Updated: Jun 19, 2020
When I started painting this series of landscapes, I knew that God had called me find the simple beauties in the everyday that often go unnoticed. He always challenges me to go further in my art and my faith, and this series was no different.
As I was sitting in church this Sunday, I could see Him connecting the dots from the book I'd been reading Everywhere Holy, to the sermon "A Prayer of Provision," to my new landscape series, to this crazy Corona virus. As I was taking my notes during the sermon and I was starting understand how He connected these seemingly unrelated things, I asked Him to show me a word that could tie all these things together. He gave me the word "today."
Everywhere Holy by Kara Lawler
"How can we see the gift our lives are if we can't learn to stand in the here and now, appreciating the gifts of the second, hour, day instead of projecting, planning, and just waiting for the next best thing?"
Excerpt from Everywhere Holy
This is question posed in Kara Lawler's book, Everywhere Holy. It's hard to do when you think about it. The day-to-day routines of life can become so monotonous and boring, and it's so easy to get into auto-pilot mode and not see the subtle moments of beauty that are all around us.
"...I'm learning to take the time to notice what life really is. It begins with noticing the seemingly ordinary moments of life, the washing of the eggs or even staring out a window at construction equipment. Seeing them as a way to see God everywhere is a way to welcome holiness and to see the life you've been given as good enough. Holiness is all around, in the end, but we need to start by seeing it in our own places, right where we're to be."
Excerpt from Everywhere Holy
We are right were we're to be, and God is here amongst us through all of this chaos. Honestly, He has taken out so much chaos and so many distractions in our lives during this time. It's been advised not to travel, not to go out in public unless absolutely necessary, and so many events, schools, workplaces have been shutdown. What is left to distract us from Him?
He is here to show us the beauty in today and everyday, and He just cleared your schedule to take notice.
"A Provision of Prayer"
This sermon that Pastor Don preached on this Sunday was a part of a series that is breaking down the the Lord's Prayer into small sections to better understand how Jesus said we should pray.
This week the verse we studied was: "Give us today our daily bread."
This verse shows us that God calls us to ask for what we need. During this time, it's so important to pray, pray, pray. For ourselves, for our families, for our friends, for the elderly, for strangers, for our country, for our planet and more.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
God also calls us to not live in fear, to have faith that He will provide what we need, and to not worry about tomorrow.
Pastor Don said it best on Sunday: "Do not live in fear or self-preservation. LIVE IN FAITH."
For we walk by faith, not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5:7
With the chaos that this virus has caused and lack of toilet paper (of all the things? Haha.), we have to be reminded that God will provide our needs, not our wants, our needs.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
This virus would not have come unless God allowed it, so why has it come?
Well, Paul said that God is also glorified in our weakness, and we are weak from this virus.
"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness." Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may reside in me."
2 Corinthians 12:9
I believe that God chose today as the title for my next painting series to remind us that today is all we have, and tomorrow isn't promised.
Why should I live my last day not seeing the simple beauties God places in front of me everyday? Why should I live my last day not talking with the One who created everything? Why should I live my last day in fear and not faith? Why should I live my last day worrying about what I will eat or wear? Why should I spend my last day not glorifying the One who should have all my praise?
Today is the day to find the beauty of God in this chaos. Today is the day to pray. Today is the day to be mindful of others. Today is the day to not be afraid. Today is the day to realize that He is glorified in our weakness. Today is the day to have faith in Him.
I hope this new series of paintings titled,"Today," serve as a reminder to look to God today and everyday.
Praying for everyone during this uncertain time!
Thanks for reading!
Shelby Leigh Kizer