Tuesday, June 25, 2013

boutique 419



today is my birthday. In many more ways than one.
I have never grown up with a dream, never wanted to be anything...except I always had this feeling that something was inside of me that was needing to be drawn out. God starting speaking to me last year when he told me to just start painting. I thought, hmmmm that's a little crazy but Ill do it anyways.
People started loving what I was doing, but I felt very very unsettled. I didn't like anything I was painting. But God kept pushing me and gave me permission to explore.
Then he told me to open this new shop. I felt all kinds of things, anxious being one of them. Who am I? How the heck?
I am not even an artist.
But He is. God is. And that's all I needed.
Basically he told me to paint "pretty things" which freed me from a lot of creative blocking I was feeling. I wasn't even drawn to color. But then I started looking around my house and what I love. Wood, the ocean, the water and black and white furniture. And I started to think about where I was in my life. My husband had just picked up a bible for the first time and was stuck right smack dab in the book of Matthew. The bible series on the History channel had just come out and I was captivated by Jesus. I felt at home. I felt like I belonged right there on the edge of that water, Jesus reaching out his hand...asking for followers.
I will follow you Jesus...
And for a long time I had been experimenting with the colors of the ocean and it just felt good. You see,I also met Jesus on the water...its home to me.
So then God told me to open a separate shop and I didn't like that idea and nobody else did really. I just didn't make sense in the business world. But then God started speaking to my heart.
"your not painting for them right now, your painting for me. I want you to push yourself higher than ever before, think of yourself as worthy of my goodness...and have fun. I want you to push."
So I did. I had a really good month last month in sales and God arranged it for me so that I could have the whole entire month with no custom orders. None. That's another way I knew it was from him. He funded this with me going into no debt, and he cleared a path for me to just create. It was beautiful, the best month of my life.
So here I am, new shop and all. Here I am open and vulnerable and scared and I feel naked. I feel like like people wont ever understand the heart that poured out into this art, what it represents. It represents my close relationship with our father. It represents redemption. It represents that God has a plan for even the messiest lives...It represents his endless love.
This shop is not for me. Its for Him. I have prayed over it, I have asked God to bless it and open doors that I can not. I have asked Him to make the impossible, possible.
And Jesus said, Come...follow me, and I will make you fishers of men..."
matthew four nineteen
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Friday, June 14, 2013

"birdies cant sit on the trees if you cut them down..."

mommy, birdies cant sit in the trees if you cut them down -Grace Lyons

Well here I am in the middle of being still. The last few months I have chosen to be obedient instead of sacrificing. This month I have chosen to keep the trees and build them up, instead of tear them down.

And I am going a little crazy sometimes. Because when you choose to be obedient to God, you might feel a little small, a little incapable, a little fearful because being obedient to God means just that.


I am used to being dependent on my bank account, my dads credit card, my husband, the weather, my normal foods, my routine...everything that seems normal is the most comfortable place for me to be. And my head comes up with so many ways that I can justify living comfortably.

Don't spend most of what you earned last month on supplies because you need to grab and keep hold of every dollar just in case you have an emergency...

Don't push yourself outside of your comfort zone, because God would want you to be comfortable...he wouldn't want you to feel like this.

Don't branch out, venture out, try new things because God would want you to be safe...

I have no fancy words to write here or scripture to show, except these two..

1 Samuel 15:22 (NKJV)  So Samuel said: Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.

Isaiah 1:11-17 (NLT)  “What makes you think I want all your sacrifices?” says the LORD. “I am sick of your burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fattened cattle. I get no pleasure from the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. When you come to worship me, who asked you to parade through my courts with all your ceremony?Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts; the incense of your  offerings disgusts me! As for your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath and your special days for fasting—they are all sinful and false. I want no more of your pious meetings.I hate your new moon celebrations and your annual festivals. They are a burden to me. I cannot stand them!  When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look. Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen, for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims. Wash yourselves and be clean! Get your sins out of my sight. Give up your evil ways.Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.

Over a year ago, I brought the art to the Lord at the altar of my church and gave it to him. I laid it down so that God would know that if he desired for me to watch kids in my home instead, I would do it. And that's when he started making things happen. I was willing to lay it all down for him. But that included my joy. I really find no joy in watching kids for a living...and he knew that.

Its not what he created me to do. He did not want me to start a daycare. He wants me to paint.

And he just began to speak to me this month, I have things planned for you so big that they never would have happened if you sacrificed your joy on my behalf. I want you to feel joy, purpose, drive and a clear vision. I want you to want to live. I want you to want to wake up every morning...

And that right there makes me want to obey him even more.

So then here it is and I am still learning to be still. Learning to understand and grasp just a tiny bit of how much he loves me, you. Just how much he really wants us to live.

Im learning to how listen to him. I am learning how to pull from and lean on his strength to do the very things I cant, or couldn't without him. And trust him to make it all happen.

Grace just said to me, "mommy, the birdies cant sit in the trees if you cut them down."

She speaks right to me, from the holy spirit. You cant lead people to Christ, you cant testify of his goodness if you have never tasted it for yourself. You cant be a witness to something that hasn't happened...which is why Gods love is too bright for me sometimes. Its too much. I cant handle in a world so full of judgement and bullies, how merciful and graceful he really is.

And now I know that my deepest joy, my greatest joy I have ever felt is in my obedience to him. I thought taking up my cross and following Jesus would mean a life of sacrifice and rules but now I know that he doesn't want me to sacrifice the trees in his name, they would never be enough. He wants me to build them up so high that there seems to be no end to them, like they would touch the heavens if you made it up high enough...

Listening to him, to his soft, beautiful voice will always lead to building up the trees, making them grow...his voice will always lead you to the heavens.

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

the things I dont want to share...but have to.

Its always amazing to me how God doesn't yell. He has this gentle spirit that leads me right to repentance...no yelling, no anger...just sweet love.

And he is so patient.

I had a big moment today where I just had to release. I just had to be honest with myself, and with God, even though he already knows me inside and out.

I cant fool him.

So at the risk of you finding me someday speaking in front of an audience or maybe at a huge art gallery...or maybe in a magazine...all things that could possibly happen, I want you to hear it straight from me. I want you to know that God just doesn't love the good people.

I am a huge failure.

I have not lived the life you think I have.

I have failed my parents.

I have failed my husband.

I have been on drugs.

I smoked cigarettes for 10 years.

I have had an abortion.

I am addicted to food.

I am always a victim.

I have stolen.

I have cheated.

I have been jealous of your success.

I have manipulated many people and many situations in my favor.

And I am scared as hell that God is bringing me out.

I am scared because I don't deserve any of this. I don't at all. But I feel so compelled to share my failures with you so that you can understand the magnitude of Gods love for us, for you... for me. I hesitate to even say that because I still feel so unworthy of any love. That's why it feels so good for me to pour it out onto others, because I don't like it on me. I don't want to be in the spotlight because I feel like my sin with make all the art so ugly, that's all you will see...

Tonight I was reading through a blog and got so mad at myself it brought me to tears. Seeing other people succeed seems so hard for me to handle sometimes because I cant seem to do it myself. Its taken me 5 years to lose 50 pounds and I still look at myself as a big failure. Always giving into food, always giving into sin. I failed at my nutrition counseling business. Turns out I can help everyone else in the world lose weight except myself.

And then God just so patiently, so lovingly whispers to me that I haven't found victory in some areas in my life because I still have some deep rooted sin that mucks it all up. There is just some areas that he wants to dig into and help me out of. Some areas that keep me from all that he has planned. Because I sometimes still get angry when people succeed because really all I have done in life is failed.

Its true that I lived through the very painful divorce of my parents and covered alot of my pain with drugs, alcohol and food...sin. Its true that my husband and I had a very horrible, painful first 5 or so years of being together. Its all true. But where do you go from there when you figure out that its over? That God is wanting to release you from all your pain and just love you?

That's what Jesus came here for.

To take away our sin. To make us clean. To give us new life. And I have a new life now. But I cant forget where I came from. None of this would be happening if it weren't for him.

To God be the glory for it all.

I am starting to feel the food addiction go away. I am starting to feel strong. I am starting to feel very capable of forgiving those who have hurt me. I am just starting to feel the weight of all of it come off and I am scared. I am scared because I don't know how to handle the success...the love.

I made some choices a few years ago. To get rid of some things, and to do it Gods way. I had enough of doing it my way. There was a specific moment that I will never forget that changed me. I was complaining to a new friend about my marriage and she just looked at me and said " who do YOU think YOU are?" And I just lost it, in such a beautiful way. I believe that my desire to heal my marriage and my life started then. I surrendered. I did things Gods way and he has completely changed my life.

And then I see someone farther ahead in the journey and I feel like a failure again. But its one moment at a time, he reminds me. Its one pound at a time because we want to get rid of the ugly on the inside too kiddo...he says. We want it to stick. We want it to work this time. And then I look at how far I have come and just cry. Its been so far...hes done so much work on me.

I know how to be a wife now. I know how to forgive and love my parents. I know how to feed myself. I know how to be a friend. I know how to properly run a business. I know how to handle our money. He changed all of it...all of me.

I cry each and every time I sell a piece of art. You have no idea. I cry every time you email me and say I am an encouragement to you. You have no idea how grateful i feel to even be alive.

i don't deserve any of this.

But that's where my new life begins. Here I am. I have pretty much been given a new marriage, a fresh start in that. I have been given a business to run and be a good steward of...I have been released from alot of strongholds in my life.

I have been made new.

And his love is just too much for me sometimes...

So if your sitting here reading this, your never too far gone. Its never too bad for God. Your never too much of a sinner to have Jesus come into your heart and give you a new life. I didn't believe it until it started happening to me...I thought I was just going to be that way forever.

You are loved so much. And there is a plan. If there was one for me, there is one for you.

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