Last month, Sam and I went out to the Nordic trails at Eagle Point Provincial Park near Drayton Valley.
Once we arrived, we went our separate ways to spend the morning with God. I picked the trail that would take me toward the river.
When I go out to spend a day with God, I take my journal, a Bible, my camera and my compact plein air painting and sketching supplies. I look for “God sightings” as I hike. When I see an animal in its natural setting – it feels like a gift straight from God. Blooming flowers, even tiny ones, also bring me delight. As God brings my attention to these and other wonders of nature sometimes it triggers other things: metaphors, sometimes scripture, or just thoughts. It is a day to sit or walk and listen to what God might have for me.
Armored with bug spray and sunscreen I struck off down the wide path.
Not even five minutes later, I saw my first animal in the distance, a deer. Slowly, I lifted my camera to take a photo or two before it walked away. It was looking directly at me and moved its head to see me better. I had its attention as much as it had mine. Then the deer casually walked out of sight.
1As a deer longs for flowing streams,
so my soul longs for you, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and behold
the face of God? Psalm 42 (NRSV)
This scripture came to my mind as I paused, looking at where the deer had been. Psalm 42 is one of the scriptures for the upcoming “Art, Vocabulary of the Soul” retreat in June. “Restore my soul” is the theme of the retreat and that was what I was looking for in this day with God. It all seemed to work together in my mind and heart, as it often does when I’m listening for God, confirming to me his work in that listening.
Soon, I found a place to sit where I could see the river in the distance through the trees. I pulled out my journal, Bible, and paints and waited on the Lord.
I read Psalms 65 and 104. They both speak of creation and praising God. After reading, I just sat and listened to the sounds of creation around me. (It has taken me awhile to learn to “just be.”) As I sat there, I was filled with the awe and wonder of God. God was filling me up with himself. I was content and relaxed.
I found myself reflecting on how busy this spring has been for me with teaching and other things. Yet, I am not feeling exhausted and stressed in the busyness. By this time last year, I was feeling constantly behind unable to catch up.
What has been the difference?
I have taken more time to paint, which helps me connect to my feelings. I have taken more time with God, whether in my studio or in nature. I have also been able to be more present as I did things. I have “paced” myself by taking time to rest if I am working late.
I pulled out my paints and continued my time by painting, sketching and listening. Here are my sketches:
As Sam and I walked back, we shared about what each of us heard from God. Sam talked about what he called our inner experience and outer experience. He explained that what people long for, what we truly want in life has to do with our inner experience: contentment, happiness, peace, joy. Yet often we focus on improving our outer experience in order to achieve these.
Restoring our souls, is giving space for our souls to be in God’s presence, much like our day here had been. And out of that can come the contentment, joy and peace we long for.
For me, it was another “God sighting” that we had come to similar themes, each framed in our unique ways, and I was encouraged that God was preparing us both for the coming retreat.
How beautiful it is when God is at work and we get to be a part of it.
I like reading stories of redemption both real and fiction. I was reading one this morning. And as the lost soul in the story was brought back into the welcoming and loving arms of those who loved her, I was struck again of God’s overwhelming love for me. My heart did a happy dance as I read.
As Easter and as spring approach, I think about redemption, transformation, new life and resurrection. I see it echoing in the stories I read, in the buds swelling on the trees and plants beginning to push their way again to the surface.
I have been closely watching what looks like a dead poinsettia to see if the tiny leaves will indeed spring forth and the plant will come back to life.
A few years ago, I painted this painting of transformation. A pile of garbage with a plant growing out of it. I have found it interesting to hang it at the art walk, because it invites conversation. A lot of people have thought it was about the garbage in the ocean. It has made people feel sad or depressed, irritated or caused them to laugh.
As I painted it, I was thinking about myself and all the things I do not like about myself, the things I would consider my garbage. So, I put on the painting items that should have gone into my art room garbage or recycling bins. I was thinking about redemption and how God redeems these parts of me with his love. This was then represented by the plant growing out of the garbage.
But as I thought about and even shared it at one of my art and faith retreats, I realized I expected to be transformed; that redemption was about change and becoming new. What if redemption is not just the transformation?
No matter what I do I cannot see past the image of garbage. How can garbage look redeemed? But, what if it is a new perspective or looking beyond the surface?
What if I can learn to love those parts of myself that I see as garbage? God loves me, all of me. Can I learn to love all of me too and see myself with his eyes? Like the dead Poinsettia, if i am patient with it - and really look, I can see tiny leaves emerging from the stem. I am thankful that God is patient with me and is helping me see things better in my own self.
This new awareness is slowly bringing redemption to new parts of me. Failure – learning to trust God and others, as well as to accept my own limitations. Feeling lazy or unproductive – learning to rest and take care of myself is important work too.
As I look to all the signs of redemption in the world around me, it reminds me mostly that God is redeeming all of me too. He loves me! And that makes me want to dance and sing.
In what ways do you see God’s redemptive work in your life?
It is exciting to try something new. In February, I had the privilege of teaching a group of 23 junior high students how to paint stars and planets in acrylics.
Having never painted star systems, I looked for pictures on the interenet we could use for inspiration. I was amazed at all the beauty captured these days by the powerful telecopes. I was in awe.
I took some time to paint two acrylic paintings on the day before the class as samples for the teaching. It was good to figure out what could be done in a two hour class.
It was fun for me, better still, the youth enjoyed it too. Each student was given 5 colors: Purple, red, blue, yellow and white. We started by painting a sphere which would be the planet.
Then we used Purple red and blue with a touch of yellow to paint a dark atmosphere around their planet. From there they were given free reign to add to it – stars, more planets, a galaxy or rings like Saturn, one student turned his planet into a fireball comet. See the student samples below.
I loved watching the creativity come out.
As I sat in my contemplative space in my art room the next morning, and thought about the paintings, this scripture came to mind:
1 The heavens are telling the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words;
their voice is not heard;
4 yet their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world. (Psalm 19:1-4)
Usually when I think of this passage, I think of the sky we can see everyday: the amazing clouds and sunsets, stormy skies. But as I looked at the paintings on my easel, I thought about how much bigger the heavens are. We cannot see it without the aid of a powerful telescope. It is huge and glorious. The beauty, the detail, the way it all can work together, all speak loudly of a creator. Someone who could orchestrate all of that together so it keeps on going as the planets revolve around the sun and the stars do their dance across the universe.
Here is the enormous truth - we are just a tiny little part of an entire universe – and yet God loves us intimately. He loves us and desires a relationship with us. He wants us to trust him.
Well, if he can create and run the universe – why is it so hard to let go, trust him and accept his love?
How are you doing with letting go and trusting in God? In accepting his love for you?
Have you ever noticed that there are more people out and about from November through December? This is the season of waiting: waiting in traffic, waiting in lines, waiting for the holidays, waiting for family, waiting with anticipation. When we read the Christmas story we are reminded of other ways of waiting: Mary waiting for the birth of Jesus, Israel waiting for freedom from the romans, Israel waiting for the promise of the Messiah, Elizabeth waiting for a child of her own, God waiting for us to turn to him. I wrote more about waiting in the blog I wrote about the painting, Waiting for the Promise, shown here.
In church last Sunday, we were asked to write down on a ribbon what we were waiting for. The ribbons were knotted to twine and will be added to the Christmas tree at the front of the church. They are prayers to God.
What are you waiting for? Hope, friendship, healing, forgiveness, work, paycheck, family, time, retirement, vacation, all the above???
For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I will not be shaken. Psalm 62:5-6
May the hope of Christ fill you this holiday season for whatever you are waiting for!
I was thinking about beauty today as I sat in the dark with my breakfast and watched the sky come slowly alive with color. It was a lovely, soft colored sunrise. As the colors bloomed in the clouds, I felt a bloom of joy and wonder and contentment inside of me. I found myself smiling and singing a praise song.
If I had missed seeing it, it still would have bloomed, but I would have missed the blooming in my soul in response.
Birds and flowers have been on my mind recently with the show I have up now at the Glenrose. Birds and flowers are places of beauty for me and they remind me to enjoy the moment and to let go and trust God with my worries.
26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?[k] 28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Matt 6:26-30
My response to this has been writing words to a new song. It isn't finished yet, but I like these lines here for finding beuaty in the moment:
There is wonder, there is beauty
If I would stop to see, what’s right in front of me.
There is wonder, there is beauty,
All around me, as far as I can see
Beauty is fleeting like a sunrise or a sunset, a well decorated cake, a scrumptious dinner that engages your taste buds in a heavenly way, a flower growing in a rock, the shadows of a tree dancing on a wall, a child’s smile of pure delight, a new song.
If I am too busy, or too focused on tasks, I can easily miss the beauty around me. In order to see it, I need to pause, and even look for it.
Beauty can nourish your soul.
When we allow beauty in, when we take a moment to absorb it in through all of our senses, it can bring a sense of joy and peace. What brings you joy? What do you see, hear, taste, feel or smell as beautiful?
I challenge you to notice five beautiful things today. Don’t just notice them, take a minute to soak it in and be aware of your response.
Write down your responses and read them at the end of the day. Then sit with that a minute. What did you find beautiful today? How did it nourish your soul?
Artist: Julie Drew
October 25, 2018 - Jan 2, 2019
Reception: Nov 20, 2018
2 - 6pm
Location: Blue Curve Gallery
Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital
10230 111 Ave NW, Edmonton AB
I love flowers and birds there is something that is so joyful of the beauty of flowers and the singing, the soaring and the delight I find in watching birds. When I walk in the great outdoors, it is like a treasure hunt to see what I can find. I am thrilled when I find something that really catches my eye and my heart. I take a photo reference or sketch it right away.
Flowers come in so many shapes and colors. I seek to capture the details and essence of the flowers. Birds have a character all their own. I particularly like the ones I do not see every day, like the egret, eagle and osprey. These birds and flowers speak to me of God’s beautiful creation.
Whew! It has been a full fall with opportunities to teach, play on the worship team, assist in an Enneagram retreat and show my art. The solo art show, Birds and Flowers, at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital went up last Thursday. The watercolor painting of the Egret Landing is one of the 19 paintings on display at the show. I was also invited to be part of the the Art of the Unknown show last weekend, with a week’s notice. It has been good, but I am incredibly drained!
I went into the fall knowing that my weekends were mostly full. I had this idea that I could take a day of rest and paint during the week. Painting can help me process things, but that didn’t happen most weeks. The busier I got, the more I kept pushing that time of rest to the side. By denying myself those moments of peace, I lost touch with my inner self, I became disconnected from my feelings and everything became chores to accomplish, even painting. Then, some things started to fall to the wayside, I became less organized, I started to lose things, while the pile of tasks grew until it was like slogging through a mire to get to it all.
Does this ever happen to you? What do you distract yourself with?
The story doesn’t stop there. I lasted a lot longer because I slowed down the pace at which I worked, I took breaks and I kept up with some exercises, but really, it wasn’t enough. At noon on Saturday as I was sitting and painting at the Art from the Unknown show, I started getting the aura of a migraine. I had pushed myself too hard and my body was enforcing the rest I was not taking on my own. There is a reason God calls us to take a Sabbath rest. He knows we cannot keep going, but we tend to try anyway.
“‘There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a sabbath to the LORD.’” Leviticus 23:3
When I take that sabbath rest, I am saying, “Lord, I trust you with my work. It is not all about me and what I can accomplish. I trust that what gets done is enough for today.” When I don’t take it, I am essentially saying that it is up to me, and I am not trusting God with my life.
It isn’t just the Sunday or Sabbath day, it is a mindset or an attitude. Am I able to let things go at the end of each day? Can I trust God or am I relying on me?
It is just over a week until our next art and faith retreat: Art Vocabulary for the Soul coming up on Nov 9-12. Where we will be reflecting and responding through art, to scriptures like the Leviticus verse above. Our theme is ‘God Our Provider.’ God is constantly proving that to live in his word we still have much to learn.
We have an extra day on this retreat, due to the long weekend. With that extra day, I look forward to resting, as well as creating with the others who are coming.
We will be the very first group to use the brand-new Accommodation building at Covenant Bay Bible Camp. There are three more spots – Do you need a moment to rest and time to connect with God through scripture and art, too? We will have writers, painters, photographers and those who will be new to expressing themselves in art. We would love to have you join us, too.
I like Summer. It's a time to rest from the busyness of the year, a time to take a break, hike, travel, try something new, and meet a new friend.
This summer I took a break and traveled down to the San Francisco Peninsula, where I explored the natural scenery, and had time to paint, rest and visit with some family. A lot of my time was my own as my husband, Sam, was busy taking courses on Enneagram training. The weather was beautiful. We were fortunate that all the smoke from the forest fires stayed north of us, but we certainly got our fill of it coming home.
My cousin Nate and his wife, Karen, generously opened their home to us for a part of our stay. They have landscaped a beautiful garden with paths and raised garden beds. I found one flowering bush, a Red Tiger Abutilon, particularly enchanting. And one day as I sat in the garden painting the Tiger's blooms, I heard him. He made a clicking noise, and I looked around to see a humming bird flitting from flower to flower on the other side of the Tiger. He was curious, too. He even came and looked me over, fluttering just three feet away! My camera was right next to me, but he wasn't ready for that yet, and zipped away as I reached for it.
I decided to go a little slower, to get to know him first. I learned his song, and when I started to hear it I reached for my camera even as I looked for him among the trees and flowers in their garden. He wasn't as shy this time, and even posed for me, letting me catch him sitting on a branch.
The next day I came again to his garden, taking time to just be still. I sat and I read, enjoying the beauty of the garden. And I waited. I waited for him to come to me. Forty-five minutes had passed when I heard his song. He came, dancing, darting, pausing in mid-air like a breath, flitting from flower to flower in the golden sunlight of the morning. And then he was off again, and it was my turn to breathe and wonder. So beautiful.
For me, the beauty and wonder of God's creation is part of his love song to us. In big and small ways nature speaks of God's great glory and love, and I particularly enjoy first hand experiences like these.
And I also love it when I can capture nature's beauty on film so I use them later when I create with God in my paintings. I was dancing inside as I experienced each of the beautiful animals and places on our trip. Each one felt like a gift.
I saw elephant seals, California seals, egrets, hummingbirds, pelicans, deer and fawns, tide pools, the ocean, redwoods and lots of people. I took thousands of pictures, sketched and painted 'plein air".
Here are some of the paintings I started… or sketched...
I look forward to sharing some of these new paintings when they are finished. Some of them are a perfect fit for the new show I will be installing at the Glenrose in late October: Flowers and Birds. Mark your calendars for Wed October 31 for a reception 2-6pm.
Thank you for coming out to see me!!
There weree 450 artists showcasing their artwork and demonstrating their skills.
When: July 6 - 8, 2018
Time: 10 am – 5 pm daily
Where: The event is a grand promenade along Whyte Avenue (82 Avenue) from 101 Street to 108 Street. Artists will fill all the green spaces and several street closures, too. It's a long tour, so bring your walking shoes!
My Location: I have a new tent this year, a white one. I will be on 105 St, north of Whyte Ave again. As it is set up by our arrival, I won't know my exact place each day until I get there. I will post it on facebook.
I finished some new paintings which will be on display. I look forward to sharing them with you!
At our last art and faith retreat in June, the theme was Flourishing in the Unexpected. This flourishing is about staying present to the moment even when our instincts tell us to disengage, run in fear, tense up, or take control.
Take a breath, pause, and distance ourselves from the reaction we are feeling. Then letting it go to trust in God and walk through the situation with Him. This is abandonment to God as Madame Guyon talks about it.
Abandonment - it is not about doing so much as being still and receiving. The Interior is not a stronghold to be taken by storm and violence, but a kingdom of peace, which is to be gained only by love. ( p. 36, A Short Method of Prayer, Madame Guyon)
I have felt overwhelmed at times over the last few months. One day, after I had finished talking to two different clients and still needed to write up the quotes, I came out to the kitchen for lunch and my daughter was there. As we talked, I became aware of how tense my shoulders were. The conversations had not been tense or difficult in any way, but I had so many other tasks and appointments ahead that I was just feeling overwhelmed. My daughter started rubbing my shoulders and told me to just breathe. (which is what we have been encouraging her to do as she has dealt with her own issues)
As I breathed and allowed my body to relax, the tension eased. My perspective shifted. All the items on my to do list didn’t magically disappear. But as I distanced myself from my reaction by breathing, I could see that my fear of failure and worry about what others think of me had coloured my view, again. As I let it go, I could again trust God to walk with me through it, trusting that what needs to get done today, would get done.
The Enneagram has been helpful for me as I come to understand myself in these situations. The fears I have, the things that trigger my ego to panic/ survival mode, are not going to go away. I have been working on these patterns for 53 years. But as I breathe and separate myself from the reaction, I can sometimes let my ego go and trust God instead of myself.
Flourishing in the unexpected is not about great success or everything going great. Instead it is a willingness to trust God, let go of our hold/desire for control of the situation, just breathe and relax. It is learning to trust God with the process of our lives, walking forward on the journey into pain and suffering, joy and sorrow, fear and disappointment and hope.
Ways I Work on Listening
Would you like to experience one of our retreats?
Was it just me, or did it seem like winter didn't want to let go this year?
Winter letting go is like the old passing away so the new can come. Think about the scripture that talks about old ways letting go so the new way can come:
But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code. Romans 7:6
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Is 43:19
‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ Rev 21:4
Every year I look forward in anticipation to spring - The hope, the new life. Buds bursting forth. The creeks and river flowing with the snow melt. Even how it feels like people are coming out of the hibernation (we hole up in our homes in the cold weather for 5+ months). The parks are filling up with activities of baseball and soccer, families at the playground, people are out walking and biking. We can actually see and greet our neighbors now that we aren't just dashing from house to car. We linger and enjoy the warmth of the sun.
As I move into spring and new life, what old things must pass away? What baggage or regrets, pain or loss can be set aside, or let go of, OR to think of it another way… What new life is coming in with the spring?
Ways I am engaging in the spring:
Take some time to sit in the sunshine and soak in the spring, notice the buds bursting, the new life flowing. Let it renew you, too.
In what ways are you engaging in new life this spring?
Saturday, October 27 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
$100 Fee includes all supplies!
In this class you will have the opportunity to make a variety of papers from natural and recycled fibres. We will begin by making 6 to 8 different paper pulps such as cattail, thistle, poplar fluff, blue jeans and more, out of seeds, cotton fabric, and recycled acid-free paper. You will then create papers from each of the pulp vats, using the templates provided. You will take home 10 to 15+ unique pieces of paper. All the pressed leaves, paper and natural fibers are provided. If you want, you can bring some of your own inclusions like pressed leaves or flowers to add to your pulp.
You may wish to bring suitable art clothes, notebook, snack & drink.
Images below are from the Papermaking Workshop on Nov 12, 2016.
I love wildflowers – maybe because no one planted them and they are just there to be. I am thrilled to come across fields of them when hiking. I look for them on the forest floors. Some are so tiny, they are easy to miss. They are not usually in cultivated gardens. That would, after all, go against the definition of a wildflower:
a flower of an uncultivated variety or a flower growing freely without human intervention.
Do you know how you are supposed to plant a packet of wildflower seeds – randomly toss the seeds over a designated space of soil and lightly cover with top soil.
Since I planted them – does that make them cultivated and not wild? Is it intervention when I move them back to the part of the garden where I want them to stay?
Wildflowers can be beautiful weeds when they pop up where you don't want them. They are hardy plants that flourish in difficult places. They do not require great care. They are tenacious, they travel and do not stay in one nice uniform place in my garden.
I finished this painting of wildflowers, Bloom Where You Are Planted, (10 x 7 in, watercolor) during the Deep Freeze festival this month. The process of this painting reflects on the subject matter.
Part one - arbitrary, haphazard. (Wildflowers show up wherever there is a bit of dirt – not planted or planned.)
During a watercolor class I was teaching, I started this piece as a demonstration for pouring watercolor. I had a vague plan… I arbitrarily masked out bits of possible flowers and a butterfly. This would save the white of the paper for later. While I waited for it to dry, I prepared three small containers of watery watercolor: green, blue and pink.
I wet down the paper, poured on the paint, threw on some table salt and placed some rock salt at random intervals. Using a bit of hard plastic, I quickly made random strokes for grass lines. I let it dry.
I wanted stronger colors, so I masked out some places I wanted to keep from the first pouring. I prepared three more cups of watery watercolor and poured it on. Salted again and waited for the result.
After it was completely dry, I took off the masking fluid and salt.
Part two – Turning dabs into flowers wherever they show up. (Wildflowers bloom wherever they are. I have found chamomile growing in cracks in the sidewalk.)
This is the stage that I brought to the Deep Freeze festival to work on. Once the masking fluid and salt were removed, I could see the different parts that were saved. Now came the point of turning the random bits of white into the flowers and a butterfly. I looked through some photo refences of wildflowers to get possible ideas for both the flowers and the butterfly. The flowers are asters, daisies, black eyed susans and additional flowers from the ideas of others. The butterfly is a combination of several butterflies.
It is fun to see where it can go. This is a good challenge for me to not have everything figured out ahead of time, as I often try to control too much. It allows me to trust the process, letting the flowers bloom where they fell on the page.
Like the hardy wildflowers that bloom wherever their seeds fall, we too can bloom where we are ‘planted.’ We do not have to always be in control – really. I was thinking of this as I was reading in Jeremiah chapter 29. Jeremiah tells the people in exile to build houses have families… go about life. Don’t live as if your current situation is temporary. Don’t wait to be present until some ‘tomorrow’ comes. They are going to be there for awhile (70 years). He is calling them to bloom where they have been (trans)planted. They need the hardiness of wildflowers to bloom in unfamiliar territory. And through Jeremiah, God promises that he has plans for them.
Bloom. Be. Do what you do. Shine. Make the world a beautiful place.
Wildflowers do that. Can I?
As we forge ahead into 2018, are you prepared for the adventure?
It is the time of year, when I think of goals and plans. Yet, I know, even though we may make many plans, life has a way of taking us on unexpected turns.
This last year, I studied abiding in Jesus and being present. So, as I begin this year, I wonder if there is a way to be present and think of goals and dreams without losing focus and heart when “life takes an unexpected turn?”
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8)
Can I be like the tree and withstand the “unexpected” droughts and storms? And not just survive, but flourish and bear fruit? How deeply am I rooted?
Growing my “Roots”
I take time with God each morning.
I listen as I read scripture and journal.
In listening, I let go.
I am still in order to open my heart and hear.
Sometimes I receive amazing ideas that make me think and dig deeper.
Sometimes I see images.
Sometimes I cry.
Sometimes it feels dry and void.
At times, I am inspired to paint or write.
I am trusting God in the process and waiting on him.
As I spend time in His word, I am sinking my roots down.
Since early November, I have been working through the first 17 chapters of the book of Jeremiah. The tidbits I have been gleaning are beginning to coalesce. This morning, I had a glimpse of where it may be taking me. Finally, I am getting somewhere tangible! Exciting!
I can make goals, but they often feel arbitrary, intangible and hard to pursue until I feel this connection to where God is leading me.
The more I trust God and let go and wait for the process, the more the roots can grow and find nourishment in God, the Living Water.
I have hopes to finish another book this year, to paint flowers and birds for a solo show in October, write another song for the June retreat. Read more. Journal more. Paint more. Spend time with family and friends.
But most of all, I want to walk where God is leading me. I want to be like the tree that is planted by the water that deeply sends out its roots so that it can flourish in the unexpected turns that life brings.
I look forward to the adventure of what 2018 may bring …
And sharing it with you.
I spend a lot of my quiet time with God, reading the prophets. In them, I hear God’s heartfelt cry for his people to “turn to him and live!” He speaks of what he does for his people and would do much, much more if only they would seek him, seek his face.
Isaiah 45:21b-23New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
There is no other god besides me,
a righteous God and a Savior;
there is no one besides me.
22 Turn to me and be saved,
all the ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.
Jeremiah 24:6-8New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
6 I will set my eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up, and not tear them down; I will plant them, and not pluck them up. 7 I will give them a heart to know that I am the LORD; and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.
Jeremiah 31:33-34New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the LORD,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.
Isaiah 7:14New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman[b] is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.
Matthew 1:22-24New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
22 All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
23 “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,and they shall name him Emmanuel,”
which means, “God is with us.” 24 When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife,
This time of year we can see how much he loves us, when he made a way to come down and be with us through his son, Jesus. This baby would grow up among us and show us the way to walk with God. He is Immanuel, God with us.
I love the phrase in Jeremiah “They shall be my people, and I will be their God.” Immanuel. I belong to him. We belong to him. He cares. He loves. He is with us.
May you experience the joy of God's love and Immanuel this holiday season.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!