Saturday, February 23, 2013

Spending Time with Daughters ~ Casual Mentoring

Mother with Daughters by George Harcourt

"...the utterance which his mother taught him…"
~ Proverbs 31:1b

There are so many subjects of life that we must pass on to our daughters. Sometimes this is done in a formal setting and at a designated time. Sometimes we teach our daughters as we read to them from profitable books. But often, we can overlook those casual moments of fellowship. Those moments when they just wake up and are daydreaming in bed, those moments when they are sitting comfortably on the couch and reading, those moments when they are working on handicrafts or sewing. 

"And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children,
and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house,
and when thou walkest by the way,
and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up."
 ~ Deutoromy 6:6-7

These little opportunities that God gives us as we live with our daughters are very valuable. To use the modern day slang, simply "hang out" with them! One day, those gentle, impromptu conversations that seemed trivial to you, will be to your child the "utterance which mother taught". Your words will seep in slowly and with God's help, they will be absorbed into the heart and influence them toward godliness throughout their lives (Proverbs 22:6).

I encourage you (and remind my busy self) to take a few minutes each day to deliberately do nothing but "chat" with your children...

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Mary Jane Q Cross, Fingerpainter ~ An Inspiring Interview

"Pillar of Grace in Jaresh" by Mary Jane Q Cross

This painting is a favorite of mine by Mary Jane Q Cross because of its warmth along with the biblical and geographical setting. The romantic in me is taken back in time as I view this woman and wonder what her story is.

Mary Jane Q Cross is also responsible for many of the beautiful pictures I posted in the "Women in the Ark" Series. However, there is something special you should know about her artwork… she painted these with her fingers.

Yes, these beautiful pictures have all been fingerpainted! Tremors overtook her body years ago which removed her ability to use paint brushes. She spent five and a half years retraining herself as an artist. These pictures are a beautiful blend of her new style of art since 95 to 98% of her work is accomplished with her fingertips. The other percentage is done with a prosthetic device of brushes that she created.

My favorite part about Mary Jane is her faith! When I first "met" her through emails a year ago, I asked permission to place some of her paintings on my blog for the "Women in the Ark" Series. I felt that I should warn her of the conservative Christian content that may accompany her artwork. Her instant reply back was as follows,

"I, hands down, fully serve the Lord Jesus Christ. Being OK with "the conservative content" is a balm to my soul and a dear and lovely friend of my work."

Don't you just love her?

Mary Jane Q Cross (Photo by Cindy Wilson)

Her love for the Lord is seen through her many "paintings of prayer" and poetry that accompanies many of the paintings (my personal favorite is shown below). Her life is a wonderful testimony that God will give grace to those whose desire is to glorify Him.

Inspiring Interview... Questions with Mary Jane Q Cross:

JES: What inspired you to paint the daughter in law's of Noah series?
Mary Jane Q Cross: 
It was a trip to Jordan with a lovely large family. I was looking for scenes that would speak to me and I did find Petra and Wadi Rum captivating my historical senses. I do believe I could have painted for months with no other input. The stars at night were the same ones over my  New England and I felt how much we are so connected with other cultures and times in history. The women of Jordan were a particular inspiration. Ruth was a Moabitess. No matter what our tragic family trees can be, God is the King of redeeming what we are if we trust Him. Quiet personal trust is the theme of these paintings. 

JES: Who is your favorite woman of the Bible and why?

Mary Jane Q Cross: 
My choices change with different things that go on in life, Jes. In the past it has been Esther, the woman looking for the widow's mite, Mary Of Bethany , Martha, and the seller of purple. More tenderly right now is Leah. She was unloved by Jacob who favored Rachel. However God was so present with her to give her children. The line of Judah, her forth son, is the line of David and Jesus. What incredible Grace God makes from people willing to be His alone. There is a bit of the same kind of loneliness in being a painter. It does however make me very much look forward to being the Bride of Christ in the New Jerusalem. It is an odd kind of longing that what we long for will be fulfilled. It is also a reminder that God loves me, with a dedicated and magnificent love, just as I am. It is not for appearance, or performance, (or Leah her eyes) but unconditionally and without any reservation. It is a truly inspiring thing to be loved like this. 

JES: What historical Christian heroine is most inspirational to you and why?
Mary Jane Q Cross: 
Fanny Crosby is the most emotionally present woman I can think of. The interior life made so transparent is full to the brim. I desire that kind of  focus in what God has given me to do. Blind from a young age and so vital!!! Her lasting poetry is a legacy that is multi-layered, heart filled with a single and clear focus. No blindness there. If I were on a desert island I would want a hymnal. So I could read all the poetry of music from the church age. I play flute. Learning the new songs I have never heard is going to be part of what eternity is all about. Fanny's poetry into songs  is very present in those pages.  I feel like I can hear her footsteps, and perhaps hear her quiet. 
But there is a second woman. Less known but with perhaps more spiritual impact. Mother Dabney 1925. She covenanted with God for some pretty big dreams for her husbands ministry. Her praying intensity is faithful. I know in many instances I am faithless. But she reminds me of the prize at the end of the race. She cheers me on.

JES: Do you have any encouragement for women suffering from illnesses?
Mary Jane Q Cross: 
While being still would be Heaven to me,  the lessons that this tremor has taught me are not to be minimized or wished away. It has been a tempering that is painful but rich in listening to His guidance through it. I cannot believe it has been 20 years!!! Hiding that fact from me has been one of Gods best gifts. Some things He will reveal in hinds sight. Other's,  he gives as a promise early on. Two questions this tremor has made me answer is. Is God Sovereign? and can I trust Him?  He is , and I can and do. It makes me know He was not asleep when this happened. It is glimpse of His knowing precisely what would bring me to His knees and keep me there. First in brokenness, then in restfulness.
His Banner Over Me is Love by Mary Jane Q Cross

His Banner Over Me Is Love

Canopy over my days is jeweled
Love given, received, replete, fueled
By strongest days astounding grace
Faithfulness abounds in this holy place.

In a moment, forever my existence is changed-
Life behind ever rearranged.
I speak the words of Faith declaring You.
Eternity is contracted, life’s document new,

Passing from one life into the next,
Knowing You hold my days at their best.
I fell You place Your hands over me-
Benediction, gentling beauty You see.

Wearing Your banner as a life-sworn cloak,
Into my soul Your Spirit provokes
A welcome promise I fully give
Allegiance to You as I newly live.

Living beneath this standard blue,
I pledge my life, faithful, true
Show me the days I did overlook.
Write them forever in Thy Holy Book.

Copyright 2008 ~ Mary Jane Q Cross

You may view her gallery of paintings here or
her book "Poems of a Painter, Paintings of a Prayer" here.

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