Welcome my friend! Today is a sunny day here in Australia but it’s a little chilly out, so we are indoors. Listening to the gentle strumming of a guitar playing in the background as we have our time together.
We’re enjoying some Aussie treats called Pikelets topped with Strawberry jam & cream. With a blend called The Outback Bush Tea, perfect with Pikelets.
Hubby & I have been watching the late Bob Ross series, The Joy of Painting. He was a talented landscape artist in the 1980s & 90s.
What we have both noticed while enjoying this series is that he constantly tells his viewers the following,
you need the dark to show the light!
With each new creation he demonstrates that the dark colors need to be applied to the canvas before the lighter colors.
And you know what…he’s right! The painting instantly comes alive when the lighter, brighter colors are painted upon the darker, as each dimension of the landscape is revealed.
However, he also tells viewers to be careful not to cover all the dark otherwise the painting will become flat, dull & uninteresting.
Demonstrating that the shadowing is just as important as the highlighting to give depth to the life of the painting.
“The Shadowing is just as important…”
Isn’t that interesting! Last week I mentioned that we would be reflecting upon the following scripture,
“…I will give you hidden treasures of darkness…”
Isaiah 45: 3
Over a period of two decades this verse really puzzled me. My thoughts were,
‘what on earth is God trying to tell us today about hidden treasures of darkness?’
Because for me the meaning of darkness in a scriptural context was synomus with evil & wickedness. Until…
The darker color is used to create the background
In 2006 I became fatigued, so fatigued in fact that I found it increasingly difficult to lead a normal life. I sought medical advice but answers weren’t forth coming.
Although, like most of us, I continued to push myself above & beyond in the weight of life & work responsibility. Until one day I simply couldn’t any longer!
Finally in 2009, I was diagnosed with the incurable autoimmune conditions of Hashimoto’s Disease, Celiac disease & Fibromyalgia.
While these diagnoses were surprising, it was a relief to finally know what was causing the chronic pain, debilitating fatigue & everything that goes with these conditions.
Being the eternal optimist that I am, I thought this was just a another challenge to overcome & would soon get on with my life…
When the background needs a little highlight
After changing my diet, lifestyle & becoming maintained on the prescribed medications.
I returned to work, taking the offer of a part time Regional position specializing in Adolescence & Family counseling.
But by June 2011, I was truly struggling physically. Life had thrown some very unexpected challenges for our family in the previous year.
And these challenges had greatly impacted the frequency & ferocity of the Fibromyalgia flares.
The accompanying mind malaise (aka fibro fog) which came with these flares was now impacting my professional life, especially my ability to communicate effectively.
Effective communication is critical for a Supervising Clinical Counselor, therefore I thought a short sabbatical was the key until I could return.
That was nine years ago, that short sabbatical has been extended & extended!
Over this time I have grieved the loss of many things from my old life.
The mid dimension of the landscape is painted
You see up to that point in my life I thought I already had some dark colors applied to the canvas of my life, you can read more here.
But chronic illness has been the greatest challenge I have ever had to endure! And darkened the canvas of my life in a way nothing else has!
Because chronic conditions bring a constant battle, not only physically but also emotionally & spiritually.
And Fibromyalgia can be particularly fierce, as this condition has cycles of flaring & non flaring with no set pattern to these cycles.
Unfortunately the only constant in this condition is the chronic pain, changing its intensity, either more or less, with each new cycle. But the pain is always there!
You see when experiencing a non flaring cycle, which can last sometimes for several weeks to months, you can be tricked into thinking that maybe, just maybe your turn for physical healing is nearing!
Then wham out of left field your hit with an intense debilitating flare (intensity of all symptoms)…& hot on its heels is discouragement…the Battle ensues.
The highlights of the foreground
However, over the past fourteen years I have realized that the very thing that has darkened my canvas as never before has also highlighted my canvas as never before!
For the darker, as well as the brighter colors have been applied by the Master Painter for nothing comes to us but by His hand!
And I have found amazing treasures in my relationship with Him that were previously hidden before this time of my life.
The shadowing has revealed new depths & dimensions to His love.
Hidden treasures are revealed in the dimensions of the landscape
The greatest treasure revealed to me over this time has been that I can relax & know that He is God!
Now I know that this may sound rather simple & maybe even cliché, as after all that wisdom is clearly found in Psalm 46:10.
But truly I cannot express how releasing this has been!
You see, I have come to realize that before living with chronic health conditions, I carried a heavy weight of responsibility for my clients, my loved ones & for all those who don’t know His love yet.
I had taken on a heavy burden that was simply not mine to carry.
In surrendering this weight to Him by letting go & relaxing in knowing that God is God in my life, in the lives of my loved ones & in the lives of those whom He brings across my path.
Has issued in a new depth to experiencing His peace, strength & courage as never before.
It’s now pure joy to simply share this painting of my life that He is creating. With its dark hues, bright colors & highlights in all its dimensions. Especially His light that shines upon this canvas!
What hidden treasures have you found my friend?
Until next time,
You’re most welcome to join me in The Reading Nook
© 2020 Jennifer M. Ross, teawithjennifer.blog, All Rights Reserved. Photo on Pexels.com