Given the fact that I didn’t pick up a paintbrush until I was middle age - well past my mid-forties, and I am only now almost 52 - it can seem like a kind of miracle that I traveled to Bellagio, Italy to teach art last week! Consider this quote: “The great victory, which appears so simple today, was the result of a series of small victories that went unnoticed.”Read More
Two years ago, I was the first one of the two of us to visit my sweetest friend Jeanne Oliver. (Read about it here.) She invited me to be a part of her very first art workshop in her stunning new studio.
Jeanne lives in an absolutely beautiful part of Castle Rock, Colorado, in an absolutely beautiful home. Jeanne has impeccable taste. I will never stop bothering her to write a book on all things home and creative living. She embodies the beauty of those concepts like no one else I know.
Then...Jeanne came to visit me. Last week.Read More
The cherries were ripe on the trees today, and the rain poured sweet and steady. Why not pick cherries in the rain?
So cherries were playfully picked...Read More
Proverbs 17:24 says, "Wisdom is before him that has understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth."
The precious doctrine of the sovereignty of God is all wrapped up in those words. If we are wise, we don't need to leave our post; we don't need to go great distances to find our destiny or to be more wise. We simply abandon ourselves to the ordinary thing.
God comes to each of us disguised as what is exceedingly ordinary. He comes to us in the form of what is ours to love.
If God has indeed called any of us to greatness, then all that is needed to achieve it is right before us. All our present circumstances and relationships are tools in the hand of a supernatural God. Everything we need to understand is being explained to us right before our eyes. The next step is always before us. That makes us responsible to pull in, "center down", and be still to see it.
I don't use the term "center down" to be mystical. Its just an old Quaker expression, not to be feared. It is what they did in meetings when they wanted to hear what God would have to say through an ordinary church member - usually in the form of a verse of Scripture. They would all get very quiet, and simply focus their attention inward, waiting for God's voice for as long as it took. We, too, must focus on God's Word as it applies to our own ordinary, every day life, listening to it intently, in order to hear what God is saying.
Wisdom is before . The Hebrew meaning of that word "before", tells us clearly that God's stories (and thus His wisdom) are happening very near to us. The Grand Thing isn't to be years from now, or in another place, or in a place far, far away. Rather, what is ours is quite literally in front of our faces. We foolishly miss the stories and truths God is telling with our very near lives, because our "eyes are to the ends of the earth". We refuse to look right in front of us for God's will, because we perceive what is ours as mundane. Oh, how we fear holy obscurity. We'll grasp at position or any measure of prestige. We'll search endlessly for Some Big Purpose. We'll take mission trips to far away places, we will surf the internet for something to believe in, effectively avoiding washing the feet of those nearest. But the voice of the Lord still calls out to us from the "garden" just as He called out to Adam and Eve right where they lived.
Not that we'll never go any place far away. But if we don't pack our bags with the ordinary stuff of home, we will arrive at our imagined Important Destination empty. Utterly empty.
"Eden" is where God longs to walk and talk with us. Our Eden is wherever we call home. Our home church. Our job. Our home life. God's voice still calls to us from within the events of our day. If we would but listen, He would grant us a narrative perspective of our life, elevating those little experiences, applying His Word to them, transforming them into our own living book of Proverbs.
It gets even better when we can find the time to write it all down. The best thing of all is to have applied the truths of God's word so regularly and so daily, that the book of our lives is stuffed with our scribbles and Scriptures and sketches. Things crossed out, and things circled. Things pondered and things wrestled. The pages tear-spotted. No love left undone, no feeling avoided.
The crowning glory is when the book of our very ordinary life can be opened up, allowing "whosoever will" to read and find Jesus there.
Find and Prepare
I do not so much make art
as I find art
in scraps of gab
the dialogue of children
an atlas a map
I can prepare for art
turn my back on distraction
to face full-on
this ordinary life
finding the divine
in the daily
by: Sheila Atchley