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Posts Tagged ‘life’

I asked my husband if I could share a devotional with his ministry Caregiver Community based on the prior month’s topic of emotions. He was gracious enough to okay it. I would like to encourage you with it as we start a brand new year.

 

I know emotions. I suffer from depression and anxiety issues. With that comes a tsunami of emotions anger, frustration, sadness, and dread. You name it I have experienced it. It also comes with the physical symptoms, muscle aches, fatigue, loss of breath, hyperventilation, heart racing and pounding, crushing chest pain and uncontrollable crying, and withdrawal.

 

For those of us who are Christians, we tend to put on our good Christian face. We are strong, we have it all together, we are the good Christian. Our faith is strong. Like these cylinders (vases) this is how we want others to see us. We try to come across okay, usable, colorful and beautiful.

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But reality feels like this failed thrown cylinder. It’s twisted, crushed, cut into. We feel ugly, of no value, no use, etc. I can fake it at times.  My quiet times can be non-existent at these periods. It’s not that I don’t want to, I can’t. The words on the pages of my Bible are like a blurred word search puzzle. I can’t focus It’s not right; it’s not wrong. It just is. Praise music becomes very important. The guilt that is added because of this is overbearing at times. The weight crushes me even more.

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Ephesians 2:10 states “For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry (workmanship)^ etched in lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus to accomplish the good works, God arranged long ago.” (The Voice)

 

Workmanship in the original language means poem, a work of art, a masterpiece. If you talk to an artist, they may tell you that their piece is an act of love, that comes from deep within them. It’s the same with us humans. I am, you are, created with a love that comes from the deepest part of God, His essence. I am, you are created after His image. (Genesis 1:7) This what makes us special than any other species.

 

The world defines a masterpiece in these terms

  1. Artistry – beauty
  2. Suggestive and imaginative
  3. Intellectual value – fundamental truth about life
  4. Permanence – endures through the ages
  5. Universality- appeals to a great number of people
  6. Style- an author’s unique way of expressing his thought.
  7. Spiritual – motivates and inspires.*

 

So how do the hardships of life, depression, sickness and all that comes with this, figure into us as a masterpiece?

 

Greg Laurie made this statement which I think explains it the best.

“masterpiece…it is a word that speaks of something that is perfect. It carries the idea of rhythm, orderliness, and beauty…I don’t necessarily see rhythm, orderliness or beauty… But God says “You are MY work of art. You are my poem. You are my masterwork. God is not like a doting father who’s oblivious to his child’s faults (hardships)** Rather He is your all-knowing, yet all-powerful Father in Heaven who can envision what you will become when its all said and done. He uses the hardships, failures. He doesn’t shy away from collapse, due to anger, frustration, depression or anxiety, He uses it to make the masterpiece full of rhythm, orderliness, and beauty.”

 

A friend once said to me “Those who never see hardship or have been given everything (doting parent) are the most shallow people.” A masterpiece is made from sweat and tears and the seven characteristics the world deems a masterpiece. So How does God see you?

 

You are loved, you are God’s consummate wealth and treasure, YOU ARE HIS MASTERPIECE, His poem.

  1. Beautifully made,
  2. An example of His imagination and artistry,
  3. With intellectual value (the truth of the Word about life),
  4. You are eternally permanent,
  5. Your example is universality (appeals to a great number of people),
  6. God’s unique way of expressing Himself,
  7. One who will motivate and inspire others in service.

 

YOU ARE HIS Masterpiece. He pours the glaze of His love, mercy and grace over you to make you beautiful and usable.IMG_6115

No matter how you feel or what struggle you are going through.

The journey is hard and long, but He is with you always. You’ve got this.

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^ my emphasis

* https://quizlet.com/128053053/7-qualities-of-a-masterpiece-flash-cards/

** my emphasis

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Dear Daughters,

 

The famous painter Bob Ross said, “Anything we don’t like, we’ll turn into a happy little tree or something, because as you know, we don’t make mistakes, we just have happy little accidents.”

 

Through my second semester of ceramics, I found this to be true, however, on a deeper level. I took this class because it was something I always wanted to learn. There was something fascinating about making something on a wheel that turns at a high rate of speed and made with one’s hands. The second reason was that in scripture, (Isaiah 64:8 and Jeremiah 18:1-6) God is compared to a potter and I am His clay, and I wanted to understand this concept in a deeper way.

 

I can’t tell you how much I have learned concerning the relationship between God and us through this class. But the one I do want to share is in your hand. God doesn’t waste anything. What you may find as unfair, failures, mistakes, hardships, aggravating, or even downright a waste of time or energy, God pulls, stretches, smooths, bakes and glazes to make you beautiful.

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Collapsed Bowl

 

This item in your hand was intended to be a bowl. Because it didn’t get centered properly it collapsed. I suddenly saw beauty in it, of what it could be. I placed a rose in the center. At first, I didn’t know why and interestingly enough as I write this, it came to me. It’s important, especially Florida, to have intentional burns. The purpose is to kill invading foliage as well as protect the area around it from devastating fires. But what it also does is clears the way for new growth of certain plants and trees that are getting choked out. The rose is a representation of new growth that comes out of the hard times, mistakes and the past years of your life.

 

Glazing is the cherry on the cake.

 

To me, the bowl is one of the those “happy little accidents.” The reality, on the other hand, is altogether different. God knew your life before you were conceived (Psalm 139). Yes, He could have changed things but then you wouldn’t be who you are today.

 

You are unique. There is no one like you in the world. God molds and shapes you through the hard times, failures, mistakes and what you may feel like an unfair past or struggles. God wastes nothing. He uses every situation, activity, a person you meet to turn the ugliness of life to mold you into the beautiful treasure you are. The hard part is allowing God to push, pull, smooth and place you into the fire. You must be willing for Him to do it, because He is a gentleman He won’t force the beautification process on you. Yes, it hurts at times and fear may creep up along with all the excuses you throw at Him for not wanting to walk the path.  It’s messy. The question is are you willing?

 

Isaiah 61:3 states:

 “…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planning of the LORD for the display of his splendor.”

 

He takes the ashes and turns into beauty to show the world of His splendor. You are molded into His likeness to show the glory of what He can do in someone’s life. Isn’t that awesome?

 

Love,

Mom

 

I wish I could give each reader one of the “happy accidents” as a reminder to you that 1. you are not an accident 2. beauty will made out of your hard times, and 3. God will get the glory for it all.

 

I hope you have had a wonderful Christmas and see you in the new year.

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Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a hugger.  I love to give hugs. If you know me well and see me coming if you don’t want a hug you might want to run, because you’ll get one.  It’s almost second nature to me.  I love to receive them too. It puts a smile on my face. Many times, the person giving them doesn’t know I needed it at that time.

 

It was one of those days in which I was sat and looked out over a pond at a local park. Birds bobbed on the water, and a fountain bubbled, gurgled, and struggled to rise out of the water.  It was a particular hard day; the tears began welled up.

 

“Daddy, just once I would love to feel your arm around me like a father does his child.”

 

Later when I described my day to a friend they said “Have you ever felt a warm breeze on your face? Or sat and listened to the birds chirping away or smelled your favorite flower? Have you enjoyed fellowship with others?  These may seem like small things, but God’s hugs are in the small things, not always the big wonders.”

 

That reminded me of another park visit where I walked the boardwalk, worship music played in my ear. I climbed the tower sat down on the recycled bench pulled a pen and notebook out and closed my eyes. What happened next came as a surprise. A breeze picked up, birds chirped and the words which flowed in my ear became clearer. The world was disappeared around me like the movies when a character is deep in thought everything around them move in slow motion and blurry.

 

If anyone had come to the top of the tower, I wouldn’t have known it.  There was peace, joy and the presence of God was felt without a doubt.  I’ve learned to relish these times.

 

In another blog, I wrote that sometimes solitude moments with God are about being still and letting Him love on me.  It’s being and listening and feeling using the senses to experience God’s love and His creative side, by being in His creation.

 

Lately though I have left the music behind and have taken my little word processor to the park to observe God’s creativity.   Through it, I’ve seen illustrations of how to express myself to Him. He allows me to experience things that are new, like a huge duck flying not more than three feet away whose wings just made the loudest most awesome “whoosh” with every flap. It was incredible almost like a rhythm of a drum. The breeze rusted the leaves and ducks quacked and bird chirped even the annoying seagulls squawked musically.  I heard God’s orchestra play just for me.

 

Have you ever scheduled time to just be still at the park or at the beach in the evening to watch a sunset? I would encourage you to just take in nature and allow God to wrap His arms around you.

 

 

“The Mighty One, God, the LORD speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to the place where it sets. From Zion, perfect in beauty God shines forth.”

Psalm 50:1-2

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I wasted time a few weeks ago waiting for my daughter to finish work. Walking a few shops down, I found a wall hanging with this statement, “Until God opens the next door praise Him in the hallway.”  My first reaction was, “Yes, Lord I am in the hallway, but there aren’t any doors to open.”

 

I smiled to myself with tears rolling down my cheeks.

 

I’ve stepped out temporarily from ministry, which started a strong tug of war. The two sides pull hard with the intent of winning. On one end of the rope, confidence.  I have made a good decision to rest.  One the other end is busyness and the need to be back in the race.  As I talked to a friend about this struggle, he mentioned a devotional by L.B Cowman Streams in the Desert which gives a wonderful illustration of the periods of rests in our lives.  This is the author’s take on the period called rest:

 

 “There is no music during a musical rest, but the rest is part of the making of the music.  In the melody of our life, the music is separated here and there by rests.  During those rests, we foolishly believe we have come to the end of the song… He (God)* brings a sudden pause in the choral hymn of our lives, and we lament that our voices must be silent.  We grieve that our part is missing in the music. The process is often slow and painful in this life, yet how patiently God works to teach us! And how long He waits for us to learn the lesson.”  (Cowman pg.43,44)

 

Resting periods in my life (a masterpiece) is part of the grander piece. Sometimes these come as hardships, illness, struggles and trials or the everyday mundane.  These rests are times of silence and solitude in which He uses to grow me in my relationship with Him. God is the composer and conductor of my life and He creates rests for reasons.  Some reasons I see some I don’t, but all are for His glory and honor.

 

I love what Margaret Feinberg said in her book Fight Back with Joy, “Always be suspicious that God is up to something.” Even in the resting there is the hope that God is going to do something wonderful through it.

 

For me there are a couple of reasons for my rest: 1.  to grow closer to Him which in itself brings about rest  2.  To understand better who I am in Him, and how He sees me.  There is probably more to it, but that is what I’m observing now.  How cool is that?

 

Yes, I’m in a hallway right now that has no doors. I sit and wait in expectation when not only a door appears but opens and I walk through.  Praise God.

 

“Step out of the traffic! Take a long loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.” Psalm 46:10 (The Message)

 

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Easter is the holiday that ushers in a new season.  Spring marks the end of the bitter cold, snow, and ice. The sun replaces the dreary gray skies with the bright blue horizon. Trees are turning green, bunnies are hopping out of their burrows, ducklings waddle down to the ponds with their mothers and the sounds and smells of new life are every where.

 

However, Easter is more than nature coming out of a winter’s nap.  It’s also an amazing  celebration of the new life we are offered through Christ Jesus.  Because of His willingness and the Father’s plan, He went to the cross to pay the debt that our sin deserves; death and eternal separation from God.  Then three days later He rose from the dead.

 

I know, there are those who say there are many ways to God, like there are several paths to reach the mountain’s summit.  Some of the paths are just harder than others.  I would love for there to many ways to God. That would mean more people wouldn’t go to hell due to their sins, but Jesus Himself told us the complete opposite.

 

 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.  If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well.”

John 14:6  (NIV 1984)

 

The key word is “the”.  He is not a way, but the way.  He is not a truth, but the truth.  He is not a life, but the life.  What a comfort this is.  There is nothing we can do for an eternal relationship with God.  Nothing.  Why?  My good may outweigh the bad but that isn’t good enough.  The requirement is perfection.  Jesus was the only one who fit that description.  In the end it doesn’t matter how we see ourselves.

 

Jesus also gave us this hope;

 

 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies (*physically); and whoever lives and believes in me will never die (*spiritually)…”

John 11:25-26a

 

Anyone who is spiritually dead due to their sin and choose to accept Christ as their Savior and Lord, will be given a new life, and a abundant life in Him.  That choice also gives us a hope for the future even when we look around and see the mess our lives and the world are in.  God sits on His throne, and a day will come when this world will become new.

 

Friend if you have all ready accepted the free gift that Jesus has extended to you, praise God and celebrate this Easter.  If not, I would encourage you to visit the tab at the top “An Invitation”, which walks you step by step in what it means to be one of His children.  The Heavenly Father desires that all come to Him and be adopted into His family.  Jesus asks one more question:

 

“Do you believe this?”

John 11:26b

 

 *emphasis added.

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