This is my first painting - where my painting journey began.
Though I had been a believer in Christ for many many years, I believe he began a new work in my heart. A deeper work. It's like I began to wake up from a life where I was not fully awake, not fully present. I believe that though I new God, I did not have an intimate relationship with him. I was not fully trusting. I did not know how. He is teaching me little by little. The verse on the painting was one that touched my heart and became what I was living.
"God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes" (2Samuel 22:25)msg
He knew my heart inside and out. I did not. When I began looking, really looking, and experienced his acceptance, not rejection at all the ugly stuff, it freed me to continue to look, and to ask Him to work in my heart.
I felt safe.
I feel safe.
I wanted to share another excerpt from "The Seeking Heart" by Charles R. Ringma
Habitation, God's transformational presence
The beginnings of spiritual inner transformation are wrapped in mystery. We will never be able to unwrap the dynamics of the beginnings of the seeking and longing heart and the way in which God moves toward us in the embrace of love.
But that an awakening occurs, that a meeting takes place, that faith buds, that an awareness of God's presence begins to permeate one's being, there can be no doubt.
I can still remember with immediate clarity the power and significance of the realization that receiving Christ meant that he was making his home with me. The beginnings of inner change are the beginnings of presence, God with us.
Henri Nouwen speaks much the same language, but places it in the unfolding of the story of salvation in the scriptural drama. He writes, "At first God was the God for us, our protector and shield. Then, when Jesus sent his Spirit, God was revealed to us as the God within us, our breath and heartbeat."
The beginnings of inner transformation may well lie beyond our initial willing and doing. God is gently and mysteriously at work in people's lives and well before they become aware of the birthing that may soon take place. But inner renewal does call forth our response. And the beginning of that response is usually a gnawing sense of need.
This sense of need varies. For some, the search for God comes from a profound sense of aloneness. For others, the search for significance and purpose finds its starting point in the embrace of living God's way in the world. For others, a sense of guilt and shame drives them to look for God's redemptive presence. And for others again, a sense of powerlessness drives them to seek the God who liberates and empowers his people.
It does not matter what is the conscious need, for our needs are always greater than our awareness of them. What matters is that the seeking heart and the seeking God meet.
There are no limitations as to how and where this meeting may occur. For some this may be a gentle unfolding and awakening. For others this meeting may be a dramatic encounter, where one experiences a radical reorientation. And in all the settings of life, not simply the sanctuary, God is a God who seeks us out.
This meeting is neither a chance meeting nor a temporary encounter. God does not come simply to say hello. God comes to stay.
The beginnings of a spiritual inner transformation have to do with habitation. God in Christ through the Holy Spirit invites us to make our home with the Trinity. And the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit make their home within our being.
Inner transformation requires a long journey of faithful companionship and care. And that is what God offers us, a covenant faithfulness that is strong enough to cope with our changing sensibilities.
While some would like the inner transformation to be complete in one act of conversion, change does not come that easily. The movement of change is not simply from something that is undesirable. It more particularly is a change to something that is desirable. And that is conformity to God's ways. For this only the long journey will do.
Charles Ringma said, "The beginnings of inner transformation may well lie beyond our initial willing and doing. God is gently and mysteriously at work in people's lives well before they become aware of the birthing that may soon take place. But inner renewal does call forth our response."
Are you feeling any of the longings, desires, needs, stirrings he mentioned?? There is a God who is trustworthy, who loves unconditionally, who accepts you were and how you are at the moment.
Blessings to you all on this beautiful Sunday.
"May what Jesus Christ gives freely be deeply and personally yours my friends, Oh, yes!"