Tuesday, November 5, 2013

More Painting

William had talked with Justin last night and found out that Justin was coming here today.  Justin is a friend of ours who we had worked with in Ashland – he was homeless, had been so since he was 14 (he’s 36 now) and we met him at our homeless feed sometime the spring of 2011.   William was living in the basement of a church at the time (because he was homeless too), praying a lot and ministering a lot to the homeless, sometimes taking them into the basement with him.  Justin was one of those he was mentoring.   Anyway, we worked with Justin intently for about a year or so.  He ended up going to Colorado, then to Arizona in 2012 and actually made up with his mom and they were healing together in many ways.  We ended up moving to Colorado in July of this year and he decided to come join us.  I am finding God’s timing so impeccable, it blows me away.  I was reading my devotional again this morning:

The Dove, Aug. 5, Gen. 50:20:
Rising to a challenge reveals hidden abilities within you that otherwise would have remained dormant.  Just as you find out what’s inside a tube of toothpaste when it gets squeezed, adversity reveals what you’re made of.  Sometimes we say, “I could never go through what that person went through.  I would die.”  Then you go through it, and guess what?  Your heart keeps beating.  Your world goes on.  You don’t know what you’re capable of until you have to cope.  Wise people have always understood the connection between suffering and growth.  Meng Tzu, the Chinese sage, said, “When heaven is about to confer a great responsibility on any man it will place obstacles in the path of his deeds so as to stimulate his mind, harden his nature, and improve wherever  he is incompetent.”  God could have let Abraham stay in the comfort of Ur, and Moses in the splendor of Pharaoh’s courts.  He could have kept Daniel out of the lions’ den, Nehemiah out of captivity, Jonah out of the whale, John the Baptist away from Herod, Esther from being threatened, Jeremiah from being rejected, and Paul from being shipwrecked.  But He didn’t .  In fact, God used each of these trials to bring them closer to Himself – to produce the greatest scholars.”  And guess who the teacher is?  Adversity!  You either face it with God, or without Him.  And those without God are watching you.  When they see your faith sustain you and God bring you through, they’ll get interested in what you have to say.  And not before!

Tues, Aug. 6, 2 Cor. 12:9:
One of the classic stories of adversity in the Bible is about Joseph.  At the beginning of his life, he is the favorite son, envied by his brothers, with dreams of being someone everybody bows down to.  Then he’s kidnapped by his brothers and ends up serving as a slave in Potiphar’s house.  He loses his home, his culture, his security and his status as favorite son.  What does Joseph have left?  He is in a strange bed, in a strange house, in a strange land, with no friends, no prospects, and no explanation.  But he has one gift – one that makes all the difference.  “The Lord was with Joseph” (Gen. 39:2).  What happens when you lose everything but God, then find out that God is enough?  You experience His presence in a way you never did before!  Paul writes: “Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death … No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us” (Rom 8:35-37).  God wasn’t at work producing the circumstances Joseph wanted, He was at work in bad circumstances producing the Joseph that  God wanted.  Just as a diamond is formed out of common carbon placed under millions of pounds of pressure – so the character of Christ is formed in you by adverse circumstances.  So the question is, will you hold up or fold up?  When Paul thought he couldn’t stand any more, God told him, “MY grace is sufficient for you”  (2 Cor. 12:9).  And do you know what?  His grace is sufficient for you too.

This is so awesome!  Perfect word.   All those years I went through such horrendous abuse, I am now using to help others.   And even the years of recovery, I grew so much.  I can now look back and say for sure, I am glad I went through it all for the glory of God!   Going through it all, I wanted to die, I wanted to give up, and I could never see any good that could possibly come out of any of it.   But now, on the other side, wow!!  What’s even better, God has so totally answered my life verse:  “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten … You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God.  Who has dealt wondrously with you.  And My people shall never be put to shame (Joel 2:25-26).   I can now say for sure, that I finally got it – in my 50’s now and I finally have the most wonderful life and I am truly thankful!  I can’t say that all the circumstances are to my liking, but that really doesn’t matter.  I am willing to be thankful no matter what – that is the key – willingness!
this morning's snow in the mountains - Pikes Peak - view from Fountain

So anyway, around  1 pm or so today, Justin showed up and he hung out with me for a bit in my studio.  I told him how I had started a 20-day fast today – for him and for our ministry.  I’ve been in prayer about both a great deal.  I believe that God will totally heal and restore Justin and I totally believe that God will continue to provide what we need ($$ wise as well as His presence) to continue this ministry.  We left the studio around 4:30 but I had forgotten to change my clock so when I got home, it was only 3:30!  Anyway, we had a great time catching up and I taught him some drawing techniques.  He loves to draw and I continue to give him lessons and be will become really good!

This morning before Justin showed up, I continued working on my aspen tree painting – it is really coming along great, but slow.  What was so funny, is that I have these 4 small paintings sitting and drying under my easel that I had been doing in class with Neil.  While I was sitting there painting on my trees, jamming to my praise music coming out of my iPod, I realized there was something under my feet; I just kept my feet a dancin’ and my mouth a singin’, but whatever was under my foot was starting to bug me, so I looked down – it was one of my paintings!!

Last night, we had gone to a new prayer meeting that started up – the Prayer Brigade  for Fountain – great meeting.  Twelve people were in attendance (perfect start) and we had a great discussion and prayer time.  Trevor announced that he was starting a 20-day fast that was from sunset to sunset  (which means I can eat dinner) – that is awesome, because I can do that.  I had a very difficult time doing the 7-day fast in 2012 and the 3-day fast in Aug.  (I have to get over loving food so much!).  I decided to do it as well.  We met a guy named Brett, who is going to do a video about Fountain and he arranged with us to come to my studio and talk with me.   What happened instead is that he showed up for our Tues. night prayer meeting tonight and we had a great discussion and a little prayer … he originally wanted to film that drum circle that had been meeting on the City Hall’s lawn the first Tues. of every month, but they didn’t show.  We regaled him with stories that we’ve been seeing and hearing about the area and he was greatly educated.

Yesterday, William took the day off and was supposed to spend it with his brother, but the kids are sick and David had to do something else, so William ended up having another great day of rest (he needed it).  I went to Colorado Springs at 11 and met Cathy for lunch – great talk – then I went to Neil’s for painting.   When I turned on my phone yesterday morning, I had a message from my daughter  about a cousin of mine (Lucille, age 48, a cousin on my dad’s side) who was found dead by her truck last night.  I had decided I was going to call my daughter back after painting class to find out more, but during class she called, so I answered and found out more – it was a drug overdose.  Laura also told me that my sister needed to hear from me because those two had been very close as children (1 year apart in age).  So, I finished my painting and told the group I was leaving to deal with all that.  They prayed with me and I left.