Countless times I’ve known “goodness by surprise”, things continued and finished and left alone to develop or fizzle actually come back around to close the circle in response to that sort of open-ended question.
…let us run with patience the race set before us. Hebrews 12:1 KJV
I lifted the kitchen window. I’m home alone and it’s a Sunday morning rainy song.
Which do you think matters more
Skill or endurance?
Pursuit or acceptance?
I’m not a runner but I’ve heard pacing yourself is important.
Last night I dreamt I was running. It was a dream layered with threats and pursuit and one that ended with comfort.
Deeply personal and I guess likely will never be fully understood.
I opened my devotional to read an unknown author’s letter of encouragement to Christians during trials…words about endurance and about the things of life that entangle us and impede our ability to run the course set for us with peace and ease.
So many times, scripture seems nonsensical.
How is it humanly possible to run with patience?
I mean, isn’t the point of running to get there more quickly with faster dropping feet on the ground or pavement, of pushing past everyone else?
Or maybe the reason we run with patience is because there are no competitors in our race of life marked by our faith. It’s just us on our own pre-decided by our Maker trail.
The spirit of God invisible to others, but within and beside us.
A solitary race, an especially intense one not because of its importance, rather because of the very tender and personal reward.
Peace, often by surprise.
Peace that sometimes awes.
Run with patience the path that has been set for you alone.
Now, here’s the story of this I know.
This painting came to life after being layered and pondered many times. I’d been asked to “live paint” as an accompaniment to my artist story for a women’s event.
I was wise enough to choose the better, to not talk and paint at the same time. I’d tried that before and I decided to learn from what was not me nor easy.
So, this large piece traveled as a backdrop to my story of what had been not so easy lessons in my artist as business endeavors.
I spoke of how God was teaching me that my value was not acclaim, gallery shows, representation or sold out collections.
Rather, my value is my story of continuing.
Fast forward, I get all excited and choose this piece for a prestigious exhibit and am thrilled and a little too obviously excited when a couple decided it should be in their home…and then reconsidered.
Then, I submit “Of Lasting Value” as a part of my portfolio for an Emerging Artist Show.
Again, giddiness over the possibility of acceptance and “fame” convinced me I’d be “in”.
Not selected though and I’d actually decided not to enter this piece in a local show. I was so confident, I’d decided…well, I can’t enter it if it’s committed someplace else.
A simple decision, an afterthought led to entering it in the local show because of the tenderness of its story and it came full circle, a tearful surprise.
My husband and I entered the gallery for the opening reception and I scanned the room to find my paintings.
“There’s a ribbon on one of mine.” I said quietly, almost a whisper.
Then discovered and later heard the juror’s reason why
My painting had been selected, “Best in Show”.
Congratulatory chats continued and I told a friend, “There’s such a bigger significance to this for me.”
Later, I made a promise to myself, or I guess I should say a request of God.
Don’t let this fade, the blessing of this honor, the many layers to the story of me written by You
This affirmation clearly that I am your beloved, that I am loved by you, God.
I don’t know where the story of this painting will go from here, whether I’ll stop by the gallery to see a red dot saying she’ll be gracing someone’s home or whether she’ll be coming back to me.
I don’t know yet. I’ll be patient. I’ll keep walking with a stillness I can’t create or maintain on my own. I’ll be shepherded on this path I am on.
“He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.”
Psalm 23:2 ESV
We stopped by the gallery, my granddaughter and I. We love to decide on a “favorite”.
We had the whole space to ourselves and after she’d pointed out “my angels”, said “Hurry, hurry, look” and turned the corner to gaze long at a brilliant painting of the ocean.
A textured piece with vividly and perfectly rendered sea grass with a background of water and sunset.
And this one, she told me was her favorite because it was “shiny”.
And I told her, my little artist and watcher of all things, just how spectacular I found it to be too.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up.
And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”
Hebrews 12:1 NLT
Run with patience the path made for you.
Others are watching, not following, not chasing you.
Simply watching your pursuit of peace.
Not easy but better.
Continue and believe.