Make a splash!

Recently I scanned some illustrations I have been drawing, but the scans turned out awful. “What’s wrong with this machine?” I cried out. “They really do build some poor quality stuff!”

I blamed my paint and watercolor paper as well. I blamed my husband for not giving me wise advice. I even blamed God for encouraging me to go down this path, only to lead me into failure.

Then I remember a comment someone made: “When I was convinced that I was right, of course I thought everyone was wrong. But then one day it occurred to me, maybe I was at fault…”

I took the hit and looked at my life. “God, what am I missing here?”

It suddenly came to me. My illustrations reflected my heart. I felt like a fraud out there in the art world. I felt I had no right to illustrate a book. And how dare I go waltzing in without any training and think I could succeed.

“Boldness,” I felt God saying. “Boldness! I gave you this gift, and don’t downplay it. Use bright colors, strong lines, and make a splash!”

I did, and an amazing thing happened. The scanner worked!

 

Breaking through

Dear Friends,

Laurie Jean Sennott once said, “Every flower must grow through dirt.” It is so true… Over the last 2  1/2 years I have shared my attempts to push through the dirt of life that was stomped hard on top of me. I hoped it would help you break free as well.

The Bible makes another equally profound observation. When a seed sprouts, “God gives it the new body he wants it to have.” (1 Corinthians 15:38) No flower ever looks like the seed it was. It pushes through dirt into something new.

I feel like I have finally broken through, but I need time and space to embrace the next step. It might take a while, and I hope to be back… If you are in the same place, please join me in this peaceful space.

Until then,

Eva

 

 

Are we free?

Does this ever happen to you? The Bible says, “Do not fear,” and you still cling to fear in certain relationships. It says, “Be strong in the Lord,” and you still feel overwhelmed in certain situations. It says, “Rejoice in the Lord,” and sometimes all you can do is fight back tears at certain pains you experience.

It does to me. Then last night it hit me. I have been living two lives, with two opposing gods. I think I have to please certain people, yet, I also want to please God.

Last night I resolved to live only one life, to live for the God I love. I don’t know what it will look like, or how to even do it. All I know is that I set myself free. What about you?

The thing about dreams

They say that dreams reveal what is going on deep down inside us… Not long ago I dreamed that I was on a cargo train trundling through the desert. I found myself holding two snakes by the head, restraining them from doing harm. Then a woman came up close and pointed to the desert. “Throw them overboard,” she said. It hadn’t occurred to me.

God also speaks to us through our dreams. That same afternoon someone gave me a prayer by St. Anthony of the Desert… “Lord, help us to take nothing with us as we enter the desert and there teach our hearts to beat in time with yours.”

I finally knew what those snakes represented. In my prayers that evening I threw them overboard and felt freer than I had in years… Is something dragging you down as well? Sometimes it is as simple as throwing it away.

Imagining a heartbeat

It is possible to lose our imagination, our capacity to say that something lives, even though it doesn’t exist. It is possible to get our imagination back, but it will take audacity .

The Bible says, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work in us.” (Ephesian 3:20) God wants us to imagine. But do we dare?

I sometimes get scared of others’ opinions, and as night follows day, I lose my imagination. Other times I dare… Today I rode a comet with a flaming tail. Yesterday I sat with a depressed hippo in a lake. Tomorrow…

It only takes one idea to put an imaginary world into space. I do it through writing. What about you? What idea will you bring to life?

Toxic love

I’ve always thought that love is good...

The experts say that we all have a love language, and that each of us wants to be loved. A smile. A hug. A heart-to-heart chat. These are good. But, there are also broken languages of love…

Some think that love will only come through manipulation: “If you love me, you will do what I want.” Others think it will come when they are worshipped: “If you love me, you will put me first in your life.” Should we risk it and fulfill their demands?

I have learned the hard way that it isn’t a good idea. It develops a toxic kind of love where both are destroyed and hurt… Only God can satisfy our deepest heart. Let’s point those we love to him.

What is important?

People sometimes say, “The end is important, but not how you get there.” But… what if we doubt we will ever reach our desired end, the goal we want for our life? Is our journey invalidated? Does this mean we are a failure for life?

I know of a person who lived in the future, for the plans they had made, and they forgot about today. They forgot to be kind and enjoy life with those they loved. The Bible says, “We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.” (Proverbs 16:9 NLT) Plans aren’t everything in life.

Whatever happens, our lives still count. What we do every day, how we treat those around, these are just as important as any plan.

Don’t give up!

I complained to a friend about not finding the right story for a children’s talk. But my friend showed no sympathy. “Write your own!” she said.

I was taken aback. I had no talent, or even any interest in writing. My life was too busy anyway. But God used her comment, even though it seemed too crazy to consider…

Now, eleven years later, with forty-four re-writes, twenty-seven rejections from publishers, and an illustrator who marched on valiantly, this Creation book has finally come to life!

Yes, there were those who helped me get back up, again and again. There was also a Bible verse. “Do not despise the day of small beginnings.” (Zechariah 4:10)

What is your seemingly-impossible small beginning? Accept every encouragement, and don’t give up!

***

Coming soon. January 2018. Thank you, Sarah Grace Publishing!

 

We’re not alone.

A couple of weeks ago I put diesel fuel into a second-hand car we had just bought. I filled the tank, but then had a second thought. I rang home to clarify. “Erm… Is the car a diesel?”

“Oh, Eva!” came Derek’s gracious reply. “You should have filled it with unleaded. I’ll get to you as soon as I can.”

I ended up stranded for three long hours, waiting for someone to come empty the tank. Yes, I was upset, but I felt safe. Derek sat beside me in the freezing cold night.

God does the same. He says, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you…” (Isaiah 42:10) We don’t ever have to feel alone when we mess up.

What is conflict?

Conflict is sparks flying. It is emotions rising. It is experiencing what most of us think we would rather avoid. Yet, sometimes conflict is necessary. When we speak up for the slandered. When we defend the defenseless. When we risk our reputation to protect the innocent.

But our actions can only resolve part of the problem. The slandered might still feel worthless. The defenseless might still feel powerless. And, the innocent might still feel betrayed. These are reactions that continue to harm.

Conflict then shows us another face. It fights for the hearts that sink into despair. It fights against the lies that drag them there. Yes, conflict is sometimes called love.