Loss & Hope

A watercolor my darling little girl and I painted together of our precious kitty, Snowball. (You can see a photo of her at the bottom of this post.)

 There is something about losing a beloved pet that hurts in a way nothing else does.

Their affection and companionship, their loyalty, their complete dependence upon you, their charming idosyncracies, their sweet love…all these and more grab your heart forever.

We lost our precious little kitty yesterday. She was a darling. Everyone who met her ~ even avowed cat-haters ~ fell in love with her. She was a part of our family.

When we lost our home 3 years ago and travelled “all over God’s creation” trying to find shelter, she was the stability and consistency of love and affection that made us feel like anywhere was “home.” When my little girl had lost all her friends in the move and had no one, this little kitty was her playmate and buddy. In the continuing trouble and turmoil of the last 3 years this kitty was so often a bright spot in our day. Suffice it to say that this loss is very keenly, deeply felt and we are sad.

But God.

In our losses He comes to us and brings hope. Oswald Chambers wrote:

“In the Bible, clouds are always associated with God. Clouds are the sorrows, sufferings, or providential circumstances…which actually seem to contradict the sovereignty of God. Yet it is through these very clouds that the spirit of God is teaching us to walk by faith. If there were never any clouds in our lives we would not have faith.’The clouds are the dust of His feet’ (Nahum 1:3) They are a sign that God is there.”

In our pain and loneliness and disappointment, God weeps with us us, holds our hand, carries us and teaches us to trust Him. It is only through our “utter poverty,” being completely destitute, having no one to lean on, no where else to turn, saddened beyond belief, that He can rescue us with His enduring love and plan to become our One and Only Everything.

So is there hope in the midst of pain?

With God, there is always hope. In this case, although I cannot give complete biblical proof that our pets will be seen by us again in eternity, I do know our loving God has things planned beyond our most wonderful imaginations, and I truly believe that includes our pets.

One thing I can state directly from the Source of all truth, however, is this: not one soul will ever have the opportunity to see God, or heaven, or any of the incredible things He has planned unless they bow their knee to His Son, Jesus Christ, and make Him the Lord of their lives. Their pets may well indeed be made new again, but they themselves will perish in Hell forever without a Savior. We human beings all need Jesus, just as assuredly as our pets need us.

And so, although we have a hole in our family and in our hearts today, we are living by faith and choosing to let God fill the void, and give us hope.

May God richly bless you with faith in Him and His Son, and with all hope today.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”  1 Corinthians 2:9

And  He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am  making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for  these words are faithful and true.”’ Revelation 21:5

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

“And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” Romans 5:5

Our sweet kitty.

Posted in 1 Corinthians 2:9, hope, kitty, loss, Oswald Chambers, Romans 5:5, snowball, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Christmas Past, Happy New Year

This watercolor is of my daughter and her beloved kitty, the first year in our new home, back in Christmas 2004.

Christmas seemed to pass in an empty blur of activity this year.

Not only did we not do our annual advent studies or bake cookies tucked with scripture notes for the neighbors, but it felt like it was all I could do to just get through each day. Since, too, it was our first Christmas in years when financial issues weren’t choking us, we probably went a little crazy with the gift buying.  So, the weeks leading to Christmas felt materialistic and empty to me.

But it was more than that. I still so deeply miss my home, my dear friends, and  fellowship at our old church, hundreds and hundreds of miles away. Christmas seems to bring all this “loss” to the surface.

And so, as the day of the celebration of Christ’s birth got closer, I got sadder and sadder. I had failed my daughter and myself, but mostly God. How could I have let this important time to reflect and honor Him just slip through my fingers, while I remained caught in the daily web of washing dishes, cooking, cleaning and helping care for the sick?

I felt unacceptable as a Christian.

And yet, over this last week God provided me a few truths to ease my heart:

  • Traditions are important but can’t take the place of an enduring relationship with Christ.
  • Satan often uses our “feelings” to condemn us and rob us of our joy in Christ.
  • Living your life in service to others (yes, even faithfully hand-washing dishes, cooking healthy meals and cleaning up other’s messes) when done unto the Lord, is a wonderful form of honor and worship to God.
  • Jesus should be the center of our lives everyday, and any time or season without Him will be empty.

And so, here is to a New Year. A year, hopefully, to be spent serving others, strengthening our family’s relationship with God and keeping Christ in every moment of every day.

God bless you all in 2012.

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…

James 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

All artwork displayed is under copyright, and is available in print & poster formats. Please comment here to order. To see other artwork by this writer, please visitwww.FaithfulFriendsArt.com

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Gone Fishing

This inspiration for this watercolor came from an old photo of my husband’s uncle ~ who recently, I’m so sorry to say, passed away ~ and his young son.

This scene is so inviting and serene that it makes me want to step right into it, away from the heartbreak and busyness of life, and just simply “go fishing.”

And so, in the midst of all my weariness with life, I turn to Him, Who is my abiding rest.

“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

All artwork displayed is under copyright, and is available in print & poster formats. Please comment here to order. To see other artwork by this writer, please visitwww.FaithfulFriendsArt.com

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Great Worth

I painted this pretty little hummingbird as the artwork for a totebag birthday gift I intend to give to a friend who loves both hummingbirds and the color violet. The verse I chose to complement the watercolor is a reminder to my friend ~ and to us all~  that we are of great worth and value to God:

Behold the birds of the heaven that they sow not,
neither do they reap, nor gather into barns;
and your heavenly Father feedeth them.
Are not ye of much more value then they?  Matthew 6:26

May you know today how great your worth is to our Jehovah God.

To find out more, look up John 3:16 

Posted in birds, friend, God, hummingbird, Matthew 6:26, value, watercolor, worth | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Seasons of life

I painted this “Sweet Gum” leaf for its amazing autumn violet (which is taking over its green hues of summer.)

The cycle of deciduous trees is much like our lives. The strong bright green apparel of summer evokes warm, sunny, blissful days in oblivious happiness; autumn slyly arrives to clothe in jewelled beauty; but a chill is afoot; bright reds, oranges and violets will come with a price; then shades of brown suddenly become the mode, foreshadowing scarcity, darkness and cold; and, seemingly, without warning, all is stark bare branches, biting winds and gray skies; all hunker down just to survive winter’s harshness. One can almost hear the plaintive cry, “Will this season never end?”But then, one day, a warmer sun appears; a brighter sky; buds form, strength is renewed.

Most of us have experienced a dark season of hopelessness in our lives, wondering how we got there and when it would end. Perhaps we gave up on prayer and pushed God away when our adversity turned permanent. Or in our grief  we obscured and diminished His great love and care for us. In the winters of our lives we need desperately to find our way back. Back to hope, back to joy, and most importantly, back to Him. Here’s God’s answer: look to Him, trust Him, draw close to Him, wait for Him. And, remember, spring is but a season away.

“Lift your eyes and look to the heavens” Isaiah 40:26

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

“The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalms 34:18

 “They that wait upon the Lord shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing. ~ C. S. Lewis

Posted in afflictions, autumn, brokenhearted, C.S. Lewis, chill, Christians, faith, God, grief, happiness, hope, Isaiah 40:31, Lord, peace, prayer, Proverbs 3:5, Psalms, Psalms 34:18, renew, season, strength, summer | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Time to weep…

Ecclesiastes 3:4 declares that there is “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” But what do we do when our weeping and mourning times appear to far outnumber the laughing dancing moments?

We look to Jesus, Who, through His trials and suffering kept His eyes on the joy that lay ahead. We hold on with all we’ve got to our faith in Christ, assured that heaven — where there is no more death or mourning or crying or pain, our very tears wiped away by God — awaits those who truly follow Him, particularly in our suffering.

The above is a pre-finished rough watercolor of someone’s “good buddy,” Rocky, who recently passed away…I’m sure his owners are in the midst of their weeping time now and looking to God for comfort.

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

All artwork displayed is under copyright, and is available in print & poster formats. Please comment here to order. To see other artwork by this writer, please visitwww.FaithfulFriendsArt.com

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This is called “Two Buddies.” It’s a painting of my Mom’s dogs for her birthday this week. Happy Birthday, Mom!

What I believe is immediately evident in this watercolor is that the dog on the right, “Chief”, is much older, eyes clouded with cataracts and even a bout with skin cancer on the tip of his nose. The dog on the left, “Chica,” is younger, exceptionally playful and even a little annoying at times to Chief in her baiting for play.  She is good for him. She gets him moving, keeps him interested in something besides sleeping and eating and is a “pal” even though he growls his complaints at her quite often.

But he is also good for her. He is a challenge, someone from an older generation who requires prodding and prompting and ingenuity to get him to respond the way she wants.

As I care for my husband’s grandmother, who has ALS, and needs assistance ~ to “eat” through a tube, to adjust her pillows, to dress, to walk steady, to get up from bed ~ her need for me (or another caregvier) is obvious. But what is less obvious is the fact that I need her, too. Taking care of her fills a longing I’ve had since leaving behind our home, friends, church and ministries. Helping her has lifted me out of sadness and self-pity.

Giving help to others is not only good for one’s heart, soul and mind, but it glorifies the Lord when the sick, the infirm, the homeless, the needy, the difficult, the imprisoned, the orphaned, and even our very own family members are shown love in practical ways in His name. And when those opportunites present themselves to us, we need not be afraid of “the cost” but only know that the Lord will shower us with blessings when we step out in faith to love others.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: if either of them falls down, one can help the other up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

All artwork displayed is under copyright, and is available in print & poster formats. Please comment here to order. To see other artwork by this writer, please visitwww.FaithfulFriendsArt.com

Posted in ALS, dogs, Ecclesiastes, German Shepherd, Lord, Two are better than one, watercolor | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments