Paths Of Waiting Before The Lord is my latest music album of comforting Christian prayersongs, released last month. This new video recounts through my original art and in my own words the compelling story behind that album.
May the Lord use my story on this video to bless and encourage those who need to be reminded that Jesus loves them, of His forgiveness and grace, and that He answers our prayers in His own way and time, according to our needs, in Jesus’ name, amen.
To listen to the songs on Paths of Waiting follow the link to my Hear & Now Website or listen on your favorite streaming station.
Juneteenth is a holiday observed on June 19th that celebrates the emancipation of the former slaves in the United States.
“Emancipation Day” is truly a holiday in our country that everyone should honor and consider thoughtfully and with great thanksgiving to God.
For His word says “…The Lord frees prisoners. The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord raises up those who are oppressed…” ~ Psalm 146:7- CSB
Was it not the Lord Almighty who heard the many prayers of these enslaved oppressed souls and answered them in His own way and time as He answers all prayer?
To everything a season… Ecclesiastes 3:1
Was it not He who controls the destinies of all nations who opened the eyes of the leaders to see their blindness and hypocrisy in harboring slavery in a land founded on freedom and Christian morality?
The Lord is the One who sets the prisoners free ultimately.
I believe that the enslaved peoples of our nation, based on their great spirituals and hymns, would agree that it was the Lord God who had heard their fervent cries for freedom and brought about their ultimate deliverance.
For they were truly a longsuffering people of great faith.
Their patience teaches us to trust the Lord and believe and hope no matter how discouraging things look, or impossible or hopeless the situation seems.
They inspire us to never give up believing.
Most of these persevering people kept singing, praising, and working for the unseen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to whom they truly belonged, who had made them His own redeemed children through His death on the cross despite their hardship in the physical world.
His Kingdom was not of this world and they served Himwho was every and all colors, for He was the Great Creator who had made them. And His was the color of love.
The Lord had no favorites. They could see this even if those who had enslaved them were blind~though they too claimed to serve Christ.
The Bible says, “For there is no respect of persons with God.” (Romans 2:11 – KJV) In Him there was no white nor black, male nor female, slave nor free.
All were one in Christ. (*See Galatians 3:28)
In Christ all were made free, for where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. (2 Corinthians 3:17)
He had made them free in the spiritual realm and one day they knew in their hearts that He would make them free in the material world.
What eyes could not see, their hearts could.
These courageous souls walked by faith and not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)
When their freedom in this world finally came, these former slaves knew that their prayers had been answered and they gave praise and thanks to the Lord their Deliverer.
“For the Lord hears the needy And does not despise His who are prisoners.” ~ Psalm 69:33 – AMP
Though this holiday has not widely been observed or celebrated in our nation, many of the children of the former slaves have kept up with the tradition of remembrance since the first Emancipation Day.
For It truly is a Day of Thanksgiving and praise, to gather and celebrate freedom and to honor God and praise Him for the deliverance He brought about for those who were so long enslaved in this land.
He sets the captives free and those who were first delivered from their bondage knew who to praise for their liberty.
They loved the Lord with all their heart and their songs and spirituals remain as a testimony forever to eternity of their faith in Him.
It is with great sorrow that Mark and I share with you the sad news that our little Yorkie Miss Phee has passed away.
We would like to thank all of you who prayed for her during her recent illness. She put up a brave fight but in the end it was the Lord’s will to take her home.
We are so thankful that she lived nearly twelve years with us which was truly miraculous. Our vet had told us that dogs with a liver shunt like Miss Phee usually only survive between three to five years without the surgery that can sometimes correct the problem, and between eight to ten years with the surgery, if the liver shunt is even operable.
Not only was the surgery very risky, the recovery process imposed impossible demands upon a little high strung dog, not withstanding the dangerous odds that once they got into the operation, her shunt might be inoperable.
When we first discovered Phee’s liver shunt, the Lord reminded me of His original promise He’d given me three years earlier, when as a puppy she’d had to have her spaying done the second time because of her allergy to the sutures.
The Lord had promised He would give my little Phee a long life and that she was going to be a healthy little dog. He said that her liver shunt was but a bump on her path of life and that He was still going to give her many long happy years with us.
I questioned God at the time. “But Lord, You promised she would be a healthy little dog. A liver shunt is not a healthy dog! Why did You tell me she would be healthy when You knew all along that she was defective?”
“I never lie,” the Lord reminded me of His word which says, “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;” Titus 1:2 KJV
Then I must have heard Your promise wrong! I fussed at God.
“No you did not,” the Lord reassured my heart. “I promised she would be a healthy little dog on MY terms, not your terms. Just as you are healthy and strong on My terms as long as you abide in Me and stay within the boundaries I have set for you, and take your medications, You are able to do all that I enable you to do, You are able to accomplish My will and purpose for you on this earth. That is My definition of good health. I don’t define good health on your terms.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 KJV
If you demand that I conform to your definitions and terms of health or healing or anything in this life, You will always be disappointed with Me and never believe that You hear from Me. You will never be able to walk by faith. And without faith You cannot hope to walk with Me…”
““Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.” Habakkuk 2:4 KJV
We opted to believe God’s promise and to trust Him. He promised that if we gave little Phee the proper medications and diet that she would be a healthy little dog.
Throughout all the years Miss Phee lived with us we found God faithful to His word. She truly was a healthy little dog even though we sometimes even gave her little treats like cheese that she craved.
All I can figure is that God had mercy on her little soul and let her have something special sometimes to vary her restricted diet.
An extremely finicky eater, could any dog have despised dog food more than Miss Phee? But had we eaten the stuff, she would have gobbled it right up! She craved anything that we ate. Especially all of the naughty things she was not supposed to eat… 🙂 She somehow always knew if something was dog food though~ even the gourmet most expensive variety. She would have no parts of it.
She was seven parts human, 2 parts cat, and one part little ferocious doggy who thought she was bigger than the biggest doggy in the world with a severe bark.
God was faithful to His word. He indeed “…keeps every promise forever.” ~Psalm 146:6 For Miss Phee was like a healthy little puppy in every way as long as we gave her the medications and appropriate diet for a liver shunt dog… until almost six months past her eleventh birthday.
In the late Fall she became dangerously ill, but thankfully recovered. When she became ill again in January her vet diagnosed back pain due to her constant jumping and twirling.
For she was still jumping and twirling despite all our efforts to curb this behavior to help her back heal. Miss Phee loved to jump and twirl always. It was just her nature. Jump and twirl for treats…jump and twirl…pick me up…jump and twirl to tell us she was happy and so forth…
Her vet let us know that the main issue was no longer her back from her constant jumping. For no matter which way he’d moved her on the examining table, she did not seem to be in any pain. It was her liver shunt. Her body was failing her. An excellent vet, he worked so hard with us to help her survive.
Off and on since this past January Phee would get well and then sick again…it was like the Lord was preparing us to let go of her. Even three days before she went back to Jesus, she had a momentary surge of energy where she was able to “jump and twirl” like her old self. She even barked!
I dared hope that she might be healed. But then she continued to regress until we saw that she would never recover and was in a state of constant suffering.
Mark and I have wept for the last week in grief over losing our beloved little Phee. She was so special to us.
The other morning just before waking I had the most amazing dream. I woke up smiling.
“Honey,” I said to Mark who was sleeping beside me. “I dreamed about Miss Phee!” Mark said groggily, “What did you dream?”
“Phee was sitting on the Lord’s lap and He was feeding her what she always lusted after in this life~a chocolate peanut butter cup! And you know what! Little Phee could talk!
She said, “Look Mommy! See what I can do now!” Then she proceeded to take a flying leap off the Lord’s lap ~ she went really far too!
Then the Lord produced this bright green coiled leash out of nowhere and suddenly it sprang out and reeled Miss Phee back to Him like a yo yo! She laughed and yipped, and barked and twirled like it was a really fun game.
She sprang off His lap and He reeled her in again two or three times, and she laughed and barked and yipped and twirled just like her little self! Have you ever?”
Mark smiled. “Phee always did beg for those peanut butter cups. And you always told her that dogs had to wait till the Marriage Supper of the Lamb to eat chocolate!”
“Honey~that dream isn’t literal~ don’t you know the Lord gave me that dream to assure us that our little Phee is with Him and that she’s happily playing fun games with Jesus who loves her!
Now she’s where she can leap out as far as she wants and can even jump and twirl again!
And best of all, she can even eat chocolate! All the things that she couldn’t do in this life… For there are no bad things in Heaven!
And I reckon the leash is to show that even in Heaven there are boundaries. The Lord God always must be obeyed, worshiped, and feared by all creatures in Heaven as well as on earth. For He is the Lord of all Creation.
I’m just certain that dream is surely metaphorical!”
“Well…right now I prefer to think Phee doggie is sitting on Jesus’ lap and eating Reese’s cups and I’m going back to my “metaphorical” sleep…”
We both miss our little dog dreadfully but we are thankful to the Lord who holds her now, knowing she is no longer suffering and in pain.
I truly believe that little Phee is where we who trust in Christ as our Savior will be someday, with Jesus and our Heavenly Father who will wipe all our tears away and make all things new.
SCRIPTURES FOR MEDITATION…
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.” Revelation 21:4-5 KJV
All NATURE WILL BE REDEEMED FROM BONDAGE BY CHRIST…
“For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” Romans 8:19-23 KJV
All CREATURES WORSHIP GOD WITH WHATEVER VOICES THEY ARE GIVEN…
And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.”
And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, “Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” Revelation 5:11-13 KJV
Thank You Heavenly Father, for the gift of Miss Phee. What a beautiful little treasure she was to us. Though she will not return to us, we have the blessed assurance that we will go to her someday and be reunited with her again in Paradise with You because of Thy Son Jesus Christ’s gift of redemption for us and for all of Thy Creation. Thank You for Thy gift of immeasurable love for us, in Jesus’ name, amen. ❤️
Special thanks go out to Dr. Wright and all of the compassionate, caring staff at the Riner Animal Hospital for all of their excellent care for Miss Phee during her long, precious life with us.
Thank you especially to Dr. Richard Wright for working so hard to save our little Phee during her final illness.
What a blessing it is to know that there are such amazing people in this world who will go to any and every length to save God’s precious creatures.
May they always be honored and blessed for their compassionate and tireless dedication.
He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul:
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: For Thou art with me…” ~Psalm 23:1-4
Several years ago I came down with a simple virus. I thought it would go away in a few days, for I had always been a very healthy person. But after a week my symptoms only grew more alarming and by the end of the month they became debilitating.
I went from a healthy active person who walked 6 miles a day, to a person who could no longer walk, use my hands, or even see to read, write or draw, for my eye muscles would go into spasms if I tried to read anything. I had to stay still in a dark room and be quiet.
This was unbearable to me for I had been so used to being active.
As a working visual artist who drew almost constantly, being unable to use my hands was like being imprisoned in my body.
I was terrified for I did not know if the illness was permanent, or even what the illness was.
Nor did my doctors. They ran numerous tests on me for every horrible disease they could think of.
I was filled with fear and anxiety.
“Lord, why is this happening? Did I grieve you somehow?”
I prayed constantly and confessed every sin I could think of –and then some, because I was certain I had done some terrible thing to make God mad at me for allowing me to become so ill and lose so many abilities. All I had ever wanted to do was glorify Him.
Now all I could do was sit in silence before Him and weep. My head hurt constantly from migraines.
I listened to audio bibles and sermons and this comforted me tremendously.
The Psalmist wrote in Psalm 119:92 “Lord, unless Your law had been my delight, I would then have perished in my affliction.”
During my time alone with the Lord, I grew very close to Him. There is nothing like suffering and affliction to draw you closer to God. He spoke to my heart. He promised to heal me. I clung to His promise.
God’s word promises that “all things work together for good to those who love God” in Romans 8:28. I treasured all of the promises in His word trusting that all would be well, for God had never failed me.
All my life I had known Him to be faithful, just as His word says in Psalm 36:5 “Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.”
After many tests the doctors determined that I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia~ auto-immune illnesses caused by the Epstein Barre virus.
It took 4 months of physical therapy before I could use my hands again to draw, paint, and write. After about a year I was able to walk almost a mile.
The second painting I did after I regained the use of my hands was a watercolor inspired by Psalm 23, “The Lord is My Shepherd.”
The painting shows the Good Shepherd, Jesus, His face strong and steady in the
midst of a dark, blinding storm. His glowing clothes are billowing all about Him as He presses forward with nothing and no one able to stop Him or His purpose for the little one He has charge over. His frightened little child is crouching close behind Him to escape the blast of the stormy tempest.
The Lord is the child’s Shield, his Shelter, and Defender. The child clings to the Lord, as Christ leads Him through the Dark Valley of the Shadow; they are as one, they are so close together.
This image truly reflects my experience with my Lord Jesus ~ He was my Good Shepherd throughout my illness and never once failed me through my crisis of fear, worry, doubt, anxiety, weakness, and pain. He led me all the way through that horrible storm and encouraged me with His word, His love, and His presence.
The Gospel of John says that Jesus is the true light and “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” ~John 1:5
I experienced the truth of that scripture through my affliction. And the painting is my expression of its truth.
I had my painting printed and made into an Encouraging Card, which I sell in our Etsy Shop.
The card is like a mini version of my painting. On the front of this card is the verse, “The Lord is my Shepherd…I will fear no evil, for You are with me.” Psalm 23:1,4(Updated King James Version Bible) On the back of the card, Psalm 23 is printed along with a vignette of the cover illustration.
This card has comforted many people through many trials. So I am thankful that the Lord allowed me to experience the terrible affliction that led me to be able to paint the picture. For I would never have been able to paint it had I not experienced the suffering, fear, comfort and faith all found in that image.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian Church:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” ~2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son Jesus Christ to be our Good Shepherd to guide us down the path of righteousness, truth, and grace that we might live with You in peace forever. We love You, In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
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