You are Worth More

Watch oil painting “Sparrows” come to life

in 2 minutes (time lapse)

The last time I shared my sparrows painting was in April, in a blog post called “More than Sparrows“. But today I’m thinking about the “don’t be afraid” part of the scripture that inspired this painting:

Matthew 10:29-31 “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

There are dire warnings of all kinds of upcoming calamities and a predicted dark winter, and indeed, we are facing many fearful events in this age. It’s important to control our fears and learn how to not be afraid. It’s normal to feel afraid, but the act of being afraid is a matter of spiritual choice. We can choose to be courageous even when we feel afraid.

We will never be able to eliminate all of the dangers that life throws at us, especially if powerful forces are intentionally creating terror and suffering… and throughout history, this has always been true to some degree. But if we allow our fears to consume us, we will not thrive, and we may even make ourselves ill. Survival isn’t about just barely making it through the ordeals of life, but ensuring that we are strong enough to endure it with such determination and resilience that there is a beautiful life stretched ahead of us.

To make it through to the beautiful life ahead of us, we must find the beautiful moments within the hardships. We can’t wait until life looks like we want it to, as we need peace and joy every day. Like nutrition for our bodies and wisdom for our minds, we need happiness for our spirits. It’s possible for humans to give up the will to live in their sleep and never wake up. That’s how powerful our spiritual self is. Despair is dangerous. We must fight against it!

May the common sparrow encourage us. They seem to have an insignificant life, yet they are wonderfully made to instinctively know how to find food and survive the challenges of nature. They do more than survive, they thrive. As in, they lead a full bird life, the best that a sparrow can do. I see them flying about, gathering socially with their fellow birds of a feather, and settling in on the platform of our bird feeder. Their needs are met, by nature and by mysterious interactions with others (like me, putting food out there for them to eat).

We too experience more moments in which our needs are met than moments when we are in lack. This is easily proven by the fact that we are right now still alive. If we had too many moments of lack, we’d- to put it bluntly- be dead. But we are not dead, and we mustn’t ever let our soul feel deadened when we are clearly very much alive. May our blessed condition of living be enough to desire to not just survive, but to thrive. Seek joy in every little thing. Do not be afraid.

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New Painting – Something Windy

Watch me paint “Autumn Tree” in under 2 minutes (time lapse)

Do you spiritually go “wherever the wind blows”? How much of your life do you plan, and how much do you leave to fate, circumstance, random connections, or stagnation by default? Do you want to move, but you stay? Do you want to stay, but you move? When the world is windy, are you rooted down or are you swept away?

When we are rooted like this tree, we may be shaken, twisted and knotted up, and nearly bent to the ground, but we will not fall. When the winds cease we will stand once again, and new leaves will grow. The more challenges we face, the stronger we become. 

When we no longer fear storms, we are less concerned about which way the wind is blowing. We know that we’ll survive it, regardless of which direction from which it comes. I’ll depart from my metaphor and be more specific: we hear lies and rumors of lies at a pace that is extraordinary but not unprecedented in world history. If we believe that we cannot withstand the storm, we may submit, comply and surrender, even if our hearts are begging us not to. However, if we know that we are deeply rooted in our beliefs, values, and spirit, the winds can hit us from all directions and we will not only survive, but will eventually thrive.

Be as a tree. Stand rooted in who you are. Do not allow the noise, which has revved up to a mighty din, influence you. The babble competes for your spiritual attention and attempts to control your days. You are not part of the collective, whose only value is to enrich the powerful few. You are an individual whose thoughts, emotions, and actions are important to the eyes of God, and when joined together are collectively powerful for the many.

Keep your own counsel. Seek your own knowledge. Follow your own intuition. Always question what those with motive to lie are saying, but never doubt the discernment and wisdom that is a gift from God. As a dog will growl when he senses a bad person is nearby, so will your spirit growl when you sense something is wrong. Don’t ignore that feeling. Heed it.

As trees need water, soil and sunlight to remain healthy and strong, so do we. We need sustenance both in literal nourishment and spiritual. This is a good time to pursue things that necessitate that we believe in a future. For example, plant something. In doing so, you commit to the idea that you expect to see it grow. Plant both literally (flowers, herbs, vegetables, etc.), and figuratively (begin projects that require a commitment to future events, or have long-term goals). When we choose the future, we generate hope. The two cannot be separated.

The winds of this world howl, but may we stand as strong as a deeply rooted tree. Don’t fear the storm. Believe that we will survive it, and even one day thrive. Let your mind, body, and actions make you stronger. Commit to the future, and plant hope.

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Dreams to Prepare

Watch me paint “Blue and Yellow Bird” in 2 minutes (time lapse)

Have you ever had a dream that prepared you for future challenges? Yesterday’s post “Do, then See” mentioned the above painting, which is about a dream I had when I was pregnant with my son. I believe it was meant to help me prepare for the fear and challenges ahead. Spiritual preparedness made all the difference when we didn’t know if he would survive the delivery.

“I didn’t want to know gender of my babies, but somehow I intuitively knew each time. During my second pregnancy, I had a dream about the spirit of my unborn baby- a beautiful vivid blue bird with yellow markings. I knew the blue meant I was having a son and the yellow meant a health related worry. I was certain of what the dream meant, and felt I knew my baby before he was born. I had a difficult experience, that I won’t get into here- but one of the scariest, longest moments of my and husband’s life was when our son was born with the cord wrapped around his neck. Not breathing. When they got the cord away from his neck and his little blue body started to breathe, it was as if everything in the world was the best it could possibly ever be. He developed jaundice, which made his skin very yellow. He was yellow for days. My dream helped prepare me. My unborn son had a spirit that I connected to. God gave us a way to communicate, and prepare me for the fears surrounding his birth and newborn days."

- from the book "50 Oil Paintings Inspired by my Christian Faith" by artist Natalie Buske Thomas

The up-to-the-minute update on this story is that my son is right at this exact second in the kitchen a few feet away from where I’m sitting here talking with you. He’s making bacon. He’s recently discovered that he can have bacon whenever he wants if he makes it himself. For the past two weeks, he’s had bacon every day. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night to the smell of bacon frying. Morning, night, or afternoon, apparently the craving for bacon can take him over at any time. 

I don’t know for how much longer he will keep this up. Other than saying, “that smells good” or “that turned out perfect!”, I stay out of his way. For, when we want to grant someone more independence and freedom, we must keep out of the kitchen and let the bacon fry.

He’s not my fragile blue and yellow bird anymore. He is much taller than I am, and his shoulders are getting broad like his father’s stocky build. He’s finding his own way, and I have a feeling the next dream I may have about him could be to prepare me for when he leaves the nest.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

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Read More »

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