Love Works.

Today a miracle happened.  I faced one of my biggest fears and God completely delivered me from it.  You see, 14 years ago, I came off the mission field after spending two years in England and parts of the United States, involved in a prophetic underground movement, that turned out to be a cult.  I came home bruised, beaten by the devil, and very ill with depression and post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). My family, not wanting to be burdened with me, dumped me on the County mental health system, and I found myself homeless in a shelter.  Yes, a shelter.  I write about this in my prepublished book of my journey of faith entitled,”Becoming Miriam: A Life Transformed by God.”

I share this with you today to encourage you how the redemptive love and healing power of Jesus Christ can heal even the most wounded soul and damaged life.  I was told I would never recover from these illnesses and the fear that gripped me.  I felt like God had abandoned me and the devil had put me out to pasture, never to be in ministry again.  But there is hope in my story, as God did bring healing and restoration to my life, and can for yours too.  It starts with a seed of faith, to believe in Him as your Lord and Savior, and ask Him to forgive your sins and come dwell in your heart.  Jesus was all about healing during His time on this earth, and He still heals today through the power of His Holy Spirit, that resides in believers.  You are sealed with the Holy Spirit and redeemed for all eternity when you are born again (John 3:7)

So what was the miracle Miriam?  Today I went to do a LOVE WORKS project with my new church at a homeless shelter for people with psychiatric illnesses.  I was a bit afraid that it would trigger bad memories of that time in my life, the great pain and depression I was in, and the spiritual torment I was under.  Deep down I feared that somehow I would end up homeless again.

Well, you know what? God’s love worked, as I showed up to paint the shelter rooms.  I looked around the place in amazement, how clean and well kept it looked, how sunny and bright.  I fellow-shipped with two women residents at lunch, then asked them if I could peek in the women’s dorm.  When I pushed open the door, I was met with the sight of new wooden wardrobes at the foot of each bed, unlike the old metal lockers that had been there before. I shared my testimony how I had been in this very same shelter 14 years ago. God had met me there, when one summer day a black pastor from the church down the street stopped by and invited me to his church.  I went and found my way back to Him and church, and the rode to recovery began.

As I stood in the dorm, Shivon* and Cathy* asked me to pray for them, so we formed a circle and held hands, I prayed for God to protect them, to open doors for housing and jobs, and to heal their mental illnesses. I saw God’s love work in their hearts, and mine.

I had come full circle. I stood there strong in His love, sharing it with others who needed it that day.  My fear of being homeless again just dissipated, as the Lord healed my heart.

*not their real names.

The residents saw God’s love through our serving them.  I hope one day, one of them will say, “You know, it was when that church group came and painted our shelter, and shared their testimonies of hope in Jesus, that the turning point came for me.”  Just as it had for me that summer day years ago.

May LOVE WORK in your life and through your life to others today…

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A Nudge from the Lord: Searching for God’s Truth.

Today, I visited a new church that is held in a local Jewish Temple. I felt a nudge from the Lord to find a church that is centered on the authority and truth of God’s Word, where salvation comes from being born again, by accepting Jesus as you Lord and Savior alone. The Bible says we must be ‘born again’, in fact Jesus himself said it in John 3:1-10.  We do not get ‘saved’ by attending church, being baptized as a baby, or serving faithfully in our church.

In fact, Jesus was quite clear that good works cannot save you, we cannot ‘earn our way’ into Heaven.  It is through accepting His free gift of grace, by His dying on the cross and shedding his blood for our sins, and rising from the dead, that we have eternal life. Romans 3:24. No other way.  Not Buddha, not crystals, not worshiping the moon or stars, or another false religion.  Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Light, no one comes to the Father, but through me.” John 14:6.

So this morning, as I worshiped with the light stemming through the menorah in the stained glass window, the symbol of light for the Jewish people, I felt like I had come home.  As a Jewish believer in Jesus, I love Israel and the Jewish people.  God has given me a burden to share their Messiah, Yeshua, (Jesus in Hebrew) with them whenever possible.  I have studied Hebrew, volunteered with Jews for Jesus, and shared the gospel in Jerusalem.  Don’t forget, Jesus was a Jew, who came for the “lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Matthew 15:24.

To further share my faith and testify of God’s healing power, I am now writing my life story which encompasses my travels as an evangelist to the Jewish people. It has a new title: Becoming Miriam:  A Life Transformed by God.

I just returned from Mount Hermon’s Christian Writers Conference in the Santa Cruz mountains of Califrornia.  There I received good feedback and direction on how to finish and publish my book. I am thrilled my book is almost complete,  a 21/2 year journey of hard work and trust. I believe it will bring healing and truth to many who are searching for the Healer himself. My message is that God can heal the most broken heart or wounded life, just like he did mine. “For He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3.

To follow my book, and purchase your copy when it is published, subscribe to my blog by placing your email in the ‘subscribe’ box above.

If you need to find Jesus for yourself, you can pray the prayer below to be born again:
Dear Jesus:
I admit I am a sinner and am in need of forgiveness.  I believe you died on the cross for me personally and that you were raised from the dead and are in heaven right now.  I ask you into my heart to take control of my life and to be my Lord and Savior.  Thank you for loving me enough to lead me to repentance and show me my need for you.  Help me become the person you intend for me to become and may your plan for my life happen. I love you Lord and thank you for forgiving me today and giving me the gift of eternal life with you.  Amen.

After praying this prayer, it is important to tell someone else you prayed the salvation prayer, find a Bible teaching church and attend, and read your Bible every day. If you can’t afford a Bible, many churches will give you one for free.  Leave me a message and tell me you are now born-again 🙂

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God can Heal your Broken Heart

Today, while I was watching my Beth Moore bible lesson video on my laptop, I heard the wonderful news:  God can heal your broken heart, your pain, you mental anguish over wounds from your past. I stopped the tape and sat for a moment. He never meant for us to stay wounded, if fact that is why He died on the cross for our sins and was wounded for us.  He took our woundedness so we don’t have to carry it any longer.  This profound truth settled into my heart.

He knows what it is like to have emotional pain, mental anguish, and the physical pain of nails driven into his hands and a sword pierce his side.  There is nothing we have gone through or are going through that He hasn’t experienced himself.

This is why He is our Savior and Healer.

As I sat on my sofa in my living room, looking out the clear glass doors at the white fluffy clouds float by in the bright blue sky, I bowed my head and humbly asked the Lord to heal my wounds. He placed His hand on my heart and healed me through His Holy Spirit.

He withdrew the sword that had pierced my heart when I was abandoned by my family over my illness. He took the pain of losing my nieces and nephews in my life when I came forward with my sexual abuse from childhood.  He soothed the hurt when an old high school friend took advantage of my vulnerability and betrayed me. He knit together my wounds through His healing balm in one afternoon, that began as an ordinary day, and turned into an extraordinary one. And He can do it for you too.

Once I turned the video back on, Beth shared that Jesus calls us away to a solitary place and time with Him to be able heal our wounds in the quiet of the moment.  We need to make time out of our busy lives to just sit with Him and be still.  Only then can he show us our wounds and the love in His eyes as He desires to heal us.

Even if your heart is shattered into a million tiny pieces like mine was, He can still knit it together because he promises in His Word, the Bible to. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3)  and
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)  Even if you are suffering from depression and despair, He loves you enough to heal you as He did me.

Please pray this prayer:  Dear Jesus. I believe you died on the cross for my sins and took my wounds upon yourself.  Please heal my broken heart and damaged life from all my pain, anguish and despair.  I open my heart to you today and invite you to come in as my Lord and Savior at this special time of Easter when you died and rose from the dead so I could have eternal life with you.  Please touch me now even as I pray through the power of your Holy Spirit. Thank you Jesus for loving me.  Amen.

If you prayed this prayer, know God was faithful and began the work of healing you. Sometime He heals instantly as He did for me today, other times it is a process that takes time. Here are some practical ways to seek healing.  I share these in my my pre-published book: Finding God in the Midst of My Mess: A Love Story, to be published in 2015.

-Attend a church that has healing prayer groups and ask for healing.

-Read Leanne Payne’s books: The Healing Presence; Restoring the Christian Soul; Listening Prayer and The Crisis in Masculinity (for men) all on emotional healing.

-See a Christian counselor who can incorporate healing prayer into your sessions. Google you local Christian Counseling Center or ask your Pastor for a referral.

-Take a Beth Moore bible study for healing such as Breaking Free available online at www.lproof.org.  You can take them online or at a local church that offers her classes.

-Call the Minirth-Meir New Life Clinics 1-888-7 CLINIC (1-888-725-4642) for a counselor or inpatient program in your area, especially if you are suffering from depression or chemical dependency.

-Attend a Christian 12 Step group to find support and healing for addictions through a local church.

-If you in a crisis pregnancy Google your local Christian Pregnancy Center and make an appointment for a free sonogram and find help in choosing life for you and your baby.

-If you need healing from an abortion, some Christian Pregnancy Center’s  offer post-abortion counseling where you can find forgiveness and healing from God. I took such a class and found so much freedom. On your own you can read the book and workbook Forgiven and Set Free, and for men, Healing the Father’s Heart by Linda Cochran available at Christianbooks.com,

You can also contact me at miriam@giftsofhisglory.com for a confidential reply to your need or problem for healing. I am happy to pray for you.

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The Kiss. The Thinker. And the Gates of Hell. A Day in the Life of an Artist…

It was a beautiful fall day, clear blue skies with a soft breeze, as I waited for the train with my friend Sylvia.  “What exhibit are we going to see today at the Cantor Museum at Stanford?”  I asked her.  “I think the Rodin statues.” she mused.  “Hmm…Rodin, didn’t he sculpt the famous The Kiss and The Thinker?” “Yes, and the Gates of Hell,” Sylvia replied.  Excitement began to grow as the train rushed us to the Stanford University campus in Palo Alto.

The Tinker and Me

We met up with my fellow artists from our Arts of the Covenant group, a faith based group of artists who meet monthly and exhibit our work in gallery shows.

As we began our tour, the docent, an elderly lady with a walker, surprised us all by the fascinating story she told of Auguste Rodin, complete with pictures of him throughout his life.  The museum has 200 ‘casts’ or bronze statues of his work, the largest collection outside of Paris.

As we passed through the galleries, I was pleased to see his statue The Kiss and The Thinker and took my photo by it.  Next we came to his work Gates of Hell and I was overcome with emotion. These large

doors depicting the Gates of Hell had over 20 figures and took him 20 years to sculpt. I said a quiet prayer of thanks, that I would never have to go through those gates, as I had accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior and His free gift of eternal life.

“I wonder how he kept the clay wet all those years?”, I commented to my fellow artisans.  “How do you even make a cast?”I pondered. I grew up working with clay and throwing pots on the potters wheel but hadn’t specialized in ceramics, so was unsure. “His talent is remarkable, how he molds his subjects in such likeness and beauty.” I reflected.

It got me thinking. We are referred to as lumps of clay in the Bible and God as the potter, molding and making us into a beautiful image of Himself.  “But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8)  Like Rodin, God chips away at our imperfections, refining us through the process.  We need to admit our powerlessness in His hands and give Him permission to shape us as He wishes.  But we often fight Him, trying to jump off the potter’s wheel and take charge of our lives.

The Bible also refers to us as jars of clay. “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. (2 Corinthians 4:7) His Holy Spirit shines out through the cracks of our pots leading other to Him. Just like Rodin’s sculptures reflect his creative mastery, so God’s creative mastery shines through us, His creations.

As the tour ended, we gathered for lunch in the cafe, and then for a walk amongst statues in the garden. I thanked the Lord for His gift of creativity that allowed me to point others to His love and saving grace through my artwork and writing. Yes, even as a cracked pot.

Do you need to ask the Lord to use your brokenness and pain to be a vessel for his love and light to others?  Do you need to ask His forgiveness for trying to be the potter in your life rather than the clay?  If so, please pray this prayer:

Dear Jesus, I admit I have tried to run my own life and have made a mess of it.  I want to ask you into my heart as my Lord and Savior, forgiving my sins and mistakes and filling me with your Holy Spirit. I receive your free gift of eternal life with you in Heaven. Thank you I will not have to enter the gates of hell and have eternal separation from you. Have your way in me as your child and creation.  Amen.

Art Greeting Card

To see my Scripture paintings and greeting cards, visit ‘my art’ above or www.giftsofhisglory.com I invite you to purchase my art and share His light with others in your life.

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A Message from God’s Heart to Yours

Every Saturday morning, I get up early, grab a coffee and catch the train to my women’s writers group.  There we write to prompts from our dear leader Sally.  Today I was late, but came in on the second prompt: How do words come to you when you are writing?

Hmm. Funny, this was just on my mind, wondering what to write for my next blog post.  “Lord I need a topic for my blog.  What do you want me to say to my readers and the world?”  His soft whisper came to my heart. “Take my words and place them carefully on the page.  Let my Spirit flow through you and express my love and faithfulness.  I will open doors for you Child.  You need only be present and faithful to do as I ask.”

Alright Lord. Here I am. You show me your heart for others through prophetic words, words that flow from your heart to mine. I ask you to give a special message to my readers today, a prophetic word to comfort their souls.

His words came quickly to me as I wrote them on the page:

“Look to me as your heavenly Father and I will bless you with strength, love and hope.  I am the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and Omega.  I hear your cries and look with tenderness on you from Heaven.  Know I have your back and you can cling to me.  Trust me with your life and the day to day happenings.  I love you and adore you, for you are my Child.”  – Your Heavenly Father.

Take this message and cherish it in your heart. He is a good God who loves you and wants you for His own.

If you want to make Jesus your own Lord and Savior, you can ask Him into your heart today.  Please pray the prayer below:

Dear Jesus, Thank you for your free gift of salvation.  I want to trust you with my life today and ask you to forgive my sins and reconcile me with God.  I believe you died on the cross for my sins and rose from the dead three days later, giving me the gift of eternal life as well.  Please fill my heart and life with your steadfast love.  Thank you for the good plans you have for my life.  I love you. Amen.

Cross with Butterfly - prophetic art

To see my prophetic art, click on ‘my art‘ above or at www.giftsofhisglory.com

Please leave me a reply if you prayed this prayer so I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven!

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Quilting by Faith

 

Faith.  It is the thing God requires of us and the thing that pleases Him most.  In the Bible it says: “It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6 The Message) So in keeping with my faith and wanting to please God, I have decided to make a quilt by Faith.

What does this mean Miriam?  Well, I am trusting the Lord by faith to bring me a husband, ideally a Messianic Jewish one who believes in Jesus.  And along that cord, I am making my wedding quilt for my chuppa or canopy that will hang over our heads during the ceremony.  Once the wedding is over, it will be my gift to my husband to use when he goes into his cave or hideout, to wrap himself in and remember my love.

Being part Jewish myself, and a believer in Jesus, I chose to make a heart quilt that would use

recipe for chicken soup

both Jewish and Christian fabrics.  I had fun shopping online to find these patterns.  My favorite one was called “Making Chicken Soup” complete with recipe and “How to Find a Husband” which by the time the quilt is made and I am married, will be redundant, but it was fun to add.

Jewish stars. Christian crosses. A bird of peace representing the Holy Spirit.  Hanukkah candles. The nativity scene. Passover symbols. All representing the

merging of two people with Jewish and Christian backgrounds into one of faith in Yeshua (Jesus).

So last night I started sewing the quilt blocks of hearts.  After I finally figured out how to thread the bobbin, I applied my foot to the electric pedal and whizzed away.  There is

My vintage 1960s Singer machine

something so rhythmic to sewing and quilting.  You get lost in the motion and hum of the machine.

My favorite time to quilt is on a rainy winter day, but for some reason I find myself quilting in the springtime.  I was excited to be taking this step of faith, this act of love, very much like the Lord does with us.  He pieces the patterns of our hearts together, giving us a heart full of His love and peace.

Sometimes, our hearts are broken and He needs to sew all the broken pieces back together with His healing touch.  He is the master quilter.  Our lives become like a quilt, with one side showing all the tangled threads, the other side showing a beautiful pattern.

piecing one of my quilts together

The Lord has done much sewing on my heart over the past two decades since I became a born again Christian.  I had so much pain and trauma in my life, even from childhood.  Added to this were the messes I made with my own life through sin and bad choices.

But God has been faithful to show His love and heal me.  I think of this love as I sew the blocks together, adding the square patches to the pattern.  Just like my wedding quilt will be special and beautiful when it is finished, so the Lord will make a beautiful pattern of your life if you give him the chance.

If you want this faith, to step out and trust the Lord with your life, you can pray this prayer.  It will bring His salvation and healing presence to your life as He takes up residence in your heart through His Holy Spirit.  He will come take your mess and start sewing it into a beautiful quilt.

Will you ask Him for Faith today?

Dear Jesus:  I ask you for the gift of faith today. By faith, please come into my heart as my Lord and Savior.  By faith I believe you died on the cross for my sins and mess and rose from the dead three days later.  By faith I receive your free gift of eternal life by grace.  Please knit the broken parts of my heart and life back together and bring me healing, as you are the divine healer. Thank you for loving me enough to heal me.  I walk forward today with Faith in you.  Amen.

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A Mother’s (and Father’s) Day Story: Finding life after abortion…

This mother’s day I will be doing something different in celebration of my daughter Lynley.  I will be standing on Mother’s Day Sunday at church when they ask all the mothers to stand.  You see Lynley was my sweet baby who didn’t live outside of the womb.  I aborted her when I was 30 years old.  The shame that I hadn’t given my baby life always kept me from acknowledging I was a mother.  But not this Mother’s Day.

I am able to do this as I have received healing and forgiveness for my abortion.  I want to offer that same healing to women (and men) who are reading my post today.  I know this is not an easy topic to address, but one I feel the Lord wanted me to share with you.

Before I became a born again Christian, I lived a very worldly life.  Sexual relationships with unhealthy men was my norm. A fast paced life as a MBA in the corporate world running after success and money.  This coupled with carrying the pain of an abusive childhood  caused me to crash and hit bottom at age 30.  I was diagnosed with a clinical suicidal depression and hospitalized. In the midst of this, I got pregnant by my boyfriend who my doctors were trying to seperate me from because he was abusive.

I was so happy to be pregnant when the home pregnancy test came back positive.  Joy filled me.  I had always wanted to be a mother, but wondered how could I possibly me one now.  I was so ill and depressed, fighting for my life every day.  My doctors, fearing I couldn’t sustain a pregnancy,  recommended a ‘therapeutic’ abortion, to save the life of the mother, me, over the unborn child.

My Catholic psychiatrist even told me the Catholic church, which I had grown up in, would agree.  I was so worried the baby would be deformed on the powerful medications I was taking.  My parents did not offer me any help, refusing me shelter to raise my baby in.  Helpless, on disability I did not know where to turn.  I did not know about Christian crisis pregnancy centers or help within the Christian community.  I listened to the worldly advice and scheduled the abortion at my hospital.

A few days before, I changed my mind and wanted to keep my baby.  My parents and boyfriend refused me any promise of financial help or shelter.  I was alone and abandoned.  Trapped.

I cried the whole way through the abortion as my baby was suctioned out of me.  My girlfriend held my hand and her knuckles were white from my grip.  I screamed in pain and afterward threw up in the sink.  My baby was gone.

But there is hope in my story.  You see my baby, whom I named Lynley, had a soul and spirit upon conception.  In the Bible it says of God: “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13.)  God breathed life into her.  She had a beating heart as early as 21 days.  She was not a blob of tissue as Planned Parenthood will tell you.

When I aborted her, her soul and spirit returned to God where she is alive in Heaven, waiting for me to join her.  How do I know this for certainty?  God promises us in the Bible: “and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.  (Ecclesiastes 12:7.)

I was blessed to find healing through the love of women at a Christian pregnancy center near my home. I read and worked through the workbook entitled: Forgiven and Set Free: A Post-Abortion Bible Study for Women by Linda Cochrane with a class of women. I found healing for my abortion 22 years later.

We studied Scripture that told me who I was in Jesus, and that I was forgiven for even the sin of aborting my child. I learned others had sinned against me by not offering help to me and their child and grandchild.  I found comfort in knowing  they would be held accountable by God one day but God was calling me to even forgive them.

I found understanding of the grief process a woman (and man) goes through. How to be set free from the horrible shame, secrecy, and darkness I felt. I learned Jesus came to shed His healing light into our darkness.  To free us from the bonds of guilt, depression, anxiety, and eating disorders, all symptoms of Post Abortion Stress Syndrome. (PASS).

Jesus in Heaven

I was overjoyed to discover that I get my daughter back. I know I will spend eternity with her as I have received the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.  He promises us eternal life, free of any pain or tears, if we trust Him as our Lord and Savior.

This means we ask Him for forgiveness of our sins, sins He took on the cross for us so we could spend eternity with Him. Because He rose from the dead on the third day, we are promised that same resurrection when we die, to receive a new glorified body in heaven, where there is only light.((1 Corinthians 15:44; Romans 6:5: For since we have become one with Him by sharing in His death, we shall also be one with Him by sharing in His resurrection).

If you have had an abortion, or played a part in a decision for abortion, asking for and receiving the Lord’s forgiveness is the key to healing.  If so, please pray this prayer.

Dear Jesus: I thank you that you have received my baby’s (babies) souls into Heaven where I can see them again one day.  I ask you to forgive my sins and come into my heart as my Lord and Savior today.  I believe you died on the cross for me and rose from the dead so I could have eternal life with you in Heaven.  Heal my heart from the pain of my abortion(s) and set me free so I can live a life free from the past.  Thank you Jesus.  Amen.

If you are pregnant, know there are options for you besides abortion.

Contact a Christian crisis pregnancy center or pregnancy resource center and go for an appointment.  Google on the Internet or look in the yellow pages for their number and address.

Call a confidential pregnancy hot-line such as 1-800-BETHANY. They will help you understand your options for either adoption or keeping your baby and help you with resources to do so (even if your family abandoned you and you are homeless).  And most likely give you an ultrasound of your baby where you can see its heart beating. All for FREE.

Talk to your pastor or minister in confidence.  Tell a trustworthy friend.

Give life to your baby and for you too!  Abortion doesn’t just murder your baby, it murders your soul as well.

If you have had an abortion:, Attend a class for post abortive women (or men) offered at a Christian pregnancy resource center or church. Many have classes and retreats you can take to help you work through the process of healing. There is also a workbook for men entitled: Healing a Father’s Heart: A Post-Abortive Bible Study for Men by Linda Cochrane.

Lynley's resurrected spirit painting

As part of my healing process, I celebrated the life of my child in Heaven.  I was encouraged to do something creative to thank Jesus for keeping care of my daughter.  I decided to paint a picture of Lynley’s resurrected spirit to thank Him and bring me peace.

I also planted a tree for her in Israel through www.treesfortheholyland.com. I am a Jewish Christian and love Israel, having been in ministry there for many years.  Planting a tree is a symbol of giving life.  In Judaism, each letter of the Hebrew alphabet has a numerical value.  The letter Chet equals the number 18. Chai which means life consists of the letter Chet symbolizing the number 18. Therefore, it costs $18 to plant a tree and give life. In return for doing so, I was blessed with a beautiful watercolor reproduction of a Jerusalem scene with a commemoration of my daughter. It read :

Tree Planted in Holy Land poster www.treesfortheholyland.com

A Tree had been planted in the Holy Land, In Celebration of Lynley, my daughter, For her heavenly homecoming, April 1991, Planted by Your ima (mother) Miriam.

I now have peace when I look at it framed on my wall.  I no longer feel shame or guilt. I can acknowledge myself as a mother and tell others about my daughter now. I am excited to see her one day soon and hold her in my arms for the first time. I am forgiven and set free.

Will you find the peace and forgiveness only Jesus can bring to you today?

 

If you need a confidential ear please feel free to leave me a private message at miriam@giftsofhisglory.com.  I am here to help you.

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Happy Birthday to Me!..My Birthday Adventure

Vineyards

January 3 is my birthday.  52 years ago (dare I say my age?!) I came bouncing into this world with bright red hair and blue eyes with an Irish twinkle in them.  I was born into a large Italian Catholic family and my three sisters and I spent all our holidays up in the wine country in Northern California, visiting my cousins, aunts and uncles and grandparents. The towns were  sleepy vintner towns, before the yuppies came and turned them into art, wine and mud bath havens for wealthy tourists.

On my birthday, I decided to have an adventure.  I drove up to my family’s home town in my bright red Zip car, for a fun day of celebration.  My plan was to bike around town and visit all the old sites.  My grandparents house, their graves and do a little wine tasting.  It had been 7 years since I had been back or seen any of my family members who resided there.

This town has a town square complete with gazebo and park benches, to sit and soak up the sun in. Around the square I was surprised to see art galleries and wine tasting rooms in number. I set out in the surprisingly freezing cold morning on my bike to begin my adventure.

I biked to my grandparents’ house across from the high school and stopped.  There was the orange tree I used to climb in front of the old house on the corner, where home movies show me toddling with my Easter basket to pick up Easter eggs.  I walked around the corner to the lot where my Papa had his garden.  It was completely gone and I felt sad. I used to love to hear Nana say “Go out and pick me some fresh green beans for dinner.”  She made the most delicious vegetable soup which we would eat with warm bread fresh from the bakery.

Memories flooding my mind, I biked the short distance to the cemetery behind the sports field.  Nana and Papa died within six months of each other, she at 90 years and he at 95.  I had only been to the cemetery once since they had passed and I was anxious to find the plot.  I pushed my bike through the crumbling gravestones, looking for the family name. I walked up and down trying to vex my memory as to where the plot was located.  I prayed, Holy Spirit, please help me find the graves.

As I was about to give up, I saw a plot in the corner by the fence.  Yes, I remembered this from the funeral.  And there it was.  Catherine and James, devoted wife and husband.  Someone had put a Christmas wreath on the grave and I added my remembrance stones, as was typical to put on a Jewish person’s grave.  My Jewish heritage comes from my father’s side, and Nana was my Jewish Italian grandmother, though it was never discussed openly.

I was completely surprised what happened next. As I was telling my grandmother how much I missed her, I  broke into tears.  I began to sob how I wished I could talk to her about how the family relationships had all fractured since I shared the abuse I survived as a child.  How she would be the one person who would have told me the truth about what happened and confirmed my memories for me, which had been repressed for many years.

I know it would have broken her heart to hear what had happened to me. I could have cried on her shoulder over the horrible pain and devastation I experienced from the sexual trauma that happened to me as a child, a secret I had been forced to keep quiet all my life to prevent family shame.

Nana was the one person who instilled in me her strong faith in Jesus and prayed for me constantly.  She passed the faith torch to me, and I was the first person in my family to become born again and receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior.  She struggled with my decision to leave the Catholic Church and join an evangelical one.  But she never stopped loving me, or praying for me. How I missed her phone calls always telling me I love you.

After awhile, my crying subsided. I prayed one last prayer, asking her to help heal our family from Heaven.  I then said goodbye to my grandparents and biked away toward the town square.  I visited three or four art galleries, talking with the local artists and enjoying their art.  I love to view art with an artist’s eye and I was not disappointed.  Beautiful landscapes of grape vines in fall colors exploded on canvases as I walked by each painting.

Bread pudding

Feeling hungry, I stopped at a seafood tapas restaurant and had barbecued bacon wrapped scallops, followed by the most divine bread pudding, for my birthday dessert.  I love trying bread puddings wherever I go and this one definitely pleased.  Croissants soaked in creme brulee sauce with a layer of bananas and melted chocolate on top.  Yum!

After lunch, I walked around the corner and tried one of the local wineries’ tasting room, that had food pairings with each glass of wine.  I was the only one present and a very knowledgeable and friendly host welcomed me.  Liking only white wine, he began to serve me six different tastings, each with its own cheese sample.

Oh, the smooth taste of a light white wine, coupled with cheese topped with sea salt and truffles.  My taste buds exploded all over the place!  I had to laugh as I saw Jesus in my mind’s eye next to me enjoying his own glass of wine, experiencing both the joy and sadness on my special day.

By now, the sun had come out and the town had come to life, as others joined me in the tasting room.  I strolled back to my Zip car, with a smile on my face and contentment in my heart.  It had been a day of memories and closure, a town I no longer had to avoid because of my pain, as my heart was now whole again.

Jesus had come during a New Year Eve’s church service a few days earlier and healed my shame and heart over my abuse.  I didn’t think it was possible to put together my shattered heart but He did it!  I was now able to receive the love of God as my Heavenly Father, an image that had been distorted by my own father’s actions.

Every year on my birthday, I ask the Lord for a special Scripture to commemorate my day, and for the year ahead.  This year he gave me Psalm 45:13-15.

All glorious is the princess in her chamber, with robes interwoven with gold. With many colored robes she is led to the King, with her virgin companions following behind her. With joy and gladness they are led along, as they enter the palace of the King.

Yes, I now felt like a special princess for the first time in my life. I had discarded the dirty robes of shame for a robe interwoven with gold.  Joy and gladness did indeed fill my heart as He blessed me with His love on my birthday.

Do you need healing from sexual abuse in your life? Confidentially reply to me at miriam@giftsofhisglory.com and I will share resources and help for you to find healing in your life.

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Eternity in Our Hearts

Colorful Zinnias Ecclesiastes 3:11

He makes all things beautiful in its time….He places eternity in their hearts..
Ecclesiastes 3:11

Yes He does.  Jesus that is.  He is in the business of making all things new.  Including me and you.  We are his precious works in progress, once we accept His free gift of grace.  He forgives our sins.  He places the Holy Spirit into our hearts to restore and renew all our fuzzy places and sinful spaces.  He changes us into the image of Himself.  And to give us hope, He puts eternity in our hearts.
What beautiful Words.  I thought a lot about this Scripture as I painted my next biblical Scripture painting today.  As always, I prayed about what to paint as a subject and what Scripture to go with it.  This time it was the colorful zinnias in a patch at Filoli Gardens.  I was drawn to their colors and sizes and how beautiful they were in the sunshine, with their petals reaching upwards to the sun.  How we will be one day in the glory of the Lord’s brilliance as we step into Heaven.  I imagine His smile of happiness on seeing me will be so bright. And I will radiate happiness and light in my new glorified body. Halleluiah. Just like the zinnias.

Do you ever think about eternity in the day to day struggles and problems of life here on earth?  I have to be honest and admit it is a passing thought now and then but lately I have been thinking of it more,  Maybe its getting older.  Knowing my time and work here on earth is going to come to an end.  Thinking thoughts such as “Lord, I feel I am not making enough impact for the Kingdom here on earth.  It seems I spend so much time waiting on you (!) and so little time leading others to you. Will my life matter in the scope of things?”
And then He whispers this Scripture in my heart….”I make everything beautiful in its time”….and I realized just for today, I used His gift of creativity in me and made a beautiful painting of His creation to bring joy to someone else’s heart.  And my life was made more beautiful for today…and I realized eternity IS in my heart.  I imagine seeing my Nana again and my baby daughter Lynley who did not live past the womb.  I imagine talking to Jesus’ mother Mary, who is my namesake of Miriam, (the Hebrew way to say “Mary” ). I will ask her to tell me what Jesus was like as a little boy, how it felt to be used by the Holy Spirit for a miracle. I imagine what it will be like to live FOREVER in peace with no tears or weight gain!  To have my family all restored, no longer dysfunctional, and not talking to one another.  To have a pure love for my mother and father despite the abuse and shame done to me as a child.

Because that is the kind of God we have.  He cares enough about us and our times of despair and hopelessness to give us the hope of being with HIm in eternity.  Heaven is real.  All it takes is being like a zinnia, turn your face up to the Son, Jesus, and ask Him to come into your hearts and forgive you for your sins.  To be your Lord and Savior.  It really is that simple.  And He will come and give you His Holy Spirit to make you all beautiful in His time…and deposit a little piece of eternity in your heart as a safekeeping and promise.
Please take a moment and share my post/painting by clicking on the “LIKE” button below and share the gift of eternity with your friends….
What do you look forward to most about eternity?  Leave me a reply..

I hope you enjoy my new collage “Colorful Zinnias”.  It is for sale for $100 at my art website.  Just click on ‘my art’ above or go to www.giftsofhisglory.com
Shalom and peace.