw? Cook? I haven’t seen them in several weeks, and I miss them. They’re growing up too fast!!!!

My art is taking off!!! I came home from a brainstorming meeting for our local arts center with my mind spinning. They want four of my paintings! So I lay there thinking about how I can tweak this one, and what will I do on that one. Where can I find a good model or picture for another. I want to drop everything and PAINT!!!!!

Noisy in my head last night. And noisy this morning, too! I woke up with Love & the Outcome singing, “Jesus, you are, YOU ARE, the King of my heart!”

You are
Bigger than any battle I’m facing
You are
Better than anything I’ve been chasing
Savior and Royalty
The only hope for me

All the goodness in my life comes straight from the good heart of God. My job, as I see it, is to know this is true and thank Him for it!!!

Attitude of gratitude = happy heart = hopeful spirit.

Click here to listen to King of My Heart by Love & the Outcome

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Greater

Today is “Throwback Thursday” in Facebook world. TBT. I love seeing all the old pics and remembering people way back when. My sister used to say “in the olden days.” Thirty years ago isn’t really the olden days, but from my perspective this morning, it was a long time ago.

The featured image is my TBT picture today. My son, my niece, and my nephew taken in 1983. Aren’t they adorable? Precious? I just want to eat them up! I look at this picture and see all the love we lavished on them when they were little, all the promise in those little faces, all the hope embodied in their small selves. And when I look at them today, I am overwhelmed by the goodness of God!

All have had major obstacles to overcome in their lifetime thus far. But all three are healthy and strong, praise God! All three if them are excellent parents with (almost) 9 children between them. All are well-educated and have excellent careers, all have strong and loving marriages to wonderful people, and they’re all serving others. And I still think they’re adorable!

I look at their kids now and see these three little cherubs in their children’s faces, and I wonder if God feels the same way about us. Does he look at his children here on this planet and see his face in us? Does he recognize his smile, his eyes, himself in the way we love others? The song in my head this morning is Greater from MercyMe. This song makes me get up and dance! I love these lines…

‘Cause I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed
When others say I’ll never be enough
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world

He IS greater. And if he’s living in me, then he will see himself in me. Just like these precious children I’m so proud of and whom I love so much. From generation to generation. Psalms 79:13 says “But we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise.”

There’ll be days I lose the battle
Grace says that it doesn’t matter
‘Cause the cross already won the war

He’s greater!!

Please have a listen to this song… Just be prepared to dance! Greater

ALL FOR US

Early in the morning, up before the sun.
Can’t focus on Your word, the list is never done.
My mind is scattered… Wandering, over-filled.
Then I hear You whisper, “My child be still.”

That’s when I finally realize it was All for Us.
All for this fallen people You love no matter what!
All the goodness in my life came straight from Your good heart,
And I’m thankful for Your perfect love giving me a brand new start.

Lord, How can I hear You, how can I know Your perfect will,
When my mind is full of music? Full of words that won’t be still?
I hear You speak my name… speak peace into my soul.
Speak life into these words I write, ’cause I’m giving You control.

That’s when I finally realize it was All for Us.
All for this fallen people You love no matter what!
All the goodness in my life came straight from Your good heart,
And I’m thankful for Your perfect love giving me a brand new start.

God, Your goodness… Flows into my life
Your faithfulness… Turns the dark to light
Your mercy… Changes wrong to right
And, God, it was all for us!!!

And again, I truly realize it was All for Us.
All for this fallen people You love no matter what!
All the goodness in my life came straight from Your good heart,
And I’m thankful for Your perfect love giving me a brand new start.

Thankful this morning for new words, a new song. Now to flesh it out and set it down on paper. I can hear it in my head, sing it in my mind. Setting it down is more of a challenge for me, but if God gives me the words, He will give me the music.