Saturday, February 16, 2008

In the palm of His hand

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

A few years ago, God spoke to me through a painting. He put my whole life into perspective and securely anchored my soul.

When my second daughter was a little over a year old, and the oldest one four, my husband and I made the decision not to have any more children. We were happy with the size of our family and wanted to move on with our lives. However, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of loss for the chance to have a son as well and hold a baby of my own one more time.

Oddly, this decision led me to think about getting a piano. Since I had two girls I definitely wanted them to play the piano. I found a beautiful 1918 converted player piano that looked lovely in our home. I dug out my old music books and began to tinker with tunes long-forgotten. As my fingers found their familiar place on the keys, it brought me back to my early teenage years, before the solitary disciplines of music were put aside for a social life.

The music opened up a longing and a passion in me that had been sitting dormant. A grieving in my heart emerged for the loss of my own identity because, in the years that followed, fitting in with the crowd became my priority. I learned to put on a new face for each area of my life, and lost my own. I began to wonder how things might be different now had I made other choices then. My heart was wavering with insecurity and the music was bringing it to the surface.

Having the piano in my home reminded me of a print I had seen years earlier. It depicts a young girl playing a striking grand piano. Her eyes are interlocked with her little sister’s, whose hand is perched on the keyboard. I remembered standing in the art store 15 years earlier, the picture tugging at my heartstrings as I admired the soft pink dresses and the black patent shoes. I remembered thinking at the time, “If I ever have girls, I am getting this picture.”

When I popped into an art store in the mall and described the painting, the clerk knew it right away. It was a well-known painting by Greg Olsen, entitled “Dress Rehearsal”. She said it could be ordered in as a framed special and if I didn’t like it I didn’t have to buy it. That seemed good to me since the idea of picking out matting and a frame seemed overwhelming to a perfectionist like me. When it arrived, it was more than I could have imagined, beautifully framed to match my home.

As that picture hung in my living room its significance became apparent. For one thing, it was uncanny how much the two girls in the picture looked like my own. The hair and facial features were the same for each girl. Although the girls in the picture were a little older their age difference matched. In fact, as my youngest has grown up, she is convinced that it is her in the picture and wants to know where the pretty dress is that she was wearing!

Then God spoke to me in my heart. He got my attention with that picture and He told me about my life.

“Your life is in the palm of my hand”.

"I saw your longing in that art store years ago and I have given you the desire of your heart. "

"Everything now is meant to be. "

“Do not regret anything, because your life circumstances have brought you your husband, your children and your identity. Don’t worry about not having any more children, because everything is good as it is.”

As it began to sink in, this message brought me an incredible peace and security. My marriage and relationships improved because of my secure heart. I was somehow different and it showed.

You may wonder how I can be so sure it was God who spoke to me. It’s hard to put into words but it’s like having knowledge in your mind all at one time that you know you didn’t make up yourself.

It’s like having a dream with the story all laid out before you and all you do is observe, not remembering how it came into your mind.

It’s like how you know when a puzzle piece fits.

The Bible says, “My sheep hear my voice.” I just knew that this was the Lord’s voice and not my own. I have always had a faith in God but He became so real then. He was actually involved in my very life and thoughts!

A couple of years later, God gave me a reminder and a confirmation of His message to me. I went forward for prayer at a church conference, and the person who prayed for me said, “God has you in the palm of His hand.” It was good to know I was still on the right track.


Mike said...

Ruth ~ I have been a lurker here for some time but I have to say now that this testimony is absolutely wonderful and I am thankful that you shared it.

Ruth said...

Thank you Mike for letting me know that. And Welcome!!

I have seen you around blog world...I've lurked around yours too and I think you have some wise things to say.

Please come back again.

Mike said...

Hi Ruth. I added you to my blogroll!!!

Ruth said...

Thanks Mike!! I'll do the same.

Livingsword said...

Hi Ruth;

What a pleasure it is to read your thoughts!

I am so very thankful that I have a sister like you, thank you for sharing such a personal part of your life in such a vulnerable genuine way.

Ruth said...

Hi LS....thank you for the encouragement! It does make me feel vulnerable to reveal my inner world but it is sooooo great to share how truly alive God is in our lives.

Bless you Brother!

Livingsword said...

Hi R;

I am very happy to encourage you!!!!

Every time I read one of your articles I am struck by your talent, and it is wonderful that you apply it in glorifying God.

It is always exciting to see how He transforms lives, particularly because He often does it in ways we would never imagine….

Ruth said...

LS you're making me blush!

Livingsword said...

Hi R;


Excellent! It is all true sister….

By the way CG says hi…

Happy said...

Ruth, I actually have tears streaming down my face right now... what a beautiful picture (both the actual picture and the one words painted of God's amazing love)... wow.

Thank you, dear friend, for sharing that. He *does* have you in the palm of his hand.

My friend Christina has a black and white pencil sketch in her home of 5 scenes depicting a small child doing somersaults and then resting in God's hand, and I have always loved it - there are times when I fall asleep imagining myself curled up in God's hand, resting in perfect peace. Your post reminded me of that picture, and it was a happy memory.

We really *are* long lost sisters... I learned to play on an old player piano. :)

Ruth said...

HI Happy...I'm glad my story touched you. I still get tears when I recount this's still so amazing to me.

It's interesting isn't it that both you and I wrote about a personal and life defining word from the Lord in the same week?

jON said...

that was emotionally gripping, touchingly genuine, and an all around nice, raw read. the truth of your life-experience drawing from my own experiences of a like nature... i can really see that we are on the same level.

and it's good to see another soul here who's on the level.

Ruth said...

Well Hello Jon - it's the Mad Hatter himself! Thanks for visiting my tea party.

I really appreciate your encouraging comments! Yes I think we are on the same level in many ways, that's why I was attracted to your blog. When I commented "you church kids gone wrong can ask the right questions cause you know the bible", I was talking about myself as well.

Come back again sometime....we'll be serving tea in the parlour.