Monthly Archives: July 2013

Blank Canvas


Last night I was introduced to the world of painting. I have had many friends go to places like ‘Bottles and Brushes’ and ‘For the Love of Art’, but I had never had that experience myself until last night. To be honest I was excited to try something new, but was nervous that my type A personality would not just allow me the freedom to paint. I was also skeptical that the picture that was shown to us would somehow make it’s way onto my canvas.

photo 1 (1)I sent this picture to Chris and declared that my end result would probably not look nearly as good as it did right at this moment. As the instructor walked everyone through the first lines to draw, made suggestions on how to mix colors, and helped guide which end to start on – it was interesting to me how others responded. There were some who wanted to make theirs a night scene, others who wanted to replicate the original and a few who went in a completely different direction altogether.

photo 2 (1)I wanted to replicate the original (as best as I could) and by this point was feeling pretty good – how hard are straight lines really? It was just after this point that the small details of the picture had to be put into place, and that is where I began to slow down. I counted at least three different times that she was ready to show a new technique and she had to look at me say ‘It’s okay, I’ll come back to you’ because I was that many steps back. Window panes, borders, cobblestones were finally figured out and put into place and all that was left were flower boxes and flowers. I sat and stared at the painting – she came back to me and I admitted that I was stuck – the flowers freaked me out. How the blazes do you make flowers? She simply said with mild disgust in her voice ‘Flowers are the easiest part’ and kind of walked away. So I held my breath, closed my eyes (not literally) and hoped for the best.

photo 3 (1)So this was the end result, not a masterpiece by any stretch, but not as horrific as I envisioned it going either. After staring at this canvas for over three hours straight, I finally looked up to see what others had done. There were several that looked similar and there were some that were much different. The most unique of those was the XXX Adult store at night with a chalk outline of a body out on the sidewalk (and I was stressing over flower boxes). Why walk you through my evening of painting…besides the obviously riveting details of it all…ha! 😉 Over the years, God has been very creative in the ways that he teaches me and gets my attention. My tag line for this blog is ‘life is an illustration’ primarily because those small seemingly unimportant moments of life, God uses to talk to me and teach me. Yes, I’m wired weird and I’m okay with that. 😉 Last night was one of those moments. Much like the people in that room, I was reminded that we all attack life and the things that come at us very differently. What is easy for some, is stressful for others. The decisions we make can lead to good things or could land us in some pretty dark and scary places. We can strive to be like Christ (the original) or we can choose to go at it on our own. Over these past weeks of walking this road to what will eventually be a miscarriage many have wondered where strength has come from, have commented that they don’t know how they would walk that road, or have expressed confusion for me. I thought about that a lot last night. God hands each of us a blank canvas, he instructs us on techniques like pray without ceasing and leaning on him in times of trial, he gives guidance on where to start and how to maneuver through – but ultimately it’s up to us. He instructs to trust, but I can choose to fret. He promises that he will never leave me, but I can choose to think he’s a liar. He continually tells me that he loves me, but I can turn my head in hate. The picture that would ultimately create would be a pretty dark one. I’m not strong. I don’t have this figured out. I don’t know what the end result will be. I am weak. I am tired. So when he says trust that looks so much better than fretting. When he makes promises – I want to hold to that because he has shown himself faithful too many other times. When he tells me he loves me…through his word, through you…my heart simply chooses to believe. It’s just too genuine and real to be anything but truth. The peace I found in this simple moment last night was that when I looked at that blank canvas, I genuinely did not think anything good would result – I had never done this before, how would it be possible? I’m in the same place regarding this miscarriage, I’m sure you’re in a similar place regarding a decision, a health issue, a crisis, or an opportunity that is in front of you. I don’t know the end result, I’ve never walked this road before so my mind wants to think this is an impossible journey…but his word tells me differently. The canvas in front of you may be pretty blank, but he can walk you through to what will ultimately be a masterpiece in him, at least that is what I am holding to. Praying for you. 😉

Holding Strong…


This weekend a beautiful friend from my past drove over 5 hours just to come see me and spend the day with me. She wanted to be a shoulder to lean on, have an opportunity to look me in the face and tell me she loved me – and truth be told I think just wanted to physically see that I was okay. I knew that I needed to take her somewhere where we could get lost in the atmosphere while we talked about anything and everything- cuz that’s how they do it in cheesy chick flicks, right – so of course we headed to the beach. After a delicious meal we walked up and down the beach, and while the conversation was encouraging…I kept getting lost in the scenery. The ocean was extremely rocky…crashing waves repeatedly hitting the sand…and the clouds…amazing. One moment dark, the next white, gone then too many to see the sky. I couldn’t stop watching them move and change. Then out of nowhere I looked up – the sky a beautiful shade of blue laced with clouds and there in the middle a beautifully full moon. Needless to say this completely distracted me for much of the night (I think if I pointed out the moon even once more she would have chucked me into the ocean.)

Several days later…I’m still struck by the images from our walk primarily because they remind me so much of where I am right now. I will be honest – and if it makes me look stupid, well it’s a look I wear well – but in all my years of being in the church, in my time serving in a women’s ministry, in my time having friend after friend get pregnant, in my lifetime of being a woman – I don’t think I have ever fully understood what it meant to have a miscarriage. I’ve heard the term countless times and my ignorance had the experience of it so wrong. I think I thought it was similar to the idea that comes to mind when you hear ‘she had her baby’ – when someone has a baby, they endure hours of labor (and a barrage of other things) and then ‘ta da’ the baby is here. For some reason I thought ‘she’s having a miscarriage’ operated the same way…that you struggle for a hours (a barrage of other things would happen) and that was the end. How completely stupid am I? We found out almost two weeks ago that there were problems, about a week ago that the baby was gone, and then Thursday last week I thought that was going to be the day…but it wasn’t. Friday came, my body began to show signs (some not worth detail), pain…that was going to be the day…nope. Saturday…wrong again. Sunday…tears ran down my face, my body contracting and pain that caused my breathing to be labored…this would be the day…no. Call me stupid…but this is just NOT what my head thought to prepare for…and suddenly I want to go to every woman who I know has walked this road and gently hug them for their unknown, unspoken strength.

photo 2Many have asked how I am…how do I answer? I feel very much like this picture…rocky waves that keep crashing down, a cloud just hanging right over my head. When will the rain in that cloud let loose? How much more rocky and turbulent will the waters become? I have no clue. My body has not given into the inevitable…and the clock is ticking…ten more days and the risk of infection will be too great and doctors, hospitals and procedures will have to come into play. How am I doing? In truth…I’m worn, weary.

photo 4But then…as is the way God has always dealt with me…in the unknown, in the weak moment, in my tiredness, in my sadness…He comes unexpected…much like that ridiculous moon in the middle of my sunny ocean view. Yes, the waves are crashing…yes, the storm will break loose – how, when, in what way – I don’t know. But there He is…there He will be…that unexpected beautiful image to focus my attentions on. David said it so much better than I ever could…’I lift my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you – the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm – he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. (Psalm 121, NIV)’  In other words…He’s got me. How am I? Thankful for the reminder that He has me…thankful to try to focus on that and not the storms and waves of weariness and fear of the unknown that surround me. Encouraged and humbled by the love we’ve experienced from others…holding strong.

photo 3