Revue: Goodbye Becomes Hello

©Lynn Abbott Studios. Used with Permission.

© 2017 Lynn Abbott

I had time to prepare.  Not much else can be said for it, but at least, cancer does provide the opportunity to say “goodbye.”

And so when my mother drew her last breath in June of 2008, I not only said “goodbye” but more importantly,  I whispered “I love you” again and again.

Nevertheless,  grief propelled me into deep shadows. Understandably, I looked for ways to soothe such tremendous heartbreak,  to anchor my life despite the loss of Mom’s counsel, shelter, nurture and daily expressions of love.

My husband says that art was my mother’s parting gift to me.

No, Mom wasn’t an artist.

My husband simply means that had it not been for her death, I probably would not have picked up my paintbrush again. Or if I had, I might have remained a dabbler.

After all, life has a way of filling our time.  And prior to Mom’s death, my days were full, and happy.

After her passing, however, the hours stretched out in endless grief.  Plunging into a painting project helped me forget that grief for a few hours. You might say that like Mary Poppins I was popping in and out of my “chalk pictures” and taking a mental, jolly holiday.

Whatever the case, it worked. Painting brought me a kind of temporary respite, offering some comfort and peace during those dark days.

My husband says that art was my mother’s parting gift to me.

Every time grief, anxiety, or cold shadows enveloped me, I painted.  I painted a lot.

In fact,  I typically produced 2-3 new compositions per week.  As a result, I can say with all honesty that while practice doesn’t exactly make one practically perfect in every way,  it certainly yields improvement.  Or as some of my educator friends say, “Practice makes progress.”

In this way, my mother’s “goodbye” became synonymous not with ending but with beginning.  Pain gave way to painting.  Goodbye introduced hello.

Christ may have anticipated a similar yet supernatural transformation when in the days and hours before His death,  He promised His disciples that the Comforter or Helper would come, (John 14:26).

He explained, “But I tell you the truth:  It is for your good that I am going away.  Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you,” (John 16:7).

In Acts 1, after His death and resurrection, Christ reminded his disciples of this promise.  His Ascension not only heralded but inaugurated the coming of the Comforter–still further realization of Immanuel, God with us.

Yes,  in His ongoing grace toward us, God has once more provided for our good. With His Spirit’s continual presence comes power over the shadows and darkness of this world.  He is our mighty fortress, strong tower, counselor and ever-present help in time of trouble.

So when shadows creep into our lives; when fear, anxiety, and grief preoccupy our thoughts; when darkness chills the soul, I wonder why you and I do not remember more often to run to the Comforter to find the lasting, perfect peace that only He provides.

With His Spirit’s continual presence comes power over the shadows and darkness of this world.

Do I fear mockery such as Peter and the others faced that day of Pentecost?   Am I afraid of appearing too radical, and out-of-the-mainstream?  Or have I simply misunderstood, complicated,  or even forgotten Christ’s promise of the Holy Spirit?

Quite honestly, I’m not sure why.

I do know, though, that the entire book of Acts acquaints me with our source of strength.  And I see the simplicity of it all:  you and I need simply to ask. When we knock on Abba’s door, the way is opened to us.  When darkness looms, we need only pray, seeking comfort from God’s Spirit.

If we don’t know how to pray in a situation, we ask the Holy Spirit to intercede for us.  When we’ve lost our way, we are invited to cry out to Him for guidance.

When you and I find Scripture difficult to comprehend, God’s Spirit will instruct.  When fear and anxiety cripple me,  the Spirit stands waiting to take captive those thoughts.

Ask.  It’s as simple as that.  No spiritual hocus pocus.  No litany of good works required.  Simply ask Him and find “grace to help in time of need,” (Hebrews 4:16).

Of course, because of human frailty,  I find I must “practice the presence of God” continually. You can be sure I’m asking the Holy Spirit to teach, guide, and intercede for me as well as to intervene when my thoughts wander in shadow.

Ask.  It’s as simple as that.

Without a doubt, I’m asking by far more than 2-3 times per week.  After all, painting a life story in faith’s deep colors requires the unremitting power of God’s Spirit in the moment-by-moment. Thankfully, practicing His presence brings perfect peace.

Yes, we have the promise: God’s Spirit will illuminate the way, driving out darkness and carrying us safely through the “shadow lands.”  And Isaiah testifies of God, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you,” (Isaiah 26:3).

“Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need,” ~ Hebrews 4:16

“And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God,” ~Romans 8:26-27

70 thoughts on “Revue: Goodbye Becomes Hello

  1. It was indeed her gift to you Lynn—
    It’s funny, or may more ironic…. when I retired 5 years ago from being the high school art teacher, you’d think I would have become prolific with my art…but I didn’t. I actually haven’t painted anything since leaving..having several large piece unfinished.
    My time was focused on taking care of dad and my stepmother…
    as I also started the blog—the blog because I felt I still had things “to teach” and actually had more freedom in retirement to say the important things that often needed saying, but my hands were tied while still in the classroom.
    So writing became more of my passion.

    When still teaching would work alongside my kids—mostly on spiritual pieces–they were my “silent” witnesses to my “kids”—-I probably wouldn’t have been “allowed” to continue working on such had I still been teaching because of the growing animosity against extended “faith” shown and demonstrated by teachers.

    I’m including a link to an early post–but it has some of the pieces I have hanging in my husbands store….
    the Post is early—most likely poorly written as it was early–I was still learning “how to write”—so it’s not updated—more raw but I thought you’d appreciate the images…
    https://cookiecrumbstoliveby.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/symbolism/

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you so much, Julie, for sharing that! I love it. I visited your link and left you my thoughts there, but suffice to say here, that I LOVE your art. I definitely think you will need to pick it back up again one of these days. But you are an amazing writer as well… so I’m glad that God led you that way, too. I bet you were a wonderful teacher. I would have loved to have been one of your students! Huge hugs!

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      • thanks Lynn—I will one day—-I always have loved to cook—and would, no matter how tired or how long my day had been, come home to cook for my husband and son—my son who to this day is about he pickiest eater on the planet so he was a challenge–or actually boring with his idea of a potato as a vegetable and the only one he’d eat….
        but I found in cooking a wonderful creative outlet—so even while teaching I would “express” myself creatively in different ways….
        And when I first started blogging, I focused on dabbling with photography, something I’d never had much time for, my love of cooking, a little art here and there, travel which I loved, as well as my “spiritual” side.
        It was on a trip to Ireland in 2015 that really shifted my “mission” so to speak to one strictly of speaking the Truth in God’s word as I was hit with a sense of urgency over such—so my focus became speaking out and up about our Christian faith especially as our “government” and most liberal minded individuals want to silence it….

        In the classroom as I saw my role as surrogate parent—so I was “cookie” or “mama cookie” —not all of them cared for me as my rather “conservative” ways and Christian emphasis was evident…but they all knew that I cared for them

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh… I love that you are a chef! I’m sure I could glean much from you. I experimented years ago with being a “foodie”… but life eventually got in the way. Your son sounds just like mine! Another point in common 🙂 I’m certain that your photography is fantastic! You truly have a gift for composition. And I love your writing, and am especially grateful that you followed God’s leading to speak out about spiritual things. Your message and voice are so needed and you write so beautifully: with power and yet, with grace! It is truly a privilege to have met you here. Oh, and by the way, I bet you were an outstanding teacher! Hugs!

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      • That means you were an excellent teacher! 🙂 If you made all your students “happy,” you would not have challenged them. And I can tell that you were just as effective as a classroom teacher as you are as a blogger/writer! Hugs!

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  2. Dear Lynn, I apologize from my heart for not linking in with you earlier. I was quite surprised to realize this is my first time to view your site. I am so sorry. To open the link to find your beautiful panting and shared story of the loss of your Mother touched my heart. I send my condolences on the loss of your Mom, but out of your sorrow the beauty of artwork shines brightly. I love your words, deep colors of faith (I think that is how you wrote the words) penetrates the spirit and soul. Thank you for being such a good friend and encourager. I look forward to reading and seeing more of your work. Blessings. Denise

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh, not to worry, Denise. I just so enjoy your blog that it didn’t matter to me whether you visited me in return… Of course, I’m truly delighted that you have stopped by to read because I know you are very busy and I am especially honored! Thank you for your friendship. It means a great deal to me! We share a love of Israel as well as our love for Christ. I think that’s probably why I feel like we have been friends for a very long time. Have a beautiful weekend, my wonderful friend! Hugs!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. The creative process is often the result of some emotional loss.. it can also be a lifeline to the Creator himself. Some of my husbands finest work has been done during time of crisis. Art
    Is a way to escape from the outside influences of life and transport us to a place of peace. I see that in your words and paintings.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Wow, what a lovely group of followers we both share first of all. Secondly this touching piece is outstanding Lynn! When we lose loved ones either by distance or death, it leaves a huge hole in our hearts that they once filled. It is a cold well of grief, but slowly and surely the Lord leads us into a healing path that in my life has always led to some kind of creativity, perhaps because being creative draws us closer to our Creator God. And over time, though the hole never really closes up entirely, the heart is once again filled with some sort of life giving “salve” that softens and blurs the wound. However, my father died when I was 18 years old and it was a defining and extremely painful blow. And now over 50 years later, I still cannot speak of him without crying and have moments when I miss him so much still that tears flow! Thank you for sharing this story! Hugs and blessings, Natalie 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, Natalie… I’m so very sorry. I was fairly young when my father died as well. But it doesn’t matter how many years pass, we miss them just the same! I’m so glad that the Lord lead you to creativity for healing as well! What a blessing! And of course, you and your blog are just that–a blessing to many! ❤

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  5. You really do have a gift, with painting as well;-)

    I am so keen on learning how to first run to God who gives perfect peace instead of losing my head and I really like that idea of practicing the presence of God. I have never found it easy but its amazing when we think about what we are thinking about and are intentional about it.

    Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Truly a moving and powerful post, Lynn. Usually, I pull a couple of quotes and say how much I got out of it, but in this post, there is wisdom and application from top to bottom.

    First, you do an excellent job equating the “goodbye-hello” experience of your mother’s passing to that of the “goodbye-hello” experience of Jesus’ leaving us and sending the Holy Spirit.

    Second, there is the transition into how our Abba Father is always with us, and all we need to is ask.

    Thirdly, you have a flowing, evenly-paced writing style which takes us seamlessly from thought to thought, one building on the previous.

    In particular, I love these to passages: “In this way, my mother’s “goodbye” became synonymous not with ending but with beginning. Pain gave way to painting. Goodbye introduced hello.” And this: “Do I fear mockery such as Peter and the others faced that day of Pentecost? Am I afraid of appearing too radical, and out-of-the-mainstream? Or have I simply misunderstood, complicated, or even forgotten Christ’s promise of the Holy Spirit?” I think most believers are guilty of this.

    Thanks for this wonderful post, Lynn, and of course, the wonderful works of art.

    In Christ, David E.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, wow, David. I am truly and simultaneously humbled and honored by your extraordinary, thoughtful and encouraging comment! Mark Twain once said, “I can live two months on a good compliment.” I think I will live at least two years on your kindness today. Thank you with all my heart seems so little to say in response to your understanding and specific analysis and praise for my words here. Of course, I think the world of your writing, and thus, your words take on even greater value by way of encouragement. God is good… and I spend a lot of time in prayer over each painting and post as I suspect you do. I definitely see Him in each blog post you “pen.” For this reason, I’m particularly thankful and grateful that Abba can be so clearly seen in the words written here. I can’t thank you enough. You have buoyed my spirit during an incredibly busy and frustrating week. Your encouragement means so much. May God bless you beyond all that you can imagine! I am grateful for your friendship.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Lynn this is such a beautiful post. One of the hardest things to understand in life is how something good can come out of the darkest situations of life. If only we can give us access to the canvas of our life, we will realise and be amazed at the perfect picture He paints out of it. Sorry for your loss sis. Praying for you🙏🏾

    Liked by 1 person

  8. 7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD of all these things. Isaiah 45:7

    Darkness is part of the Whole. And the Lord Jesus is Light.

    The death instinct is of the human nature.
    Writing, arts, sports, and other activities have the symbolic and practical ability to transfer aggressive energy, either bad or deadly, to into a civilized expression.
    Thus, these activities are vital to balance and favor social interaction; if it were not for this, the direct confrontation with the dark forces will destroy us all. As it does, when it does not find civilized forms of expression.

    With our faith honestly anchored in Christ, we can reflect the good in our lives, because the Lord is the source of virtue. And it is a blessing to those who believe, to reach the rest and the shelter of faith.

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  9. Lynn, That was beautiful! I love your paintings. I am no good at art, at all, but I surely can appreciate the gift God has given to you. What you wrote really touched my heart in many ways, too.

    Something you said, in particular, jumped out at me. You said, “Am I afraid of appearing too radical, and out-of-the-mainstream?” Sometimes I am, actually, i.e. sometimes that thought comes at me like a bolt of lightning and I have to yield that fear back to God. The fear, nonetheless, will never keep me from writing what God gives me to write, for I have taken many hits (not good ones) because I stand on God’s Word, and because I write tough stuff, at times, that some people don’t like to hear, and some of it is out-of-the-mainstream, or it does appear too radical, even though it is consistent with the teachings of scripture. So, rejection goes along with the territory, and that’s ok, really, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt sometimes.

    You know, it was ok when I wasn’t getting many responses or “likes.” I’m ok with that, but then when I did, and then God gave me a message I knew would get me rejected again, the thought did enter my mind that, well, my new follower probably won’t follow me now. I am often amused on Twitter at how my “follower” count fluctuates up and down. I figure they follow me before they actually read what God gives me to write, and then once they read, they unfollow me. I’m used to it. But, I think it is harder when you make connections with people, and you feel you are making some friends, and then God gives you (not you, me) a message that is “too radical” by a lot of people’s standards, and then the person or people disappear from my life. Then, it is more personal, but, I still have to obey God, and I still have to write what he gives me to write, even if it does appear too radical or outside the mainstream. Sue

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, Sue… I am so glad that you remain bold and true to God’s calling! Your courage is truly an inspiration! I will keep you in my prayers as you faithfully present God’s Truth. I know He blesses your ministry, and that you are touching lives that He has placed in your path! May God continue to bless you greatly!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lynn, Thank you so much. I greatly have been encouraged by you and by other bloggers who I have just recently become acquainted with, and it has been a blessing in my life getting to know you and to read what God has given you, too. I needed this! But, I know I can’t count on it always being there, but that my dependency has to be solely in my Lord. Still, it is a blessing to meet all of you and to hear how God is leading in your lives, too, so thank you for being here. God bless! Sue

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  10. Lynn, this was so beautiful and quite in depth. It touched me very deeply and I’m thankful God gave you painting. I’m thankful He’s opened your heart to share with others. Definitely made me think about my time with Christ and the importance of Him leaving the earth to give us His Spirit.

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  11. You do indeed have a God given beautiful gift Lynn and yes encouraged by your Mother, a gift to share with us that we too may be blessed by the awesomeness and beauty of God’s Creation.

    Some of my favorite Scriptures Lynn about The Holy Spirit are below….

    John 16:13 -15. Howbeit when He The Spirit of Truth is come He will guide you into all Truth for He shall not speak of Himself but whatsoever He shall hear that shall He speak and He will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me for He shall receive of mine and shall shew it unto you. All things that The Father hath are mine therefore said I that He shall take of mine and shall shew it unto you.

    1 Corinthians 2:9-16 But as it is written; Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that Love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit for the Spirit searcheth all things yea the deep things of God. For what Man knoweth the things of a Man save the spirit of Man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man but The Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world but The Spirit which is of God that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak not in the words which Man’s wisdom teacheth but which the Holy Ghost Teacheth, comparing spiritual things with Spiritual. But the natural Man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness unto him neither can he know them because they are Spiritually discerned. But he that is Spiritual judgeth all things yet he himself is judged of no Man. For who hath known the Mind of The Lord, that he may instruct Him? but we have the Mind of Christ.

    Yes as you shared Lynn we are Comforted and yes we too Comfort others, we are Jesus’ Arms, Hands, Feet and Voice in this hurting World.

    2 Corinthians 1:3-5 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, The Father of mercies, and The God of all Comfort who Comforteth us in all our Tribulation that we may be able to Comfort them which are in any trouble by the Comfort wherewith we ourselves are Comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us so our Consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

    Colossians 2 :2 -3 That their hearts might be Comforted being knit together in Love and unto all riches of the full assurance of Understanding to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God and of The Father and of Christ in whom are hid all the Treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge.

    Galatians 6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfil the Law of Christ.

    Romans 12:15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice and weep with them that weep.

    Philippians 2:2-4 Fulfil ye my Joy that ye be likeminded having the same Love being of one accord of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every Man on his own things but every Man also on the things of others.

    Hebrews 10 24-25 And let us consider one another in order to stir up Love and good works not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as is the manner of some but exhorting one another and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

    Christian Love and Blessings – Anne.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a wonderful group of verses about the Holy Spirit from Scripture! Thank you; thank you, Anne! I love each of these passages. I’m sure I will not be the only one blessed by these passages from the heart of God. Also, thank you with all my heart for your thoughtful encouragement! It means so much to me. God bless you greatly, my true sister in the Lord!

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  12. Lynn, this is a beautiful testimony to your mom and to you God. I soo can relate to every word, as I too lost my mom to cancer and was with her every day/night her last 6 weeks here. I love that painting became a way to push through the grief and now your paintings and blogging have brought love, hope, and faith to the larger world…and my world. Blessings on you sweet blogging sister! Thanks for sharing your heart and your gifts. They are a blessing to me. And, because of Christ, one day our sad “goodbyes” to our moms will become rejoicing “Hellos!”

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    • It is a difficult journey, isn’t it, Amy? And yet what a privilege to spend those final days together! I’m so sorry for your loss. My heart is truly with you. And I’m extremely thankful that we both look forward to a fantastic reunion with our moms one day! Yes, isn’t it amazing how God works? I’m grateful for the way He turns mourning into dancing. Thank you for your so very thoughtful, gracious, kind and encouraging words here! It means the world to me! And it is particularly encouraging to know that you have traveled a similar path. May God bless you beyond all that you can imagine! ❤️

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      • HI Lynn. So great to hear from you. Yes, some of the hardest days and the most sacred…truly a gift I will treasure because it comes with no regrets. To get to love and serve her in her final days when she had loved and served me all my days was a blessing that can’t be measured. Eph 3:20 is my life verse and I wish that for you also! I still miss her every single day and wish I could talk to her, pray with her, hug her…life will never be the same without her in it but her faith and perseverance gave me such an example that I have to keep going, keep loving, keep trusting…for that is what she’d encourage me to do! Hebrews 12 encourages me:12 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Carry on dear sister in Christ!

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    • I lost my mom to cancer in the year 2000. I got to spend much of her last 6 weeks with her, though I could have done more. Still, God blessed me with that time. Toward the end, all she wanted to do was to sing songs about Jesus, so between the two of us, we thought of as many songs as we could that had the name Jesus in them, and we sang them together. That is a special memory. I don’t paint. I sing. 🙂 Sue

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      • What a beautiful memory, Sue. Even in the heartache, there was blessing. I love how God gives us beauty, grace and the miraculous even in the storm. Thanks for sharing this with me. What an encouragement your experience is! Oh, and you SING! I so admire the gift of music. God bless you as you bless others with your beautiful song! ❤

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