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2020 has been full of surprises and surrender! I’m learning things about myself, my time management skills and creativity for pandemic boredom.

I’m also learning how to use the opposite side of my body and that is amping up my need for slow controlled movements. Although frustrating, this exercises my virtue of patience.


I had surgery a little over a week ago on my shoulder so I am now only able to use my non-dominant left hand and arm for various tasks. The plan was to return to work next week and continue on the healing journey. Then yesterday happened, I blacked out at the doctors office and had to spend several hours there before being able to come home and salvage what was left of my wedding anniversary.


All of a sudden I find myself in a place of forced respite; the doctor has written me off work for another week. Having a lot of downtime would be awesome, but in this physical state I am limited as to what I can do. I love to journal when I pray and not being able to write with my dominant hand has been somewhat disheartening. Today God invited me to spend some time outside and journal using my left hand and a totally different side of my brain.


In July I attended an overnight retreat on praying through art and received an art prayer journal which I’ve only opened once since then, so today out came the oil based crayons and watercolors.


I began with the page in portrait orientation. While listening to prayerful music and closing my eyes I placed the brush in the center and just started with a gentle swirling motion. Feeling my hand moving upwards, I opened my eyes to extend outward. At first glance what I saw was a snail with googly eyes and I wondered where God could be leading me. Sitting quietly for just another moment I opened my eyes again and turned the page landscape and what I saw then was a unique looking fish! I then worked from the bottom of the sea adding plants and corals then the water. I wanted to put some sort of a light since at this point I knew Jesus was the big fish, and did my best to brighten a yellow spot in the water. As I continued coloring and drawing I did so with a smile knowing that God was bringing out in me one of my favorite scripture passages, Matthew 4:19: “And he said unto them, follow me and I will make you fishers of men”.

Once I realized this, I was a little bummed that I had not left more space behind the large fish for followers. Drawing and painting the little fish proved very difficult with my non-dominant hand some of them look like they can use a little help but then don’t we all!


At this point the yellow brightness was just a blob in the water so I gave it roots and soon it was more plant life. This would be the finishing point and I was excited to have completed it all with my left hand! Even though a 5th grader could do better, I felt accomplished and at ease in my mind.


Looking at the finished product again in portrait mode, I still see that silly looking snail-like creature but now it appears as if the little fish are being held or somewhat shepherded.


When I attended the art workshop I learned some unique things about what colors and lines mean for me. Based on the workshop insights in assigning a color and a brush stroke to an emotion, this painting reveals what I was experiencing during this prayerful moment. The colors of teal, blue, and green represent harmony peace and anticipation. The colors of yellow, orange and black represent hope, sadness and confusion. The purple color represents excitement.


Taking time to reflect on the insights revealed through color and line was amazing and warmed my heart. Jesus is providing harmony; the waters are peaceful and the little bit of green in the coral at the bottom is where the anticipation lies; hope is being revealed in the yellow sea plants that Jesus is swimming towards; confusion lies in the orange of the sea plants at the bottom of the sea; and sadness and frustration are revealed in the black color of the following fish. Then excitement is revealed in the purple branches that are holding up the hope-filled yellow sea plant!


The scripture passage this drawing revealed has always been near and dear to my heart especially when it comes to Spiritual Direction and my answering God’s call. God brought it into my heart today to uplift me and to remind me that He is the one who puts color on my canvas. God knows exactly how I am feeling on this bump in my journey. As long as I trust and follow him with courage, hope and strength in my heart I will be OK.

At this moment for whatever reason , God has asked me to take a step back. This prayerful experience and in this form of journaling has revealed for me that I still have hope in God even amidst the confusion sadness, and my frustration. I know that Jesus is still leading me towards my exciting and hope-filled life!


Thank you for taking the time to read and I hope you get a chuckle at the masterpiece! 😊 Many blessings for a great evening to you all!

Courageous Butterfly

If you’re the parent of a prodigal…don’t give up!


prodigalDriving home from work yesterday, I flipped over to a  radio station on impulse and the phrase being spoken, which still echoes in my heart, was “If you’re the parent of a prodigal, don’t give up”. Having missed more than half the broadcast, I was hesitant to continue, worried I would not get the gist of what the intended focus was to be.  My heart, on the other hand was leading me in the direction of staying, listening and learning.

Families are complex in themselves, but when a severe trauma is thrown into the mix the possibilities for destruction of the family unit are endless, and the risk of a lost sheep is inevitable.   I have found myself on many sides of this unfortunate equation, from being directly involved to a concerned friend looking on from a distance, and no matter how the stories develop or what the reasons are, the pain and struggle are real and should be considered an extreme loss.

In the parable of the Prodigal (Luke 15:11-32), the focus was the mans son, but who is to say that in our lives, the prodigal can’t also be a spouse, another family member, or even a friend; any Child of God, who has separated themselves from family, those they love, and our loving God.

I have always been impressed with the father in the parable and his commitment to waiting with complete love and respect in his heart for his son’s return.  I believe it is his faith that gives him the strength to do so.  It is his faith, which allows him to welcome his son back into his life with no questions asked; and it is through the need for compassion, they are reunited.

Remaining on the radio station and listening to the last five minutes of the broadcast, meant the world to me.  First, it reminded me that no one is alone in suffering, not only are we held in God’s embrace, there are other’s going through similar circumstances.  Secondly, strained relationships are far more prevalent than ever before and it is a fast growing concern for any family, broken or not.  And lastly, I learned that it is OK to be in a state of unrest, frustration, sadness, and despair when grieving the loss of a prodigal as long as we know what to do with those emotions.

One of the callers on the broadcast suggested simply praying “Help me God”.  Other suggestions are “Heal his/her heart”, or “Please love them as I love them”.

Prayer, an intimate conversation with God, can be a replacement for picking up the phone and setting yourself up for the rejection that is most likely on the other end.  When that urge hits to reach out to your prodigal and you are not sure if it is the right thing to do…pray and let God lead.

In the meantime, if you need to fill an empty space, imagine that all of the energy which goes into the worry, frustration, and sadness, will, in God’s time, be transformed into a beautiful reunion, filled with compassion, love, understanding, and the blessings of God.

For anyone suffering from this loss, please know that you are being lifted in prayer by all others who are waiting, wondering and hoping for their returning prodigal.  If you have a similar story and would like to share, please lift other’s up by commenting.

Many Blessings to All,

Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly

Related posts/pages

Moody Radio, Cleveland

Luke 15:11-32

Welcome Home, Prodigal Child of God

 

Tears as Fuel


I’m going to begin this post by quoting song lyrics from the very popular movie Frozen.  From the song titled Let it Go:

“The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I’ve tried
Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know”

Only five lines but boy do they pack in meaning!  If I were to reflect back on some of the worst times of my trial, I would see many days of tears, but more so holding them back.  Most of us know as that song plays out, she let’s go and stops hiding who she really is.  But is she really being true to herself and her emotions?  If you saw the movie, then you know when this song happens, she is angry and secluded herself from family, friends and the town.  What exactly did she let go of? I think she actually let go of the very things she secluded herself from, and in that respect, she has lost people who love her.

Grieving a loss can be so complex, and it is natural for us to want to be alone, and not let anyone see how we are being affected.  Doing so, can result in much anxiety, stress, and may eventually lead to mental and physical breakdowns.  So, what are we supposed to do with our tears…I say give them to God, and allow him to use as fuel for your healing.

God is the one who holds every tear you cry in his hands.  We can “Let it go” as the song encourages, but first, we must give everything over to God and then let Him dispose of it.

silhouette and grayscale photography of man standing under the rain
Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric on Pexels.com

All of the hurt, frustration, anger, and other countless emotions that you are feeling during your loss or even healing period, let God have it all.  God’s hands will become a place of respite, which you can cry into.  Every tear that falls is blessed, kissed and held ever so tightly in His hands.

I can share with you my own experience when one day I allowed myself to cry in God’s precious hands.  I had made the decision to let my tears become my strength, and no longer allow them to bring me down.  In prayer, I laid it all in His hands and it proved to be a very freeing experience.  It won’t always be easy, some things we go through are so hard that it almost seems like the acknowledgment of them to God, is accepting the situation as something you are ok with.  That does not have to be the case!  In surrendering the circumstance, you are merely letting God know that you need his healing upon you and the issue.  It can be very helpful for your emotional well being, to place your feelings into blessed hands.

So give yourself a cry fest! Let it all go! Allowing God’s hands to hold every tear for you, and replenish you with a loving grace that will ultimately result in a happy heart.   If you have difficulty with the thought of this type of prayer, then go to a trusted friend or advisor, share your feelings, and ask them to hold your tears, while you walk in your path to healing.

I’d love to hear your thoughts or experiences!

Psalm 107:19  “Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress”

Courageous Butterfly

2/17/19