Draw Me Ever So Close

Years ago I penned a song titled Draw me Close. It was really a prayer of sorts. The chorus lyrics say:

“Draw me close where I can hear your heartbeat oh Lord. Draw me close where i can feel your Holy Breath on me. Draw me close where I can know that I am your own. Draw me ever so close.”

I suppose when I wrote it my mind envisioned me always sitting on (my Father) God’s lap, always happy, safe, feeling loved and protected.

Many of you know that the last five years have been very hard on me. Let’s face it the last couple of years have been hard on everyone. But about 4 and a Half years ago I lost my sister Sherry. My world seemed to crumble. I couldn’t breath, I couldn’t think to even pray more than to say “Oh God.” I was either numb or enveloped in crushing grief and gut wrenching sobs. There didn’t seem to be much of anything else in between. I preferred the numbness if I’m being totally honest.

As far as my Faith goes, It never faltered. I never questioned God I was at peace with it. But I was in deep pain from the loss. I went from being someone who boldly came into my Father’s presence praying out loud, to being a little girl, silent in her pain.

I don’t remember much about the first couple of years really, except feeling bad that I wasn’t doing my daily prayer time anymore. (meaning I wasn’t setting aside a specific time and place each day to pray and go through my list of prayer requests and needs.) Instead I sat in silence.

I still talked to God everyday, all the time, though it could not be heard by others, through the whispers of my soul. I just couldn’t bear the thoughts and pain of verbalizing it all. I don’t even think I could concentrate enough to put things in a coherent voice. You know the feeling. You have one of those days when you are hurting so bad inside. Maybe you are at work or at school and you hope you don’t see your best friend. You know if you even make eye contact with them you will just burst into tears and do the ugly cry in front of God and everybody. Well it was like that, except it was with God only. I couldn’t bear to make eye contact with Him.

The enemy always comes to shout at me in times when I’m wounded. I bet he does for you too. I would hear him say “You should be praying every day! God is going to be mad at you because you don’t talk to him anymore. You are probably not even going to go to heaven if you don’t start doing all the things God expects you to do!” I was tempted to believe all of the lies and did believe a few for a time. Strangely enough though, even when the enemy was yelling at me, I knew it was ok to sit in my silence, God knew what my soul couldn’t verbalize and He understood me and still loved me.”

Covid came crashing in to our world. Concerned that they might bring the illness with them and it in turn would bring death with it to my husband and I, my children and grandkids stayed away. For the first month or so my husband didn’t even hug me much because he worked with the public and was afraid he would bring it home and I guess afraid it would kill me. So even though we were in our isolation together I felt so alone. My soul whispered a little quieter and the hurt got bigger.

It was during this time that our youngest Son came over to visit me (OUTSIDE, from a distance) and told me he had cancer. The word Lymphoma was SO BIG and SO SCARY. I couldn’t even hold him or kiss him the way a mother’s heart needs to in a time like that and I will never get that moment back to do it right. For days after that day every once in a while I would make Eye contact with (my Father) God and the dam would burst and I would cry the ugly cry uncontrollably and unburden my soul. Afterword only to pull myself into a ball again so my soul could cry out in a whisper once more.

On and on it goes, one thing after another troubles came. New pains, New Illnesses, new trials, losses of people I loved, depression, heavy weights taking residence in my soul,… Some to heavy to bear, Some just heavy because I was carrying so much already. Again eye contact would be made. Again I would do the ugly cry and plead out loud for mercy. Again I would pull myself up into a ball and again my soul cried out in whispers. The Enemy yelled louder at me but again I knew it was ok, God knew what my soul couldn’t verbalize and He understood me and still loved me.

Today I was actually praying out loud. I was singing and talking to Jesus out loud as naturally as breathing. I really don’t know when I started doing this again. I’m sure it happened just a few words at a time, probably weeks apart. But today I noticed what I was doing. When I did, I saw as clear as day a Daddy holding his crying child who had fallen and hurt herself one too many times. The child pulled up tight and pressing into her daddy’s chest. Though the memories of the pain were fresh in her mind, her dirty bloodied knees were now numb by the grace of God. But every once in a while she would open her eyes and see the blood and relive the fall and the pain. Because she anticipated renewed and maybe even greater pain she refused to let him touch her wounds to clean them and bandage them, pushing his big hands away. Then she would cry louder, sure that she would surely bleed to death before this terrible ordeal was over. Again she would ball up tight protecting her knees. while her daddy drew her in closer to his heart to reassure her that he would heal her pain. Placing a kiss on her forehead and whispering in a small voice for only her to hear, telling her “It’s ok, Daddy is here. I know it hurts but it will get better. I love you child!” And immediately I was reminded of the title to the song I wrote years ago.

The picture the Lord showed me told me loud and clear that though the enemy had shouted bold faced lies about God never wanting me near Him again after the way I have neglected Him, My Father God was holding me on his lap, Drawing me Ever So Close, all that time, And now clearly I could Hear God’s heart beat and feel His Holy breath on me as He was telling me, “It’s ok, I hear your soul’s whispers just fine and I understand. I love you child.”

It hadn’t been in the Happy Safe feeling times that I had imagined when I penned the song but in the balled up, soul whispering times that my prayer of drawing close to God was answered.

Life can be hard. I cry for a different family member with cancer now. But it’s also so VERY BEAUTIFUL. I have an amazing new grandson that I haven’t met yet but I’m so blessed that he is healthy and happy. Time is healing my grief. My son’s cancer is in remission. Covid, well wasn’t the monster my children had imagined for me. Though it came to visit several times and stayed far to long. It is gone from our home for the time being. Life goes on. New trials are on their way I’m sure. Old ones still linger, not anxious to leave. My God is GOOD and FAITHFUL and He keeps His promises. But most importantly He has faithfully DRAWN ME EVER SO CLOSE, and it is well with my soul.

Matthew 11: 28-30 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Grief is a Strange Animal

It has been Six months since my big sister/ best friend passed away. Six Months of grieving, six months of not being able to breath, six months with very little creativity and art; and Four months since I created my last piece titled A Time to Mourn. Though it may be my best to date. It expresses my grief more then I could ever express it with words.

WM Time to Mourn FB

Grief is such a strange animal. I thought I knew this beast well, because I have met it on many occasions before.

This time somehow, it seams bigger and meaner. It seems to have backed me against a wall separating me from my creative side. It seems that with every attempt to vest this beast I am left feeling as though I have lost my artistic balance and I drop my brushes in defeat, frozen, temporarily paralyzed and unable to move my arms and mind into submission.

But I am not one to give up, I am brave, and bull headed. So I keep charging in and making myself go though the motions. Knowing that deep inside me creativity is alive and well and will eventually surface and be the victor. Each day I am desiring more and more to create again. I want to force myself past this dragon of grief and go to my favorite place to live, in the land of laughter, sunshine and creating things. Because I just want to be happy again.

I have to say though that It is not a scary monster, it’s just big and in my way and becoming very annoying. Like Rex from the movie Toy Story where he says “I’m going for fearsome here, but I just don’t feel it. I think I’m just coming off as annoying.”

I know that this beast called grief is not my enemy, or an enemy to my art. He may even be there, larger than life, to protect me from something that would wound me deeper while my heart heals.  I need to let him stand there and do his job. In the end it will cause me to be a better artist, painting with more feeling and emotion.

For without the darkness, one can not truly enjoy the light. Without the tears and pain, one can not truly appreciate the laughter and Joy. Without the experience of devastation one can not truly appreciate the creative process.

Thank you all for being so understanding and supporting me during this painful time for me. May God richly bless you!

A Time To Mourn

Time to Mourn FB

As many of you know, I lost my sister/ best friend recently. It has left me unable and some times unwilling to express my emotions. Which is strange because this is what I do, I put my feelings onto words, whether in poetry, song or in some cute way to make us all laugh at our circumstances and feel better about them. But Now, I’ve got nothing! No words will come out, they will not even form in my mind, and even when they do they refuse to come out of my mouth in any coherent manner.

Being an artist, I turned to painting for my therapy, or processing of my emotions. My original thought was to just do something simple. I can’t concentrate long enough or even care enough to focus on doing a portrait and make sure that it looks like a specific person. I had painted a few dancers and thought I could continue in that series. After asking for help with reference photos from my friends on face book, I was overwhelmed with the out pouring of responses. Several photo were dramatically lighted and drew my attention and so I pulled one of them and started considering the composition.


Original reference photo from Melodie Lauhan

That night as I was falling asleep I envisioned a dripping background to this piece and that I could do in monotone in sepia colors. So the next morning I started to paint.20180203_132423

Once the background was painted and dry I traced on my drawing of the dance just like in the photo. Then I started blocking in her form.


But the more I painted the more I felt the sadness of the piece, as if I was painting my pain. So instead of trying to fix it and make it brighter or happier, I decided to embrace the pain, crying with every brush stroke applied to the canvas. Soon I realized that this dancers pose was not expressive enough to show the depths of grief that I was feeling. So I decided to move the arms and make her holding her head.




I moved her hands several times before getting them exactly where I wanted them also changing the tilt of her head. I was even blessed to get my Photographer son Isaiah Miller to photograph my beautiful daughter in law in the hand pose I needed, and under the same lighting conditions as the original reference photo to make it easier for me to paint it correctly.The problem I had now was that  I could not repaint the background as I loved the feeling of the drips so I had to hide the painting of the hands on the floor in the hair. Since my daughter in law has such lovely long full hair, this was an easy transition.



Once the detail in the hands and body were complete I felt I needed to clothe her in black to finish the look of one who mourns. Once that was done I felt that I had achieved expressing my inner most emotions. I hope that you can feel what my heart is saying and I hope that it touches you deeply.

Please leave a comment telling me how this piece makes you feel and what it tells you. I would love to hear from you.