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All posts for the month December, 2016

Chillin’ With Bob Ross

Published December 28, 2016 by Dawn

I’ve finally found someone who shares the same interests as myself to chill with. Bob Ross! I love the guy. I also love his paintings. He works magic on a canvas in half-hour increments, and it’s amazing to watch. Netflix has won my heart with this one.

I’m often confounded while I watch him work, because of his color choices and his brush choices, the way he layers paint and makes accentuations that no one may ever see when he is finished.  Not that I know a whole lot about painting … I thought I did, but the truth is, my paintings never work out quite as well as Bob Ross’s paintings, so I digress – he’s the master.

As I watch his videos, I often wonder aloud, “What is he doing?” I’ve watched him mix purples and browns together to paint trees, blend yellow, orange, and purple to create winter skies, and use a scraper to “paint” rocks and mountains. “Bob! What are you doing?”

Twenty minutes later, I sit speechless. Bob Ross stands in front of a majestic painting of landscapes and everything suddenly makes sense. I can’t question his methods because his work end up perfect every time.

Chillin’ with Bob Ross has given me a whole new perspective on life. After all, I’m not the expert. I spend a lot of time questioning God’s methods. “What are you doing? How does that make sense? Why are you doing it that way?!” But I can’t deny His results. All that He has ever done has been good. In the middle of His work, I can’t always make sense of His methods but I have begun to assure myself, “God knows what He is doing. He’s the master.” I know that one day, I will sit speechless before Him as He shows me the masterpiece that He has created of all the little things I can’t make sense of now. I can’t wait!

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Zoloft didn’t do it, God did!

Published December 7, 2016 by Dawn

Can I just testify for a moment?

These last few months have been hard on my family. Worse for my son than for the rest of us. With today being the culmination of all the heartache, he set his sights on this day months ago and told me he wasn’t going to even get out of bed today. As I watched his emotions derail, my prayer life leveled up. God, this is your son. It’s time to take over. I need you to get him through this time because I can’t. I became a desperate beggar at the feet of Christ many times a day over the last few weeks, interceding fervently for my children.

Two days ago, I made the necessary plans and took time off work. My son was throwing out both verbal and nonverbal cues that I could expect today to be a day of deep sorrow and grief. I took one day off to prepare myself, and today off to be with my son.

He ditched me.

I took my daughter to school this morning, grabbed his favorite breakfast from a drive-through and headed home determined to fight sadness with some good ole’ fashioned love and attention. I pulled up outside my house and before I could put the car in park, he was sitting in the seat next to me, fully dressed and ready to go to school.

What just happened?

I looked at him and smiled. “Hey, what’s up?”

“I’m going to go to school. I’m going to be happy today.”

Let me shed some clarity for you: I was prepared to medicate my child to get him through this day! Apparently, God just needed him alone for a few minutes. In the short time I left to take my daughter to school, my son had grabbed on to a very mature decision and changed the trajectory of his entire day.

I have spent years worrying about the people my children will become. Their earthly parentage sends shivers up my spine, and in a case of nature vs. nurture, I’ve always worried it might be a losing situation either way. When they were little, I prayed over them every day, “God, if you are my Husband (Isaiah 54:5), then you are their Father. Help me raise them!”

I’ve been terrified since then too, that I am going to fail my children. I am fully aware that my battle between my spirit and my flesh happens in full display before my kids. Home-life casts me as very hypocritical. When this battle started, a whole new level of flesh vs. the spirit happened and I watched flesh deliver blow after blow, wreaking havoc on an already fragile witness before my kids.

Yet here I sit, completely dumbfounded at this sudden turn of events. His decision to be happy in spite of dreadful circumstances is so unlike me. I’m not that strong. In fact, I have resorted lately to simply quoting scriptures instead of giving real thought-filled advice because I suddenly recognize how little wisdom I actually have when it comes to some things. So when he turned to me two days ago and said, “Mom, I’m scared,” I looked over at him and replied, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power and of love and a sound mind.” I also rattled off a few others that bubbled up out of my desperate mommy heart because that’s all that I have to give right now.

My kid went to school today. He wasn’t going to, but he did. Not because of anything I said but because His Father spoke a word in my absence that put demons to flight, broke chains of bondage and set a captive free. Zoloft didn’t do it, God did. HALLELUJAH!!

Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me

Published December 6, 2016 by Dawn

“I have learned to kiss the wave that slams me into the Rock of Ages.”

                                                                                                                -C.H. Spurgeon

 

It isn’t a gentle lolling thing, it is a tempestuous monster. Gentle things don’t slam you. Mountainous, raging things slam you. They rock you to your core, throwing you around like the mud that you are. They make you forget that you are solid.

You break.

I found this quote today while scrolling through Pinterest in search of adequate expressions to quantify the last few months of my life. I’m clinging to the Rock at this moment, aware that to let go is to drown in the circumstances. I didn’t swim to this Rock, I was slammed into it by circumstances I can’t control. At this point, I can hardly even control myself. I may be holding to this Rock, but the storm is raging and I am hanging desperately to Him while my body thrashes helplessly about in the waves.

I’m not strong, so my grip is not solid. This wave pulls me away again and again, drags me out away from the comfort and safety of the cleft, but over and over slams me into the Rock of Ages.

This storm has taken all surety. I am no longer certain of anything other than the steadfastness of this Rock and the determination to hold on to Him. I feel hopelessly tossed in all that I know or ever considered to be true excepting this one thing: I can hold on to this Rock and He’s not moving.

I feel truly blessed here. Not because of the assaulting waves of life, but because they have cast me into the only position that brings peace: I am helpless at the Savior’s feet. As I worshipped at the altar this week from a place of surrender and brokenness, telling God to be glorified in the place I have fought so hard to keep from accepting, I heard His Spirit whisper, Glorify me now. This is what is means to be blessed and highly favored.

Suddenly, His definition of blessed dawned on me and I realized that we’ve had it all wrong. Where once I saw material gain as being the epitome of God’s pleasure pouring out on us, I now see God’s adoring smile because in my brokenness, I have chosen to cling to Him. He calls me blessed because He trusted me with something so monumental. Not things, but a message of comfort from a dark place that someone else might need. God entrusted that to me. His favor is in the message that others will hear, even though right now it hurts. This storm is knocking me about, bruising me and breaking me. Tearing through my flesh and hurling me again and again into the side of Christ. It hurts, but I have found where I belong. This cut, made by a soldier’s spear so long ago, was chiseled into His flesh so that one day, I might hide there and be safe from the storms of life. Rock of Ages, cleft for me. Let me hide myself in Thee.

I am certain of this one enduring truth: we belong there. That cut was made right beneath the heart of Christ. We belong there, next to His beating heart. Its rhythm is a tonic of peace we will never know unless we’ve been pressed into His side. It’s rapturous. Paul’s injunction to glory in our sufferings never made sense until now. How can we? Suffering is so hard. To rejoice in it is utterly impossible. Unless you’ve been there, nestled under his heart, lulled by the beating of His love for you. To glorify Him then is so normal. I have found it’s all I was made for. Everything else has suddenly become a chasing after the wind. Praising Him has become a weapon of my warfare. I can be here, nestled in the cleft, and reflect His adoration back toward His loving gaze, thoroughly enraging the enemy without fear because I am safe in His arms.

Oh! Beloved of God, surrender to the waves and allow yourself to be slammed into the Rock. Cling to our Rock. He is a mighty fortress and shield. Crawl into the cleft and be sheltered. Adore our Lord because He alone is worthy of all praise. Be blessed and highly favored there. Surely you know by now that the enemy doesn’t relent. He can only be defeated. Not by you or I because we are powerless. By our great and mighty King, who delivers all who delight in Him. Find your delight in the Rock of Ages and be delivered. In Jesus’ name, amen.