Hidden Blessings - Deborah's Story...

God can bring blessing and growth into our lives through seemingly impossible and heartbreaking circumstances. Today's testimony is from Deborah who blogs at Art and Soul by Deborah. I know that some of you will be able to identify with Deborah and her family's terrible loss in a house fire. My prayer is that you will be encouraged by the blessings she received through such a life-altering trial.
 Acts 20:24

"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me;
 my only aim is to finish the race
 and complete the task the
 Lord Jesus has given me—
the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace."

The Valley ~ 2006

I painted this in 2006 with acrylic and glazing medium. During a time I was living in one of life's valleys.  Five years ago we had a house fire and lost everything
But, according to the insurance company the old foundation was stable, so we built a new house on the old foundation.
The cowboy and I were in the heart of the valley....Our marriage was changed, my children were changed, our family dynamic was changed and my faith was changed - Forever.

As I look back at this piece of artwork, I see now there must have been light in my spirit even in the darkness life dishes out. The light color palette in the midst of the dark greens at the top center appears to me now to be a reflection of the light of God which resides within us...even in the valley.
I believe God allows these valleys to accomplish His purpose within us.
Waves of Color and Light ~ 2006
As I clung to this scripture:
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" ~ Philippians 4:13
My paintings would reflect the colors I needed to heal.
The road out of the valley can be a long difficult one. I had days where I felt like a big black cloud was hanging over my family and trouble on top of trouble was all there was for us. I felt undeserving...unworthy...and I was asking, "Where is God in all this?"
Which leads me to this question? 
Does God, who has given His only Son to show us His love, grace, and mercy consider it defiance, that I would question or consider (even for a moment) that what God created (me) is unworthy and undeserving? I have always told my kids God doesn't make mistakes or garbage. 
That is why grace is my word this year. Because, I have been allowing this unworthy, undeserving perception to hold me back from all the blessings God has in store for me and my family
I can not tell you how hard it is to rebuild after a trauma like that.It affected each of my family members differently, and the healing process is and was different for each individual.
Out of the ashes was heart ache and loss. My healing process included counseling, bible studies and  my artwork. I could escape the valley and find peace in the studio. A respite from the rebuilding process of our home and family. (We did a lot of the work ourselves to save money.) 
Then from out of the ashes I began to look for the blessings and the lessons -changing my perspective.  
My soul needed healing...I found healing through Gods words.
My Spirit needed rest, which I found through creating art. 
My heart needed GRACE - something I did not have to work for or earn...because, in the valley I felt like just getting up in the morning was work, being a wife...work, being a mother...work....work.work.work.


Beauty in the ashes..
Because of the fire...I was able to have a new studio, hence the name: Art and Soul.

Because of the fire...We went from a one bathroom for 6 people to two! (a miracle)
Because of the fire...I found out what I am made of...Strength...Courage...Compassion...


Who I am in Christ.

Because of the fire I now believe more than every God has a purpose for my life.

1 Corinthians 15:10 
(New International Version, ©2011)
10 "But by the grace of God I am what I am,
and his grace to me was not without effect.  
No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, 
but the grace of God that was with me." 

God is with us in the midst of the darkest valley. Trust me, I found him there....Although I am unworthy of the gifts of God, He does not ask us to be worthy, He accepts us just the way we are.
That MY friends is the good news of God's GRACE!
I'm so thankful that Deborah shared her beautiful story (and artwork) of beauty through the ashes! Maybe you can identify? I hope you'll head over to her blog, Art and Soul by Deborah to get to know her better! 

**Due to the Hidden Blessings series, there is no Friday Feedback question this week. 
NEXT FRIDAY, you will have a chance to link up YOUR Hidden Blessing story at our Friday Feedback post.