I have been seriously nauseous, post chemo #4, to the point of taking 2 meds in the morning, and 2 meds before trying to eat any dinner. Sometimes, I just lie as still as possible and play quiet music, hoping I’ll fall asleep, and wake to perfect health. (OK, I’m hopelessly optimistic!) I’ve slogged through 10 days of this nausea since leaving the chemo infusion chair. However, TODAY, it was all miraculously, gone! (Katie said she prayed.)
So, I’m an artist, and that means, time to paint! I put on James Taylor Christmas, danced, sang and painted. My heart is full.
I love my Daniel Smith watercolors. The colors sing right along with James Taylor!
I worked layers of various reds, then threw some red around in the background.
Here is the painting, just about completed. I added a few more layers here and there, then found a frame I had here at home. I put my happy painting right in it! I was actually so happy, I started crying. It’s so huge not to feel sick for a few hours. What a blessing!
I set the painting by my grandsons’ tree, and marveled at the moments, the minutes and even hours I had where I took a journey out of the land of the sick, and danced in the land of the healthy. No, my cancer isn’t gone, but I didn’t feel cancerous today! It was glorious! (And this poinsettia is maintenance-free!)
I am still waiting for healing…..this advent, I am waiting for Jesus in many ways. Blessings to each of you today!
“My soul lifts up the Lord!
My spirit celebrates God, my Liberator!
For though I’m God’s humble servant,
God has noticed me.
Now and forever,
I will be considered blessed by all generations.
For the Mighty One has done great things for me;
holy is God’s name!
From generation to generation,
God’s lovingkindness endures
for those who revere Him.”
Mary bursts forth with praise and worship for God; she reviews His power, character, mercy and compassion, and that He is her liberator or savior! I begin adding layers of vivid color as I consider Mary’s song of adoration.
“God’s arm has accomplished mighty deeds.
The proud in mind and heart,
God has sent away in disarray.
The rulers from their high positions of power,
God has brought down low.
And those who were humble and lowly,
God has elevated with dignity.
The hungry—God has filled with fine food.
The rich—God has dismissed with nothing in their hands.
To Israel, God’s servant,
God has given help,
As promised to our ancestors,
remembering Abraham and his descendants in mercy forever.”
I am seeing Mary’s humility in new ways this year. She is undone that God has noticed her, and that all generations will be blessed through her, and through the birth of her child. Once she has humbled herself, she recounts all God’s mighty acts, His disdain for the proud, and His lovingkindness and mercy. for the humble. The humble are very special to His heart.
This is an inadequate illustration, however, I can compare Mary’s feelings with mine when I’ve received an art prize that was so honoring, while thinking, “I’m amazed, I don’t deserve this. There are so many who painted better than me.”
I’ve been wrestling with my pride throughout this cancer journey. I know God continues to build humility in me – something He treasures. I spend lots of hours lying down, resting, and asking forgiveness for ME wanting to be in control of my life, and have it turn out MY way. I am jealous of those with good health and ease in running about. Then I repent of my jealousy. Then, I get jealous again, Ugh. Round and round I go. I’d like to be a little more like Mary in my situation – reviewing God’s attributes with thankfulness – so, let me try: His name is holy, His lovingkindness is everlasting, those that are humble He elevates, and He feeds the hungry. God is my savior – Jesus has come to liberate me, us, from sin, our pride, and set us free. I am so, so thankful!
Heavenly Father, I am so thankful you created me, you placed me in a family, You have supplied all my material needs, and, as I humble myself before your glory and majesty, you will raise me up. You will keep all your promises to me. Thank you, Father, for this season of expectant waiting. Even in the midst of cancer.
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.
Last Advent, I completed a series of pen and ink drawings, on paper, with watercolor washes. The drawing style is Mehndi, a style I learned when I spent some time in Varanasi, India. For the first drawing, I chose to focus on the annunciation, the encounter Mary had with the angel Gabriel. Mary was told she would bear a child supernaturally, by the Holy Spirit, the glory of the Lord. I drew her looking somewhat perplexed. No matter how deep her relationship was with Yahweh, Creator God, Mary had to have been somewhat overwhelmed.
But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.
As we approach the holy season of the celebration of the birth of Messiah, Emmanuel, God with us, my pace in life has slowed significantly, due to my cancer fight. Because I have lots of hours of quiet, rest, naps, fatigue, I am taking longer moments of seeing, really seeing, Advent. Making art is first slow, intensional seeing, and then drawing or painting in response to this intense seeing.
As I “look” more carefully at this passage in the Bible about Advent, I see things I haven’t noticed before.
1. God was directing – He sent the angel.
2. The event had specific timing -the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. It may have seemed like an interruption to Mary, but it was purposeful and planned within time.
3. The event was for a specific person, within a specific family. Mary was a real person.
4. Mary had God’s favor and companionship.
5. Mary must have felt safe enough to not run away from the angel. She was troubled, but not consumed with fear.
6. The angel comforts her troubled heart.
7. The angel is boldly honest with Mary.
For me, one who dreads, fears, upcoming chemo sessions because of the pain that follows thereafter, I look for God’s character in this part of the Bible. I see He is safe, He has a plan, He has timing connected with His plans, He has plans for specific people. I can take to heart that he is a God who gives favor and companionship; He speaks words of comfort, employing angels. (And most likely others?) He is honest. There is no beating around the bush on the plan.
Mary wants details on the impossible becoming possible – a virgin having a baby. It’s outside the natural order; many have swept the virgin birth under the rug, or tossed it overboard in order to line up the story with their limited thinking. (We often don’t think as deeply and soundly as God does.) Well, proving we truly aren’t God. Amazingly, miraculously, Mary trusts the angel knows what he’s talking about. Mary sets aside her life plans, her agenda. Incredible! Just maybe God had planned, and had prepared Mary for this assignment, in her young, trusting heart. “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
“I am the Lord’s servant. I am the Lord’s servant,” I whisper to myself. That just might be an important place to start Advent. And, trusting God’s plan, cancer and all. Can I trust He has prepared me for this?
If you are interesting in purchasing these cards, I have a very limited number in my art “store” here:Mehndi Art Cards