My sentimental journey

An ordinary girl's walk with an extraordinary God.


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Brushstrokes of Transformation

Woman On Ladder Painting House

Our house was in dire need of painting, for one, heavy Oregon precipitation had left its’ calling card in the form of algae, firmly imbedding into the crevices of the cedar shake siding. Not wanting to show favorites, the algae blanketed the lower lying hardiplank boards on our 540 sq ft. addition. Unfortunately, unlike the inventive “folks” or should I say “volks” of Hamburg Germany, we were unable to harness the power of algae creating stunning architecture and a reliable energy source.Fearing power washing would harm the delicate 1940’s portion of the house it became apparent that a trip to the paint store was a necessary destination. Finally gathering the materials required for this much needed TLC. Over the years our humble abode had patiently waited as we grappled with finances, illness, loss, depression and grief. Internal storms battered the occupants, while the exterior suffered years of wear and tear.
Now paint brush in hand it dawned on us how much we dreaded this task even more now than 12yrs ago when we last painted the exterior. If our enthusiasm were to be described as a paint sheen we would be labeled as Flat! Relief from our dull and lackluster attitude came by conjuring up mental images of what our completed results would look like. Mindfully staying focused on the goal which felt oh so many gallons of paint away!
What we longed for would take muscle, grit and tenacity. Getting from point A to B usually requires work and it does not help that my painting skills rival Lucille Ball’s clumsy antics. By all accounts it appears that I have been cut from the same cloth; surely Lucy and I share a blood line.
However, if there is indeed no relational ties with Lucy, it goes without saying my mother and I cozily were two peas in a pod when it came to painting. Our expertise (cough, cough) being something to behold. She probably looked down from Heaven elbowing Jesus and proudly saying, “that’s my girl “. Whether it was watching me get my hair stuck in a rose bush, or dropping a paint tray on the one and only uncovered portion of our deck. Most likely, her loudest side splitting laughter came when I gave myself a wedgie not once but twice as my shorts got hooked on a Rhodie bush, while descending the ladder with a paint tray in hand. My only saving grace was behind the large Rhododendron as it somewhat shielded me with its’ prolific foliage. It’s the least it could do after giving me the two biggest whopper wedgies ever!
In the end… no pun intended, as the house stands gloriously completed and the last paint brush rinsed clean… I can almost hear Jesus and mom saying, “Yeap, that’s our girl” all with the familiar tone of love, acceptance and grace.
Transformations for the better… has the potential to get our knickers in a knot making us uncomfortable in the process. Whether it’s chipping away at pesky bad habits, sanding off rough edges of unforgiveness, or rerouting deeply imbedded wrong thinking. We can find ourselves needing to exercise spiritual muscles of discipline, and walking out tenacious faith with God energized perseverance.
Slowly we begin to see the beauty in the process, stepping from one form of glory into a new level of glory. Keeping our eyes on the prize while striking the match that ignites fires of change. Reminding ourselves that the end result will be worth the time and investment it took for radical transformation.
Thank you Lord, for your brushstrokes of mercy over our battered lives… as fresh starts, clean slates and forgiveness wash over our stains of deeply imbedded regret and shame. Thank you Heavenly Father that no matter what has happened in our lives your word has promised that Your love covers all transgressions. That is the best coverage of all!
“Love covers all transgression” Proverbs 10:12


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Door Closed ?… Paint It !

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A refreshing breeze brushed my cheeks as I lounged on our back porch in a comfy camping chair. Birds chirping joyously encircled around and about our property, harmoniously singing their cheerful praises amidst the dull hum of freeway noise in the distance.

Journal in hand I was ready to pour out my heart to God and listen to what He had to say to me. What do you want me to do Lord I asked Him? This seems to be a frequent question I ask Him a lot lately. Kids are grown, mom is gone, brother’s dementia increasing and unresolved extended family conflict… my world has drastically changed as I once knew it.

A few reoccurring questions bounce around, do I go back to work after 22 years of not being part of the work force?; do I need to spend more time writing? What should I do with the extra time I have. Wanting to hear some answers from God to my perplexing questions while my eyes soaked up the garden sites. The end of May never fails to unveil its’ fullness and beauty after winter’s bleak hibernation. Purple and white Irises bloom profusely around the glistening pond while gold fish darted within, pink roses climbing vigorously around our black rod iron abhor leading to our shed; perfectly framing our freshly painted door observed from my relaxing vantage point.

Rather pleased with the new color and eager to see how this “Surf Spray Blue” would one day compliment the “Woodlawn Sterling Blue” house color, of which my husband and I agreed upon. Gazing at the door, thoughts floated into my mind like drifting clouds. One being, how amazing it is that one little jar of paint can make such a difference. My next  thought wandered to this quote:

“When God closes a door He opens a window”. Experiencing mixed feelings twenty-six years ago when I first read it on a wall plaque while working in the gift dept. at Christian Supply. How invigorating the thought of an open window where light and fresh air transforms a space. On the flip side, a closed door can feel claustrophobic and confining.

My immature faith hinged on my limited perceptions of God. Now years later and many “Closed Doors” in between I see the blessing is in, not crossing thresholds I was never meant to. God’s protective boundary lines drawn in pleasant places, revealing His exceedingly great and precious promises. So… what do we do with a door that God closed? I say let’s paint it! Changing the image and how we view it. With a brush stroke of thankfulness that it did not open, covering it with a new coat of fresh perspective, producing a dynamic makeover for one’s soul. Consoled by the truth that God always closes doors for a reason, sometimes we are privy to the reasons, why other times it remains a mystery. While knowing there is one door that God wants to always remain open… and that is the door to our hearts. Rev.3:20 says, “Behold I stand at the door and knock, if anyone opens the door I will enter and dine with him and he will dine with me .” Being by far the the best “open door” you will ever know …

Psalm 24:9 Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter.

 

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