Sunday, September 13, 2015

"Fly Away" : The Middle- Between Salvation and Eternity

My mother-in-law told me a while back that deep thinkers are often artistic and use art form as a way to express their hearts. At first, I didn't think that applied much to me, but today I was reminded of it's truth.

I am head-strong, but not in the push people around/won't back down kind of way. I'm head-strong in the "chained" sense. Chains to my past, to my sins, to my fears and anxiety. I'm sure in some way we are all anchored to "prisons", but I have said several times to my husband that I feel as if I am a caged bird.

Before I knew Christ those deepest caged moments were so very dark and unnerving that it was almost maddening. Even knowing Him, I have moments when I feel as if my human frame cannot contain my overwhelmed existence.

But that is the beauty of the Cross. I can find freedom in Him. I know that in Him, those chains are broken and, while my circumstances may not change here earth-side, I know for a fact there will be Perfect solution when I meet Him. Knowing THAT and hanging on to that by my spiritual fingernails, truly brings a peace to this little caged bird-one that passes all understanding.

Today was a humdinger of a morning. It has been a busy week and a stressful weekend for many reasons. All was simmering low until the chaos of Sunday morning hit. You know, Sundays are supposed to be restful and a time to honor the One who gives us rest. Not surprising that Satan is here to make his best attempts to keep us from the Word, worship, and the rest that comes along with that surrender. It is hard work getting a family of five (and a naughty dog) prepared for AM church service. Mouths to feed, clothes to prep, hair to get done, and blah blah. Honestly, I'm tired before I get to church and then I have an 18month old to wrangle. I often leave church feeling tired, learning little, but thankful that I honored the Lord by going. ANYWAY, I lost my gourd this morning before church. I spewed out all the stress/angst that built up over who-in-the-world knows how long. My husband handled it with grace and for that I am thankful. I surrendered just enough to make it to church, not an ounce more. After all, dang it, I AM TIRED, PEOPLE.

Then, I went to church, heard the Word, and left both ashamed and grateful- ashamed at my rant and grateful to a God of many mercies. The song that came to my heart as I rocked my sweet boy was "I'll Fly Away."  I set out to worship God through the art of that song.

When the shadows of this life have gone,
I'll fly away;
Like a bird from prison bars has flown,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away)

I'll fly away, Oh Glory
I'll fly away; (in the morning)
When I die, Hallelujah, by and by,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away).

"Fly Away"
10'x8" on glass
Original SOLD
As you can see, the chain has been severed from the prison bars, leaving the bird free to fly but the chain remains attached. I needed to remember today I'm that bird, and if you know Jesus you are the bird, too.  I AM IN THE MIDDLE. At the cross in Calvary He broke that bondage of judgment and death. There is no longer condemnation. While I'm on this earth, though, I will still feel the the lingering chains of this fallen world- pain, regret, doubt, heartache and brokenness.  I'm in the middle, promised eternity, but living in brokenness. I haven't made it yet, and that is ok, because Christ continues to wait with merciful arms until Heaven.  
I am no longer chained to the bars of my judgment, but with the knowledge that one day I will be FULLY free of the chains when I am with Christ. And THAT is the difference maker. That truth allows for peace when we navigate the darkest of days. It allows for healing that makes us "experienced" to offer support to others support when they hit those same dark spots. And it makes it possible to stop and STAND on the truth that we are here for a purpose rather than being *stuck* in the prison of doubt, guilt, or shame. We can get up and keep walking, head held high to Heaven--even if our steps are so weak we are crawling.
If you don't know Christ, this may sound like quite the rosy painting of suffering and suckiness that comes with life. Like a "Jesus" way of explaining optimism. But optimism without follow through is shallow and fruitless. He will follow through. The suffering will ultimately be met with FREEDOM from pain and suffering. There IS beauty beyond our understanding in eternity with Christ. If you want to know Christ, email me at

Sunday, September 6, 2015

"Many Plans"

Proverbs 16:9 says "Many are the plans of a man's heart, but the Lord determines his steps."

I actually started this painting with a different verse in mind.It was full of color. Lots of warm circles of yellow, orange and red, surrounded by a stormy sea of cool blues. Then, between my first and second day painting, my heart was no longer moving in that direction.

I know I could have left it-come back to it, but that just isn't my style. I feel like I need to see a painting through before I can start another. It is as if my heart is hanging out there distracted by it until it is DONE.

Also, I just *know* when a painting is finished. I always marvel at the thought, that my feelings keep working themselves out on the canvas until they are a completely free and untangled sight to see.

So, in this case, the fireball that was there the day before was smoothed away little by little-- A myriad of colors made their way in circular motion until I stepped aside and said, "Finished!"

This time, what I set out to do wasn't at all what came to completion.  Yet, it was exactly what it was meant to be all along. You see, I believe somewhere out there is someone who is meant for this painting, and this painting meant for him/her. I love that thought so very much.

So, since the heart of the painter moved, so too, did the paint on the window. The previous verse no longer fit and Proverbs 16:9 called to me. "Many are the plans of a man's heart, but it is the LORD who determines his steps."
Sometimes life is so clear; things we walk out are straight-forward and sure. But in so many ways, I think some of the sweetest moments in life are born out of complete dependence on the Creator to determine our steps-to take us to the beauty only He can see on the other side.

When life takes a turn or my plans look to be shattered, I can take two perspectives: frustration and disappointment, or complete trust that God's not through yet. That His path is ultimately to an infinitely better destination. I believe this whole-heartedly and my life is so much sweeter when I keep my eyes on that truth. Trust me, I spend too much time on the other side. When I do, I'm left with discontent, confusion, and a whole lot of self-focused wheel-spinning.

Oh, but when I spiritually release my heart and mind to the Creator, like a baby finds safety and security in the lap of Momma, it is the ultimate sweet spot.

I'm not saying when we do this our worlds will be magically free of pain, cancer, abuse, grief, or any of the other head-shaking God doubt-makers out there. Oh but Satan sure would love for us to hang there in that despair.  Instead, I'm encouraging you to see the TRUTH of the Perfect God who doesn't need magic to win my heart, to win yours. The truth of One who promises that He sees this fallen world with all it's fallible, painful circumstances. The One who promises an eternity free from all of this. Yes, eternity.

 If you don't know Him, please know He desires to pull your heart up to His Sovereign chest and keep you safe from spiritual harm. He desires to guide your heart across a dry and weary land. He most certainly desires to give you joy and peace as you walk out a life that often doesn't feel right or good. He desires to guide your life steps back to Him for a perfect good. See? Even a glimpse?  Even a spark of curiosity? I sure hope so and He does infinitely more deeply than I. What would it hurt to give those weary steps over to this "Perfect Creator" of Whom I speak? If I'm wrong, it will just be another little side walk. However, if I'm right your life will be eternally changed for a good so deep you and I can't wrap our minds around it. Want to do that? I'd love to hear from you. email me at:

For my followers who know that Truth, let the Lord continue to win your heart with His goodness, in the straightforward times, and the confusing ones. Choose to lift your chin to Christ and keep walking upright as you lean into His shelter. Let Him fill you with joy in the land of suffering and sorrow. Many are the plans...


"Many Plans"
Mixed Media
42"x24"x2.5" on Vintage Glass