Both And

Mindlessly laying down color in shapes and layers, I answered my own question.

How can there be so much beauty simultaneously with so much angst?

I lost my worries in the colors. Decided there’s always both.

Beauty and fear, abundance and need, exuberance and deep sadness.

To everything, a season. Beginning again.

Both and.

Happy first day of Spring.

Prompted by One

One piece developed from little more than colors on one side transitioning to the other. Originally, “Eden” until it became “Redemption, This Side of Heaven”.

Redemption Series

Then seven pieces added, colors conjuring emotion. I laid them all separate then in a stack, thinking oh, now that’s a painting, all of them lying together different but the very same.

God Only Knows

The bystanders recognized the beggar up walking around. All of a sudden he could see and they began to dispute the truth of Jesus, they began to argue over the day of the week and were certain the beggar was mistaken in some way.

I’m wondering how he became a discarded one at all. Scriptures say he had parents. Had they given up on being his support system? He was an adult after all, he’d have to fend for himself.

Or was he so downtrodden by his lifelong blindness, he just grew tired of being their burden? He could beg others for money instead of his parents.

I love the Gospels, the Books of encounters with Jesus. There are many people who stir empathy in me. There are relatable stories to my healing by Jesus.

Jesus came along and he noticed the man blind from birth. The disciples, always looking to learn from Jesus, asked what had caused the blindness, were his parents neglectful, had they been bad people before they became parents, or was the little boy born with some sort of predicted worthlessness that led to him being born blind?

They wanted to know who or what was to blame.

Jesus told them it was God’s plan. The blind man would be an instrument for God’s glory to be real, for the mysterious to be memorable.

“Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
‭‭John‬ ‭9:3‬ ‭ESV

Jesus made a paste of mud and his own spit, pressed it against the blind beggar’s eyes and then said go down to the water and wash it all off. The man did and he could see.

Everyone asked how, the man said I did what Jesus said and that’s really all I know.

His vision restored, the interrogations continued. The parents were questioned, they confirmed their son’s blindness as well as his current condition. Told all the skeptics to ask him, not us, he will tell you! According to scripture, the parents were keeping their distance because they were Jews and they would be disallowed from the synagogue if they acknowledged Jesus, if they acknowledged their own child’s healing.

These were the times I suppose even a parent of a son who was healed was careful about boldly agreeing and believing in Jesus.

Seems it was safer to be a skeptic, to know there are people who believe in Jesus because of their own healing; but, they were not ready to believe for themselves.

Maybe it seemed too impossible, too unattainable, too supernaturally “magical”.

Same as today really.

The man who could see could only speak for himself, hope with all his heart that his testimony mattered.

“So for the second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.” He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”
‭‭John‬ ‭9:24-26 ESV‬‬

Centuries later, I sit in my mama’s covered chair with my Bible, the margin on the page has a pen and pencil resemblance of me, my face turned towards the words and a slight listening tilt.

I understand the blind man. I can relate to his dismay over Jesus initially. I can sit with my Bible and know beyond doubt that I too have been healed when many for valid reasons discarded me, left me to fend for myself.

And like the blind man who couldn’t explain mud and spit restoring his vision, I often wonder how me simply believing in a cross, the likeness of which I now add to my wrist could have altered my life so very significantly.

It is not my place to understand it all, to know every how or why God found me worthy of healing. It is mine to believe. To be able to rest in this:

But, you do know, God, You do.

We’re all in a state of not knowing now. On Sunday, I knelt in the place by my mama’s chair. I was distracted, I admit. Still, I joined in the prayer of Pastor Steve Davis with many others. I prayed and am praying in agreement with him that this time will bring people who don’t really understand God, maybe just hope in the possibility of Him being real closer to believing. The prayer closed with that very request of our Heavenly Father, that during this pandemic stirring panic, countless people will come to know God, will believe in Jesus as their healer.

I pray this as well. I know healing that saved not just my soul but my very life from risky, dangerous, threatening to kill me situations.

Like the blind man, I believe in Jesus.

“Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.”
‭‭John‬ ‭9:35-38‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Continue and believe, moment by moment if necessary.

Acknowledge/Admit you were born a sinner. Believe in Jesus, God’s plan for us to be with Him in heaven. Confess your sin and begin to live healed.

My prayer for my not knowing readers.

A Prayer

God is our salvation. 
Selah

Psalm 68:19 


Heavenly Father, humble our hearts to remember You as God.

To remember You as our Sovereign, powerfully gracious in your mercy, creator. You are mighty. You are in control.

Guide our minds towards peace not panic. 
Humble our hearts most of all, to remember You as our loving God. 


Because of mercy, in Jesus name, I pray. Amen 

Most of All, Loved

It’s not new, my fascination with the sky. The clouds on Tuesday looked like fat pillows against clear blue and situated as if a pillow fluffing designer had been busy all morning setting up the shop.

Then Wednesday morning not too many, cloud cover interspersed very flatly, blank canvas space.

But, in the afternoon we spotted the big crow. My granddaughter smiled and then giggled when her clearly adult grandma sang a song she made up and then over and over added “Ca Caw! Ca Caw!”

My sky is different, I thought yesterday evening walking. I’m not as sullen or driven to staring at the blankness as if looking for inspiration or looking for anything else. Maybe it’s not necessary I decided.

Maybe, as my friend answered yesterday when we talked of trauma’s inability to be anything less than honest with us. Maybe it’s just now a representation of clarity, of sweet truth despite storms.

She answered my question.

”Do you think it’s possible not to be affected by trauma?”

Were the people who were healed in the Bible really going in peace or did they get drawn back by their pasts? We decided the scriptures are true and if there had been a “rest of the story” about the women Jesus made well, God would’ve included it.

Instead, the stories have a certainty. An encounter with Jesus that brings certain healing.

My friend told me the way to believe in our very own healing is simple.

We become certain of God’s love. I loved her reply because I see it. It’s a slow coming to terms; but, it is becoming certain and it is making the difference.

I am certain of my healing.

So the sky is now different. It’s not a place I’m looking towards to ponder possibility and wait for some answer aching heart turned in an upward skeptical way.

No, now the sky is my solid confirmation. I see its steady changing and its transformations daily. Same sky, steady and at the same time changing.

God. God and I, the sky above me reminds me of His knowledge of me, of His delight in what delights me.

“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭3:17-19‬ ‭KJV‬‬

How can we truly believe all the promises we’ve read, heard from pulpits, been enthralled by testimonies? How can we embrace “daughter, you are healed” or like the prodigal who returned know it wasn’t just a fluke, God was waiting, He ran out to meet us and we were welcomed. How can we believe God planned our meeting Jesus just like the woman at the well, a prostitute who was surprised to see Him, even more surprised by His intentional kindness?

We can decide to be certain of His love more than anything. We can be as certain of God as we are of the sky.

Look up today.

Be reminded, God’s love is vast and wide and deeply unchanging.

Be certain. It is for you.

Continue and believe.

Be certain.

Wisdom Stories

For she is your life. Proverbs 4:13

I watched the soloist in worship, saw timidity in a way that led to her being brave. Fairly new to the stage, I’ve been attentive to her growing. I long to know her story.

Has she always sang so bravely, was it a thing she knew she’d always do? Was it a path that opened before her and at last she agreed she was able?

I watched as her hand held the microphone in its stand. I listened as she told me it’s God’s breath in me that led and leads to my breathing. She opened both hands towards the ceiling as her voice was elevated, “Great are you Lord!” I joined in agreement.

I’d still love to know her faith story. I’d like to know her journey as a woman.

I sat in the white chair later, the chair that was yellow when my mama got it. She had it in her den and I don’t recall her ever sitting there. It was positioned in front of her place for sitting, a place she could simply see it.

It faced the wide windows that opened the view to the field, the skinny lane that announced visitors. My mama lived alone for a bit and her yellow chair is only one of a few things she gave me. The others, ceramic roosters and a bracelet, now broken and not really jewelry, “costume” the jeweler said, “not worth anything”.

The yellow chair now recushioned and covered white, the little roosters and the bracelet, all yard sale discoveries.

My mama had very little.

Her legacy is wisdom. Wisdom and spontaneity, gifting herself with an occasional treat!

I thought of her as I drifted into a nap on Sunday. The yellow chair now creamy white facing my own wide windows.

I found solace in the soft chair, curled like a baby in my mama’s not made for sleeping chair.

I rested in the certainty of her joy when she found the fancy to her yellow chair. I celebrated her deciding she was worth it, something her life had never told her.

No wonder I find comfort in my mama’s yard sale chair.

It’s a side of her story she really didn’t tell. Her story of strength, of being worth something other than what life had shown her. A story of the bravery in believing, to wake to your very own beauty.

To believe in yourself because of God’s plan. I sit in my mama’s humble chair and feel the softness of her wisdom, I feel able to keep believing I am more than what my hard years have told me.

Continue.

Continue and believe.

There is wisdom in quiet joy. There is wisdom in pursuits that are tentative.

There is safety in remembering another’s very own wise path, as far back as when the writer of Proverbs called wisdom a “her”.

“When you walk, your step will not be hampered, and if you run, you will not stumble. Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭4:12-13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I hope to ask her one day, the new solo singer in worship, “How did you get to this place of using your voice to strengthen my faith?” There is wisdom in her journey I’m certain. I long to know why.

Who are the wise women in your life? The humble ones, the overcomers, the singers, the confident business owners, the young mamas, the elderly still with us, the teachers, the artists, the singers?

Life makes us either hard or wise. Stay soft if you can, wisdom comes not from hardening.

What’s your wisdom story?

Redeemed

In progress, “Redemption This Side of Heaven”

Nothing was working. Not watercolor on paper after an hour and detailed pencil, ink, and letters. No, not my vision.

I turned to paint the paper mache’ bunny for Elizabeth, pinks added and not happy with it.

A small canvas, smoky blue background and the barely there shape of a nude.

Not working either.

Leave it. Empty the water jars, wash the brushes, find the lids that fit all the scattered tubes. Tomorrow you can paint again.

But, the big easel stood lonely beside me so I set a blank canvas in ready position.

Stood there a minute and began with blues and blues and blues and then more hues.

Decided to call it “Redemption, This Side of Heaven”, originally “Eden”.

If redemption had a color, it would be many and here on earth we can experience it as strength, as beauty, as brilliant.

Continue and believe.

Happy Sunday, may you know redemption, this side of heaven.

“Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?”
‭‭John‬ ‭4:29‬ ‭ESV‬‬