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      Alleviating Tension

      Alleviating Tension

      Setting Aside Time in our Daily Lives

       “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:11-13

      "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us." - JRR Tolkien

      Have you ever tweaked your back as you roll out of bed in the morning? I have. And if it’s a particularly painful spasm, it might last a day or two derailing everything I have planned.

      Every day we camp in the unknown. Did you realize that? Every. Single. Day. 

      I’ve always known that to be true somewhere in the recesses of my brain, but never considered it in the forefront of my mind. Maybe I don’t want to think about it because the very thought creates a certain level of anxiety and tension to the planner/control-freak in me, but the fact remains that you and I honestly have no idea what will happen throughout our days.

      Sure, we make plans and have routines we like or tend to follow. If you’re a Christian who’s familiar with your Bible, you’ve seen in scripture how God often expresses that He knows the plans He has for us and will reveal them to us in His perfect timing. But even in that, we don’t know the details of the journey, and certainly not the timing.

      Personal example: yesterday I was on my way to meet a friend for coffee I hadn’t seen in nearly 10 years. I was looking forward to seeing her, and hadn’t left a lot of margin to get to where I was headed. I made the decision to go a different direction then I would normally have gone, and on the way I saw a neighbor heading to her car. As I waved, I caught a look on her face. I knew her mom had been battling cancer for about a year, so I stopped, jumped out of my car, and as I walked toward her I asked if she was all right. Her mom had passed away the night before. It had been a hard-fought battle, and there were hopeful moments that her mom would beat the cancer. But in the end, the disease overwhelmed her body and she succumbed to it. 

      On the side of the street, we hugged and cried. I didn’t know her mom, but for my neighbor, she felt safe because she knew I had experienced the grief of losing my mom many years ago. The familiarity washed over me as I empathized with her transition to life without her mom's love and support. 

      All this to say, by God’s infinite grace, I was able to be fully present with my neighbor, and somehow made (what would normally be) a 20-minute drive in 10…and no, I wasn’t speeding – any more than usual. 

      Author and speaker, Doug Fields, regularly reminds his readers/listeners to make sure there’s margin in our life. I am a regular offender of this life application. But as I sit here this morning, with my cup of coffee, typing away, reflect on the passage of scripture above and the life lesson played out yesterday morning, I am challenged by the Holy Spirit to live a life with more margin in it. To be wholly present, so that when I’m passing by a person in need, my mind isn’t so cluttered that I miss the opportunity to comfort or encourage…or be comforted and encouraged.

      Today, let’s practice the art of margin in our day and week, which in turn alleviates so much of the tension we carry around. Let’s daily practice the beauty of: "I don’t know what today will bring, Father, but you do. I pray I will be fully present to not only be aware of it, but experience it abundantly, whatever ‘it’ may be." For me, that means carving out a little more time in the word of God, and cutting out unnecessary “stuff”. What about you? Do you have areas that need tailoring so you have more time to be present? Please share with me your ideas to create margin and, by extension, beauty in your life. I look forward to hearing from you! 

      Seeking the beauty in the every day stuff of life with you,

      --Lyn

      Featured artwork: “Whatever May Come,” 36” x 36” x 1.5” acrylic on canvas

      It’s funny that before I sat down to write this morning, praying that my words would be spirit-lead, I felt inspired that no matter what, I would include this painting. Did the painting inspire the content of this blog or visa versa? God knows. But it is my visual offering this month for you. I produced a series based on the wisteria I enjoyed in the Washington DC area this past spring. Please check them out on the website: lynhiner.com

      NEWS (I'm so excited to announce): Please mark your calendars for November 3rd - 6th, as I will be exhibiting my artwork at ART SAN DIEGO, at the Balboa Park Activity Center. I'll provide more information in next months blog, but my series of florals will be featured.

      Satisfaction

      Satisfaction

      Finding contentment through Christ in the monotony of every day
       “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” –Philippians 4:4 (NIV)

       I have found a certain freedom in painting, a sense of being wholly me. Have you ever experienced this? In my 47 years, I’m not sure I have. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy life tremendously and have (sadly) expressed myself without abandon for years (see my blog on Expression)! But I wouldn’t necessarily say there was freedom in that expression, only self-absorbed narcissism.

       The freedom I'm talking about is like when the characters on the bow of the Titanic spread their arms wide, screaming WOOOO HOOOO in exhilaration; a freedom you don’t typically get in day-to-day living. Lately, when I paint, I have that same wild sense of abandon! I am filled with joie de vive, a contentment. I cannot contain the satisfaction I feel, nor do I want to. I am able to paint without restraint or fear, without judgment or restriction. Yet, while I am filled with gratification for this experience, it begs the question: Why doesn't this sense of the freedom I get as an artist transfer to my day-to-day living?

       An artist has to develop a resistance to fear and criticism, and cultivate the spirit of humility and joy reflected in Philippians above. No matter how hard I try, I cannot achieve these things on my own…and trust me, I’ve tried a lot! Here’s the struggle: If God calls you to something – no matter how mundane – at what point do you take your hands off the wheel and let Him take control (thank you, Carrie Underwood, for that perfect word picture!)? This has been my obstacle since day one! Do you want to hear my theory? Selfish, foolish pride. Ugh! I know you’ve heard me discuss this before, but clearly I have a problem with thinking my way is best; hence, here I am being reminded that this is a lesson I have yet to act on. The solution is right in front of me. I have to let go and let God by bringing the exhilaration He has blessed me with as an artist into the rest of my day-to-day life – all as one – and rejoice in the satisfaction and contentment that results.

       Contentment is a state of mind. It is achieved when we have a genuinely grateful heart, despite our circumstances. From that contentment comes joy that can only be described as Spirit-filled. I’m not talking about happiness – that is fleeting and based on feelings. No, I’m talking about a peace that surpasses understanding and a joy that transcends obstacles in your life, one that comes from a spring way down in your soul. When I am painting, and being content to create whatever the Spirit leads me to create, that is the place I achieve that soul-drenched peace. The odd thing about writing that statement, is I also know that I am called to be a wife and mom, as well, and sometimes I don’t feel that contentment or peace in those roles…perhaps it’s because of the monotony of cooking and cleaning or that it can be a thankless grind filled with discouraging conversations or choices made. Yet we are still called to experience joy, all the time. We cannot do this without our hearts focused on God, and without being thankful in every situation (“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” –1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

      This continues to be a struggle for me, especially when I have my eyes focused on my stuff and me. It takes a discipline I don’t always exercise to keep my eye fixed on the Author and Perfector of my faith…but when I do, oh that peace and contentment are amazing! I am filled with a grace and love for my family and others that defies logic and a joy even in the mundane that puts a smile on my face (okay, probably not while I’m cleaning the toilets, let’s be real here, but you get the idea).

       You and I, we are in a battle, the kind that if we allow it, will darken our very soul! The trick is we must allow God to fight the battle, which requires us to step off the battlefield, hold captive our thoughts, and in humility, trust Him.

      Do you trust Him? Really trust in a God you cannot see? What about in the daily stuff of life? I can sincerely say that I do. But like my paintings, and even my relationships, I can often get in my own way, overthink a situation, try and steer the ship of contentment, and push God out of my way. I want to stop this destructive pattern. How about you? Do you get in God’s way? If so, let me know your struggles and let’s pray for one another to gain a deeper trust and understanding of who God is, and His plan for our lives so we can fully experience satisfaction. We can’t do this journey alone. God intended us to do it together. “As iron sharpens iron…” let’s be willing to get real with God and each other with our struggles. I look forward to navigating this journey together.

      Seeking beauty in the everyday stuff of life with you,

      -- Lyn

       Featured artwork:

       “Seeking the Light” 36” x 36” x 1.5” acrylic on canvas. This piece was inspired from a morning walk in my neighborhood. The sun was just coming up, and these vibrant little pink cacti flowers seemed to be reaching from their spot to absorb that life-giving light of the sun. Sort of like what I feel like I’m struggling to do. This is the first painting I’ve also added companion pieces too. Please check out the website for a view of my Seeking the Light series. Thanks!

      Expectation

      Expectation

      Trusting God During the Journey

      “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”
      – John 14:1
      “All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.”
      – Ralph Waldo Emerson

      I am a card-carrying Type-A, control freak. That means I tend to have trust issues, which is in stark contrast to my Christian worldview. Let me see if I can unravel this war going on inside my head and heart and explain what it has to do with Expectation.

      I spent my early adult life expecting that something amazing would occur, and it did. At 25, I was already married, at the top of my career and owned a house. Because I had already achieved MY interpretation of success, I had no vision of anything beyond what I was experiencing. I no longer felt a sense of anticipation for the future. This is where God began to do his work in my control-freak life.

      Following that pivotal birthday, I continued to work hard at my awesome job, weekends were spent working on our (fixer upper) house and traveling. All pleasurable, but none fulfilled my soul. Eventually, we started a family and I left my high-intensity job to become a card-carrying Type-A mommy to my girls. 

      Trust is “confident expectation/reliance on something or someone.” My greatest battle is where do I put my trust? Who do I rely on? Even though I’ve been a Christian for more than 20 years, the war of trusting myself and in my abilities more than anything else is still an often-fought battle. God has gifted me with certain characteristics and talents. The combination is unique to me, as are your characteristics and talents gifted to you. The problem arises when I use these traits without subjecting them to God’s plans for me.

      The question here is: Why don't I trust that God has great things planned for me? Why don't I think His plans are better then anything I can hope or imagine for myself (Ephesians 3:20-21)? Why do I believe I have the best ideas (did someone say "control freak?")?

      Consider this: God has a plan for each of us, you and me. Isn't that incredible? (“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” –Jeremiah 29:11 and, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” –Proverbs 3:5-6) When we look at our ideas through that lens, shouldn't the real question or thought be: "I can't wait to see what you're going to do, God!" or "What would you have me do, Lord?" Oh, for that to be my go-to thoughts. I'm a work-in-progress, for sure!

      I’m going to confess to you now that I have big ideas where my art is concerned. I imagine many artists have this same desire, but I will only throw myself under this bus. I would like to be successful. There, I said it.

      Now here’s the rub: That may not be God’s plan for me, AND the kicker is, do I trust Him for whatever His plan for me is? I still need to passionately pursue the goals I have with the gifts/talents He has given me. But the difference is, I'm to hold loosely to my plans, and be willing to have a course-correction, if necessary. All the while, I'm to give thanks to God no matter what happens in the process. Am I faithfully do that? Not always, which is sad because I have personally experienced the joy of trusting God in the middle of unknown circumstances and witnessed it time and time again among friends and family who journeyed through difficult seasons of their lives, fully expecting God to not only be present, but doing something through the event.

      When I felt God’s call to start painting at the end of 2014, I stepped into this adventure with little comprehension of the art industry. I had to trust God’s plan for me completely. Funny thing is, I still don’t know exactly what I'm suppose to do with these gifts. But our incredibly creative God already knows the unique plan He has for me (and you), and I know I can trust Him to fulfill it, when I let go, whole-heartedly trust and follow Him. It may not look like I think it should, but His ways are perfect, and I can rest in that promise. For this former Control Freaks Anonymous President (aka: me), it's scary to let go of the steering wheel, but ultimately the absolute best thing you and I can ever do is trust in a faithful God!

      Do you struggle with living your life in your own strength, or do you trust that God created you for a purpose? If the former, this battle isn’t unique to you and me. What is unique are His plans for us. Do you trust that promise? We still need to make our plans, but instead of holding onto them with a vice-like grip, we are to live our lives in expectation of what God has uniquely laid out for us, and trust Him in the process!

      Please share with me your journey of expectation and trust – it’s always better to adventure together.

      Continuing to seek beauty in the every day stuff of life with you,

      --Lyn

      Featured artwork: “Truth in the Darkness”, 48” x 24”, acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas. Available at lynhiner.com

      Affliction

      Affliction

      “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” - 2 Corinthians 4:17
      “This is no time for ease and comfort. It is time to dare and endure.”
      - Winston Churchill

      May 12th, 2012. It was a day that started like many Saturdays in the Hiner House. My husband was working in the garage, and I was taking my oldest daughter to try out for Junior Guards. After try-outs we had a picnic with some friends down by Trestles Beach. It’s customary for our family to do a little “rock hunting” when we’re at the beach, and that day was no different. We found tumbled quartz with a green vein, a blue piece of sea glass, a few rocks with beautiful patterns and, the coup de grace, a small piece of what I was sure was amber. 

      A few hours later we were home and I was chatting with my husband when, suddenly, I felt an acute pain mid-thigh. I associated it with a magnifying glass radiating its heat on my leg, but my brain overrode that notion and logically concluded I was being bitten by a BIG bug. So there, in the middle of our kitchen, in mid-sentence, I whacked my leg as hard as I could to kill whatever was biting me so hard. What I saw next would send me into shock and disbelief, and hurtle my family and our lives into chaos. A white-hot flame was shooting out of the side pocket of my cargo shorts. “My pants are on fire! Get it out!” I yelled, then repeated myself when my husband looked at me in disbelief and said, “What?!”

      Thus began a long journey I will not waste words decompressing. Oddly, if you type in “Lyn Hiner” on a search engine today, you will still get pages and pages of this story that were repeated internationally for weeks following the event. We gave one interview live from the hospital with Good Morning America. We also did one with the Orange County Register which did a great job recounting the story.

      I’m sitting here shaking my head replaying the craziness in those first days of what became a public affliction for me and my family: ten days at the Grossman Burn Unit at Western Medical Center undergoing two grafting surgeries, the media getting wind of the incident and clamoring outside the hospital for the story, the kitchen and other parts of our home being severely damaged by burns caused by the white phosphorus, my family being displaced from our home for months to repair the damage, a year of intense occupational therapy and four more minor surgeries to relieve scar-tissue damage.

      I could go on and on about these details and circumstances, but (a) that’s not what this post is about, and (b) I now have some perspective on this season of affliction, and I wanted to share some of what God has taught me through it.

      I can personally testify to the fact you genuinely never know when your life is going to be turned upside down. You just don’t. So how you respond to a crisis is a reflection of where your heart is at the moment the affliction hits. I praise God, often, that I was in a really good place with Him at the time this went down. I honestly thank God that in the midst of a really bad situation, all the best scenarios played out: That little piece of what I thought was amber turned out to be white phosphorus. I didn't know it then, but white phosphorous can start burning spontaneously when exposed to oxygen, even at room temperature. That it didn’t ignite in my shorts until I was home, nor at the chlorine–filled pool, or in the car driving home or, especially, in my girls' possession was truly God protecting all of us, including other people in the vicinity.

      Rob was with me when it happened and acted quickly. Thankfully our neighbor, a commander in the OC Lifeguards, was home and immediately came to help. The first responder from 911 was a sheriff my father-in-law had just met a week before, who was thoughtful enough to get my purse and our phone chargers. When you're in shock like that, would you ever think to grab those things for yourself in that kind of situation? How about this? Instead of taking me to a poorly-equipped facility that was closer, the fire and paramedic chose to drive me to a world-renowned burn unit that was farther away, but which saved precious time in the long-run in handling the severity of my burns. I am still so tearfully grateful.

      God never said that our lives would be void of any difficulty, my friends. That statement is true for Christians and non-Christians alike. In fact, it states clearly in the book of James that, “whenever you face trials of many kinds …” That’s not an ‘if’ statement, but a ‘when’. We don’t get a pass for being a “good person.” Junky stuff happens to every single one of us. If you know that to be true, then it’s a little bit easier to navigate an affliction when it lands in your lap.

      Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t sing happy songs every day without a care in the world when I was in the hospital, or for the many months that followed. On the contrary, I cried a LOT through the first two years of the journey. I cried from the shock, I cried from the pain. I cried grieving the loss of my body no longer looking the same, I cried through the occupational therapy on my hand, fighting the scar tissue that was twisting my finger, I cried for the fear one of my girls had of going to the beach, I cried for how people who didn’t even know me, would judge me and my actions. It was not all sunshine and roses.

      I wasn’t the only one who was affected, either. My husband not only suffered through burns of his own, but a sort of survivors-guilt that would propel him on his own journey. My kids had to adjust to a month of other people being their caregivers, carpool parents, me not being able to do all the things I typically did for them for a very long time – most of all have them on my lap to cuddle them, all of us adjusting to living in a hotel for months while our house was fixed, etc., etc., etc.

      We were all afflicted.

      So what do you do in the midst of affliction? I can’t answer that for you, but I can tell you how we spent a great deal of time in the months that followed this season of affliction: we prayed.

      We thanked God for being in the details of our medical care, for providing friends in the right places and at the right times to help us navigate unknowns, for the incredible nursing team and surgical team who cared for us, the school friends who managed so much of the daily nuances with our kids, and our church family for covering us in prayer and taking care of meals for our family (I couldn’t cook for months). I thanked God for my husband’s tender care of me during those emotional days when I couldn’t fasten my bra because my hand was bandaged or when my leg itched so bad from the healing after my graft surgeries that I was literally going out of my mind, in tears, ready to scratch my own leg off. He was (and still is) my rock.

      We prayed for all the people involved in every detail, we also prayed for how we could be used to bless others, in spite of the circumstances. There was no clarity of what we should do or how we should handle things, so we prayed for wisdom and discernment as we navigated the onslaught of investigators and questions that came day-in and day-out.

      It’s been exactly four years since that fateful day. I can honestly say, in a lot of ways I am a better human being because I went through this affliction. Would I want to go through it again? NO! But this isn’t about me. It’s about what God is doing in my heart and through me to affect others. I can tell you, I wouldn’t be painting again if I hadn’t gone through this painful experience. I also wouldn’t be writing. So, if I had my way, I wouldn’t go through getting burned again, but I also can’t ignore the fact that I am here today, writing and painting, because I went through it…so, I guess, actually, I would.

      We take great efforts to avoid pain and affliction in our lives, but stop and consider this: God is creating within you a beautiful masterpiece, one brushstroke at a time. When I paint, there’s usually an initial layer expressively added to the canvas, but it doesn’t have a lot of depth. After a few more layers, there’s a richness that is developing, some of it provided by the color, some of it because of the texture of thick undercoats. When I add that final “subject” layer, you may not see all that went into the completed image, but it’s there and it is because of what that painting has been through that creates a beautiful work of art.

      We are the canvas in this analogy. We have no depth without having layers of experiences, good and painful. To wish away our affliction minimizes the eventual beauty it can and will create in us…if we allow it. Believe me, I wished mine away frequently in the early months. I eventually recognized the opportunity for growth and trust in Jesus, I had to give up my clear control issues, and realize my plans are not always God’s plans for me…but His are so much better!!

      Are you in a season of affliction? Have you considered how God is using the circumstances to create in you another layer of depth and beauty? I’m not being trite here. When presented with a similar question by a well-meaning friend, I wanted to knock her block off. But the question rattled around in my thoughts for days before I took that same question to God and asked what He was doing in and through me and my family during that difficult season. Truth be told, I didn’t get a clear answer for a couple of years. That’s the funny thing about adding layers to a painting: you have to wait for each layer to dry before adding the next one. It takes time to really hear what God is saying to us without using our “want” filter, as opposed to the "God’s plan for us” filter. 

      I want you to know, I am praying for you right now, that God will show you how He is working in and through your life to make your current season, affliction or not, His perfect masterpiece!

      Seeking beauty in the every day with you, 

      --Lyn

      Featured Artwork: “Fire in the Sky”, 18” x 36”, acrylic on canvas. Available at lynhiner.com. 

      Expression

      Expression

      Words Are Powerful

      Definition: “The act of expressing or setting forth in words. Indication of feeling, spirit, character, etc.” (Dictionary.com) 

      “Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.” – Psalm 139:4
      “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”  Proverbs 16:24
      “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.”  Robert Louis Stevenson

       I am a talker. Everyone who knows me, knows this about me. (“When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.” --Proverbs 10:19) There are a lot of scriptures in the Bible about people who talk a lot. I know, because they have been highlighted in multiple colors over the years in my Bible. And yet, I still struggle with this truth.

      I have searched my soul about the root of my need to speak, and I’ve come up with a few reasons:

      I want to feel heard.

      I can testify to the theory that being a middle child, you can feel like you have to work extra hard to get your parents attention. My sisters are brilliant! Each in her unique way. When I was younger, I didn’t show any proclivities – I was okay at sports, but not great. I liked art, but didn’t do much until high school. I definitely wasn’t book-smart, and boy was I awkward in my own skin. It’s hard to define your special niche within a family as talented and gifted as mine. So, I think I started talking a lot…and loud, to get some of the focus. Sounds a little pathetic when I see it in writing, but that’s part of the truth.

      Through pain, I wanted to feel valued.

      There’s a phrase I’ve heard repeatedly over the years: “Hurt people, hurt people.” I believe this is the root of a truckload of my sarcasm and sharp words. Oddly, I thought by making others small, it would make me feel more important. But that is a lie of the enemy. Thank God! He showed me the error of my ways on this issue! I still struggle with being snarky or using my tongue like a sword, but now I am aware of it, and prayerful about it. 

      Each person is created unique and beautiful. For the longest time, I believed that unless a person thought and/or believed just like me, we couldn’t be in a relationship of value. This isn’t true! Of course, there is something especially sweet in sharing your faith with someone who understands and shares your belief – a familial bond. Conversely, just because someone is a blood relative doesn’t make them a confidant or ally. But there is still value in what each person brings to our lives.

       And this is where our words come in. 

      Let’s slide the calendar back a few decades to when I was about 13 years old. My mom, step-dad and I were having a discussion (again) about my failing grades (again) and how, because of my low marks, I would “live an average life, have an average job and likely attract an average husband…” there were several conversations over the course of my formative years that had a similar vein. These "discussions" left me feeling small and insignificant.

      In all fairness, if you had sisters who were as smart as mine, who were constantly praised for their high marks, sharp wit and creativity, you could understand why my parents might think I should be the same way (maybe). But, the reality is, we are (and have always been) extremely different. From the fact that they are blondes with fair complexions and I‘m a brunette and would tan easily, is but an external example of what I'm trying to describe of the internal source. The truth is, we are all very smart, it just manifests itself in different ways. But let’s get back to the illustration…

      As you can see, that conversation stuck with me. I knew I would never be a scholar, but I refused to be considered average. A short time after that discussion, I made a decision to ask my dad to live with him, and he said yes! My life took a different direction from that point on.

      By God’s infinite grace and mercy, I was given an opportunity to thrive. My dad would encourage me to use my talents. He basically said I could do anything I set my mind to – and I applied that principle liberally. He also told me I had “street smarts,” and that is far more valuable than book-smarts. I can’t even begin to tell you the impact that had on me. Over the years I lived with my dad and his wife, I went from a 2.5 GPA, to graduating with a 3.65, lettered in two sports and was accepted to four out of the five colleges I applied to (including two prestigious art schools).

      Words are powerful. 

      “I’m sorry, but we’re going to have to reduce your financial aid package.” –That's what the Bursar at Pratt Institute told me when I asked for an increase to my aid so I could stay for my sophomore year.

      “I have some good news, and I have some bad news. The good news is, the doctors have finally discovered why my knee has been bothering me these past few months. The bad news…it’s stage four lung cancer.” –my mom, six months before she died.

      “Lyn Bowman, you are the sun in my days, and the stars in my night, and you would make me the happiest man in the world if you would be my wife.” –my love, proposing to me, New Year's Eve, 1992, at our favorite spot in Newport Beach. I honestly believed he was about to break up with me; he’d been acting so weird the week before!

      “Something’s not right with your baby.” –ultrasound technician. Shortly after this, we would find out that our little girl, Rebecca, who made it to 41 weeks inutero, had a chromosomal defect. She is our treasure in heaven.

      “Congratulations! You’re pregnant!” –my doctor, one year after we lost Rebecca. That was a very long year. Just two months earlier, my husband had prayed we would have a healthy baby by the end of 2000. Our second daughter was born November 7th of that year.

      “I died, that you might live.” –Jesus

      Words are powerful. They convey: a message, a sentiment, feelings, beliefs, and truths.

      When we express ourselves orally or in writing, there’s an intention to share some thing. To say something. Before I became a Christian, what I said came with very little thought. Even after I surrendered my life to Christ, I didn’t fully comprehend the value of my words. Oh, I knew they were powerful, but I didn’t choose my words as carefully as I attempt now. But expressing ourselves takes many forms.

      Although I am still a talker, I have found other, more constructive ways to express myself: a smile, a hug (I love hugs), sharing a good cry with someone, holding the hand of my daughters or husband...painting.

      I absolutely love that there’s a form of painting called Expressionism. That has me written all over it! It is defined as: “a manner of painting, drawing, sculpting, etc., in which forms derived from nature are distorted or exaggerated and colors are intensified for emotive or expressive purposes.” 

      Doesn’t that sound like my paintings? Like me?? Do you want to know something? I just read that definition for the first time when I was writing this post? Who knew?? (God. God knew – I love it!)

      My husband has described me from early on as his biggest cheerleader. I don’t know about that, but I do know that I have replaced my need for many words with: prayers, palette knives and canvases. This is how I constructively express myself these days.

      How do you effectively and constructively express yourself? Do you use your words to build others up or tear them down? Do you share your faith or shy away because of discomfort? Do you encourage your family &/or kids to be all they have been created to be or do you mock and criticize? Let me confess to you now, I have done every single one of the above. But praise God that he is gracious and his mercies are new every morning.

      Let me encourage you with this: none of us are perfect, not ONE! …except God, alone (doesn't that take all the pressure away??). I trust him to continue to do a work in me in my pursuit of honoring Him with my words ...and my paintings; to effectively express myself and my love for others and for my Savior into this world. Thank you for joining me on this journey of Expression!

      Seeking beauty in the everyday stuff of life with you,

      --Lyn

       

      Featured Artwork: "Reaching", 36” x 36”, acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas. It’s not currently on the website, so if you’re interested in purchasing it, please send me an email or text