Look UP

I have never painted a painting like this. Then again, I have never been in a situation like this. My sweet mom underwent another surgery early February due to the complications of cancer. Oddly enough the picture in her hospital room at Mayo was a tree. And if you know me well, I love trees. Three years ago, I released a 10-week Bible study called Planted: Sit, Stand, and Walk with Jesus for women. We are called the “tree” planted by streams of living water when we come to meditate and delight in God’s Word (Psalm 1:1-3). We come to SIT in His presence in order to STAND on His promises to be able to WALK in His purposes. 

After writing the Bible Study, I have always wanted to do a series of paintings with the perspective of looking up into a tree. I feel like this should be my posture at all times. Looking up. Completely surrendered. Arms lifted high to what He has called me to be and do. 

I had been in my mom’s room numerous times before I noticed the photograph. Funny how we do that, right? —Not notice the very things God is trying to show us. I even slept under that silly tree.

So the past two days, I have painted.

And painted. And painted.

What I thought would start out to be the right direction turned out terrible, so I started over. My long-time desire was not going to be easy. I had work to do.

God is teaching me through the painting of this tree.

He is teaching me to be still and to look up.

He is teaching me to surrender my agenda and be confident in His.

He is teaching me that sometimes you have to start over but never give up.

He is teaching me to trust in Him and use my gifts to SERVE Him.

James 1:7 tells us: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

1 Peter 4:10 tells us “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms”

These two verses reminded me of what I spoke about this past weekend with the ladies at Westside Baptist.

“What is the perfect gift?” I asked them. 

“What would be the perfect gift for YOU right now?

Would it be a shopping spree at Anthropologie? *(MY FAVORITE!)

Would it be $5,000 to pay off all your bills?

Would it be a renewal of your marriage?

Would it be a new job?

Would it be good friends who you can really trust and not try to impress?

Would it be that your child came back and said, “Mom, I’m sorry and I love you and I appreciate everything you do for me?”

Would it be an apology? Forgiveness? A second chance? A change in attitude? A helping hand? Someone to notice you?

What is this good and perfect gift?

The only good and perfect gift I can think of this side of heaven is Jesus.

Romans 11:36 says, “For FROM him and THROUGH him and FOR him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.” (NIV)

“For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.” (NLT)

From Him, we receive new life. The old has gone the new has come.

From Him, we receive forgiveness from sin.

From Him, we have freedom; no longer being slaves to fear, and worry, and stress, anger, and pride.

From Him, we can humble ourselves before Him because His plan is good.

From Him, we receive an inheritance – an eternal home – We are daughters of the King!

From Him, we receive the Holy Spirit that leads us and guides us and teaches us and molds us and convicts us.

From Him, we receive good and perfect gifts.

And THROUGH Him, we are to use our gifts to GLORIFY Him.

We have all been given gifts. Whether it is the gift of medicine, ministry, teaching, law, or opening up your home for hospitality. It could be a smile, your time, your wisdom, confidence, trust, athletic ability, artistic ability, cooking, gardening, or even PAINTING a TREE.

Yesterday, I found myself singing the words from Chris Tomlin’s Good Father – “You are perfect in all of your Ways to me.”

You’re a good good father

It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are

And I’m loved by you

It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am


HE IS A GOOD FATHER. And His ways are perfect — even when we can’t see “the good” in the gift. 

Even when we have to start all over.

Even when we miss what He is trying to teach us.

Even when are at Mayo again with our precious mom.

We must remember this: everything comes from Him and is intended for His glory. He knows the plans He has for us and they are good (Jeremiah 29:11).

When a gift comes from Jesus it is perfect, BECAUSE He is the giver of every good and perfect gift. 

So today, look up. Trust that Jesus is perfect in all of His ways. AND in you. He’s a good good Father.
#bethetree. Amen.

Painted in acrylic. 30″x30″, epoxy resin and gold foil.

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