October 26, 2015

What's So Great About Silence and Solitude?

Photo by kyasarin @ pixabay.com
I was asked to share what the Lord has been impressing on my lately at church yesterday. My first thought was the word Brave, because that has been my word for the year and I have really been focusing in on that. But lately, God has been putting before me the discipline of solitude and silence. 

For the past month,  I’ve been setting aside part of my quiet time to practice this spiritual discipline and I’ve found that it is hard! My mind gets to wandering and certain sounds distract me, but I’m learning to just let those thoughts drift by and go back to just being quiet. There’s no agenda, no formula, no checklist to go through. It’s enough just to be in the presence of the Lord.

I know I talk about being brave a lot this year, but what I’ve found in this practice of solitude and silence is that it takes a lot of courage to sit silently before the Lord. When you get still and you quiet your soul, you are laid bare before the Lord. You aren’t lifting up another person in prayer. You aren’t telling the Lord the things that you need. You are just you, sitting in silence, in the presence of the Almighty God. It’s the place where you set aside the things of the world and focus on the one thing that matters most. And you realize, it truly is enough just to be in the presence of the Lord.

It may take me years to get good at sitting quietly in His presence, and maybe one day I will be able to truly listen with ears to hear, but right now I am finding more of His peace and more of His love…which makes me braver each and every day.

October 12, 2015

Our True ID: Loving God

Photo by thawats
We have been studying the early stories in the Bible and my goodness, it is a bunch of failure and heartbreak. Things seem so hopeless and yet, God does something amazing in each and every situation to redeem the person and/or situation.

So often we feel like a failure in life. We aren't successful in our jobs. Marriages are crumbling. Children don't seem to have a relationship with the Lord. Relationships are broken. Sin has overtaken us. But there is hope. There is always hope.

We need to look back at those people of faith in the beginning of time. Adam and Eve - the very first family- totally messed up and broke the one rule God had. And then later their son murdered their other son. Abraham and Sarah lied to the rulers of the land because of their fear. Jacob was a deceiver and had a totally dysfunctional family. Moses was a murderer and later let pride get in the way of seeing the promised land.


What do we do when we feel like a failure? When you feel hopeless, what should you do?

You love God, the very one who loves you no matter what.

Listen to the great Jewish Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)

“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.[a] And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

This isn't a pep talk. It isn't a formula to be successful in life. It isn't even a set of standards to live up to. It's an encouragement to just love your God. To be in His presence. To soak up His essences and become like Him. To be in communion with Him, continually. He wants so much to be in a relationship with you and share all that He has for you.

So turn your attention to the Lord. Love Him. Love him with all that you are.

This is our true ID....our imprint. We have His stamp on our lives because we love Him. We leave a mark....His mark...on the world when we love Him, because His love is powerful. His love is strong. His love makes us brave.

Love God and love others. This is your True ID. 

***Thanks to John Ketchersid for another great sermon 10/11/15.

October 05, 2015

My Year of Jubliee

Did you know that the Jewish Year of Jubilee began on September 23? I just find it so awe-inspiring that while this is happening, I am beginning my own 50th year journey into freedom.

When I chose BRAVE as my One Word of 2015, I had no idea the path of bravery would take me into a closer walk with the Lord and lead me toward freedom in a way I've never experienced before. Sure, I've done a couple of brave things this year. I'm in a new job. I started an Etsy shop. I began sharing my artistic attempts online. I said yes to things I would have said no to before, just so I could say that I was being brave.

But what I am finding is that God is orchestrating a path into a sweet communion with Him through all this bravery. You see, bravery is not really being brave. It's being scared silly, yet taking the step to do it any because you know Who has your back and Who will catch you if you fall. It's about being okay with failure and enjoying the process in spite of the failure. It's about holding the Hand of God while leaping out of the boat, trusting that He can make you stand firm, knowing He loves you and has a great plan for your life.

I'm so excited to be alive in this year of Jubilee and cannot what to see what all God has in store. It is going to be a year of growth, bravery, solitude, and freedom....and so much more, I'm sure.

Isaiah 61The Voice (VOICE)

61 The Spirit of the Lord, the Eternal, is on me.
    The Lord has appointed me for a special purpose.
He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.
    He has sent me to repair broken hearts,
And to declare to those who are held captive and bound in prison,
    “Be free from your imprisonment!”
He has sent me to announce the year of jubilee, the season of the Eternal’s favor:
    for our enemies it will be a day of God’s wrath;
For those who mourn it will be a time of comfort.[a]
As for those who grieve over Zion,
    God has sent me to give them a beautiful crown in exchange for ashes,
To anoint them with gladness instead of sorrow,
    to wrap them in victory, joy, and praise instead of depression and sadness.
People will call them magnificent, like great towering trees
    standing for what is right.
They stand to the glory of the Eternal
    who planted them.
And they will rebuild this place from its ancient ruins;
    they will restore the ages-old, once-splendid structures;
They will renew Israel’s ruined cities
    from the ashes and debris that laid untouched for many generations.
And people will come from all over to serve you:
    Outsiders will tend your flocks, plough your fields, and prune your vines.
You will be known as the ones specially chosen by the Eternal as priests;
    people will speak of you as ministers of our God.
    And the wealth of nations will come to you for your delight and enrichment.
Many called you disgraced and defiled and said that shame should be your share of things.
    Yet you suffered doubly and lived in disgrace;
So double will be your share, and with joy everlasting.
Eternal One: For I, the Eternal, love justice.
        I hate stealing and all manner of wrongdoing.
    In faithfulness to those who do justice, I promise they will be rewardedfor their work;
        and I will establish an everlasting covenant with them.
    Furthermore, I will promise them My support for their children,
        so that all nations and everyone around
    Will see that they are the children blessed by the Eternal God.
10 I am filled with joy and my soul vibrates with exuberant hope,
    because of the Eternal my God;
For He has dressed me with the garment of salvation,
    wrapped me with the robe of righteousness.
It’s as though I’m dressed for my wedding day,[b]
    in the very best: a bridegroom’s garland and a bride’s jewels.
11 The whole earth sprouts newness and life in the springtime,
    and green shoots break through the well-seeded garden soil.
That’s what it is like with the Eternal’s victory
    the Lord will cause justice and praise to sprout up before all the nations, for all peoples to see.

Have a blessed Monday!

September 25, 2015

Have Courage and Be Kind....a Cinderella Way of Living...a Godly Way of Life

At our family movie night with my parents last week, we watched Cinderella. It is a stunningly beautiful movie with a beautiful message. It's about a mistreated girl who listened to her dying mother's last words to be courageous and kind, no matter how hard it was.

Time and time again, Cinderella just swallowed her hurt when her step-mother and step-sisters were cruel: when they wouldn't let her eat with them; when they called her Cinderella because of the soot on her face; when they took her room and made her live in the attic; and when they tore her mother's dress apart. Yes, it hurts when others put is down, take advantage of us, or mistreat us.

And sometime it takes great courage to be kind in the face of such hurt.

Our society is big on self-sufficiency and not being treated as a doormat. We applaud those who stand up for themselves and demand their rights instead of letting others walk all over them, but I think that is where the courage part comes in.

It takes courage to face opposition with kindness and to turn the other cheek.

"Finally, all of you, be like-minded and show sympathy, love, compassion, and humility to and for each other-- not paying back evil with evil or insult with insult, but repaying the bad with a blessing. It was this you were called to do, so that you might inherit a blessing." 1 Peter 3:8-9

"Even if you should suffer for doing what is right, you will receive a blessing. Don't let them frighten you. Don't be intimidated, but exalt Him as Lord in your heart." 1 Peter 3: 14-15

And inherit a blessing is what Cinderella did! She got the Prince! Not because of how beautiful she looked at the ball. She had already captured the Prince's heart while wearing rags, and he was smitten by her courageous and kind heart.

Living in kindness takes courage at times, but we are up to the task. We have the Lord on our side and can stand firm in the knowledge that He has our back no matter what. Our courage and kindness brings a smile to His face.

So have courage and be kind today.

You will find blessing indeed.

**I am not condoning any kind of abuse in marriage or in families. That is never okay. While we can be kind in return, it truly does not make it right and we do not have to stay in those types of relationships.**

September 21, 2015

More Whimsical Painting Attempts Equals Bobble Heads

I attempted more whimsical painting this weekend, this time doing project 2 of the Painting for the Heart Class by Juliette Crane. Being the "rebel" that I am, I wanted to do my own thing, yet learn the new techniques of loose and whimsical painting. The prompt was 3 lions, but I thought it would be fun to do 3 whimsical girls...like sisters.

So that is what I did...and it turned out rather weird. They look a lot like bobble heads, but oh well. I like the way the paint pooled for their lips and their rosy cheeks. That's my favorite part.

But then I decided to go ahead and try to do the lions in the prompt.I used different paint colors for the background, but really tried to do the lions like Juliette Crane did. I'm happy with them, and feel like I am learning a little about being looser.

Here are a few pictures of the process...

And here are a few pictures of the lions during its creation.

Have a great Monday!

September 18, 2015

Painting For the Heart Class Project 1

Whimsical painting draws me in for reason. I don't know if it is just the messiness, the out of proportion at times, the broken rules, the freedom to do whatever, but I love it and I really want to learn how to do it.

So I joined an online class called Painting for the Heart by Juliette Crane. She is excellent. Her first class showed how to do a bunny. I'm not really into animals, but the techniques here really good.

I think one of my favorite things so far is the freedom to paint over whatever it is you don't like. Before, I lived with whatever I did, not wanting to "waste" all that work I had already done. But last night I painted over the whole bottom half of the bunny's face because it was just too dark.

Freedom to do whatever.

I love it and can't wait to try the next project this weekend.

Here's a few pictures from start to finish.

Adding painted paper and book pages to cardboard.

Painted white on the background.

This was the difficult part...had to keep changing and painting
 and covering up until I liked it. 

I love finger painting!

I squeezed a bottle of distress paint and the whole cap flew
 off....and splatted onto my hardwood floor! Yikes!

September 14, 2015

Whimsical Faces and Identity Crisis

I checked out the book, Drawing and Painting Whimsical Faces by Jane Davenport and tried out a little whimsical face for myself. It was so hard, but fun to try something new. When I was finished, I decided to write something around her head and hair and this is what I wrote:

Though she be afraid, she was brave and stepped out in freedom to be the woman God designed her to be....a woman of faith.

I've been thinking a lot about identity and how I perceive my value. I have always needed other's approval, being the people pleaser that I am, but I'm learning that is definitely not where my value comes from. I'm learning to be who God designed me to be. 

I may not be the perfect poised and proper preacher's wife. And I may never dress with style. I may be silly and laugh out loud a lot, and may just be the worst housekeeper in the world, but I am learning to just be me. 

I am creative, messy, goofy, and sometimes too transparent, but God has designed me for a purpose. I have my identity in Him because He is my creator and knows me inside and out. 

And He likes the way He made me, so why shouldn't I?

Here are a few pictures of my journal page in various stages. 

I hope you have a super Monday filled with lots of laughter. 

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