Thursday, July 13, 2017


This painting was created during a time of great physical and emotional duress. 
I can say this painting is actually a prayer. 

I was recovering from a total knee replacement, in 2015, and experienced extremely painful complications. I can honestly say that after giving birth five times, having major spine surgery and multiple other types of surgery, the knee replacement was the toughest physical challenge I had ever met. 

Adding to the trauma of surgery was a military style physical therapist who became a huge thorn in my flesh. He seemed to delight in my anguish and showed no mercy. 

My leg would not bend to the degree acceptable, according to the therapist or my surgeon, in spite of the therapist forcing it to bend as I begged him to stop. 
He would say things like "If you don't get range of motion, now, it will be too late."  

I would go home in pain and exhaustion and cry. The lies almost took hold. 
This occurred for many days in succession. I began to dread physical therapy and his evil prognostications. 

I felt like an utter failure, exhausting my husband with my basic physical needs for food and comfort, and emotional instabilities.
In spite of it all, he cared for me with the utmost kindness and patience. He reflected Jesus to me.

One day I woke up and decided I wasn't going to have another day like that. 
I cancelled my physical therapy. 
Somehow I managed to get myself over to my art table. 

I put on some worship music, grabbed a canvas and paint and began to paint my prayer to the Lord. 
He met me there and we had a sweet time of fellowship. 
I found strength to see beauty in the circumstance. 
I found strength to defy pain and hopelessness and PTSD

I recalled the Scripture where the Apostle Paul said
"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

I was very weak and Christ was showing Himself to be very strong in me. 
The strength manifested in defiance, a daring or bold resistance and disregard to an opposing force, a challenge to meet in combat. 

I was at war. In that moment, I knew I would prevail. 

The next day, my knee was still refusing to cooperate and I saw my surgeon for a consult. 
He was not happy with my range of motion and rather flippantly said I would need another procedure called a manipulation under anesthesia "MUA". 
He said, "We will put you to sleep and I will force your knee to bend,which will break up the scar tissue causing this problem. There are some risks, for example, your femur could snap, but that is rare. I had someone cancel tomorrow morning, would you like that appointment so you can get this and the extra six weeks of physical therapy out of the way before Christmas?"

I'm pretty sure all of the color had left my face.
Before I could answer he said "See the scheduler on your way out and I will see you in the morning." And then he left the room.

With the help of my cane, I walked past the scheduler and right out of the door. 
My gut (The Holy Spirit) said "No. Do not have that procedure."
So, I didn't. 

I am happy to report God healed my knee as well as my hopelessness. My knee has wonderful range of motion and I never had to go through that horrible procedure or endure another six weeks of the "torture chamber."

Defiance. It's a beautiful thing!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Bring Flowers

There is a language, little known,
Lovers claim it as their own.
Its symbols smile upon the land,
Wrought by nature’s wondrous hand;
And in their silent beauty speak,
Of life and joy, to those who seek
For Love Divine and sunny hours
In the language of the flowers.

–The Language of Flowers, London, 1875

I love flowers. I never tire of drawing and painting them. I use my imagination to create varieties I have never seen, as well as copy images I have observed in nature. 
As I began this post, I inquired of the Father about the title and subject of it, and the image to use. This one came to mind. 

The piece above was created with glue resist, watercolors, colored pencils and gel pens. I think the little wildflowers look happy!
 I call this piece "Wild Bouquet."

I believe I am supposed to share something about how to be truly helpful to someone who is suffering. 
I am recovering from surgery, two days ago, and I believe I am in a good place to connect with the vulnerability one feels after such an ordeal. 

I addition, I have battled a chronic illness for several years. I have received prayer on numerous occasions and, to date, I still suffer. I do believe God heals and I do believe it is always His will to heal, based on what we see in the life and ministry of Jesus and on numerous scriptures which talk about healing.

 I will admit that there seems to be a lot of mystery surrounding the subject. For example, why does He heal people in so many different ways? And why are we so determined to see Him do it our way? And how, exactly, do we pray in each situation to be the most effective conduit of His healing power?

I think some people, while very well meaning, can cause more harm than good when a fellow believer is suffering. They say ignorant things like, "God is using this to teach you something."

When I hear that I think, "Well, I hope God uses every experience in my life to conform me into the image and character of Jesus, but what kind of parent makes their child sick and sits back and lets the child suffer?"
I'll tell you what a child learns under those circumstances. They learn their parent is cruel and distant and uncaring and not to be trusted.

There are other ways that well meaning people can cause pain in the lives of suffering saints. They simply cannot stand the sight of anyone who is struggling. Instead of kindness, they respond with anger. It's like they  cannot connect with compassion because they are in such fear themselves of having to go through something difficult. They are intolerant of slow recoveries and unanswered prayers. If they can't heal you, they imply there must be something wrong with you and they check out and move on to the next project.  

People who are suffering don't need sympathy, but empathy and compassion are key. 
Stop and pray for them. Right now. 
Don't tell them "It is done." or "You are healed." or "Stop taking your medication." or "Don't have that surgery." or "You don't need that wheelchair."
All of those things are not helpful. They are rude.

 If the person is healed when you pray, you WILL know it because they will tell you.  If a person is healed, they will NOT want to have surgery. You won't have to tell them.We need to stop looking at medical interventions as evil or substandard forms of healing. I don't know where this kind of thinking comes from, but it is ridiculous. There are risks involved in taking medicine and having surgery, but there are risks involved in driving your car to church this Sunday, too. 

Do you really want to know how to be helpful and not to cause pain?
Bring flowers. 
Bring dinner. 
Bring an encouraging word from scripture.
Bring a beautiful, comforting prophetic word.
Bring a song.
  Bring a smile. 
    Bring yourself. 
Bring a prayer that inspires hope, faith, comfort and assurance of God's goodness and          Presence in this trial. 

If you have not been in the exact same situation of the suffering person be very careful what you say. Don't try to make sense of it for them, because some things simply do not make sense in this life. 

Sometimes, you don't have to say anything at all. Sometimes, your presence is enough. 
The love you express by simply showing up is more of a medicine than anything you could say.
Isn't that what we really need to know in our heart of hearts when we are hurting?
That God has not abandoned us? That He isn't angry with us?
That He is WITH us and He is FOR us?
In His Presence is fullness of joy, even in the most painful trial. 
He is the God of all comfort and peace. 
He is Jehovah Rapha, the God who takes our afflictions and makes our bitter waters sweet.

And don't forget, bring flowers.  

Friday, May 12, 2017

His Lionhearted Lamb

Self Portrait in Stitches 

On Mother's Day 2017, I will be interviewed during the Sunday morning service at River Church Charlotte. My Pastors, Derek and Sarah Turner, will give me an opportunity to share what it means to be a powerful woman and explain where my boldness and confidence to share originates.

When Pastor Derek asked, I was immediately reminded of the scripture which says
"The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are bold as a lion."
Proverbs 28:1

I come from a long line of "Steel Magnolias." 
I have always been a little bossy and bold. 
But, thankfully, my ABBA is refining those traits into Holy Boldness.
This redeemed boldness comes from confidence in my ABBA, Father God.

My favorite hymn comes from the  Herrn­hut­ter Chor­al­buch, 1735.
The lyrics were penned by Henriette L. Von Hayn at Hernhutt, Germany. 
The song was born out of a prayer meeting, beginning in in 1725 by the Moravians, which lasted twenty-four hours a day for one hundred  years!

Jesus makes my heart rejoice,
I’m His sheep, and know His voice;
He’s a Shepherd, kind and gracious,
And His pastures are delicious;
Constant love to me He shows,
Yea, my very name He knows.

Trusting His mild staff always,
I go in and out in peace;
He will feed me with the treasure
Of His grace in richest measure;
When athirst to Him I cry,
Living water He’ll supply.

Should not I for gladness leap,
Led by Jesus as His sheep?
For when these blest days are over,
To the arms of my dear Savior
I shall be conveyed to rest:
Amen, yea, my lot is blest.

I am His little lamb, 
When I bleat to Him for help it might as well be a ROAR. It terrifies my enemies. 
In fact, my ABBA will prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies to humiliate them. 

"You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. My cup overflows." Psalm 23:5

My ABBA says not to be intimidated by my opponents. This is a clear sign to them of my salvation from God. 

"Don't be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself."
 Philippians 1:28

My simple, lamb-like faith is rooted in the love, mercy, grace, power and wisdom of my ABBA. Jesus is my righteousness and he says I AM the righteousness of God in Him. 

"For with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation." Romans 10:10

"For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ." 2 Corinthians 5:21

I am free from condemnation. 

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:21

I am crowned with loving kindness and tender mercies.
"Who redeems your life from destruction; who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies" Psalm 103:4

My heart has been sprinkled. (Baptized)
My heart does not condemn me, It is a NEW heart. 

"Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water." Hebrews 10:22

My boldness is a sign of the merit of the Gospel. 

"Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God." John 3:21

I was saved in 1983 and have been blessed to know many mature women saints I so greatly admire. In times past, I longed to be like them. Alas, it has eluded me. 
The thing I most admired about them was their regal deportment and their ability to dress someone down in such a manner that the person would almost think they were getting a compliment.

I have clearly not perfected that talent. 
I am more of a "call it like it is" kind of a person. 
And while I want my boldness to edify and exhort, my prayer is that kindness would be on my tongue. 
But speaking truth in love, we may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, even Christ. Ephesians 4:15

I am almost 60 years old and I am finally getting comfortable in my own skin, accepting the way Father God wired me. I welcome his loving pruning and refinement of my character and
  personality. I embrace His calling to be authentically me. I no longer compare myself to others or long to be more like people I will never be. 
I am me. 
His Lionhearted Lamb.

Monday, March 7, 2016

New Mercies For The Battle Weary

"New Mercies"
Acrylic painting on canvas board by Kathryn L. Berkowitz 2016

I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
Lamentations 3:19-26

Have you ever been through something that really left you feeling defeated, reeling with feelings of disillusionment, confusion, betrayal, or grief? 

There are some things that are beyond our ability to process on our own. 
We need a grid to interpret these experiences. 
I believe it is essential to understand that we are at war. 
We are in a spiritual battle for our lives. 

God is with us and has given us the armor of God and spiritual weapons of warfare to pull down strongolds. 
These strongholds are arguments, pretensions, philosophies or reasonings that set themselves up against the knowledge of God. 
We can take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. 
In other words, we can judge an argument, thought or pretense by how it compares with the truth in God's Word. 

The armor of God consists of these things:

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, 
with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 
and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 
Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Ephesians 6: 10-17

Every new morning, God's mercies are new and with that He bestows grace to begin again. 
Battle weary saint, you are precious to God and His mercies, ever enduring love, faithfulness and compassion can pick you up, dust you off, heal your wounds and give you courage for a new season. You have a future and a hope!

 I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 
Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 
I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.
Jeremiah 29:10-13

He will bring us back from captivity!

But here's the thing. Don't go out to battle without your armor or your spiritual weapons. 
Don't take on battles that don't belong to you. 
Wait on Him. Wait quietly on Him. Hope in Him. 

I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.
Psalm 27:13 & 14

Monday, February 29, 2016

The Works Of Our Hands

About this sculpture: 
This is fabric collage over vintage plaster glove mold. Created for the "Show Us Your Hands" fundraiser for Arts Council of Lincoln County and Lincoln County Schools that, unfortunately, never happened. Still, I enjoyed creating this piece and hope to do another one, soon. 

Stop offering the parts of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness. Instead, offer yourselves to God as people who have been brought from death to life and the parts of your body as instruments of righteousness to God. 
Romans 6:13

If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire.
Mark 9:43

Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Psalm 24: 3-4

Let the sweetness of Lord Jehovah our God be upon us, because of the works of his hands which he has fashioned for us, and he formed us among the work of his hands! 
Psalm 90:17

Take a look at your hands. Your hands are marvelous creations of the Most High God. We are created in the image of God. Romans 6:13 says we should offer our bodies as instruments of righteousness. Let that sink in. 
Because the Spirit of Jesus Christ lives in us, we are the righteousness of God, in Christ Jesus. Our hands are to be His hands in this world. 

Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for you have been bought with a price, so glorify God in your bodies. 
1 Corinthians 6:19-20

I had an experience with God where I actually felt Him slipping into my hands, as if they were His gloves. I heard the Holy Spirit tell me to be confident, that He was animating my hands when I was doing the good works that He had prepared for me since the foundation of the world. It was a very moving and profound experience. 

As artists, we should be fully dependent on the Holy Spirit to flow through our hands. 
We have THE Creator of the Universe, living inside of us who has anointed us with skill and desires to be expressed through His creation. In other words, God desires to be expressed through your hands. 

Give Him your hands, go and advance the Kingdom !

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Effervesce : A Heart Plunged into the River

Creativity has always been my life’s passion.  It wasn’t until fairly recently that I became awakened to how central the desire to create was to my fulfillment as the person I was created to be.

   I was blessed to be the daughter of a beautiful, creative woman who encouraged me to try my hand at various creative endeavors. When I would embroider, doodle, paint, write poetry or play my guitar, I would feel focused, purposeful and accomplished. I struggled with depression and anxiety as a child, and still do. But when I am creating, I sense peace.

  This peace has followed me all of my life, the peace I know when I am colaboring with God, the One who created me to be creative. I now understand the reason for this, but it eluded me for  many years. I didn’t have a relationship with Jesus until I was twenty-five years old.  Up until then I had no category for the concept of being created for a purpose.  I thought that expressing creativity was just an enjoyable add-on to my life, but not something to which I could give all of my intention.

   I spent  a lot of time “trying to find my place in the Church body.” I didn’t understand that church should be a place that stewards and disciples artists. I had never really seen it done until I became friends with Linda, an artist who belongs to Morningstar Fellowship in Ft. Mill, SC.

   I attended a women’s conference with Linda,  sponsored by Morningstar, and the theme was creativity. I also read a book, called The Path by Laurie Beth Jones, which helped me form a personal mission statement. Here it is.  

To passionately worship Christ, my King
To be divinely inspired by Him
To skillfully create, and effectively communicate concepts
That will advance the Kingdom of God
In my own life, and the lives of others

  Many years later, I was introduced to a book called Unlocking The Heart of The Artist by Matt Tommey. In April 2012, I devoured it and could hardly believe that I had finally found someone with which I could relate on the subject of how to connect with God through worship and conceive something that I could give birth to and change the world.

These were powerful metaphors for me. During that time I was working as professional birth doula and birth educator. I understood that for conception required two individuals  coming together in an intimate way. I began to see how vital it was for me to come into God’s presence in worship and invite Him to place a dream or concept in my heart. I began to see it was my responsibility to fiercely protect and nurture these things until the appointed time that they should be birthed.

  The Holy Spirit led me to study of the word “heart” through the Psalms and Proverbs that same year. The word heart  means “The most interior organ, midst, mind, understanding, will, intellect, feelings, the center.”

One of the most important truths I discovered about my heart was this, from Proverbs 37:4

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

   I began to meditate on this. I began to realize a desire, placed in my heart by the Holy Spirit. The desire is this.  I want my art to glorify Him and speak of Him to the eyes and ears and hearts of people in a way that penetrates barriers and establishes righteousness.
I want people to have an undeniable encounter of His Presence, Love and Power.

   I have continued to express this desire to God.  He has started with my own eyes, ears, and heart. When I create with Him, for Him, I feel fulfilled, satisfied, filled with wonder and expectation and totally dependent on Him to bring the miracle of anointed creativity to pass.

  I am learning to stay connected to Him, to listen for His voice and to keep my eyes and ears open for inspiration, colors, textures, sounds, messages, and revelations of His love.
   I see myself as a vessel, which must be filled with the Living Water before I can be poured out. There is a season for filling and a time for spilling. As artists, it is important to know what season we are in.

  I have  come to appreciate how vital community is to the creative person.
I prayed about how I might facilitate this in my own community and the Holy Spirit showed me a picture of a heart, submerged in water with fizzy, colorful bubbles all around, and I heard the word, “Effervesce.” I believe this is a prophetic picture of a heart that has been plunged into the Living Water and is releasing the very life of God. It is a picture of joy, exuberance, vitality and exhilaration. I believe it is our inheritance to be in community with other artists whose hearts long for their intended design, even if they’ve not yet realized it ! Effervescence is like a chemical reaction for which creative folks can serve as catalysts for powerful reactions in the spiritual realm.

  It is an exciting life when your heart’s desire is to fully know and experience the love of God and to have that same love fully expressed through your creativity ! When I attended the Gathering of the Artists in 2013, I remember a dear sister, Aleona Isakova,  
challenging all of us with this statement. “When you get to heaven, He will ask you, “What did you do with My dream?’ If God put fire to your heart, you can create it!”
Those words resonated with me like a gong! In fact, just about everything about that weekend was confirmation upon confirmation that I was exactly where God wanted me,  and that He had created, chosen and equipped me to find my highest joy as a fearless, free, creative woman. To God be the glory !

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Healing Waters and a Pure heart

Pour over me water to clean all my intentions
Baptizing streams, I swim in the freedom of redemption
Floating on the sea of purity
Knowing I can dive in the love that rescues me

Healing waters, healing waters
Solace flows through the river of forgiveness to my soul
Oh, I need You, healing waters

From the song "Healing Waters"
By Michelle Tumes

This painting is the result of a dual creative endeavor between my husband, Bruce and me. 
He painted the woman, which is an abstract portrait of me, and I painted the water, sky, moon and stars. 
To me, it signifies the Mikveh, or ceremonial ritual immersion in water practiced by Jews as a purification rite. It is a type and shadow of Christian Baptism. 

Our Lord, Jesus Christ was baptized. 
And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, see, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting on him. Matthew 3:16
In the same fashion, baptized believers have this promises: 
Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4

I remember my baptism at First Assembly of God Church in Winston-Salem, NC. 
It is one of my most precious recollections. When I came up out of that water, I knew that I had a new heart. I had become a believer in Jesus a few months before, but something felt different after my baptism. The world looked different, people looked different, my heart was more tender and responsive to God. 

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:19-25