The Garden Spot of the Soul (AYFH wk 46)

It was 2013.  I was working at a company that I hated.   Or more accurately, it was the practices and philosophies of the management team that I objected to.  Foul language.  Temper tantrums.  Verbally berating employees.  To put it simply, I was miserable and it showed, in my actions and in my words.

Until the day that God cleared His throat.

“Ehh-hem!”

Let me explain.

Still single after divorcing “Mr T” some 20-years earlier, at age 50 I legally changed my last name to HOPEWELL … a name whispered to me by God, and which serves as a daily reminder to me to “hope well”.   (pretty cool, huh?)

In 2011, I was part of a downsizing event.  It was the first time in my working career that I’d ever been “let go” and it stung.  Thankfully, when it happened I was smack dab in the midst of a FAITH-quest, feeding and feasting on everything I could get my hands on that had to do with learning how to speak FAITH vs FEAR.   So when I was notified that Friday that my services were no longer needed, I calmly packed my belongings, and drove home speaking declarations like:

  • You know all my needs Lord, and I refuse to give way to fear about this.
  • Thank you Father, in advance, for the new job that You are preparing for me.
  • Every need that I have is met in you, Jesus.  I trust you to take care of me.

“The Word that’s abiding in you, that’s alive in you, is the Word that talks to you.  It’s the Word that leads you moment-by-moment as you go about your day.  The abiding Word will come up in your heart, much like words and notes of a familiar song might spontaneously run through your mind.”  ~Gloria Copeland, Putting Your Words To Work

The following Monday, I grabbed my ipod and went for a walk around the neighborhood -listening to Podcast after Podcast teaching on the principals of speaking words of faith over fear, saying what God says about any given situation, and the power of God’s words spoken out of my mouth with believing faith.   Over the following weeks, I’d walk and listen and build up my confidence in God’s ability to meet my needs in spite of negative looking circumstances.  And only after I felt appropriately filled up  –meaning my faith was built up sufficiently to swallow up feelings of fear and anxiety-  I’d come home and resume my job search.  As weeks turned into months, there were days that I’d log 6-10 miles around the neighborhood before I’d be ready to resume my job search.   And just before the money ran out, I got a new job!!

I started that job with such enthusiasm, strongly desiring to honor God in that position by being more bold about my faith at work.  By the end of my first week there, I had decorated my cubicle with calendars and posters that clearly identified me as a woman of faith and power.  I was going to do great things for God at that company!

The Word that’s in you in abundance is also the Word you hear coming out of your mouth, for “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”. (Luke 6:45) … To conquer the challenges of the world, the flesh and the devil, you must have the spiritual strength within you that only the engrafted Word can provide.  You have to be so established in the Word that it automatically rises up within you in a moment of crisis.”

Sadly, by late 2013,  I’d taken most of those posters down.  I knew I wasn’t being a very good representative for Christ, but I honestly hated going to work -hated the way they treated people -hated the way they treated me -and that hatred had corrupted my mouth to such an extent that instead of speaking God’s words over the situation all I did was gripe and grumble and mutter to myself (pretty much from 8-5pm) about how much I hated my job.  You get the idea.

“Ehh-hem!   You are not living up to your name.”

I love when God speaks to me, but it’s no fun to be on the receiving end of His correction.  It was as though He held up a mirror, and my heart sunk at the reflection being returned to me.   Gone was the woman of faith and power, replaced by a woman of paste and flour.  Resentful and hard-hearted, critical of others and pridefully self-righteous.   I was representing the exact opposite of a woman who “hoped well”, and unless I wanted God to change my name to “Miss Pissy Pants” I knew what I had to do.

  1. I had to forgive.  period.  end of story.
  2. I had to change my attitude.

And I was going to start by changing my words.

I’ll be honest – it was hard!  Especially at the beginning!!!  So to help keep me on track, I taped to my desk (just below my keyboard, so that only I could see it) a little affirmation based on a quote I’d heard from Charles Capps.  When frustration threatened to overwhelm me, and I was tempted to gripe and grumble and internally cuss people out (*sigh*), I would instead make myself breathe and thank God that He was preparing for me “a perfect, well paying, and satisfying job”.

It didn’t happen overnight … but my heart changed … and relationships healed … and I regained a level of Christian influence with my colleagues … and then …. well, I’ll write about that next week when I reveal the finished painting.  (I’m so excited!!)

 

 

I still wrestle with discouragement.  I still have to guard my mouth.  And recently, the Lord is reminding me that “keeping silent” can be as destructive as speaking “careless words”.  Hmmm.

“As for me, this is my covenant with them”, says the Lord.

“My spirit, who is on you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth…..”    (Isaiah 59:21)

If you would like to learn more about what the Bible has to say about the power of words, may I suggest this 31-day devotional  “Putting Your Words to Work”, Gloria Copeland    She is one of my favorite Bible teachers (probably because she reminds me so very much of my beloved Aunt Mac <3).

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All sketches and watercolors posted on this website are the sole property of the author and are for exclusive display on the website PuttingHopeToWork.com.

 

 

The Garden Spot of the Soul (AYFH wk 45)

I’m embarrassed to say that there was a time in my life (late teens-early 20’s) that I had quite a mouth on me.  No, I didn’t have a potty mouth (my mom would have literally washed my mouth out with soap  … and my perspective of God was that He was listening up there in heaven and would score me ‘negative points’ for cussing).  Instead, I had a mean mouth.  I knew how to use words to cut someone down to the quick in 3.5 seconds flat.   I was actually kind of proud of that – how skilled I could be with my words – and if you crossed me (especially in the work place) you were probably going to be on the receiving end of some pretty mean-spirited words, skillfully crafted to inflict pain and let you know (in no uncertain terms) not to mess with me again.

*sigh*

I’ve already written (see My Story category) about my abusive second marriage.  So I guess it was Mr. “T” that really helped me to understand how much words can hurt a soul.  As a result, I became a little more thoughtful about my speech.   Instead of just blurting out all the venomous words bubbling up, I learned to shut my mouth and first process my feelings/emotions … and then once I had control over my mouth (or at least thought I did), I would then try to speak my feelings.   Good practice in life, but unfortunately doesn’t accomplish much good when you’re married to an abusive sociopath.   Still, I learned some valuable lessons about the power of words during my almost 10-year marriage to him.

*sigh*

Garden Spot (rough sketch) www.puttinghopetowork.com)
Garden Spot (rough sketch) http://www.puttinghopetowork.com

A single mom by age 31, my two young daughters provided me many (many) opportunities to practice managing my mouth. Countless opportunities to instill in their hearts the truth that words carry with them the power to build someone up or to tear them down … and our house rules (in my house, at least), were to speak kindly.

But it wasn’t until my 50’s that I began to study what the Bible says about the power of words.

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I’ve been working on my painting – and as I consider what the “Garden Spot of the Soul” might look like, I can’t help but imagine what the Adam and Eve might have experienced during their walks with God ‘in the cool of the day’.  (Genesis 3:8-9)

“In the beginning, God placed everything that man could use and enjoy in the Garden.  God saw to it Adam lacked nothing.  He lacked no good thing.  He was created in the image of God Himself, leaving nothing to be desired.

God furnished Adam with companionship, ability, abundance, and a kingdom.  He told Adam to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, subdue it and have dominion over every living creature.  Adam was the master of the Garden, and God was the master of Adam.  God’s man was free in every way!”

God designed a world in which His highest creation, mankind, would live in community with Him.   And similar to how God used His creative power to create time, space, and everything that was created (John 1:1-3), Adam was given a level of creative power in order to subdue and have dominion over a portion of God’s creation.   And the way that Adam exercised that power was through words … the very same mechanism that God used to speak the galaxies into existence.

“The Sower sows the word”   Mark 4:14

Adam’s words had power.  Power for Life and Blessing.   Power for Death and Cursing.

“He (Adam) knew no bondage until that fatal day when …

Every phase of Adam’s life came under the curse of his new god, Satan. He was driven from the Garden; abundance was no longer his to enjoy. He had to toil and sweat in order to survive. His beautiful life was overrun with thorns and thistles both in the physical world and in the spiritual world.”

And there we have it … the entrance of thorns and thistles.  They were brought into being by negative and contrary words spoken by Adam and Eve (words that don’t say what God says and don’t agree with God’s declared will), thus sowing seeds of death and cursing instead of seeds of life and blessing.

*sigh*

"Garden Spot" (work in process) www.puttinghopetowork.com
“Garden Spot” (work in process) http://www.puttinghopetowork.com

 

I quickly snapped this picture to show my progress – the lighting is poor and clearly I’ve a long ways left to go.  But I’m trying to lay colors down in layers this time – to take it slow and let it evolve naturally.  Hopefully I can keep this going without having to start over again.  We’ll see. 🙂

Excerpts quoted are from the book “God’s Will Is Prosperity” by Gloria Copeland.

 

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All sketches and watercolors posted on this website are the sole property of the author and are for exclusive display on the website PuttingHopeToWork.com.

 

 

 

 

How to Reap a Harvest — Lorri Dudley

“Leave a place better than you found it.” Ever since I heard this piece of wisdom from author and speaker, Joe McGee, I’ve repeated it a hundred times, and my kids may roll their eyes when we’re leaving a fast food restaurant, or someone’s house, or the church, but I interpret it to mean I’m…

via How to Reap a Harvest — Lorri Dudley

I have known Lorri and her family for many years. Love her family! Love her heart! Love her blog!

Enjoy.

The Garden Spot of the Soul (AYFH wk 44)

I’ve been pondering some of my favorite Charles Capps quotes this week.

Speaking God's Word
Charles Capps Ministries
God's Word is Creative Power
Charles Capps Ministries

 

Of course, we all hear things from the background of our own understanding and experiences. About 20 years ago, I had a good friend who got ‘turned on’ to the Word of Faith movement.

Having grown up in a more traditional church upbringing, so much of what he said sounded … well … kind of ridiculous to me at the time.   Like the time he was practically purple with the flu, yet was declaring himself healed and well.

(errr … Buddy … you don’t LOOK healed and well to me!) 🙂

But when my granddaughter was diagnosed with an incurable condition about 8 years ago, my world got turned upside down and my more traditional and conservative religious upbringing got challenged. Big time!

Your Words Frame Your Future
Charles Capps Ministries

In the end, I set aside what I thought I knew that God said in the Bible, and starting digging and studying for myself what He actually said.   And ultimately, I made a decision.  I decided that I was going to agree with what God said instead of holding onto my own opinion of what I think He said or think He ought to have said.  And Charles Capps (and several other teachers) had a lot to do with my making that decision.

Garden Spot (rough sketch) www.puttinghopetowork.com)
Garden Spot (rough sketch) http://www.puttinghopetowork.com

“The only thing some people know about the Bible is what they though they heard somebody say they thought they heard somebody say.”   ~Charles Capps

Hmmm…..

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All sketches and watercolors posted on this website are the sole property of the author and are for exclusive display on the website PuttingHopeToWork.com.

 

 

 

Because Inspiration is Everywhere!

I’ve you’ve been reading my PuttingHopeToWork for very long, you may recall that we launched the Inspire! Art product line in June 2018 because we wanted a way to reach beyond the boundaries of PHTW to bring a bit of hope and inspiration others.

How are we doing that?

Thank you for your prayers, shares and continued support.  Praying you truly are blessed in every way! ❤

Jenny, aka Miss Hope
PuttingHopeToWork/InspireArt/

Inspire! Art 22-pc watercolor brush pens
Buy Direct and Save at http://www.puttinghopetowork.com/inspireart/

also-available-at-amazon

#puttinghopetowork #InspireArt #InspireArt_phtw #watercolorbrushpen #watercolorart #sketching #dogoodthings #givingback #brushpen #watercolorillustration

 

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