Friday, 21 October 2016

Another Perspective by Susan L.

  There's a joke that made the rounds a while ago.
  The police knocked at a man's door, advising him to evacuate because of potential floods. He refused, saying, "God will take care of me."
  Several hours later, the waters had forced him onto the second floor of his home. A rescue worker in a boat offered to take him to safety. He refused, saying, "God will take care of me."
  Eventually, he was stranded on the roof. A helicopter offered to lift him to higher ground. He refused, saying, "God will take care of me."
  He drowned.
  Arriving in heaven, he asked God, "Why didn't You take care of me?"
  God answered, "I sent the police, a boat, and a helicopter. What more would you have me do?"
  I think of my own struggles in finally admitting the inability to work because of damaged mental health and how hard it was to apply for disability assistance. At the time, the paperwork was overwhelming but there was help breaking it down into manageable pieces. It took several months. It was one of the hardest things I had ever done.
  Most of all, I needed help to change my prejudices about "those kinds of people" who lived on social assistance and recognize that, if accepted, this was the Lord taking care of me. This was my lifeboat when I was drowning.
  The Lord wasn't going to toss a lottery win my way since I don't buy tickets. There wasn't some connection to an obscure prince in a tiny European country that would miraculously make me a princess and therefore rich. I wasn't going to rob a bank.
  Thankful for God's provision and knowing there was enough to live on if I was careful, I was able to take steps towards recovering from PTSD and depression. Call it physiotherapy for the mind. I am now able to return to work in a rewarding job albeit with limited hours.
  Saying "can't" goes against the grain. It goes against worldly philosophies, "Never say can't. Only losers use that kind of language."" It's a culturally driven drive for accomplishments regardless of the financial or emotional cost.
  The moment I said, "I can't", God moved into my life and assured me, "But I can."
  "So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified." Acts 20:32

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Beautiful by Susan L.

  The little Goldfinch is picking away at what's left of the sunflowers. They must be rather bare by now. Between inspections, it looks like he is sipping the heavy dew that's gathered on the wilting leaves. A few moments are spent sitting, enjoying the unusually warm morning, having a scratch and a preen. What a blessing to have a National Geographic Special Presentation right outside my window!
  Coming home from church small group (aka Bible study) last night afforded me an amazing view of the moon. It was massive! I was sorry I hadn't taken my phone with me to snap a picture but then, sometimes, sights are simply meant to be enjoyed and remembered.
  It's also wonderful that I am feeling much better this morning. Hip, hip, hooray!!
  My artistic abilities received an affirmation this morning as well although the subject for today's InkTober challenge should have been "flight", not "escape". I've shared about my challenges drawing women and while my first attempt in a while hasn't created the prettiest of ladies, when I uploaded it, the tag option on Facebook zeroed in on the drawn face. I smiled because at least it was recognized as a face!
  Hmmm, there's some Triple T's in there. (Thinking Things Through.)
  Why does she have to even be beautiful? By what standards? Why do I feel an "ugly" woman shouldn't be displayed?
   If Michelangelo can put unattractive, rather muscle-bound women on the Cistine Chapel ceiling, I am in good company! His paintings of women were rarely slender, fragile beauties. He liked his women to be strong looking. (Rumour has it he only painted men then anatomically corrected them which is why they are usually rather buff and there's something not quite right about them.) But then, women of substance were once considered the epitome of beauty. Imagine! Beauty was once about curves that are curvy!
  Not that I am any where near a Michelangelo! (I am having a huge laugh at my own audacity this morning!) Maybe I am challenged by drawing the female figure like I am challenged by drawing birds. Bird muscles are covered by feathers. The lack of visible musculature makes it hard for me to define their form.
  Maybe I should practice drawing ballet dancers to get away from the body building buff that is the normal foundation of my people drawings. Or maybe I could look in the mirror if I want to study how softness (read: fat) folds and falls.
  Nope. I don't think so. That's too much truth for me. (And an even bigger laugh erupts.)
  Lord, thank You for a sense of humour. Thank You for starting this day with so much joy. Thank You for beauty in all its shapes and sizes!
  "But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." Gal 6:14

Monday, 17 October 2016

Inktober Challenge: Battle by Susan L.

  Of the drawings done so far, this one is my favorite. I am humbled by what emerged from the end of my pen. I am humbled by the One who provided the inspiration for this picture while at the same time smiling a bit because it's American football season. It's the only sport I watch.
  A few times during yesterday's games, the camera looked down on the offensive team's pre-play huddle. This God's eye view of what the human figure looks like from above came in handy. It also explains why my male figures tend to be rather buff. And my drawings of women, too, which is why I don't often draw them. Somehow they end up rather masculine.
  I did pray for help in getting it right because it was challenging putting what was in my mind down on paper. A pencil drawing is created first before using ink. The evidence is erased once the ink has set. For this one, I used a compass to lay out the circle the figures were in.
  It's been a joy for me taking part in InkTober. It's pushed the envelope of ability. It's pushed the envelope of trust. It's been an envelope pushing exercise of living a life in faith that can extend to all aspects of my day. It's put me at ease by reminding me I don't have to have all the answers. Most of all, it's shown me that it's okay to share these images with others because they are meant to be shared.
  At the base of all these drawings is an exercise in grace. It takes the help of different tools to create a finished image. It takes gentle and careful erasing of the pencil lines that aren't quite right. It takes a good foundation drawing to make a good pen and ink drawing. It takes even more grace to ignore the imperfections that this artist's eye sees so clearly.
  Grace...Thank You. Lord, for allowing me to understand Your heart even more.
  Help me make the gift of grace a fundamental part of my life.
  "And I (Jesus) will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever--the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you." Jn 14:16-17