Tag Archives: encouragement

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.

~~~~

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.

 

===========

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 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…..

===========

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 43)

I need to change my vocabulary.  I’ve been under some pressure lately (I bet you have too), and at the beginning, I was managing the pressure with a fair amount of grace … or at least I think I was.  By my standards I was, lol.

But over time, things can wear on a soul … right?   And without my noticing, pressure gradually deflated hope like helium in a birthday balloon gradually looses its power to lift.   I still felt hopeful – tired, and worn, but still hopeful for God’s promises to be fulfilled.

But then I started listening to myself.

Good News Translation
“A good person brings good out of the treasure of good things in his heart;
a bad person brings bad out of his treasure of bad things.
For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
(Luke 6:45)

And my mouth tattled on me!

My words revealed the condition of my heart.  My words were sowing seeds of fear and worry that had begun to eat away at my confidence in the promises of God.

YIPES! 

I’ve got weeds in my garden!!

Here’s an interesting thought.  Did you know that you believe what you say more than you believe what anyone else says?  I’m serious!  Just think about it.

What you believe you speak (Luke 6:45)
What you speak you believe (Romans 10:17

I love how blogger Mel Wild of “In My Father’s House” puts it in his post entitled Who You Say I Am:  “The greatest forces set against you and me are not principalities and powers but the belief systems we hold between our ears. These include arguments and everything else that exalts itself against the knowledge of God (2 Cor.10:3-5).”  (I highly encourage you to read the full post!!)

Jesus explains to us in Luke 17 that faith is like a seed.   Positive faith is a seed.  Negative faith is a seed too.   And the way you plant that seed is through your words.

 “If you had faith like a seed, you would say ….” (Luke 17:6)

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

A closer examination of my speech revealed that I’ve actually been planting seeds of fear and doubt in my heart … and those little seeds were starting to grow and choke out my hope-filled faith.

Thankfully, I know how to uproot those weeds of fear and doubt that are growing in the garden spot of my heart … and the first step is to put a guard over my mouth and not speak of the things that I fear.  Step two is to open my mouth and speak of the things desired.

If I have hope-filled faith (positive belief and expectation in the power, willingness and character of God to fulfill His promises) … like a seed (the implement by which positive or negative beliefs are planted in the garden spot of my heart/spirit) … I would say ……

Say what?

Say the thing desired. 

It sounds so simple, but there is nothing “simple” about it.   And it’s something I continually wrestle with.

“The greatest forces set against you and me are not principalities and powers but the belief systems we hold between our ears.”

Have you ever been surprised by the words that you heard coming out of your mouth?  What did you do about it?

===========

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 42)

All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

~”Beautiful Things”, Gungor

Good news!  I’ve officially wrapped up my testimony!  Hurray!!!!  I never intended to share it in the way I did, nor did I think doing so would impact others (let alone myself) the way it did.  God is so kind, and so faithful!  If we will allow Him, He truly will take our very worst experiences – even those things we are most ashamed of – and rework them into something that is beautiful.

So now what?

The end of last year, I was actually considering shutting down this blog.  After all, I’d not been writing regularly throughout 2016 or 2017, and as a result there wasn’t much of a readership.  And of course, there is really nothing particularly special about me that people should want to read my ramblings :).  So I asked the Lord if I should (could) shut it down.  He simply replied “I didn’t instruct you to do that.”  Hmm.

So that resulted in my committing to write one (1) post weekly throughout 2018.  This is post 42!  Time flies, but there are still 10 weeks left.  Hmm.

“The sower (farmer) sows the Word.”  Mark 4:14

"Word Seed"  www.puttinghopetowork.com
“Word Seed” http://www.puttinghopetowork.com

I think the best things to write about come from our own life stories – either what’s currently happening in our lives (i.e. what we’re learning or trying to learn) or from our past (what we’ve experienced and hopefully learned something from).

 

HOPE:  desire
accompanied
by confident expectation

 

I’m currently refreshing on the importance of speaking HOPE-filled words.

“As for Me”, says the LORD, “this is my covenant with them:

“My Spirit who is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants descendants” says the LORD, “from this time and forevermore.”  ~Isaiah 59:21

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

These Scriptures and others are what inspired the above sketch. Now for the hard part -to paint it!  You all know that I’m only a beginner, so it will be interesting to see how closely the finished piece resembles the sketching.  Time will tell 🙂

I hope you’ll join me as I allow the Lord to remind me what He has to say about the words that I allow to come out of my mouth.   And I’ll share updates to the artwork as it evolves.

powerofwords

PS – From this point on, I’m going to try to keep my posts short (err … shorter). I promise 🙂

===========

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.

 

 

Morning Sip

On of my treasured memories from my tweens and teens was walking down the hall in the morning to see my mom sitting in her favorite chair, Bible on her lap, and cup of coffee on the side table.

My next most treasured memory is the remembrance of her voice singing hymns in the kitchen as she worshiped her Lord and Savior while washing dishes.

It was late 1986 that we all drove up to visit my family in Oregon, and staying several nights with my mom. It felt so wonderful to walk down the hall again in the morning to see her reading her Bible while sipping coffee. It was so nurturing to my spirit to listen to her softly sing while cleaning house.

While out with my sisters, I found a small book in a consignment shop that reminded me of my mom. Published in 1889, the book is a collection of poems inspired by Scripture and is entitled “Fullness of Joy” by Cecilia Havergal and others. I gave the book to her as a thank you for letting us stay, and I wrote on the inside cover:

“Dear Mom,
Thank you for opening your house to “T” and I and the kids during our visit. You’re a wonderful mother, and an even better friend. I love you, your daughter, Jenny”

When my mom passed, this book was found amongst her things and returned to me as a remembrance.

But now when I hold it, I feel a tear in my heart … for not only does it remind me of the occasion when she loved me in 1986, but it also reminds me of the first time she disowned me as her daughter. I know that the onset of dementia was at least a contributing factor to her increasing mean-spiritedness in her later years. It’s as though in the fog of dementia, she lost her ability to “filter” out the venom in her heart when crossed or otherwise angered.

“So the LORD answers, ‘Can a woman forget her own baby and not love the child she bore? Even if a mother should forget her child, I will never forget you.'” ~Isaiah 49:15 (GNT)

For those of us who have had parents that have wounded us in word or in action, let us not ascribe their shortcomings and failures to the character of God, our Heavenly Father. Where human love fails, God’s love never fails and it never gives up (or abandons)!

And true to His Word, God brought people into my life who would fill those gaps in my soul and spirit – spiritual parents, mothers and fathers, I’ve many of them over the years. The love and nurture that my own parents were unable to give because of their own brokenness, others gave me – teaching and training me (healing me) so that in time I could be a better parent to my own children.

He will do the same for you!

“God places lonely people in families. He leads prisoners out of prison into productive lives..” ~Psalm 68:6 (God’s Word Translation)

Thank you Daddy-God, that Your love is unconditional and utterly unshakeable. You are a kind and loving Father to the parent-less (fatherless / motherless), and You place the orphaned into new families!

Morning Sips