Friday, September 26, 2008

Fingerprint Friday

There is a song by Steven Curtis Chapman that says:
I can see the fingerprints of God
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of God
And I know its true
You're a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you're covered with the fingerprints of God.
I see God's fingerprint in a little girl playing dress-up in a princess dress for the very first time! So excited and feeling so beautiful that she has to look herself over from head to toe to believe it's really she! This picture made me pray that she would feel that beautiful each day no matter what she was wearing because to me she is always beautiful and I know that her Father above sees her that way!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Obedience to God

I originally wrote this Sunday, September 21st on my Ruebee page but decided to post it here as well.
This Sunday was a wonderful day for me. I went to church and one of our beloveds who travels to distant places to work with the oppressed people there, gave the sermon this morning. It was about being obedient to God's purpose for your life and your calling. Her calling is to go into a country that is ravaged by war to help those who are oppressed. This is very dangerous business and she admits that if given a choice she would not go but God has called her to do it and she is obedient. One of her points this morning was that obedience comes out of a desire to please the Father because you love Him. Not because you necessarily want to obey.  He equips her with all that she needs to accomplish His plan.  People ask her all the time how she can be so brave and do this and she pointed out this morning that obedience comes when we are in a loving, living relationship with the Father and know that we can trust Him. Trust is the cornerstone of being obedient to the Father. We must know with certainty that we are His beloved children and He wants what is best for our lives. She further assured us that if someone had told her 10 years ago that she would be literally risking her life to go to a war zone to teach and help people who might want her dead, she would have thought they were crazy. Yet, she spent six months there last year and will spend at least three this year. It is difficult during her final days here preparing for her trip but when she is settled onto the plane she says that she feels His presence surround her completely and she knows that she is fulfilling her purpose in this world. She explained that obedience comes when we have Him on the throne of our lives and believe that He has a plan for our lives and that His plan is best.

Not all are called to be missionaries in foreign lands but we are all called to something. Daily we are called. We are called to help those who are in need in our own communities and to reach out to the lost and broken. We are called to teach children and clean churches and sit with a sick friend. We are called to send a note to someone who is in pain. We are called to reach out to the single mom who is holding up the line at the grocery store because she is trying to decide what she has to put back because she doesn't have quite enough money to pay her bill. So often these thoughts come to us to help, to go, to do and we dismiss them because we are busy with the business of this world or we feel someone else will help or we don't feel confident in our ability to help . But when we do that, are we choosing to be disobedient to our Father? Not responding when God calls on you will not keep you out of heaven but it will keep you from meeting your full potential and receiving all that God has planned for you. So, the next time God calls you to move out of your comfort zone and obey His plan for your life, what will your answer be?

My friend will leave this week and will take a young woman with her who has also been called. I would ask that those who read this post would spend some time in prayer for these faithful women of God. Please pray for their safety and their strength, courage and continued obedience and trust in our Lord. Pray for their safe return to their families and for success in the work that God has planned for them.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fingerprint Friday

I see God's fingerprint especially in the hands of those I love. I can picture in my mind's eye the hands of each person that I love. Hands are the things I remember first about a person.

I can remember exactly what my grandmother's hands looked like. A simple ruby engagement ring was on her left hand and a lovely opal birthstone ring was on the other hand. Her nails weren't long but well manicured. Her hands cooked meals and made delicious desserts, dug through dirt to grow beautiful flowers, knitted and crocheted purses, sweaters and Christmas stockings, sewed dresses and aprons and quilts. God's fingerprint was in my grandmother's hands.
My mother's hands were such lovely hands in her youth. Long fingers with perfectly shaped nails. They wiped tears from my face, cleaned my wounds when I scraped my knees, brushed my hair from my face, taught me how to make things and they lightly spanked my bottom when I needed it. My mother's hands became gnarled with arthritis and no longer were beautiful - by the world's standards anyway - but still they would pick up a pen and jot down a poem that praised the Lord and the world he made or draw a little sketch of the things she loved. Her bent and pain filled hands would pat me on the knee as she said, "I'm glad you're here today" or touch my cheek when I kissed her goodnight. God's fingerprint was in my mother's hands.

Babies' hands are so tiny and sweet. They touch things to see how they feel. They bring things to their mouths to see how they taste. They reach out to their mommies and grandmommies when they are hurt or are afraid or just need a hug. Babies' hands leave prints on our hearts and in our souls. Babies' hands are about exploring and learning and loving and innocence and trust. They are about the potential of a tiny little being, a gift from God. God's fingerprint is in a baby's hands.

Thanks pamperingbeki for sponsoring Fingerprint Friday!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Painting Again

It has been a long time since a paint brush has been in my hand. Well, other than to paint walls! I have done a few little ACEO's like the one in my post on being invisible, but other than that, I really can't say how long it has been since I seriously painted.

A couple of days ago, I felt the urge to pick up the brushes again but kept putting it off. Probably a part of me wasn't sure I still had it in me. Each time a painting is born from my creative effort, my reaction is always, "how did I do that?" When I am really inspired to paint, hours go by while I am completely lost in another world.

Well, on Wednesday I finally made myself go to my studio. I put paint on my palette, went through some of my sketches for inspiration and came across something I started about a year ago. The creative juices started flowing. I got a little work done on it and then had to quit to go to Bible study. That broke the spell and yesterday I never made it to my studio at all.

Today I had to go to the studio to get a package ready for shipping. I was compelled to pick up my brush again. I finished the painting and am very happy with the way it turned out. It is unlike anything I have ever done and is the first painting that I have done with a representation of Jesus. As I worked on it, it became evident to me that this was the betrayal.

I offer it here for your viewing and comments.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

On Being Invisible

I think we all have days when we feel invisible. No one speaks to us or smiles at us or acknowledges that we exist. This ACEO that I painted, entitled "She Always Seemed to Fade into the Wallpaper" speaks to that. 

It is hurtful to be overlooked and ignored. In my own experience when I have reflected back on days when I felt invisible, I found that it was usually because I was not open to others for one reason or another. Maybe it was a bad hair day, hormones were acting up, had a disagreement with someone, or I was just preoccupied with myself for whatever reason. I believe that our emotions can be sensed by others and can either draw them into us or push us away.
Of course, there have also been those days when I was on top of the world and everyone else seemed to think I was in the pit. Those are the days it's really hard to understand why we go unnoticed. But I guess just the very fact that we notice that we are unnoticed speaks to our looking inward instead of outward. Those are the days when we need to go out of our way to be extra kind and generous to others and remember that God loves us even if no one else seems to!

Monday, September 1, 2008

New Month, New Season

September! A new month and a new season on the way and it's one of my very favorites!

In the South, the promise of the cooler weather of autumn is always graciously welcomed after a hot and humid August! Most of us start thinking about lovely autumn weather long before it actually arrives in mid to late October.

The pace of life picks up speed with a flurry of activity brought on by school starting and the promise of football season kicking off. The vacations of summer are over and there is a revival of church activities - Bible studies, youth programs, picnics, outreach events and church suppers.

There always seems to be a bit of excitement in the air in the fall. Autumn breezes and crisp, cleaner air push away the inactivity of the lazy days of late summer and encourage us to head outside and plant a shrub, weed the flower beds, take a walk, go on a picnic, paint a porch or play a little touch football with the kids.

Parks and pastures are filled with apple festivals, arts and crafts shows, county fairs and fall rodeos. Neighborhoods become village markets with tag sales, garage sales, yard sales or whatever your particular region calls them. Houses are filled with the smells of home baked breads and pies and jellys and jams as we work to enjoy and preserve our late summer harvests. Blankets and quilts are brought out of storage and aired out in the fresh air to be ready for soon to come cool nights sitting in porch swings. Firewood is cut and stacked and ready for the first cozy fire of the season.

The pumpkins on the vine are getting fat and will be harvested soon for Halloween. The fragrance of fresh mowed hay brings to mind hay rides, campfires, spiced tea and s'mores! The trees are being painted in glorious hues of reds and golds and yellows to usher in our Thanksgiving observance and the Advent season.

It is a time to reflect on our past and our future and to recognize that no matter what our circumstances we have much for which to be thankful. It is a time to come together with family, friends and/or strangers to share our bounty and to offer up our praise and gratitude to God for all of our blessings. It is a time of expectation and excitement as we await the day that has been set aside to honor the birth of the Savior of the world!

It is my sincerest hope that your fall season will be filled with a bounty of gratitude, family, friends and opportunities to serve, but most of all I pray that it be filled with the everlasting peace of knowing Jesus Christ.