© Lynn Abbott
Sometimes I forget to be thankful.
Perhaps, you can relate.
In this “hurry up” world, it’s easy to focus on our next-to-be-done list rather than to take a moment to breathe and thank God for what He has already accomplished on our behalf.
Recently, I stopped to listen to myself… Oh, my!
Quite honestly, it was an embarrassing albeit enlightening moment since on this particular occasion, I heard myself complaining to a dear artist friend about the stress my heavy workload had created.
Yes. It has been that kind of year for me.
Sometimes I forget to be thankful.
I realize that I have been very quiet here. Certainly the blog has been at rest.
But I have been scrambling in the non-internet world. Twelve to fourteen hour workdays have not been uncommon for me. I hate to admit it, but these kind of long hours spent before my easel have become my new norm.
Of course, it all began well. Just over a year ago, I found myself unsuccessfully trying to balance time spent writing and painting.
I knew somethin’ had to give. So, after praying much as well as seeking the council of godly men and women, I finally embraced God’s leading with regard to my future work.
Scared, best described me.
You see, writing has always been my safe space, my predictable plan B. It happened this way…
When I had voiced my interest in art as a young teen, my parents objected on the grounds that they did not wish for me to become the proverbial “starving artist.” And so much to my father’s relief, I chose plan B.
But God’s call cannot be ignored.
Abraham knew that.
Moses could attest to that.
Gideon questioned it.
And Jonah tried to run from it.
And Saul, aka Paul, attempted to silence it…
If these extraordinary saints could not escape God’s call, how could an ordinary person like myself manage to do so?
I put my pen aside and hesitantly picked up my paintbrush.
After all, I knew that obedience would mean that my paintbrush must express everything I wished to communicate. Wasn’t the pen mightier than the paintbrush, or something like that?
I truly wrestled with putting my pens and pencils back in the desk drawer. Questioned the wisdom of such a move, in fact.
If you have followed Ink and Image for any time at all, you know that I am a professional, landscape artist. I do not specialize in portraiture. Therefore, my work does not offer viewers a glimpse of profound Biblical scenes as many of the great painters of the past did.
God’s call cannot be ignored.
Understandably, then, I wondered, “How can Abba possibly use my art to make a difference in this world without the accompanying written word?”
Funny that. At the time, I didn’t get an answer to my question. Abba simply granted light for my next step, (Psalm 119:105).
For this reason, the decision proved a difficult one. Admittedly, I possessed little faith. Nevertheless, I obeyed.
I planted a minuscule, mustard seed (Matthew 17:20).
Then, I worked…
I worked hard. After all, since God had evidently called me to this, I wished to give Him my best (Colossians 3:17).
And He truly blessed. Like Peter and the disciples in Galilee after the resurrection, I put down my “net,” and it overflowed to the point that my net broke (John 21:5-7).
So it was. But rather than focusing on the incredible catch, I complained to my friend over coffee about my broken net.
How predictably human is that! That’s right. I’m sheepishly shaking my head.
Rather than focusing on the incredible catch, I complained to my friend over coffee about my broken net.
Like the the people of Israel who had witnessed the parting of the Red Sea as well as the Jordan, I grumbled about the battles before me instead of pausing to remember with gratitude God’s miraculous work in the immediate past.
Uh, huh. God knows our tendencies. He knows that we are “but dust.” And fallen dust, at that. I’m grateful that He gives so much grace, (Psalm 103: 14, 17).
Yet, I also know that in His infinite wisdom and understanding, He gently directs us to a better way. Indeed, He asked Joshua to take stones from the river Jordan and to build a monument, a reminder of God’s faithfulness to Israel (Joshua 4: 8-9).
God doesn’t need monuments.
But we certainly do.
Without a doubt, my heart overflows as I think about God’s grace and leading over the past year.
He has not only opened doors for further gallery representation and allowed me to participate in an art movement that seeks to revive impressionism and realism, but He has also given me the opportunity to use art to support a Christian ministry devoted to assisting women rescued from human trafficking in third world countries.
God doesn’t need monuments. But we certainly do.
Yes, my “to do” list still remains long. That’s unchanged. And it truly is time to mend my broken net.
First, however, I’ll stop and breathe prayers of gratitude for the miraculous “catch of the year” and for all the ways God has blessed my “mustard seed.”
Please join me as I embrace this Thanksgiving holiday as a monument to God’s faithfulness! Together, you and I will focus on the catch rather than on the broken net.
Indeed, there will be time for mending after thanks giving.
And with all my heart, I pray that, along with me, you will be able to echo the Psalmist’s words, “The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed my heritage is beautiful to me. I will bless the LORD who has counseled me; Indeed my mind instructs me in the night. I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken,” (Psalm 16:6-8)