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.