Throw off the grave clothes
Walk in the light
Trust His words of abundant life
New adventure, perils and joys
Holding my breath
Then breathing for joy
Each moment a choice
What will I see?
Divinity or circumstance
Will determine what holds me
This is the first image I painted in what I call my God paintings. It is inspired by the brokenness I felt regarding my sin and the state of my close relationships. The vessels represent people close to me and the state of our lives and hearts. We each are marred and broken but we all believe in the redemptive work of the cross that Jesus did. The pouring blood into the vessels and the pouring of clear water out represents the cleaning and healing that is needed and received. The slate ground represents the hard-crushing environment of sin in our lives. Slowly some of the clear water falls to the ground.
This picture is the first of a dyptic that as of yet I haven't finish maybe another metaphor for the unfinished work in our lives. But someday I hope to feel led to complete this by showing what the clear water that falls to the ground will produce.
This painting was inspired by an exhibit I was in called "Glory of the Moment". As I thought of all the different glorious moments that happen each day whether I notice them or not, I realize as I still myself and position my heart to paint with the Lord it is my offering. In the offering I sense His presence as I look at His creation as I take my own hand at creating. It seems glorious. It is an offering of what He has given me to give back to Him. To push aside all the distractions of the day and just paint. It can be a time of worship and offering a precious moment.
I have been in Ephesians on and off for over 2 years... there is so much to take in...
What the Lord has done and made available to all, (who chooses Him as his Lord and
Savior). Redemption, forgiveness, grace, Spirit of wisdom, revelation in the
knowledge of His being.
Dead in trespasses and sins we all have been until He rescued us. Not because of
our goodness or works but because of His good pleasure. He is rich in mercy and
His being is love. Christ has broken many walls. He is the master at tearing down
strongholds, uniting those of different backgrounds, thoughts and life styles.
His kingdom is one of diversity, love, forgiveness, hope, joy and fellowship.
"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in
heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may
grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith - that you, being rooted and
grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the
breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses
knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:14-19
Only through Jesus and the Holy Spirit is this possible... Be rooted in love.
These images were inspired by Isaiah 43:18 -21. " Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it. I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The beast of the field will honor Me, the jackals and the ostriches, Because I give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. To give drink to My people, My chosen. This people I have formed for Myself; They shall declare My praises."
I was in a time of wilderness, those dry, wandering and wondering times when your faith is being tested or tried. You don't know where or what to do next. Things seem hard and prickly like the cactus. Yes, there might be a few buds in your life but you seem very lonely and doubt from the waiting creeps in. This is a time for me to trust not in what I know and see but to trust the Lord is doing, and will continue to work in my life for His good purpose. The scripture " Be still and know that I am God", is one truth I hold unto during this time. Slowly in the waiting new thoughts, old hang ups are starting to emerge. They are still unclear but hopeful. Eventually in the trusting in God's love, goodness and faithfulness a greater understanding, love and wisdom comes from this time. And miraculously I am no longer in the parched desert but the new thing God was doing comes to life and all I can do is praise Him.
Painting for me is my worship with my Father. He talks to me, heals me, reveals thought and emotions that are deep in my spirit. He plants things in my heart and cultivates those seeds. He births new ideas cleanse me of my old thoughts and even though He can’t be seen and He is far greater than my imagination can ever comprehend He lives in me. He uses painting and His word to minister to me then asks me to share it. Jesus wants all His creation to be partakes in His glory. He will not force Himself into your heart. He extends opens hands, and longs to plant His love in your heart. He is kind, compassionate, gentle and merciful. If you allow Him in, the things that you hold dear will change, the weeds in your life will be torn away. Distraction that you thought were of value will fade in His presence and your heart that has been torn by the thorns will start to mend. He is the divine gardener.
I would like to share how this painting came to be. I had been pondering and asking God what was going to be our next painting together. The scripture Palms 40:11, “He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings”, kept coming to mind. Instead of my feet though was the image of a vine/myself being placed upon a rock. Christ represents the rock. The mud and miry clay represented sin, pride, anger, unforgiveness, fear, things that weigh us down and cover us so we can’t receive the sun / Son that is needed to thrive.
As I painted mire, mud and rocks, things weren’t coming together. Rocks and mire don’t make for an uplifting picture. This is how my painting with the Lord goes. I catch an idea or glimpse and paint then I need to pray and pondered some more. He speaks to me as I paint. Lynda, look how lifeless and barren it looks. Hopeless, smothering and heavy but I am the God of life and hope. I have formed life out of nothing. Tears weld in my eyes as now I think of His beautiful creation. How His goodness sprouts forth everywhere, even after disasters eventually life comes forth. After Hurricane Andrew Miami was a mess but now it looks like it never happened. Trees and plants, the human spirit that God gave us to continue to rebuild is all His goodness.
As I paint and pray I also go to the computer and google images and start searching for inspiration. Viewing different images strikes my imagination and communication with the Lord. Lord is this what You are trying to show me? Since I am an artist I am a visual learner. I came across the cross and the little bit I knew of tending a vineyard, is that the vines need to be held up or tied up. Jesus spoke again to me and how I need Him to hold me up. His work on the cross is what holds me up. Knowing that Jesus died willingly because He loved and trusted the Father, reminds me to be willing and trusting of the Father. That God will allow me to be crucified in areas of my life but that there is a resurrection to something new and others will be set free too. His ways will crucify my flesh and strengthen my faith. God is always with us and we will not do this walk alone. I constantly need to allow God to do His work in my life; it will require me to willingly follow God. Without resting on His work, I will fall again to the old sinful habits. So, I painted over the rocks and most of the mud and mire with a vine and the cross.
I needed a back ground next. I wanted to convey the grander of God plus detail of His creation. At first instead of the sky like you see it, I painted a convex perspective of the side of the world showing some of the continents. I wasn’t so sure this was how the painting was to go but I chose to start painting the sky. Even in this I heard God speak to me. It is OK to be unsure Lynda I am here with you. Sometimes it is just nice to create and explore. Just enjoy the process with Me. How comforting those words are to my heart. It is OK to just create, for me this is like another bar is being lifted from my soul or like taking a step on what I think is shaky ground and finding that it was only my own fears and doubts it wasn’t the truth. The truth was setting me free. What areas of your life do you just need to do something even though you are not 100% sure this it. God knows as branches we need time to grow before any fruit can be born. Growing long trailing branches seems like faith. But we have a master vine-dresser who knows how to tend to us. It might seem to us that nothing is happening but God says, many are the plans in a man’s heart but I will direct His steps.
Next, I started on the sky but it wasn’t conveying the hope I wanted to show plus the side of the world had too much detail and it was taking away from the vine and the cross. Again, I pondered and prayed. Our God is the God of hope. For me the hope of God’s glory is revealed in surprising acts or displays. Like an amazing sunrise or sunset or a baby’s smile. They are simple and yet glorious. Too many details crowd out my awareness of God’s glory and keep my focus nearsighted and I then tend to worry about the details of life instead of worshiping God. So again, I went back to Google images for inspiration. I decided to paint the lush green ground and then I found an image of the sky that conveyed my heart. Is the sky setting or rising? That is left up to the person viewing this painting. I like others to have the freedom to imagine.
Next, I started to look for lush grape vine pictures. As I painted the leaves I thought of the rich things in my life, children, family, and sisters in Christ, health, walking with others and seeing how God works in their lives, nature, and God’s word. As I painted the grapes I marveled at the rich color God made them, how their delicious flavor pop in your mouth when you eat them. I thought how God didn’t have to make anything taste good or give it color but He does. He is an amazing God that shows His goodness and glory in all things. During this painting time, I experienced the joy of the Lord. I hadn’t fallen to the mud but I had looked and waited for His touch with no expectation and He had blessed me so with our time together. With fruit! Beautiful grapes!
As I returned to paint, I notice all the elements were on the bottom of the canvas - the sun, the cross, the vine and leaves and grapes, the top of the canvas was in need of something. It had just too much blue sky. As I pondered and prayed I went back thinking about my earlier attempt to show the vastness of God by painting the convex shape of the earth and the continents. So wanting to still convey God’s vastness, I recalled the pictures that the musician Chris Tomlin used in His concert I had attended. They were amazing. As he sang he had large images of the different galaxies flashing up on the screen behind him. Wow! I again went to google images and found one. I liked the contrast of the bright red colors against the blue sky and for me it gave me the sense of the depth I was looking for.
The red sky also made me think of the blood of Jesus and the spiritual warfare that goes on. Just because I can’t see the heavens with my human eyes here on earth doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Neither does it mean there is not a spiritual battle going on because I can’t see it. I need special powered equipment to see the galaxies and I need God’s Holy Spirit power to perceive, discern or trust God. I need to realize there is another force that exist other than my flesh, one that causes me to doubt and fear God’s ability and His goodness. One that wants me to handle and look at things according to my own understanding; in 1 Peter 5:8, it says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”
The last element of
the painting is the hands and pruning shears. By now I am sure you all recognized
that they represent God’s involvement in the vine. I painted the grapes in His
hands because I wanted to show that is what God desires - to produce fruit. He
is the harvester and knows when to harvest the vine. I painted them in
the atmosphere because of what Isaiah 55:9 says,
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” His fruit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, gentleness and self-control. These are fruits that really hold the heaven and earth together.
I was so excited when I finished it and as I sat back to admired it, I again examined the painting to see if I wanted to change anything else. Then I heard God say, “See the grapes in my hand I have a plan for them I will release their juices somewhere else and it will bring me glory and those who taste will see and know that I am good. I have the same plan for the grapes still on the vine Lynda.” Tears welded in my eyes because it spoke to my heart, of my best friend. She had recently moved to Chicago where God was calling her. Her time was done here. God had plucked her off the branch and was squeezing His fruit in Chicago. I know she will glorify God there because I know she loves the Lord. I have watched God train her, prune her and grow her. It was a bittersweet moment; my flesh will miss her close presence but I am thankful and joyful for the seasons we have shared together. Our lives are not our own they are God’s.
"Journey of the Heart"
God has given me the scripture in Isaiah 43: 18-19, "Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold I will do a new thing."
What were the former things or the things of old... Led me to remember how lost and angry I was before I came to Christ. Those years of loss, confusion, frustration, striving to find freedom and peace but only to find confusion and bondage. Why, why it's not fair, life sucks, if only that only led to more of the same questions. Like a dog chasing it's tail. The state of my heart pondering was the inspiration of this painting. It was part of my journey. It was necessary to paint, the artist desired to put these things on canvas.
Painting from my imagination, no my feelings and thoughts, those dark places, hidden places, shameful places, hardhearted places. Painting these things in my heart before Christ, it was an act of confession that seemed to be needed. God's word tells us if we confess our sins He will forgive us.
Ok now I am forgiven I can get onto telling others of You Lord and painting these things could help those who are there now, lost questioning, seeking answers and needing deliverance. Maybe they will relate to these images and in so doing would maybe see Your loving healing hands that have formed them and who desire their life of suffering without purpose to stop.
But this painting in not only for the lost but those who claim victory in God now, a reminder to where we have come from. What the Lord has done in our hearts. Also to examine ourselves like God tells us to, " To see if there is any unrighteousness in our hearts."
Our heart can hold many different feelings, it can burn with desire, seethe with anger, turn as cold as stone, be hidden from itself, it hopes, forgives and loves. We all experience these feelings. We are all created to feel, those feelings are placed in our hearts to give dept, connection with others but most of all those feeling are meant to worship God. Yet feelings can lead our heart astray, they can birth things that were not intended by our Creator; anger that leads to murder, desire that leads to greed and stealing and indifference that leads to self centerness. These feeling leads our hearts to shame and deceit. God didn't create us for this. These are not God's fruit but the fruit of Satan.
God hasn't left us in enemy's hands. He has reached down and given us redemption through Jesus, in John 3: 5-6, it says, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit birth to spirit."
Allowing our hearts to accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord breaks the bonds that holds us; we need only to walk into His arms. The cross is the reminder of what Christ had to do to restore us and what we need to follow to become transformed. As you carry your cross and allow Jesus to be Lord eventually the angry heart will be transformed into a heart of praise. The hidden heart of shame and guilt will be transformed into a heart of openness and joy. The burning desires will be transformed into freedom and self control. The harden heart will be transformed into compassion and empathy. You will experience freedom way above your understanding now, your feelings of peace, joy, kindness, gentleness, love will expand. You will begin to find your center, essence God the Father living and communing within you. That new thing the Lord longs to do in you will begin.
I painted the first image of the girl holding the heart this represented the choice God always gives to follow Him. As I thought about pressing through the lies and fears I heard God reassuring me of His love through His Word, His blood and His Spirit. "Just receive me Lynda" . I only needed to keep receiving His love. His love would give me truth and courage.
The next image of the hand and scary face, represented the lies that were slowly fading about my need for performance. As I hold unto the truth and follow it hope, joy and courage over take the lies and fears. The bracelet and ring I painted reminded me that I am already royalty.
The last image of the different landscapes, a women worshiping and large hands holding her and the butterfly represent that the whole world was created for us all to explore, rejoice and worship God. He loves to continually, show us new things and rejoices with us. Exploring is endless with the Lord.
It took two years to complete these images. As I pondered the colors and applied brush strokes, I heard lovely whispers of assurance from the Lord. He was teaching me about embracing process and all that comes with it. He is in charge of the destination all I have to do is follow. I experienced many cleansing tears and silly laughter as He took me step by step healing, expanding and loving me. Little did I know that my first brush stroke of faith would later lead to putting my journey together to share with others in a 6 weeks Bible study. I used these paintings, shared my journey, God's word and other visual reminders. It was amazing to watch others find healing and freedom as God used our experience to minister to them. I encourage anyone reading this to let the Lord love you. Trust Him with your desires. He has placed them there and He will finish the good work He has started in you. You only have keep following no matter how fearful or inadequate you feel. He will not abandon you.
This is a 7" x 7" Booklet where I've share some of my art journal images and thoughts. I have left blank pages for you to do the same. This is a booklet to encourage you on your journey of creativity and freedom.
To purchase a hard copy, soft copy or PDF file go to www.blurb.com/b/5734598-dwelling-in-freedom.