Deep Holes, Living Water

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My art mentor, Marge, asked me if I was excited about my woman at the well book, The Drink Of A Lifetime, being published. How kind of her to ask. What a gift to just ask me how I am feeling. She takes time to ask and listen. She models loving, mentoring well for me. She’s been a true shepherd in my life.

I think about her question. I’m in a very different place emotionally than when I first made the art for the book. Yes, I knew about the Samaritan woman’s holes and how they resonated with my own story. But now, after so much chemo pain, night after night, day upon day, I think I better know her cavernous pain – the five failed marriages and now just “living,” truly unsafely, with a man. No commitment from that man. No certainty of love, care and fidelity. I mean, she must have been emotionally spent. Done. Chemo done.

Yet, Jesus steps into her very messy story and bottomless pain, carefully revealing He profoundly knows her and loves her in the safest way possible. He initiates in a winsome way, (“Can I have a drink?”) His desire to be eternally committed to her in life-giving love. (Living water) Most would certainly be put off by her messy life. Handling someone else’s pain, without suffering ourselves, rarely happens. However, Jesus did not distance Himself from her; He moves in close to make things eternally right and to heal.

I am learning of His loving commitment to me in deeper places in my heart. He is healing my cavernous “holes” just as He healed hers. Holes like pride, selfishness, envy, unforgiveness, and control. With quiet whispers in these nights, He says, “What about this? Could you have responded differently? Anything you want to confess?” There have been many nights of hot tears on my cheeks as I recall unkind words, jealousy for ministry, jealousy for health, wanting to control my own life, for heaven’s sake. “I’m sorry,” I whisper back, with the lump of remorse in my throat. Then, I’m gripped by God’s love and forgiveness flooding in at those moments of sorrow. (Living Water for me!) More tears break way to rest; He has carefully made things right eternally and healed.

So, yes, it’s nice to be able to share the book with my family and friends, and hopefully with women in tough places around the world. So many have cheered me on in this cancer journey; it’s so much fun to share this book with them. But, my deeper excitement is in knowing I’m loved with that same safe, life-giving love of Jesus, for all eternity, as given to the woman at the well.

To order your copy of The Drink Of A Lifetime, please click HERE.

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Marge, left, and me, in Lucca, Italia.

 

 

Broken Cisterns and Living Water

A friend, Judy, recently texted me about a video she watched on the Bible story of the Woman At The Well. Since this story has captured my heart deeply, and I’ve got a collaged art book in the process of being published on the subject, I asked for a link to the video. I enjoy finding out new things about any Bible story; each story is so multi-faceted. I don’t think any of us can exhaust finding treasures in just about any Biblical narrative. But this one, well, it’s very special to me.

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The teacher in the video, Lysa Turkheurst, was standing right in front of the famous well – Jacob’s Well. It is now within a plastered and fresco decorated room, religious paintings hanging all around, I guess for tourists. It was nice to see the real well, or cistern, for myself. It sure did not look like the well in my arid desert scene in my collaged book! However, Lysa explained cisterns in a way I had never understood before. Cisterns had to be plastered in order to really hold water and be a well. If the plaster cracked, then the water could leak out. Cisterns needed constant upkeep so the water wouldn’t leak out.

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Jacob’s Well where Jesus and the Samaritan woman met.

Jesus offers the woman “Living Water” springing up to eternal life. His offer is so radically different from an old well that constantly needs patching! He’s offering a spring of flowing water, not a well that can crack, leak and constantly remain on one’s repair list. This information greatly helps in understanding Jesus’ offer to the woman, and this gem of a verse in Jeremiah: “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” Jeremiah 2:13 Had she heard that verse? Was she putting it all together?

I had made the woman, with a collaged dress, that looks like it has holes, because I wanted to speak of her holes or the broken places in her heart. She was trying to fill her holes with many relationships. This way of life is her “broken cistern” she’s been trying to plaster over.  Jesus doesn’t want to plaster over her holes, but wants to captivate her heart with an entirely transformative strategy – springs of living water.

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There is just so much in this epic love story. How kind of God to gently show me yet another facet to His planned encounter with the woman at the well!

And, it’s making me think about the cisterns in my life. When I spend hours and hours in bed resting because of the chemo pill, I cry out to God to be my spring of Living Water, or where I find my source of life. I sense His closeness in new ways as I drift in and out of sleep. When I get up and start moving, almost immediately there is a temptation to find my source of life in my doing. Making a painting. Collaging a new book. Getting a project going. Fighting cancer with a new and different smoothie.  I’m so American! My worth gets all entangled with doing something. I’m not saying it’s wrong to do, it just will not satisfy my deepest longings for love, worth and value by putting hope for those in my doing. 

Then, I end up back in bed, and I lie there calling out to God. I’m spending eternity with Him, so perhaps many hours with Him, in and out of sleep, before I pass on, may be just where He wants me.

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The Drink Of A Lifetime!

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This is a true, inspiring story, found in the Bible, which beautifully shows what Jesus is like. We know from other parts of the Bible; Jesus is Jewish, a carpenter turned Rabbi, and truly, the Son of God. In this story, we find Jesus knows every woman’s life story and, in spite of how hard or easy life has been, Jesus loves women to their core, and He wants to give them eternal life. Here, we see Jesus meet with a Samaritan woman, known as “The Woman At The Well.” She is having a hard life.

Look at the Samaritan woman’s dress. It is filled with holes. These holes represent parts of her broken, empty heart. Because she has tried to find love and acceptance in many difficult relationships, without success, her heart has brokenness or emotional holes. Will Jesus be able to help her with these holes?

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Jesus is hot, tired, thirsty and hungry. He is in a place of need. It is noon; the heat of the sun is directly over his head. He is seated at a famous place, Jacob’s well, in Samaria. This well is 100 feet deep and fed by a flowing spring. His disciples have gone into town to find some lunch. As Jesus humbly sits at the well, the Samaritan woman approaches alone with her water jar. It’s odd she is alone and coming at noon.

Women usually walked together to gather water. They come to the well early in the day, so they have plenty of water for their meals, their animals and their cleaning. It is likely this woman is alone because she is a social outcast; her community of women have judged her poor moral life and decided she should be left out – marginalized from their daily lives. It is a daily shame for her to walk to this well alone.

The Bible says Jesus “had to go through Samaria” on His was to Galilee. There were other ways to Galilee, so it seems likely His urgency to go through Samaria is because He planned to meet with the woman at the well and her community. Everywhere He went, Jesus had encounters with people that changed their lives forever. Let’s see what happens at Jacob’s well in Samaria.

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Samaritans have their own distinct religion, a mixture of Jewish faith and other faiths, without many Jewish distinctive. Jews and Samaritans hated each other because of this mixture and tried to have nothing to do with each other. As the woman arrives at Jacob’s well, Jesus says to her, “Will you give me a drink?” Surprised He would even talk with her, the woman replies, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman.” She is reminding Jesus; Jews and Samaritans hate each other.

The fact that Jesus is Jewish, a man, a rabbi, and the Son of God, but He wants to have a drink and a conversation with this woman, shows He is eager to cross the gender boundary, the religious/racial boundary, and the moral/social boundary. These were normal boundaries for that time. Jesus was revolutionary in crossing all these boundaries.

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Responding to the woman, Jesus says, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would ask me for a drink, and I would give you Living Water.” The woman replies, “You don’t even have a cup, this well is really deep. How are you going to get this “Living Water?” Are you a better man than our ancestor Jacob, who dug this well, drank from it, along with his sons and livestock, and passed it down to us?” She’s thinking fast on her feet! This well has the best water around, so how will Jesus be able to produce even better water? How will He get it?

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Jesus embraces the woman’s questions. He thoughtfully and kindly responds to her, “When you drink from this well, you will get thirsty again. Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst again. The water I give will be a spring just like a fountain of endless water lasting into eternity.” The woman excitedly replies, “Sir, give me this water so I am never thirsty again, and I will never have to come back to this well again.” She has forgotten quickly how special the well is! She is hoping to satisfy her physical need for water, and her emotional need to avoid the daily shame of coming to the well alone.

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Then, Jesus asks her to go get her husband. That command will touch at the heart of her story and her holes. “I have no husband,” the woman asserts. Jesus responds, “You have sure answered correctly. You have had five husbands, and the man you are living with is not your husband.” Wow! He knows her story, in deep ways, that he hints at with the facts in His response. He’s also catching her in a half-truth, because actually she’s had many husbands and is currently living with a man. Yet, He remains kindly engaged with this woman. Do you think He wanted to heal her heart?

There may be a variety of reasons why this woman has been married five times. She may have been: unable to have children and her husband wanted children, or she may be widowed, or she may have been abused. She may have committed adultery. Whatever her reasons for five marriages and five divorces, she has endured much shame through either her actions, or the actions of her husbands. She is currently living in a shame-filled relationship; the man she is living with won’t marry her. She is really in a profoundly unsafe and impoverished situation.

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She must have marveled at how Jesus knew her story. She concludes He is a prophet, a man who speaks for God. “I perceive you are a prophet,” she replies and adds, “We Samaritans worship on this mountain, but you Jews worship in Jerusalem. Where should we worship?” Jesus must have enjoyed having the conversation turn to her worship! Most likely, she has been worshiping men, and how they might satisfy her deepest needs. He takes the time to teach and to care for this woman’s heart-felt questions and miss-placed worship.

“The time is coming, and really, has come when you worship God neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem. Salvation does come from the Jews, however, true worshipers worship God in spirit and in truth in their hearts. That’s the worship God seeks. God is spirit and must be worshiped in spirit and in truth.” The woman at the well is listening intently. Perhaps, she feels her question hasn’t been fully explained, because she informs Jesus, “I know Messiah is coming. When He comes, He will explain everything to us.” She is counting on getting the whole story on worship from the Messiah. Jesus reveals Himself to her when He next says, “I, the one speaking to you, am Messiah.” What amazing grace for her to have such crucial news first-hand! Now all her questions can be answered.

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Just then, the disciples return to the well with lunch. They are shocked to see Jesus talking with that kind of woman! They didn’t have the nerve to ask Him why He is talking to her, but you can imagine their surprised and maybe, mocking faces.

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As they approach, the woman drops her water jar and runs back to her community. The woman has forgotten all about her need for drinking water! She is filled with joy as she shares with the townspeople, “Come meet a man who told me everything I ever did! He knows everything about me. Could He be the Messiah?” How many people do you know with whom you are happy they know your whole story? Her story is filled with shame, and yet, she grasps Jesus knows her shame-filled story and STILL wants a relationship with her. He wants to give her “Living Water” and says He is the Messiah.

The people make their way to the well to see the man who so captivated the Samaritan woman’s heart. At the urging of the townspeople, Jesus and His disciples stay two more days in Samaria. Many believed Jesus is the Messiah based on the woman’s testimony, and, also, in seeing Jesus for themselves. As Jesus left town, the townspeople said, “We know this man is really the Savior of the world.” Jesus graciously allowed the woman at the well to be a part of bringing many to this knowledge, and He left her with a community of people who would appreciate and love her. She is no longer left out or alone in her shame. Her holes are being filled with Jesus and His love. Her brokenness is being healed as she worships God in spirit and in truth, in her heart. She is safe and spiritually wealthy. Now, she drinks from the fountain of Living Water!

Please see John, chapter four to read the whole story in the Bible.

 

 

 

On Planning My Own Memorial Service

Surprisingly, when my pastor, Hilario, his wife, Lois, and my second daughter, Katie, sat with me today to map out a memorial service, after my departure, I felt a weight had been lifted. Yes, I cried my way through some of it – I hate leaving loved ones. Truly, I love my people and wish never to say goodbye. However, before I knew it, I was laughing at the idea of joy and celebration (with Indian and Italian food and festive international flags) being the over-arching feelings during the service. Additionally, I sat with profound gratitude that these three dear ones would take the time from full and rich lives to do the hard work of helping me prepare my own memorial service.

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Joyful Dancers, Marcia Carole, acrylic on canvas

It was actually fun reviewing Scripture I wanted my two older grandsons to read. I could just picture them, taking a break from Legos, snacks, and their Seahawks shirts, only to don their khaki pants and nice shirts to honor their Gigi. They are both about to be baptized, so I know the Words they read will mean something important to their hearts. Those who gather that day will hear that “I have been crucified with Christ; it’s no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me…and, there is no longer any condemnation for Marcia because she is safely in Jesus – right into eternity.” Marcia has Jesus as her Rock and her redeemer for this life and the next. My young grandchildren will lead my people into these truths.

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Katie with her boys – my grandsons!

My friend, Judy, calls my departure, “Going Off Planet.” My friend, Gretchen, has reminded me, more than once, that when we get to Heaven, we will see that life on earth has been living in the low-rent district in contrast to the speech-defying beauty, goodness and glory we will be a part of in an Eternity with Jesus. By me remembering these sort-of jokes, coupled with my cancer, I am helped to press on in making my final plans.

I think we long to not die, on planet earth because, aside from the unknowingness of it all and the lack of control we possess over dying, I think there is a part of us, deep in our souls, that remembers the Big Story and how life was in our first Garden, our Home. There really was a beginning point in time when there was no death. Somehow, we know. There was just beauty, fearlessness, a vibrant garden, a totally transparent, loving couple, a tree filled with life, and rich community with God. However, the enemy of our souls snuck into our perfect Home and snarled, lied (God’s holding out on you), robbed and darn near destroyed us and everything around us. I think, we have this deep, unfulfilled longing for that Home. An angst. I’m just saying it’s there.

So, I got to do some planning today – important planning. As I was encouraging Pastor Hilario to really preach the Gospel during the service, my heart was gripped, my tears flowing, because my passion since nineteen years of age has been: there is a God, He faithfully loves you and me, He proved it by coming to earth as God with skin on – Jesus. He lived a perfect life. He died in our places for our evil thoughts, words, deeds. We can be forgiven for all our just plain darknesses of hearts and for believing that first lie that God was holding out on us. How? If we turn from trying to find Home apart from God and run to Him. I want Pastor Hilario to be sure to let everyone know; we are given Jesus’ righteousness when we run to Him, when we reach past our doubts and faint remembering of Eden. When we run and reach out to Jesus, and HIS palpable love, in faith, then Eden, Home is won back in our hearts. It’s a gift – a gift of being eternally Home with God.

And that is where I will be when the celebration of my life happens.

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Sunflower, Marcia Carole, watercolor

One song I hope to have at my memorial service: Give Me Jesus, by Fernando Ortega.

 

More Grace Needed Here!

What are you learning about life and following Jesus?
“That there are dark, dark places that have to be faced and excavated in my heart. I can never dust off my hands and say, “There! Nearly done.” Not even close. Grace becomes more precious by the day.” -Kathy Keller

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For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight…In love… (Ephesians, chapter 1) Using bubble wrap for texture.

This past week, my friend, Judy, chose to come and help me during my seventh chemo infusion. She and I laughed and cried, watched movies, discussed books, listened to sermons online, ate good food, bemoaned American politics and extended grace to each other each day. She was wonderfully encouraging, and I worked past my crabbiness, from chemo, to try to be kind and grace-filled. Being sick is no excuse to be unkind. I’m intensional about that, because I want to see if my faith, and thus grace, can be certain in the dark and hard parts of my story.

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I am working on a new painting, which Judy had to tuck away for me during my hardest days; I was too weak and nauseous to paint. This painting started with an idea a pastor, Jason, gave me. He would like me to paint: Creation, The Fall, Redemption and Consummation or Heaven. He’d like 4 paintings, or perhaps, one painting with all four concepts. I really like his idea for a painting. I took a canvas to practice on, so this is my first practice piece. I decided to begin painting some textures that might suggest a time even before creation.

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Then, I added the tree to suggest the dawn of created earth within time. I am still working on the tree, and I hope to add new textures for the leaves, etc. I’ll have some realism and some abstraction. Just like life!

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I am using the sun to represent grace, something God provided before our time began(see Ephesians 1) and something He provides, in Jesus, moving forward in history – even during the Fall, and even in our own personal dark times. I am adding layer upon layer, just like layers of amazing grace.

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The second part of the painting represents the darkness of The Fall, and, on a personal level, our separation from God because of our own evil hearts. As Kathy Keller has stated above, our own hearts need grace, redemption and healing constantly, and in new places. I have marveled at the areas of pride, self-absorption, and self-pity I have spotted with the Lord as I lie quietly in bed, recovering from yet another chemo treatment. God and I tussle over who is God, I tear up and repent. I’ll have a flash of a thought of someone who was cruel to me, and my unkind thoughts in return unnerve and sadden me. I repent and ask God for mercy, forgiveness and freedom from that judgement. While lying still. Maybe that’s why we have the “Be still and know I am God.” verse in the Bible.

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Here you can see the contrast of the Creation and The Fall more clearly, and yet, I am suggesting that grace and forgiveness is available in the darkness – in Jesus. Because He came, took the punishment for our evil hearts, rose from the dead, and is preparing a place for us in Heaven, we can ask to have Him as our Savior and receive grace, forgiveness and freedom. We can never work our way into absolute goodness on our own, nor can we attain perfection or nirvana and master all our shortcomings or wicked thoughts. We aren’t being honest about our hearts or realistic, if we think this way. And, gosh, Jesus, His love, His forgiveness is free in exchange with our authentic repentance from our wrongs and acceptance of His free gift. Well, free to us, costly to Him. Why wouldn’t we take that gift of GRACE?

I am so thankful for God’s grace – His unmerited favor, since before time and all the way forward into eternity. And, I’m with Kathy and her assessment of my heart, and the endless need of grace we have and then can receive, in Jesus, for healing and redeeming our hearts. 

“That’s no tragedy for me because I don’t cling to my life for my own sake. The only value I place on my life is that I may finish my race, that I may fulfill the ministry that Jesus our King has given me, that I may gladly tell the good news of God’s grace.” Acts 20:24

Joseph’s Story

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Courageous Joseph obeys God, and remains with Mary and baby Jesus.

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,
which means “God is with us.”
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home. Matthew 1: 18-24

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Front of my mehndi Christmas card.

Surely, Joseph had great faith in God – he obeyed Him in spite of the personal cost. People would talk and whisper about his decision to stay with Mary; he may have lost respect among the men in his community.  He must have puzzled many. Would he regain status as a man to emulate? Would he ever get out from under the shadow of Mary’s first pregnancy. He obeyed God, and yet, all may not have gone well for him within his community. (Have you ever made a decision to obey God, and others did not understand you, nor your decision?) There is often mystery involved with obeying God – obeying in spite of great obstacles, persecution, other people’s plans for your life. This mystery, although puzzling, is often how God works, and the very point where one’s faith begins to form deeper roots. God was sowing deeper roots of faith in Joseph.

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I have seen much artwork with Mary and baby Jesus, however, I think it would be interesting to make some art about Joseph, in response to the above passage of the Bible. I imagine a work where Joseph is holding Jesus, looking at Him with love and tenderness – just as a new father holds his newborn child. Joseph must be knowing (it’s unfolding) more deeply that he is part of something much greater than his own personal story – a larger story. God’s story. What wonder and mystery is at work here.

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Back of my mehndi Christmas Card.

In this rendering of the nativity scene, I have tried to bring out Joseph’s tenderness through his eyes – just a few lines to try to capture his love and wonder. I think, his thoughts of what others think fade as Joseph is drawn into God’s story – a humble Savior has come – and he gets to be a part of it! What a story he has because God has written Himself into Joseph’s story!

Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign:
the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,
and shall name him Emmanuel. Isaiah 7:14

Advent – Mary’s Song

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I’m adding layers of color to the background of my drawing. I’m thinking of Mary’s joy, while at Elizabeth’s home. Mary seems truly humbled to realize more deeply, she is carrying the promised Messiah foretold in Scripture.

Mary’s Song – Luke 1:46-55

“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.”

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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.”

 

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Caleb, my youngest grandson, visits me while I am painting, so I know I will be taking a break for now. My energy has diminished as well.

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!

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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.

My Friends Brought Me To Jesus!

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I have been studying Mark 2:1-12. It’s a passage where Jesus clearly showed He is God. So, it is a turning point in the narrative because of His transparency about His divinity; and now He has enemies – the religious rulers and authorities. Up until this point, He was well received. He’s been a popular guy. However, now He is revealing more about Himself and it’s causing trouble. He says He can forgive sins. That is something only God can do. He has crossed a “religious” line.

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A group of men, with their paralyzed friend, try to see Jesus. There is a huge crowd, and they can’t get into the house where Jesus is teaching. No matter. They climb up onto the roof, part the materials that make up the roof, and lower their friend down to where Jesus is speaking. Their friend’s immediate need is healing from paralysis. They have faith in Jesus to heal their friend. They put actions to their faith!

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Jesus marvel’s at the four friends’ faith, and says their friend’s sins are forgiven. Odd. He wanted freedom from paralysis, and Jesus is forgiving his sins? Interesting. Jesus is addressing this man’s deeper need – healing His soul. That’s most important for the friend. His paralysis and brokenness is far, far deeper than his physical body. Maybe the friend has hatred, despair, unforgiveness, jealousy, dark thoughts of murder in his heart. You can imagine how he may have been treated in his broken state. Jesus, like an amazing, loving surgeon, goes to the root problem this man has and takes it from him. Your sins are forgiven.

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As Jesus forgives this man of his sins, He is also saying, these sins are against ME. Jesus is continuing to reveal He is God. When we sin, Jesus is saying, we are turning our hearts away from Jesus’ way of living, so we are truly sinning against Him. If I have jealousy in my heart, and want another’s story for mine, I am saying to God that the story He has given me is not good enough for me. I think I know better than God, and right there, my heart has turned away from His heart and His will for my story.

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As I think through this passage, I think of friends who have carried me to Jesus. Their kindness and love is amazing. I think of Marsha, who told me Jesus loved me, way back in college. I think of Judy, who loved me even when my story got horribly messy and hard. I think of Marge, who encouraged me in my art and showed me how to embrace the story God has given me. I think of Vickie, who mentored me in forgiveness and prayer, and walked with me through chemo, always bringing me to the Father. And so did my loving, life-long friend Alice, Lori, Suzie, Jackie, Karen, Katie, Amy, Virginia, Trisha, Charise, Eileen, Pat, Dianne, Paula, Judy, Lani, Nancy, Lupe, Jean and so, so, so many others. What examples they are to me! Which makes me ask, “Who can I bring to Jesus today?” I want to be like those faith-filled friends of the paralyzed man. Who needs Jesus in your life today? Let’s bring them to Jesus in prayer and in our conversations.

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I add a cross, of sorts, to this collage, because I know Jesus is holding this man’s story together – and mine as well. Jesus knows our entire stories, our deep soul mess as well as our more obvious paralysis and brokenness. You can just imagine this friend joyfully sharing, “My friends brought me to Jesus, and I am brand new inside and out!”

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Because my Creator God, Jesus, knows me so well, and still loves me, I have hope for my story, even into eternity. I’m certain of His forgiveness deep in my soul, and looking to Him for healing of my cancer, just like He healed the friend of his paralysis. My story is in His hands, and I pray I make much of Jesus and His wonderful deeds in the days He has ordained for me.

 

Good Friday Art And Music

Here is my video and artwork for today:

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Original Watercolor, Marcia Carole

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. Is 53:5 Maybe not always in the body….BUT FOREVER IN THE SPIRIT. His bondage on the cross has set me free from sin and death.