Art Abandoned

Do you ever sense a theme going on in the background of your life? A certain struggle…a similar scene–all pointing to a problem that has not been uprooted.

I have…and it has to do with finishing something I have begun. For instance there is my cross-stitch drawer. It is filled with unfinished work. Things I had hoped to complete for someone–good intentions of mine that never saw the light of attainment.

It is a struggle of mine…for I ENVISION the finished product. I see it in its glory on display. I purchase the materials, sort through them and get started. Many days may pass with my faithful work applied. And then one day, it gets set aside. It gathers dust. It gets moved out-of-the-way before company comes. Finally it is lost.

Until one day, I pick it back up again and begin again. The cycle may ensue once again. It may even be relegated to my “craft drawer.” With the drawer closed, I feel no guilt to my unfinished task. For I do not have to open it again. I do not have to think about it.

Then there are our paintings. Chris and I worked on these together in the time before we had children (7 years worth). Chris did the mountains, and I worked on the house. Again, unfinished.

Then there are our cross-stitched Santa ornaments. And in the same line are the broken, but fixable ornaments. Each year I place them aside in a place to-be fixed. Each year, I repack them and hope next year it gets done. Perhaps I should just throw them away?

Oh and then there is some unfinished unpacking: we moved here SIX years ago and there are several boxes that have not been sorted through in our garage. Do we even need those things?

And how could I leave out the exercise equipment? One piece collects dust and serves as a literal stumbling block each night if I have to get up in the dark. Ouch! Another piece I began again….also dusty. So I pedaled and sneezed my way through! Finally, we just GAVE them both away.

Best Intentions. Goals! Aims, aspirations, objectives, designs and targets. None attained.
Why is it that we set up these goals and miss the mark every time? Where do we begin?

I’ll tell you, we begin by getting the rest of our priorities straight. We begin by asking the Master Organizer how to finish–for the strength and the will to do it. And He will help us. He knows how to go about the finishing of those things–He is indeed a God of ORDER. Ask Him to order your life and the things you begin. Ask Him for a plan.

For these are qualities that our Mighty God possesses…Qualities that He uses THROUGH us, if we are willing. Some of those things may be like winter with its snow-covered ground with the grass below it waiting for the spring–a WORK in progress. But a finished task or project will come…and with it? Some feelings of happiness and the good kind of pride. I think God has instilled in us a need to accomplish. It may be just a quality, where we look an awful lot like our Daddy!

Philippians 1:6
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Genesis 2:2
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.
John 4:34
“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.”
2 Corinthians 8:11
Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means.
James 1:4
Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

So persevere, my friends–ask God to inspire you to finish every good work that He has planned for your lives. He most certainly will!

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His Passion for You

This testimony  is one that truly changed my life and my perspective of God, as my Father. The whole time is still indelibly imprinted on my memory–like videotape I can rewind and replay.

In February 2004 in East Texas, Chris had just come through a life-threatening rupture of his appendix at Christmas-time. We had three children ages 7 months, 4 and 6.

Our church had rented the theater for members to come and watch The Passion of the Christ. So we dropped the kids at the church nursery (a little late) and headed over to the theater.

My stomach was in knots. I did not want to see it at all and was ready to bolt. We walked into the theater and I saw another movie poster (I think it was 13 going on 30). And I prayed, “Lord, can’t I go and see that one? I don’t want to see this movie. I just don’t.”

But I felt Him prompt me to push ahead and face my greatest fear–seeing a very true to life crucifixion of my dear Savior. I did not think I could stand it. I was sure they’d have to take me out of the theater crying and sobbing.

Then as we sat nearly on the front row, because the house was packed, I felt His Presence with me. I sat and watched Jesus pray in the garden of Gethsemane… A stillness came over my frame, unlike any I had known before, and I began to hear Jesus speak to me in my spirit.

Scripture quotations, songs, and words interacting in my mind with what I was seeing. I even was smiling! There were times when I heard, “It didn’t happen this way.” There were songs playing in my mind–“Were you there, when they crucified my LORD?” It felt like one of those interactive movies at Disneyland. I was stunned. I was enamored. I was thankful. I was loved.

The words “by my stripes they are healed” took on a whole new meaning. The crowd shouting, “Give us Barabbus” was like someone today saying, “Give us Bin Laden.” The sinless, spotless, Lamb of God was traded for someone like me–a sinful, wretched thief, liar, cheater, murderer and so much more.

He whispered, “I did this for you, Holly.” And I nodded my head with a single tear. It was the only tear I shed during that time, which in itself is amazing. Then, as He died on the cross, I began to hear, “There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins; and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains. Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains; and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.” The entire song played in my mind.

It was amazing. It was to me a miraculous experience. I didn’t know He loved me like that. I knew, of course, that He loved me–that He saved me from my sins by His blood shed on the cross. I knew that! What I didn’t know is that, if I’d let Him, He’d daily walk with me through trials. He’d be my companion, my friend. He’d be my joy, my peace, my strength.

That day in a little theater in East Texas, my Jesus held me through the entire movie. I needed Him so. I still do! The hardest part of the time was my seemingly “inappropriate” smiling. I couldn’t explain it to a soul. People were weeping loudly for goodness sake! And here I was smiling. The smile was one of secrets shared. And they are mine to have with Him. They are yours to have with Him, too.

Closer than a friend or brother is my Jesus.

Deuteronomy 29:29 says,  “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.”

1 Corinthians 4:1-2 “So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.”

Friday is indeed a day to be somber in remembering His sacrifice. But, we hold out Life to others in the secret trust that we have in Christ Jesus–we know that Sunday came and Jesus changed the world. Now go and receive it–let Him entrust Himself to you. Then GO and TELL it. Be faithful to share your secret that keeps you smiling!

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