Divine Appointments

August 14, 2001 (Post #61)

(From Journal #8: March 8, 2007)

My latest CT scan was on the 5th and praise You for a good report! The lymph nodes shrank again, to below 2 cm. I scan again in three months. The doctor gave me the green light to now have the abdominal hernia repaired.

A couple of days ago I went to Quizno’s for lunch. As I walked inside a woman and her mother walked in before me. The older lady reminded me so much of mother. She was dressed so cute and I complimented her as I stood behind them in line. As we chatted, I heard in my spirit that I was to buy their lunch. There was a line of people and I didn’t say anything. The older lady had a credit card in her hand. You told me again to buy their lunch, so I told her that I wanted to bless them and treat them to lunch. It was a total God-appointment!

We sat together to eat and Linda, the daughter, had recently lost her husband to cancer and was in fear of finances, health, etc., She admitted mumbling to herself about having no money to even buy their lunch. She was 6 months late on a follow-up mammogram that was actually scheduled for today and she was afraid to go. I shared my story of how You have helped me through my health battle and it seemed to bless her. She said because You reached out to her through me, she would go in new strength. Thank You, Lord.

Turns out the mom, Joan, is an artist too but hasn’t painted in years. And today, I took her to art class with me! I had no idea she was 84 years old. She lost her husband at Christmas and she is so lonely. She’d called me the day before and tentatively accepted the invitation. She needed to try and reschedule a conflicting appointment. She said she’d confirm one way or another either later that night or this morning. I didn’t hear from her and wondered if she’d changed her mind. I didn’t want to pressure her but I kept feeling You prompting me to call her just to be sure she was okay. Lord, she’d lost my number! She said she was dressed, ready to go and sitting there praying I would call. Oh, Jesus, how awesome are You?

She was nervous and scared to get started but once she did, she relaxed and had a good time. It was such a blessing to see this precious lady enjoying art once again. It almost felt like I was doing art with my mom. I bought her art supplies so she can start painting at home too. Thank You for bringing this sweet new friend into my life.

Proverbs 16:9:  A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.

Psalm 37:25:  The steps of a righteous man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way.

The Path Can Change

December 6, 2020  (Post #55)

(From Journal #7:  October 3, 2006)

Two days ago a friend called and asked me if I had a piece of art I would be willing to donate to be auctioned at an annual cancer fundraiser on October 20th. I immediately knew this was You challenging me to step up and take action.  I told her I didn’t have anything on hand that I felt great about donating but I would do a painting especially for the event.  

When I hung up the phone, I almost panicked. ”What was I thinking???”  There’s such little time to get it done!   And then my prayer literally was “Lord, if You don’t come through for me, I’m toast.”  I need You to show me what to paint and empower me to do it.  Then yesterday morning while taking a walk, You taught me something…

As I was walking home, You had me notice the sidewalk and think of it as walking on the path You have set before me.  But I could only see the path so far.  I could not see the final destination.  I so often want to see the “blueprints” of Your plans, when You have me on a “need-to-know” basis.  As I walked farther, I came to the left turn to get home.  I couldn’t see that turn earlier.  I thought I’d seen your straight path clearly from where I was, but You told me to turn left.  

We get off the path, don’t we Lord?  We get ahead of You and decide what we’re to do based on what we see today and then we don’t always hear Your small still voice saying, “Turn here.”  And I realized that even if I’d not turned left, I could still get back home, but it would take longer and I’d have to walk a different path that wasn’t as easy.  

After our walk, I just started looking through magazines and saw a photo reference of a couple bottles of wine alongside a glass of red wine that really spoke to me.  I’ve never painted anything like this before; glass is hard to paint.  I continued looking at other photos, but kept going back to this one. I felt this was the path I’m to take for this auction.  I wanted to do a large painting, so sketching it out was mathematically challenging to calculate the proportions relative to the size of the canvas.  But I stayed calm and I think I got it, thanks to You.  Today, I want to start laying down some paint and do what I know to do at this point on the path and listen for You to tell me when to change direction.

Isaiah 30:21:  Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Proverbs 3:5-6:  Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

Proverbs 16:9:  A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.

Complete the Unfinished

November 17, 2020  (Post #54)

(From Journal #7:  September 18, 2006)

A few weeks ago I met with another surgeon about doing the hernia repair.  He does it by laparoscopy which is much better.  I was supposed to have it done a few days ago. But early in the morning on the day for pre-op lab work, I woke and felt Your Spirit telling me I was outside Your timing?  So I called and canceled trusting You would give me peace on when to reschedule.  I found out why when I had a follow-up appointment with my oncologist. He said everything was looking good, praise!  He suggested I have another CT scan before the hernia repair.  Thank You for having me wait.  While I wait, I know You are more than able to supernaturally heal this…

We’ve been painting a lot and finished three things.  It felt so good to complete the unfinished.  It was symbolic to me that You leave nothing undone.  It was a “breakthrough” in more than one realm.  I’m tired of “staying stuck” in any area of my life.  I am ready to move into a new level and want all that You have for me.  I am sick of the wilderness.

Then on Sunday, Pastor Rob’s sermon was so good and confirming.  I felt Your Holy Spirit so tangibly and had goosebumps all through the service.  He taught how You are not constrained by our natural time.  Case-in-point:  I received the message from You that no matter how many years I’ve wasted or how many mistakes I’ve made, there is always plenty of time for You to accomplish Your will in my life.  You have a way of making up that time.  Lord, I received that even though I didn’t go to art school and I’m getting a late start, You can catapult me as an artist.  If You desire for me to speak and give my testimony even though I have no platform, You can make it happen.  If You want all these lessons and thoughts written into a book or column, whatever, You’ll show me and make it happen. I just sat there and felt Your love and received that it’s never too late with You. 

I also felt You telling me to take the same faith I have about healing and use it in every area of my life.  It’s the same faith.  The enemy knows he can’t get me to waver where healing is concerned, so he’s attacking me in other areas, which creates stress that has a detrimental effect on my health.  We’re on to him! 

Today I was drawn to Joel 2:25:  “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten…”  I appropriate that promise over my life, Lord.

Romans 8:28:   And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Don’t Dig Up Your Seed!

July 19, 2020   (Post #44)

(From Journal #4:  February 28, 2006)

I watched a teaching this morning from Mark 4:26-29 about “The Parable of the Growing Seed” and what it shows us about faith, growing and maturing.  It really caused me to reflect on how many times I’ve sadly “dug up my own seeds” because I didn’t allow the process of “seed-time-harvest” to come to fruition.

There are things I want to accomplish that I believe are seeds You’ve planted in my spirit.  The problem comes during the “time phase” which causes me to wait for the results.  Rather than submit to the process and allow You to teach, mature and prepare me, too often I get tired of waiting and then try to force the “harvest.”  Every time I’ve gotten ahead of Your schedule, it’s been a disaster and makes the wait longer.  

It’s the same in difficult relationships.  We plant seeds of love and forgiveness, but then if “that person” doesn’t change fast enough, or the way we want them to, we try to force the change in them rather than focus on the changes needed in us.  That’s manipulation and it never works either.  Your mercy, love and long-suffering are so much greater than we understand.  How many relationships have failed because we “dug up the seed” rather than wait in faith and allow You to work?  I know I’ve done it, Lord.  Forgive me.  

When we do this, it affects others too.  Genesis 16 is a good example. Look at the mess Sarai (Sarah) caused by pushing Abram (Abraham) not to wait on the Lord’s promise that they would have children, but to father a child for her through her maid Hagar.  To this very day, the birth of Ishmael is the cause of conflict between nations.

Lord, help me surrender by faith every seed planted, trusting and resting in Your timing, that my harvests produce Your crops!

Mary 4:26-29:  And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

Psalm 130:5:  I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope.

You Never Know Who’s Watching

April 12, 2020  (Post #35)

(From Journal #3:  October 3, 2005)

Been in Atlanta for several days to attend the wedding of my dear friend’s daughter, which was held in the North Georgia Mountains on Saturday.  On Sunday morning, I left the mountains in time to get back to Atlanta to attend a church I’d been wanting to visit. I was able to make the 12:30 service and it was a great sermon and I’m glad I went, but it was after church that something really special happened. 

Since the church was close to where I used to live, I decided to go to a restaurant in Roswell we used to love.  It was already 2:00 but they served until 3:00, so I decided to have a late lunch.  I sat by the window and two ladies came in and sat in front of me.  One seemed in her 50s and the other elderly, about my mother’s age. (Later I learned she was 87.)  It touched my heart for missing my own sweet mom and I felt the Holy Spirit leading me to buy their lunch, so I told the waitress I wanted to do that.  She told them their lunch was covered. They were grateful and I moved my chair and visited with them, told them where I was from, etc. “Brenda” had adopted “Miss Martha” like a mom.  It was so sweet.  Turns out, Brenda attends the church I just visited.

As I went back to my table and began to leave, the lady sitting behind me spoke up and said, “Texas angel, you guys have made my day.”  “Pam” was from Houston and had moved to Atlanta for a job and was very unhappy because she hadn’t found people to be very friendly.  Her daughter was in grad school in Dallas and told her she needed to move to Plano, Allen, or McKinney!  I told her I was from McKinney and gave her my contact information so if she came out I would drive her around and show her the area.

She went on and on about how what she’d witnessed was the most uplifting thing she’d seen in a long time.  She’d even thought about visiting the same church service I’d just visited but she thought the restaurant would be closed afterward if she did.  Even the waitress said she felt like crying.  If this woman Pam stays in Atlanta, she now knows Brenda if she goes to church.  If she moves to the Dallas area, she’ll know me.  We’ll see how this plays out.

It was all You, Lord.  I think we had a “divine appointment.”  We never know what a “random act of kindness” can produce.  Lord, we both know I’m no angel! But I pray I produced some good fruit that only comes from You in and through me, not of myself.  I’m blessed and grateful to have had a part in it. 

Matthew 5:16:  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Hebrews 13:16:  But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

1 Corinthians 16:14: Let all that you do be done with love.

Releasing My Artist Self

March 15, 2020   (Post #31)

(From Journal #3:  September 12, 2005)

There’s nothing like cancer to make one reassess our lives about whether we’re fulfilling God’s plan for us?  I know He wants me to paint. I found a wonderful art institute in the town square and began a “beginner’s” art class last week since I’ve not painted in years.  There, I learned about another class I’m joining in a couple of days (that actually started last week) called The Artists’ Way.  I actually already had the book because someone once-upon-a-time had recommended it but I’d never done anything with it.  Isn’t that so like me and so much of my problem?  So many good intentions and desires, but nothing accomplished?

It asks you to do “Morning Pages” which is easy for me because I already journal.The Artists’ Way appears to be a bit like a “12-step AA” program for struggling artists.  That is clearly me; I never have been able to really call myself an artist.  I’ve allowed fear and insecurity to hold me back and make me think I can’t do it, and not qualified or worthy to say, “I am an artist.”  My mind is often my worst foe.  I get off track of what God wants me to do.  I get so overwhelmed by day-to-day “junk” that I never get around to painting.  I feel like a mouse on a wheel; my legs are spinning and I’m working hard but I never get anywhere…

I want and need to feel like I do something that matters. I want to have passion and excitement about my days.  I want to paint beautiful pictures without fear of rejection, without fear of perfection, without fear of any kind.  You have given me part of Your artistic love, but I haven’t fulfilled Your plan.  I want to and choose to!  I believe this class will help me.  I hope to bring You joy by “getting it” and finally allowing You to create beautiful works through my hands on canvas or however You choose.

It’s for Your pleasure, and if others appreciate it, that’s great.  But it’s not for the praises of man I need to pursue.  It’s You I want to bring pleasure and joy to, You! Am I Your canvas, Lord?  If I am to fulfill my purpose and plan I must surrender to You, listen to You, and allow You to show me the way.

Exodus 35:31-32:  …and He has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of artistic workmanship.

Ephesians 2:10:  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Proverbs 22:29:  Do you see a man who excels in his work?  He will stand before kings; he will not stand before unknown men.