Monday, February 17, 2014
A few months ago I was carrying laundry upstairs and God stopped me. I stood there with basket in hand, placed it down, to listen. He said, I'm about to do something really big for you, but I want to make sure you know right now that its not about you. It has nothing to do with how well you paint or what you paint, its all about me...
And thank God for that. I accepted that and was overjoyed that he loved me so much to fill certain desires of my heart all the while point me to where he had use for me. This would all probably lead me to where I am right now, sending off paintings to my now publisher who thinks he can place much of my art in stores and homes across America. But my greatest joy thus far in the past few weeks in really internalizing and preparing my heart for a greater influence.
I am not a front of the stage gal. Well, inside I am but I have fear and pride and faith in myself is small and frankly quite a kick in the pants to God who says, in me, you are everything, separate from me you are nothing. I have a fear of not knowing enough of the gospel to sound religiously smart. I have a fear that you would be bored by me. I have a fear you might think I'm crazy because I am a very active speaker...I use body language and I am passionate. I cry when I speak if the moment permits and if the spirit moves I will talk for hours, I have no concern for time. I have real fears that are so stupid in the big scheme of things. In the kingdom way of things. The facts here are, I have been through healings, financial drought, physical illness, mental illness and addiction. I have lived a broken marriage, a broken family, abortion, and drug and alcohol tendencies. And God has come in, changed me, and healed me.
And that's enough.
So I had a divine appointment with a beautiful friend of mine in the middle of target the other day along side another friend of hers who God called to the same target at the same time. Gosh he loves us. We found her on a day where Satan was speaking into her heart that she had no talents. that she had no purpose. She cried and was feeling very discouraged about her solitary confinement physical and spiritual, and God just spoke.
She has not been going to church for a while and not engaging in a support community which God blesses us with for this reason...she has been lost. But God reminded her of her love for children and her desire to speak life into them and love on them and bless them...she had thoughts of going back to school and becoming a teacher. And he even went as far as to remind her, "how many children have you hugged this year, besides your own?"
But the lie in her heart that she was believing was that she had no talent because it didn't look like mine or yours. And I just said can I take a minute and set you free? God wants to set you free from this right now, right here in target.
Sister, bless you. I don't even enjoy children like you do. I mean, I love my kids so much its hurts, but I don't like being around a bunch of kids in general. I don't like to teach them things like math or reading, I find it very difficult. I don't like to sit on the floor and play. I just don't. And can I tell you that every time I pick up Grace from kindergarten I feel as thought I need to write a check for a million dollars to her teacher and it wouldn't be enough. I cry, I thank God for her. I cant do it. I just cant do it. Do you know that I would not be able to paint, and read and write and run my business if it weren't for people like you? So it may look really cute and pretty what I do. The art, the instagram photos, all of it. But its nothing without YOU.
I want to speak to those who are called to the back corners for a moment. Maybe the night shift nurse or the grocery store stock person. Or maybe the janitor at Harvard...
SOME PEOPLE COULD NOT FUNCTION IF IT WEREN'T FOR YOU.
And just because you aren't out in the front doesn't mean you are worth any less. At the end of the day, we will all be judged by what we were given and what we did with our influence. Some people have larger than others. But its all equally important to our creator, who gives the influence. I just feel as if there are a whole bunch of people, like myself, with special talents or abilities and they will never see the plan God had for them come to pass, because of their own fears. And that to me saddens my soul to the core. For me, it was just painting for the first time. I just needed to step out and be obedient once, for God to show me that I loved it and he would use it and I would be okay if I did it.
I pray that if you are good with kids, you run in that direction. If you have a talent in art, you would just make your art and be you and let God take control of what happens after you make it. I pray that if you are good with computers that you would pursue every opportunity to shine in that area because this is a whole new world and God needs us to be who he created us to be. He needs the gospel to reach the far corners of the earth and the deep corners of our neighbors hearts.
He created you with purpose, live it.
Friday, February 7, 2014
God has been speaking Matthew 16 :25 into my heart the past few weeks.
For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.
I have fought this verse tooth and nail since I was a kid. I have fought so hard against everything that I have gotten myself into more horrible situations. In my marriage, in my finances, in my health...everything. I believe that we are people who want to make things happen for ourselves. We want to fix things. We want to lead ourselves out of battle. We want to fight the battles with our own weapons. We want to be the hero. Or we think we are capable of being the hero.
I spent many years trying to manipulate my husband into something he wasn't ready to be or ready for. I spent many years spending money on things to fill an empty soul and then I would get mad at the world when I didn't have anything left to pay bills. I would eat my way into a coma and wonder why I couldn't shake my food addiction. I would turn to it every time I felt alone or scared and never give a moment in between craving and eating.
It wasn't until about 4 years ago that someone spoke something into my life that has changed me. A friend was listening to me talk really bad about my husband and his character and why he isn't this or why he doesn't do that...and she just looked at me and said..
who do you think YOU are?
Praise God for that friend.
my whole entire being has changed since that day. I began to look at my life as not my own. Perhaps there was a reason for all of this, all the bad and all the good. Perhaps I was fighting against my own story. Perhaps I was fighting battles when I didn't even look up to see that there was a whole entire war going on and if I would just turn my entire life over to Jesus and let him fight for me, I would be assured 100% of the victory.
It has been a BIG battle in my heart to turn my marriage over to Jesus. To let Jesus work on my husband while I sit and do nothing? It wasn't until a few days ago that I had a BIG revelation about submission to husband, submission to Christ...
Its for our benefit.
God gives a chain of command that frankly when I think about it hard enough, is a big relief. It means that God loves me so much that he doesn't want me to fight all the battles myself. He loves me so much that he assures me that if I am in a joyful accordance with my husband, he will work all things for my good, EVEN IF MY HUSBAND MAKES BAD CHOICES. And he has been faithful to make all things work for my good and along the way he has changed my ugly, prideful, arrogant heart into a soft, beautifully weak spirit who is now in constant awe and submission because it always is to my benefit. I see that now. I see how when we cry our way up to the altars on Sunday mornings...when we simply say God I am so tired of this I can not seem to walk one more step, he begins to move.
It just takes that one moment of submission in our hearts to allow God to move.
So I am sitting here in awe of how long it actually took for my art to reach the point it has. I started this whole thing because God said to. I painted stuff and sold stuff and cried every time I sold something. I treated my people with as much integrity and patience and grace as I had in me and decided that I wanted nothing to do with anything in this world if my God wasn't in it. If he didn't want it, I don't care how much money there was in it, I didn't want it.
So I just sat back and did nothing. And I felt that some people thought I was crazy. The business people. What do you mean you aren't seeking out opportunities to do guest posts and why aren't you paying for ads and why aren't you begging for followers. I didn't feel it was my journey. God didn't tell me to do it. I watched as people built shops and got opportunities and I just stayed in faith that God had a plan and if he asked me to participate, I would. But he just told me to keep painting. Keep making pretty things...
so that's where I am at. On the verge of a dream come true, opportunities have presented themselves and I did nothing for it but remain in faith and be obedient in the small things. Treating people well, speaking truth and love, tithing and honoring God with my first fruits. Trusting him when I saw disaster coming. Making a pact with Jesus that I would get out of the boat. I would go wherever and do whatever he wanted and do it his way because lets be honest, I only want to do it his way. I want my testimony to reach the most people so the good news can be shared, the good news of Gods unfailing love and hope and healing and I wanted to make sure I would be in a position to make the most money so I could give the most money. Its just my heart. I want to make a lot so I can give a lot. that's the truth.
I want to encourage someone today to remain in faith. To remain in the storm. To smile at the storm raging over your head and to crack a smile at Satan when he tells you its gonna get real real bad... I want to encourage someone to ask God to speak Matthew 16 :25 into their hearts in a new way. I want to encourage someone to let every single plan they have for themselves go and go on a very wild whirlwind adventure with Jesus that will be so incredible, it will be remarkable. it will be so wild and crazy that you wont be able to help lift your hands in worship. It will be so crazy good that you will not be able to even understand it.
I'm so glad I don't have to write my own story, it could never be this good.