Tag Archives: Jesus

Forest Floor Mushrooms Watercolor Sketch

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I have a choice.

I can let worry hijack my thoughts or I can just say, no, to them. It’s an epiphany.

What I find helpful is to journal about the worry and or anxiety, let it all out. And by journaling, I mean hand writing…analog not digital. Why? Because the thought travels from your brain, through your nerve endings, down your spine, down your arm, and on to paper. You’re contemplating each stroke. You’re not letting a keyboard form the letters for you. There is something about this process that is healing.

Now, if I’m angry about the worry, I will hand write in ALL CAPS as if I’m shouting, using more pressure on the paper, darker letters. My formed words have expression to them. They are not just punched monotone letters. They have urgency and emotion.

Next, the most important part……
I give it up to God. And then I choose to say, no, to the next thought of worry. No! I do not allow it any more of my energy or space in my mind. For the Word says:

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal.
Is 26:3-4

There is no freedom in allowing worry to consume your mind. There is freedom in laying it at Christ’s feet and saying, no, to a returning thought.

Now, where do mushrooms fit in to the equation?

Sometimes being weighed down by worry can cause you to stop doing what you love. It’s such a heavy invisible weight that suddenly you can’t seem to muster the physical effort for the activities that you used to look forward to. Write your worries out, give them to God, then let them go, then do the things you love. Go for a walk. Be able to see those little mushrooms because your mind will be free to play and explore. Paint! See a friend!

You have a choice. Leave everything in His care.

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The Bridge – Watercolor

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62°F and very breezy. Somehow you don’t mind the wind when it’s mild, even if strong. I could sit here for hours.

After only a few minutes, to my surprise, a flock of ducks descend on the water. But these are no common mallards. What are they? They communicate with each other by “whisping”….whisp, whisp, whisp. It’s a cross between a whisper and a hiss. One performs some kind of walk-on-water dance. Was he impressing a female? I believe these are blue-winged teals. I watch them with great wonderment. They don’t feel my eyes prying, staring like a rude intruder.

l sit for an hour painting the bridge. I contemplate where it leads and why it was built. A smile comes across my face as I think about Easter and realize that Jesus became the bridge to unite us to God. By dying on the cross (also made of wood), he bridged the gap between sinful humans and God. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace. [Eph 1:7] And after paying for our sins, He rose from the dead because death could not hold him. [Acts 2:24]

This act of death on a cross came at a great, painful price. A great loving price. A free gift from the Father through the obedience of the Son. If we repent and accept Him as our Savior, He promises to forgive….no questions asked…no sin too big, nor too horrible to forgive. You will be made white as snow and He will remember your sins no more. [Is 1:18]

He wants to be in your daily life. He isn’t a God who sits on a fluffy white cloud waiting to strike you down. He is love and wants to communicate with you through prayer. He also promised to never leave you nor forsake you. That’s good news especially in our tumultuous times.

The Bridge

A stranger walks towards the water and the bridge. Not only do frogs on the fringe of the pond shriek and leap for their lives into the water, but my ducks become frightened too and swim out of sight. Chorus frogs steadily call in the background.

The seen and unseen mysteries of life are fascinating. It’s all attainable, doors will open if you knock.

Happy Easter,
Christine

Whatever is Lovely… Dwell on These Things – watercolor

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In light of recent abhorrent events in the United States, one can find themselves in a state of disbelief, sorrow, confusion, and have a slew of unanswered questions. The answer to the question why, may never come. Violence never solved a thing and it never will.

When current events get me down, I hear the words of Paul in my mind…

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.      Phil 4:8

Sitting in my backyard, I stare at potted flowers. I notice them waggle in the wind. Sunlight dapples in between leaves. The makeshift plant pedestal has evidence of tiny holes and I know my woodpecker friend was here. This beauty is simple but lovely. It is good and it is pure. It uplifts my spirits for a time, but it is not the answer. No, dwelling on lovely is not the answer.

Love is the answer.

Just this morning, I came upon these statements:

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.      1 John 4:10-12

It makes complete sense. Nobody has seen God, but when we love one another He is actually dwelling in us. And what better example of love than our Father who sacrificed His Son for us? Not to receive anything back, not to have fame, but out of total self sacrifice to pay for our sins and make a way for us, even while we still rejected Him. That’s love.

There is no room for hate and violence in this kind of love. Let’s serve one another in love, let God dwell in the midst of this love, for underneath skin we all have the same color blood.

Tangled Watercolor

Tangled Winter Trees

The cemetery guaranteed a quiet visit.

I parked on the side of the road and found myself under a tangled web of branches. One tree overlaps knotting and twisting, melting into the adjacent, interlaced in the air.

Icy twigs clank in the brisk gust. Is it the sound of chaos? No. Look on the horizon.
Hope.

I love to study trees in the cemetery. With the low volume of visitors, you can always position yourself or your car just right to examine whichever tree captures your interest.

On this day I found myself under an arch of twigs. One tree disappears into the other and cannot be differentiated. It reminds me of our complicated lives. Sometimes our problems do not reveal an end. And sometimes we cannot recall when the beginning even started. Or there are so many of them that you don’t even know where to begin. That is precisely the moment when you hand your disordered mess over. Think of gazing on gentle eyes when you read what Jesus calmly said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matt 19:26

So friends, go to Him who are weary and heavy laden. Cast your cares like you are throwing a rock onto a stilled, mirrored lake and watch the ripples race like vespers reaching heaven.

May you have a happy, safe, and worry free new year.

 

Melting Snow at Crabapple Lake Watercolor

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Crabapple Lake
Morton Arboretum
Lisle, IL

The midday sun did its best to melt the snow,
But only the hilltops relented, exposing green of grass.

Did remaining snow call in clouds for help?

Thaw on pause…
For now.

The day before Thanksgiving my workplace closed early, giving me the opportunity to steal some sketch time. I’m taking it. It’s rare. Sitting in the car looking at this gorgeous view, I had to capture this very moment before it is lost forever.

With the radio off and the precious silence of nature, I have to fight down worry creeping in the back of my mind. My home is host to out of town relatives and tomorrow is a big day with big duties, entertaining, and commotion. I have to literally quiet my mind to be able to paint. It’s a tug of war honestly and I wonder if that is why many people feel so uncomfortable with silence….it forces you to deal with the problems in your head. Silence demands attention.

Worry demands attention too. But what is worry?

This morning on the way to work, I was listening to an interview with Steve DeWitt (Pastor of several churches in Indiana) on anxiety. He said that when his child was a baby, she had a specific pattern when she was upset. First, she would flail her arms, hit her leg, then let out a big cry. He would always tend to her needs whether it be change her diapers, feed her, or the like….then he said something really interesting… He had this tremendous urge to somehow let her know that all of her needs are already met. He had cases of diapers in the basement, food ready and waiting, warmth, clothing, available.

Then he posed this question: Are we like this with God? Do we flail our arms and work ourselves up?

God has supplied all of our needs already. He sent His Son to take our punishment and make a way for us. Once we repent and accept this, we become heirs of God. If you can take a step back for a second and contemplate what this means, it will fill your heart with abundant joy in the midst of struggle. You have eternity with God.

This world is hard. There is chaos, killing, and evil, as we’ve seen in the news recently. Free will is allowed so there are such things,  but look what Jesus said:

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Not only has He overcome the world, but He wants to meet your needs right now. As a child of God, you can go to Him for your needs and not worry.

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”  Matt 6:26

What is worry? It’s a form of fear. Fear is:
False
Evidence
Appearing
Real
There are hundreds of verses in the bible lovingly telling us to “fear not”. So friends with that, hang in there, don’t give up. You are loved and will be taken care of. Fear not. Put your trust in Jesus, and you too can overcome. Reread this every time you need to remind yourself.