13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13
I had a hard time grasping the statement “the mysteries of God”.
It was not something I could measure, analyze or break down into recognizable components. I could not decipher something that was out there in the ethers.
I even recalling asking my confessor, “How do I move from the head to the heart?” He replied, “Pray!” Praying for the grace to understand was what I did!
Moving from the mind to the heart took time for me. I prayerfully asked the Holy Spirit to guide me. Then finally, it all came together, and I was able to grasp the mysteries – I was able to understand not in my head space, but feel it deep within me.
In retrospect, my being able to comprehend the mysteries of God was part of my own growth, trust, and deeper relationship with Christ. I also came to the understand that my journey with Jesus was not only getting to know him, to draw near to him and love him more, but to hear his call – which meant knowing Jesus through his words – the scripture – and knowing him more intimately from within.
These sketches represent my process of breaking away from the structure of figurative drawings and trusting my heart and feelings. There is a freedom in working intrinsically – imagining my body as a landscape – moving from my headspace (figurative /the body/structure) to create outside the box.
The mysteries of faith is similar- letting go of seeing the world from my head and moving to my heart – emptying out all of my ego, all my intentions and preconceptions to let the Holy Spirit fill me up.
There is a wonderful simplicity in this statement, that it is easy to miss the essence and profoundness of this message. How do I imagine or even grasp visually, intellectually or even emotionally not only who God is, but what does the phrase – “God is love” mean?
God’s love for me, you and each of us, can be found in the very first verse in the first book of the Bible:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit[c] of God was moving over the face of the waters.Genesis 1:1-2
When I really think about it, God the holy immortal one, did not have to create the world and humanity. He did. He created all out of love. It’s really profoundly simple: “God is Love.”
I can see him in the sky and in the soft fluffy clouds over yonder, and I can see him in the children playing in the park. I can hear God in the birds chirping and tweeting at the first ray of light. God is in the grass beneath my feet as I play catch with my dog. I see him in the ants crawling around their ant mound, or I see him in the trees that stretch outwards reaching out for the sun. I see him in the house plants that adorn my home, and in the seedlings and their sprouting stems as they lean towards the light. I see God’s presence everywhere, and I feel him with every changing tide and nuances in the movement of the moon as day change into night.
God is everywhere – and all the beauty around us is a testament of his everlasting love for us. He is in the beauty in each of us, in our children, in our community, in the our own outpouring of love for others.
Just as God is love, we are created in “imago Dei” – image of God. We in turn share in the beauty of life – in the creation of life in the womb. I had drawn and painted this earlier this week. After looking at it for the past few days, there is even beauty in it’s messy playfulness of color and scrawls.
Having my own quiet time is an important part of my daily walk with Jesus. The pass several weeks, this includes time to draw, sketch or paint. Today, I imagined what my quiet and private space looks like.
Jesus often spent time alone with his Father:
35 And in the morning, a great while before day, he rose and went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed. Mark 1:35
In my busy world trying to keep up my mom face, keeping positive, and, juggle all facets of daily life, I don’t allow myself the time to be think, reflect, be sad, down, or even depressed. These days, I take some time and do exactly that – allowing myself to say – I don’t feel too happy today. I feel achy and my joints hurt. I’m feeling sad! Time to cry! Taking ownership of these negative feelings allows me to own it and give them up to Jesus.
Yup, there is time spend on prayer, in reading the scripture, but time spent owning the “bad, good and the ugly”,” and giving it up to Christ gives me a sense of release and peace.
It’s been years since I’ve work on my own themes and images. For the past 30 years, I’ve worked on small and large scale projects for work. Much of these themes were related to children and education.
For the past two weeks, I have been sketching again…building a body of background drawings for larger paintings.
Today, I feel free to express what I want to without constraints. I can be creative and express through my sketches and drawings for myself again. I can laid bare my soul in praise of God and His amazing love.
I have also been working with an art therapist along with a spiritual guide from St. Ignatius Spiritual Centre. Both have helped me deal with all the stress and anxieties that COVID-19 has produced in my workplace and communities.
Officially I am on sick leave, and taking the time to heal physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Praise be to God for looking after all my needs. I can take the time to glorify Him in everything I do.
Healing…what is it? We read of Jesus’ miracles of healing the sick, the blind and the crippled.
I think as much as they are real, the healing of Jesus is also a metaphor for us. A dark to light, or an unveiling of our eyes so that we see the truth – that is the only truth – that is in God the Father, in Jesus His beloved son, and in the Holy Spirit.
I can say this because I realize I am being lead by the Holy Spirit in a healing journey – and in the process giving me a greater insight into what it means when Jesus heals. It’s not some miraculous healing of the soul – it’s the choice within me to propel forward by faith into his embrace to be heal. It also means effort on my part to be an active participant in the healing process. A spiritual journey so to speak.
Picking up my sketch book for the first time in a long time, I am moved to draw and sketch again as I work through my heart. I feel this journey is for the healing of my soul.
It is about me saying a strong YES to my own existence! Reclaiming and letting the hand of God mold me in His image.
Thank you Jesus for your arms of love ❤️🔥my heart on fire for You.
Many homes in my area have already decorated for the holidays. It’s so nice to see the outside adorn with pine garlands, Christmas wreaths, and lights.
After being pestered by our children to decorate for Christmas, my husband finally took out our artificial tree and several boxes of decorations.
As my daughter and I decorated the tree, I shared with her the stories behind some of our ornaments. There were “Baby’s First Christmas” bells and balls, to their first kindergarten Christmas crafts, to their own collection (my husband’s best shopping day is Black Friday and Boxing Day. He delighted in a yearly trek amidst the crowd to let them chose a decoration for their own collection – at 50% off). There were also decorations gifted by my mother-in-law, as well as decorations to Meimei from her aunt.
It’s touching to see our children decorating their rooms this year. They wanted to personalize their room with their own decorations.
For many, it will be the first Christmas alone or with the immediate family. We normally travel to Toronto to see my side of the family, but due to Covid-19 restrictions we are not traveling. My side of the family decided to keep it simple, and we’ll have a zoom gathering on Christmas Day.
In Montreal, Christmas has changed in the past few years. We live in an age of political correctness. Christmas is now refer to as the “Holiday Season”. Festive window decorations in stores are a thing of the past.
There was a sense of wonderment when children watched the mechanical display. I use to bring my children to see this display after the Santa Claus parade.
Since the onset of Covid-19, one of the things I miss most is going downtown. I have fond memories of walking along the main streets to look at all the colourful Christmas lights.
My husband and I have always focused on the birth of Jesus at Christmas. Pre Covid-19 Christmas Eve, we would attend Candlelight service and sing hymns.
This year most churches will have a limited seating capacity of 25. Most have adapted to COVID-19 restrictions and will use zoom or live stream to celebrate the birth of Christ. I pray that all of you will be able to celebrate Christmas via one of these technological platforms.
Today as we live and adapt to new norms, I find we need to create our own Christmas tradition. A tradition that embraces and envelopes those around us in love and peace. After so many years of celebrating Christmas with the family, we are kind of forced to isolate. We shouldn’t let this stop us from sharing with one another. We can text, zoom, email, or call someone on the phone. We can use snail mail and send a card. I think the important thing is to not leave anyone out.
I really appreciate my neighbours decorating early this year. They drew me into their warmth. This helped create the mood in me to decorate and celebrate. My neighbours added to the Christmas ambiance by sharing their joy and love of the season. I think this is the most precious part of this year’s Christmas – sharing the peace and love of Christmas with one another with a festive heart.
I’m embarrassed to show my watercolours, as they are often quick ink sketches. They are like journal entries, expressing of my thoughts about Jesus and my relationship with Him.
They are also about finding hope in Christ in our lost humanity. His Salvation and Glory is free. All we need to do is accept it as Zaccheus (Luke 19: 1-10) did.
Jesus died for the mankind’s original sin (The Fall of Man in Genesis 3) so that we may be redeemed if we believe in Him. When I think about His death on the cross, I am thankful that an unworthy sinner like me can be forgiven all my sins. I thank God for letting me draw closer to Him.
In return I send praises to my Almighty God, to Jesus the Son, and to the Holy Spirit for giving me the gift of faith. I, in turn, share my faith with all of you.
That each of you find the time to pray and draw into a closer relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.