Tag Archives: inspiration

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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?

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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 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 🙂

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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.

 

 

2018: A Year For Hope (Week 20)

It’s not something I think much about anymore, but in recent weeks the Lord has brought to my remembrance the great tragedy that was my second marriage. Take courage, male readers – this is not a post trashing the male species. Rather, this post is a reflection upon my own brokenness at the time. For sure, my ex was a terrible person (ever see the movie “The Hand That Rocks The Cradle”? Yea, it was a lot like that). But had I not already been such a walking-talking-emotional-and-spiritual-train-wreck, I would not have been such easy prey.

In fact, I remember saying something along those lines to my sister years after my divorce. Oh, she was so made at me!… because she witnessed all of what he had done first hand, and most siblings would, she hated him for the way he mistreated me and our children. To her ears, my acknowledging I had some part to play in the insanity that took place was akin to giving him a pardon. No so. But we all have to own our stuff, and I brought stuff to the table too.

This is not an easy subject, nor a pleasant remembrance for me. I’d much rather stay focused on HOPE and FAITH and maintaining a positive outlook even in the mist of difficulties. But I am feeling prompted to reveal a little more of my story – in a more complete way than I have in the past via little bits and pieces.

“You said, ‘Now shalt thou see what I will do,’” she answered, and then, looking at him reproachfully, added, “But I never dreamed you would do anything like this! Lead me to an impassable precipice up which nothing can go but deer and goats, when I’m no more like a deer or goat than is a jellyfish. It’s too-it’s too-“ She fumbled for words, and then burst out laughing. “Why, it’s too preposterously absurd! It’s crazy! Whatever will you do next?”

The Shepherd laughed too. “I love doing preposterous things,” he replied. “Why, I don’t know anything more exhilarating and delightful than turning weakness into strength, and fear into faith, and that which has been marred into perfection. If there is one thing more than another which I should enjoy doing at this moment is turning a jellyfish into a mountain goat. That’s my special work,” he added with the light of great joy in his face. “Transforming things – to take Much-Afraid, for instance and to transform her into-“ He broke off and then went on laughingly. “Well, we shall she later on what she finds herself transformed into.”

It was a really extraordinary scene. In the place where just a little while before all had been fear and despair were the Shepherd and Much-Afraid, sitting on the rocks at the food of the impassible precipice, laughing together as though at the greatest joke in the world.”

Hinds Feet on High Places, Hanna Hurnard

My story – and transformation – from a wounded young girl trying to survive a dysfunctional and abusive home, to a young woman looking for love and acceptance in the arms of all the wrong men, to a young wife-turned-single parent desperately trying to rebuild a life, to today. Wow. As I write that, I’m honestly not sure how I’m going to tackle all this. It really is the material for a book or a movie 😊. But that’s not my objective! I just want to share enough of my story so as to encourage others who might be on a similar journey, and I want to give praise and honor to my BIG GOD who transformed me from Jellyfish to Mountain Goat, and from complete brokenness to a woman who learned to Swing Again!

Hope you come back next week to take the journey of remembrance with me.

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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.