Archives for category: Jesus

Last night I went to bed really late and this morning I woke up really early as never ending scenarios and to-do lists seem to plague my every thought. The truth is, I’m not super great at being still. I’m not good with being told to stop, stay home, and isolate. I’m really don’t think of myself as “vulnerable”, either….but apparently I am in more ways than I thought.

Everything is so different now. For a sense of normalcy, I’ve stuck with my morning routine of coffee, study, meditation, and prayer. After those, everything then becomes a bit more unscheduled.

Life as we know it is no more. Today is our new reality. So now, adapting is at the top of my to-do list. Trying to be useful is essential. A new mantra has taken over: if you’re unable to do what you normally do, then just do what you can. I love that.

So, the goal of my days has become to do something useful for others that will bring a sense of hope and peace. The thought of doing that lights a fire in my heart and redirects my spiraling thoughts into a more constructive place. But what on earth do I have to offer in the midst of these troublesome times?

The question made me think of my morning meditations. That’s it! I’ll share hope! I’ll share peace during this time of unchartered territory. I’ll share what I’ve been taught about prayer and mediation. I’ll get up, get dressed, write something I’m capable of writing and share away! If it helps just one person, that will be enough, right?

We all have to respond to what life has thrown our way. Maybe the way we choose to respond could change a life, or reassure a soul. Reassuring another is something we are all equipped to do. We all have the qualifications to call someone and check on them. We are all able to listen and respond with kindness. We all hold the power to see ourselves not as vulnerable or scared, but as indispensable. Because we all are.

So I’ve put together a very amateur FB page dedicated to the art of being still; taking a few minutes each day to meditate on the truth found in scripture. I’m not an expert, nor a professional; these will be very raw. Raw but sent with good intentions as I own my vulnerablity in sharing what I love; starting each new day in peace and with a clear direction in Christ.

These short, scripturally based and guided meditations are appropriate for anyone who would like to spend a few minutes rerouting the direction of their day, bringing their spirit back to a place of peace and gratitude.

We are all in this together. We have little power over the crisis at hand but every single one of us have something positive to offer. This is just me offering the peace and reassurance of Christ, who has complete rule over all the places you need His rule to become your reality. I’m offering my heart and lending my voice to that, for anyone who feels the need for a little interior redirection, stillness…or just a good laugh!

Either way, feel free to join in at Spirtsphere. Everyone is welcome.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/683267292425813/?ref=share

Together, we will get through this!

As always, holding each of you and our beautiful world in my love and prayers. Peace to you all! ❤️

Find me regarding You

with each falling leaf;

even in the lake’s clever fish.

Find me anticipating Your unique goodness

in faith, not merely a wish.

Find me considering

Your glory all around;

encompassing my everyday life.

Find me acknowledging Your presence;

no longer searching in strife.

Find me conversing with You

as with a cherished lover,

clinging face to face.

Find me conforming to You,

passionately stirred by Your grace.

Find me provoked

by the dreams You have shaped

and called down over my days.

Find me moved

to inhabit Your righteous ways.

Find me reliant

on every ardent promise

You’ve spoken.

Find me fearless in compassion;

vulnerable for the lost and broken.

Find me declaring Your hope

to those who cross my path

awaiting to hear.

Find me wildly challenged,

for it’s Your wisdom I revere.

Find me audaciously praying

on my knees

calling out for others.

Find me listening for Your voice

as a new baby for it’s mother.

Find me singing

with arms in unabashed reverence,

the words from my heart.

Find me humbled by the mystery

of You never being off guard.

Find me entirely amazed

by Your unending mercy

and delight.

Find me fully awaken

to your peace-loving light.

Find me stubbornly standing

like Moses,

designed to part the sea.

Find me ever vigilant

as Your faithful trustee.

Find me watchfully expectant

for You every single day.

It’s my only impatient need.

Find me utterly starving;

on Your word, I crave to feed.

Find me devoted to stretching

in this new year

ripe with a wealth of rebirth.

Find me unwaveringly obedient

to be Your hands and feet on earth.

Find me endlessly grateful

for Your eternal finished gift:

A life so generously animated by Love.

Forever find me overwhelmed

by praise, You alone are worthy of.

Find me seeking

Find me, finding You.

Just wanted to humbly thank all of you that supported my feeble attempt at blogging in 2019. I still have no idea how to start a blog, how to successfully operate one, nor how to write one under 6000 words so thank you for hanging with me.

My main goal was to provide myself with a creative outlet to fill a spirit void when life demanded a sabbatical from my paint studio. Writing has taken me down a road of healing that I never imagined. Through writing, I have found peace that I would have never happened upon had I not been encouraged by those who have left sweet words of reassurance. Sharing my heart with you has brought an exciting adventure and loving warmth to my life and has very much become a road to recovery and truth for me.

It’s a daunting task to be transparent in a world of judgement but I have tried my best to just be brave with my everyday. I’ve had critics I never imagined but I’ve also experienced support from people I never imagined and have loved every conversation we have started because of your vested interest in my heart. THAT is what I’m utterly humbled by.

I can only hope THE hope I have tried my best to express, has in someway inspired someone to contemplate a different perspective…maybe even contemplate the love of Christ. I sincerely appreciate those who have taken the time to read, like and even share with someone else. I take that as a sign of love and for that, I love you right back and I am so very thankful to you.

Last New Years Day I stumbled across the following writing and kept it close to my heart all year long. I share it here in gratitude for your encouraging me to fall deeply in love despite my reluctance, and with hope that on this New Years Day…

“I hope you all fall madly in love this year…in love with someone who unhinges your tired trajectory, in love with a spouse of several years who might be aching for lightening, in love with demanding children and crazy relatives, in love with the particular pedigree of genius insanity that has perhaps claimed you in spite of your reluctance, and certainly in love with an animal, a cloud, a redwood, the wild…these at least once a day. May you fall in love with this fragile jewel of a world, with hard work, real learning, just causes, petitioning and prayers. May you fall in love with wonder itself, with the grand mystery, with all that feeds you in order that you may live…and with the responsibility that that confers. May you fall in love with heartbreak and seeing how it’s stitched into everything. May you fall in love with the natural order of things and with tears, tenderness and humility. May this be a magnificent year for you. May you fall deeply, madly, hopelessly, inextinguishably in love.” – Rachel Lamb

P.S. If you’d like to follow along in 2020, you can sign up via https://pollystoutspenceart.wordpress.com to have my blog posts delivered to your email….I think.

A baby changes everything. Whether a teenage girl who finds herself unexpectedly pregnant, a couple anxious to start a new family, a woman who has been battling infertility only to discover she has finally conceived, or wide open hearts that learn their adoption request has been granted, I think we can all agree that a baby can profoundly change everything we think we know about life.

It’s Christmastime so naturally the story of Jesus’ birth is on my heart. It’s a beautiful story and one that over two thousand years later, we are still talking about and celebrating. But what if baby Jesus was born in today’s time? What would He be born into?

The same exact things he was born into thousands of years ago; times racked with unthinkable violence and horror, every evil injustice you can imagine, mixed with unhealthy doses of rebellion and sin. A time where everyone was a part of the problem. Everyone suffered in the problem but no one could fully solve the problem.

But mercy…

Graham Greene writes: “You cannot conceive, nor can I, of the appalling strangeness of the mercy of God.” Imagine what it must be like for God; watching the lives He created with His very hands and breath unfold so…off course…of His original and indescribably creative plan.

As an artist, if a painting of mine goes south, my first instinct is to quit and walk away in utter disgust. Only reluctantly will I come back to start the creative process over nonetheless disappointed and annoyed by the time and effort wasted. Lucky for us, I’m not God! Thank God, He is fixed on His purpose and perspective of us and has everlasting faith in our God-given potential for rebirth.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3: 22-23

God knew that generation after generation would cry out for the shalom of His kingdom. How could He, once and for all, affect a rebirth within each of us in an all-encompassing yet, non-confrontational way?

His primary objective was to overcome evil in the world and redeem His creation. What merciful strategy could He possibly come up with that would hold power above all power, yet soften the most hardened of hearts? What would cause the proud to lower their stubborn guards and the humble to raise their reserved voices? What would make us feel vulnerable, yet find us righteously covered at the same time? How in the world could God show a strong arm of discipline over everything He created yet, still be known as an adoring and loving father?

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

But grace…

In a world desperate for an honorable example of authority and power, God chose weakness. He chose to wrap Himself in a baby, not a divine being but a human being.

Emmanuel, God with us. Even as a totally dependent infant lying in a manger, God managed to turn all notions of power upside down. The birth of Jesus should always remind us of the radicalness of God’s love for us and the extent He is willing to go to, to save each of us from our own humanity.

A baby changed EVERYTHING! A tiny bundle of love and light so perfect in every way, including the way he was delivered; by purity and innocence. Jesus was the world’s very first Christmas gift. Not a gift that could ever be purchased, but one that would end up purchasing us.

With reverence, we focus on the resurrection of Jesus, but do we contemplate the meaning of His birth with the same devotion? Christmas marks the day so much was born. The baby was awake and within an instant, everything changed!

With Him our freedom was born. Our hope was delivered, our peace was released, our faith was formed, our grace was sent, our mercy was provided, and our restoration was created. His authority birthed our redemption because our adoption was always emminant. Our inheritance became a birthright to live under the highest and most beautiful name; Jesus. Love incarnate…and in His name, your every oppression shall cease. Everything good about this world was born the day Heaven came down.

But Jesus…

I heard something yesterday and it took me a minute to wrap my head and heart around it’s truth: The angels that proclaimed the birth of Jesus to the shepherds keeping watch in their fields are eternal beings. They are still alive…and they are the very same beings that are actively proclaiming YOUR rebirth at the foot of God’s throne, right now! I mean…come on! It’s just so stunning to even imagine, right?

So go ahead and own your imperfect record…but then accept God’s invitation to let it die. According to His word, every ounce of it will be used for His glory. It’s not only the gospel of salvation but it also points directly to God’s goodness in our every day lives. Cultivate peace within by living in awareness of that and of the non-refundable gift of His unwavering love and devotion.

Christmas; the most holy night where all of creation was holding it’s breath for Jesus’ first cry. When the silence of that Bethlehem night was broken by that precious sound, it meant more than just life; it meant life eternal was born. The instant Jesus took His first breath, He inhaled and then exhaled Love, freely offering a new genesis for each one of our lives.

But Love…

It epitomizes God. It captures the climate of His kingdom. But it doesn’t stop there, it also explains why we were created and how we are to live; as living and breathing revelations of His heart.

In the new year, what if we all made one resolution to not blend in with a critical and destructive world? What would happen if we lived fully in the knowing that our words and actions have the power to reflect the healing hope and redeeming promises of Jesus? His birth awakens the expectation of that certainty, also known as hope. It awakens the restoration of all things and that promise stands firmer than firm.

Jesus is proof that God is the most unselfishly genius, indulgently gracious and deliberately contemplative gift giver. All that God has done is worth celebrating! It’s a gift worth giving and one to wholeheartedly receive! Jesus: the gift worthy of rearranging everything in order to prepare Him room to fully enlighten us to the knowledge that He’s awake and was born to come alive within each of our hearts.

But God.

Merry Christmas to all! Wishing you so much love and peace in the beautiful New Genesis of 2020! May each and every day of it be inspired by the generous work of Christmas and with a singing heart, eager to fulfill every hope God has ever held. God bless us, everyone. ❤️

*Written with gratitude and in loving remembrance of the gift of those that have gone before us, and holding those that are waiting to see them again in my heart and prayers.

I love seeing all the snapshots from the decade challenge. I mean, do you people even age? I have not seen one set of photos where I thought someone should have re-thought their participation. Every single one of you grows more beautiful with age!

Despite my distrust in having my photo taken, your photos inspired me to jump in and play along. With ease, I found a snapshot from 10 years ago that was ok, so the only thing left to do was to snap a selfie of today. But I found myself deleting them as fast as I could take them, like a machine gun firing off rounds of nope, nope, and nope. All for different reasons; mainly too many prominent wrinkles, too many grey and wild hairs sticking up, etc., etc..I finally just gave up and went about my business at The Walmart.

It soon realized that one innocent selfie session was instigating an entire dialog I was having with myself. “Your face looks like it’s been etched deeper than Grand Canyon.” “You walk around looking like the living dead that hasn’t known a good night’s rest in over a decade.” “Yoga pants, really?” “Everything on your body seems to have fallen an octave or two…..some three.” I was incidentally on the coffee aisle when I snapped to and heard myself think “Everything about you is ugly.” ….Really? Eeevvvrryyything? At that point I decided to disengage. Good heavens!

Here’s the thing: sometimes we have a tendency to focus a lot of energy on what and where we are lacking. Whatever we’re missing, whatever we need, whatever isn’t measuring up—that’s what we pay attention to, perhaps even obsess over. The glass may be half full—or even 90 percent full—but we really aren’t very happy with any degree of emptiness that’s there.

That was a wake up call to me so I forced myself to refocus on the cards I was actually holding.

Here are the top ten really great hands that have been played well in my life over the last decade:

1. Jesus. I’ve learned about the greatest love that life…and death…has to offer.

2. I’m still alive to tell the story. I’ve learned to never hesitate when I should act.

3. I’m 23 years and counting, still married to my partner in crime. I’ve learned that sometimes, good things don’t come easy but are so worth a good fight.

4. I’ve helped raise five wonderful and kind human beings. I’ve learned the importance of investment and the meaning of purpose.

5. I became a grandmother x 2. I’ve learned that the cycle of life is a gift and all we truly need is love.

6. I have the greatest tribe of friends that have individually faced some of life’s most difficult circumstances. I’ve learned that we don’t get to control life but together we can raise each other up and grab ahold of it’s healing goodness.

7. The days have taught me to be intentional with my time and my calling. I’ve learned to have patience with time. I have also learned that we all have a choice in what we choose to do with it.

8. I have failed and made a fool of myself too many times to count over the last decade but I’ve learned that sometimes the most profound failing can bring about the greatest success.

9. I’ve traveled and scattered pieces of my heart in many wonderful places around this world. But I’ve learned that no voyage is sweeter than the one home and home is the only place my heart should ever be planted.

10. I’ve started page one of that book I’ve always wanted to write. I’ve learned that sometimes you have to fight yourself for a dream. I’m learning everyday that nothing is impossible.

So ok, ok, perhaps the scales hit a little differently than they did ten years ago. That was the end and lasting result of broken bones after having a really fun time with my two best friends. I’m not sure I would trade that time in lieu of said end result. Sure, I have wrinkles, my slap back is that I refer to them as worthy battle scars. No my body isn’t gonna win fitness completions, but it did carry, nourish and continues to provide. I can still dance and laugh like it’s 1999 but I admittedly have no desire to hang with the big dawgs.

So at the end of the day, it has nothing to do with what’s seen on the outside and absolutely everything with what’s on the inside; our hearts. I like to think of mine as an old cast iron skillet, worn but better with time and seasoning. I’m not gonna get twisted over a little rust or missing ingredients but rather, excited about the scrubbing down and the refining fire that will always be brewing. I’ve learned to look forward to the unknown deliciousness that will be thrown into the mix next.

Today, I failed for a few minutes. But I understand that God will never ask us how much faith we lack but looks instead at the mustard seed we do have. He starts with whatever is there. It’s a profound lesson, and life and it’s perspective changes when we learn it.

Miracles come in whatever God does through the offerings you give him, however insufficient they are. All that’s required for His power to work in your weakness is for you to have weakness. That’s a piece of cake. We all automatically qualify because we all have them.
 

So for all of you struggling to find your beauty over the last decade, remember this: faith, friendships, laughter, empathy, well-being, wisdom, happiness, storytelling, blessing counting and love are the some of the smallest mustard seeds that, with God’s grace, only get better with time.

Faithfulness in small things—in bringing God whatever you have with the expectation He’ll do something with it—leads to greater things. Never lament what you’re lacking. Offer what you have. Then watch what God does. Here’s to the next decade of life and growth in realizing what a beauty YOU truly are!

What’s the greatest thing life has taught you over the last decade? Share with me!

Below is my answer to the delimma of the Decade Challenge; a few snapshots from some of the most beautiful moments in my life over the last 10 years.