Tag Archives: love

You need a “jail break”

What an incredible few weeks!  Once my heart recovered from a recent romantic break-up, I (again) began to seek out what God would have me do in 2019.   Twice last year, writing a book was spoken over me.  That resonates deeply with me, but since I’ve never done it before I put it on the “someday” shelf.  But in recent weeks, some things have happened to re-awaken this desire and prompting.  Hmm.  I’d appreciate your prayers on that.

But today, I’m writing for a friend … actually, a few friends.  You know who you are ❤

Dear friend,

We’ve been talking about your jail cell for a long time.  How hard it is to live there, how stifling and oppressive it is.  You want out, but you feel trapped – bound – unable to escape.

You’ve cried yourself to sleep there countless nights.  You ache to breathe the fresh air and wander open spaces you hear visitors talking about.   Oh, the stories they tell!

Your longing to be free (like them) is so strong that on a few occasions, you actually managed to  leave the confines of your small cell and sneak past the guards to catch a glimpse, a rare and intoxicating taste, of the freedom that belongs to those on the other side of the barbed wire fence.  But the Prison Warden and his Oppressors always manage to drag you back to captivity – and the repetitive and increasing punishment for your attempted escapes have eventually trained you to (more or less) resign yourself to your fate.  You have been charged (justly or unjustly) and found guilty.  You were convicted and sentenced to imprisonment.  You are a captive of the Warden, live with it.

M-W1-cellblock of Norfolk County Jail, Connecticut
Norfolk County Jail, Connecticut

And so you have.  You’ve killed your dreams (well, almost).  You’ve even managed to find slivers of contentment in this life of containment and drudgery.

Does that sound familiar?  I bet we’ve all been there … and more truthfully, we all have places in our lives where we are still imprisoned.  Imprisoned to fear of failure, to someone’s disapproval, to being alone, to self-doubt.

You need a jail break!

Friend, there is a way out, and you can leave that jail cell and be forever set free from the torment of the Prison Warden!!!   But to do so (and not be recaptured again) you’ll need a helper and guide – and His name is Jesus!  He’s has helped thousands upon thousands to escape, and He is easily able to do the same for you!!

Are there areas of your life where you still feel stuck or imprisoned?  Of course there are! Welcome to the human race (grin).   But there is hope, so please come back soon for the next post and an introduction to your Escape Guide, Jesus Christ.

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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.

Spring Cleaning of the Heart

I’ve not been writing much this year – in part because I was unclear if I was to be writing on a particular subject (or using a particular format) like I did in 2018, but also … and perhaps more truthfully, because I was heart weary.

For the first time in many (many!) years, I started dating again. It was delightful, and I’m so grateful for the awakening that took place in my feminine heart during that time. In many ways, I liken it to the re-opening of an old house that hasn’t been lived in for decades. It may look a bit of a mess at first, but as you remove the sheets that covered fine furnishings, polish up the woodwork and light fixtures, etc … your eyes behold a beautiful and inviting home filled with character and memories that welcome you in.

This was my experience. Rooms of my heart have been re-opened, spring-cleaned, and are now ready to welcome the man that has been praying for such a woman as me (just like I’ve been praying for him).

And I learned something amazing about myself through this recent experience of discovering attraction, engaging in vulnerability, lowering the drawbridge of my heart, moderating emotions, engaging in honest communication, and practicing prayerful discernment.

I’m absolutely NOT the woman I was!

That might not mean much to some of you … but if you have read some of my older posts or dared to read my story (see sidebar category), then you know that there was a long season of my life when I was making need-based relationship choices, and those need-based choices nearly were the end of me!

FacelessFather www.puttinghopetowork.com
FacelessFather http://www.puttinghopetowork.com

But this time, I experienced something different!! I experienced dating from the place of emotional health and wholeness!!

I’ve never done that before! Ever! (seriously, ever!!)

“Better late than never’ they say, and at 58 years old I finally dated without handing over my value and worth to be weighed and measured by another person (as I have done countless times in the past). Instead of offering my Identity (worth and value) to a person … my Identity remained nested throughout my river-walk with this gentleman in whom the Lord says I am His beloved, His daughter, His bride.

“I will lift up my eyes [and my heart] to the hills, from where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.”

Psalm 121: 1-2 (MEV)

What a delight to my soul and spirit!!! To experience the transformation that I have worked so hard for all these years!! Not that I’ve ever run a marathon (and believe you me, I never will!), but I imagine it’s kind of like the difference between training for one, and actually placing in one!

“I Lift My Heart To The Hills” http://www.puttinghopetowork.com

God is so good, isn’t He?! If we will just keep with Him, keep surrendering to His gentle regenerating and healing work within us, He is faithful to complete the work He has begun!! Amen and so be it!

If you have had a similar epiphany or experience, I’d love to hear about it. So, I’m sure would others.

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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 (Watercolor Reveal)

I had trouble sleeping last night. Or maybe I just woke super early. In any case, as soon as it became obvious I wasn’t going back to sleep anytime soon, I decided to get up and try a little painting.

When I started working on the word picture for this blog series, I had a vision in my head/heart of what I wanted it to look like. It was to be a reflection of not only of what a dear loved one spoke over me, but also of my own heart as related to season I’ve been going through.

And over the many attempts, the word picture began to take shape … to the point that I started sharing it in this blog series. But I still wasn’t very happy with it.

So this morning, instead of trying to finish the existing watercolor, I decided to try something new.
This is the “work in process”, begun January 2018.

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untitled, PHTW, 1/15/18

And this is what I painted today. It just flowed so easily. I am really pleased with it and feel that it represents exactly what I wanted to put on paper.

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The Perfume Bottle, PuttingHopeToWork.com, 03/15/18

In my next blog post, I’ll write about the inspiration and what it means to me. And then I’ll start working on my next word-picture, which is already being birthed in my imagination!

In the mean time, I’d love to hear what this word picture speaks to your heart. Please feel free to comment below.

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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 11)

I recently shared a dream I had a few weeks back. If you haven’t read it, you might want to take a moment to do so (here) so that you have the background for this quote.

“Don’t smell another man’s offerings.”

I’ve been thinking about that phrase a lot. Of course, that first morning I just scratched my head in confusion as if to say : “Seriously Lord? What in the world is that supposed to mean?”

But over the next few days, I began to get some clarity.

“My dearest brothers and sisters, take this to heart: Be quick to listen, but slow to speak. And be slow to become angry, for human anger is never a legitimate tool to promote God’s righteous purpose. So this is why we abandon everything morally impure and all forms of wicked conduct. Instead, with a sensitive spirit we absorb God’s Word, which has been implanted within our nature, for the Word of Life has power to continually deliver us. Don’t just listen to the Word of Truth and not respond to it, for that is the essence of self-deception. So always let this Word become like poetry written and fulfilled by your life! If you listen to the Word and don’t live out the message you hear, you become like the person who looks in the mirror of the Word to discover the reflection of his face in the beginning. You perceive how God sees you in the mirror of the Word, but then you go out and forget your divine origin.” James 1:23-25 (Passion)

I recently discussed with friends how God will use Scripture to mirror back to us the reflection of who we are … both in compliment to, but also in contrast to what the Bible says we are to be as Christ-followers. And sure enough, my time in the Word began to challenge my internal thoughts, and I recognized that without intention I’d been walking around with my nose up in the air!

I may have looked freshly groomed on the outside, but on the inside my face was dirt-smudged from entertaining thoughts like:

  • Are they really doing that for God, or do they have ulterior motives? (sniff, sniff, sniff!)
  • Their heart is in the right place, but I think I could have done a better job at that. (sniff, sniff, sniff!)
  • Doesn’t the Bible say that we are not supposed to do that? (sniff, sniff, sniff!)
  • If that were me, I would have done it differently. (sniff, sniff, sniff!)

Sometimes I really DISLIKE looking in the mirror because what I see is … well …. it is ugly! Jealousy. Pride. Envy. Contempt. Pettiness. Fear. And the list goes on.

(pausing in case you want to “unsubscribe” from this blog, now that you know the kind of junk I deal with on a regular basis).

And over the course of the next several days, with tremendous love and tenderness, the Lord revealed that I had allowed seeds of jealousy to take root towards my co-laborers. Instead of celebrating them and their successes, I was examining them under the microscope to determine if I approved of their methods or not. But who was I to judge the methods and intensions of another of God’s children! In other words, “Don’t sniff another man’s offering.”

“Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.” Romans 14:4

Not only was my internal mindset not reflective of God’s heart, but my unloving and judgmental attitudes were interfering with my prayer life!! Oh, I was still praying. Earnestly. But since FAITH works by LOVE (Galatians 5:6, read more here), cultivating an unloving behavior in my spirit was gradually eating away at the integrity of my FAITH in God’s Word.

How could I have Bible-HOPE believing God for provision for my needs when I was also cultivating an attitude of jealousy over God’s meeting the needs of another!

Or how could I practice Bible-HOPE (confident trust and expectation) for God to honor my sincere desire to be used by Him to bless and encourage others (i.e. you!) in their Christian walk when I was at the same time critiquing the ministry of my brothers and sisters in Christ.

(Sigh.)

But oh, what a loving Father we have! If we will just spend some time with Him, He will graciously point out when we have spinach in our teeth and schmutz all over our face. And then He will help clean us up so that He can send us back out to represent His radiant beauty to a watching world!

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untitled, PHTW, 1/15/18

I’d love to hear your comments on this subject … even if just to say you’re not going to un-subscribe. 🙂

Be blessed!

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Does God ever speak to you in word-pictures? My prayer is that the humble paintings contained in my blog posts will speak something unique to your heart/spirit. I would be honored to know how they move or impact you.

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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.

Only You!

I can’t stand it – I have to get this out!  Not all of it, because the story isn’t quite yet ready to tell … but I’m about to explode, so I’m going to share the next best thing!

This song came to me (approx. 2003) after a similar OMG experience!  OMG as in “Sweet Lord Jesus, why do you love me so much as to do that for me?” kind of thing!  And from the outpouring of gratitude from that OMG experience, this song came out of my heart and I’ve been singing it since to Him for years.

Only You
Written by Jenny Hopewell

Only You would do something like this Lord
Only You would do something like this Lord
For You are faithful, and you are good
And You look after Your children, like a good Daddy should
Only You, Only You would do something like this Lord
For me