Tag Archives | confidence

Imperfection

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Ha!  I made this one to remind myself that I don’t have to make perfect, beautiful art every time.  I can just get some thoughts out and enjoy the process.  But it is also the perfect thing to post next because I realized Thursday this week that I double posted Monday and Wednesday.  I forgot I already had posts ready to roll, and wrote new ones.  Imperfection, unorganization, reality at its best people.

Working full time is an adjustment for me and the kids.  How I divide up my time is very different.  My energy level at night is even lower than before.  Thank goodness everything is within 5 blocks of us and I don’t have to race around as much!

We all need this reminder though don’t we?  Imperfection is okay. Only God is perfect.  And He never expects us to be at His level.  He expects us to create our own magic within the imperfection.  To allow our souls to have wiggle room to grow, to relax.  And most importantly to turn to HIM.

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Crown Your Efforts

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Let’s pray today:

God, we know that when we put you first that you direct our paths.  We know that we need only follow you and your golden road to salvation.  But sometimes it is hard in this world to stay on the path, to not look to the right or the left and wonder…and even worry.

Help us Lord to put you first in everything.  Focus our thoughts on the road ahead that leads to you.  Purify our hearts with your love and tenderness that we may step out in faith that glorifies you in everything.  Train our eyes to keep your plans for the future in our vision.  Strengthen our hands to resolve to do your good works.

We are grateful Lord that we know you will crown us with the amazing gift of love, hope, and life with you when we do all of this in your name.  We are grateful that the ultimate success is to bask in your favor.  We are grateful that you give us so many opportunities to do this for you.

Amen!

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New Shapes in Different Seasons

what shape tree

The quote is by David Whyte–sorry they keep getting covered…a lot of my art this winter used up every square inch of the paper.  I seemed to go outside the edges constantly.  As if I couldn’t contain my thoughts.  This tree isn’t one of my favorites, but I like the sky–and the quote.

We never know what shape is inside us, not really, do we?  I can spread my branches as wide as I want growing and reaching.  And sometimes they get broken off.  And sometimes, that’s ok.

I have realized something about myself the past six months.  I thought I had a good shape for my career plan.  I like speaking to large groups, but I discovered, I prefer them to be small children.  🙂  I like teaching, but the weekends and nights are adding a lot of stress and chaos to a family that already has enough.  And really–I am not a chaos kind of girl.  I like routines.  Like blogging and art journaling.  That routine brings me a lot of peace–and that carries into my day and how I interact with my family.

So I need to rethink my shapes and branches to what really works in THIS season of life.  Have you ever felt like that?  God may have plans for us, we may have capabilities.  But there are definite seasons for when they should be used, or should wait.

The wonderful thing is that God planted talents inside our seeds knowing those seasons would come.  He understood when He designed each of us what shapes and branches would happen.  But He understood some seasons would be beautiful growing weather, and others would have storms and droughts.  We just have to trust that He will reveal to us what shapes.  And remember that He trusts us to LEARN from the growth and the storms.

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I am a mess…

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I love Elizabeth Gilbert.  Her new book, Big Magic, is fabulous.  I actually listened to it with Emily at Little Pastiche Art Studio.  So many truths about being creative and living in that realm–because it is just a little different.  We all know it.  Creatives have that reputation.

I am a hot mess a lot of the time.  I really need a routine that I can follow. But my life is not a routine.  It is far from it.  Jeff’s job, my jobs, homeschooling, volunteering, kid/ sports /activities–very little of it is routine.  And I mess it up REGULARLY.  In spectacular ways.  Big fireworks ways.  And I take those closest to me along for the explosion.    The part of me that wants to over achieve, get it right all the time, be superwoman, best sports/dance mom ever falls short and frustrates me.  And I feel guilty.  And then I get mad at myself, and others think I am mad at them (well, maybe I am sometimes).  Although I am trying not to do that as often.  I am trying to clean up some of my mess.

But I am also trying to embrace the glorious mess that I am.  It is what makes me, me, after all.  I am not going to get it right all the time.  I AM a creative.  I am human.  We are busy and running in all directions.  I have dear friends and family who are willing to accept my glorious mess, it is time for me to do so as well.

 

 

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I am What I am

I am by grace of God

The other part of God loving us and creating us each uniquely is His grace that He extends to us.  He loves us so much that He gives us opportunity after opportunity to be the best version of what He created.

By His GRACE.

We don’t earn it.  He just gives it to us.  For being ourselves.  For acknowledging that He made us.  For believing He saves us–each and every moment we live.

That is a lot to live up to–and it could feel overwhelming.  Until we realize.  It simply is NOT.  It is just a sweet breath of grace blowing through each of us.  It is confidence in being loved.  It is the confidence to be who He created.

And I raise my arms to reach out to Him in praise.  His grace is not in vain–I will live up to His expectation for me, to be me.

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He made Me me

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This piece started out as a demo for two different videos over on Bible Stories from the Heart. (Which our new devotion is out on Amazon and starts this week! And you can watch both videos on our YouTube channel. )  I needed to show different ways to use washi tapes and then I went forward and made another video on a mixed media piece.  At first it felt like a hot mess, and then it all came together in the end–and it felt like ME.

Sometimes, okay, most of the time, I feel like a hot mess.  I feel like I just don’t quite fit in.  I feel a little too loud, a little too boisterous, a little too short, a little too artsy, a little too wiggly, a little too annoying or needy, a little too—well different.

And then I remember.  God created ME.  He meant for me to be this way, and I am doing a good job of embracing that.  God loves me and loves me well.  And that is what really matters.  He didn’t plan for me to be one of the people that blends in.  I am not a brown sparrow.  And if I am going to stick out even when I try to be a brown sparrow, well, heck, I might as well go all in and be peacock.  Only smaller. Maybe a ruby throated hummingbird-tiny, constantly moving.  Only too quiet.

I digress.  See?

What matters is…understanding God made us all different on purpose.  And He loves each of us uniquely and purely and completely.  Do you feel that love?  Do you understand the power of that?  He loves you as YOU.

Can I get an Amen Hallelujah!

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He Made US

He made us created

God does such good works in each of us!  We are all so crazy unique from the inside to the outside.

One of my favorite things to do while traveling is people watch.  Airports and beaches are especially good for this!  The artist in me notices clothing choices–I love to see what people choose to wear.  The artist also notes all the different body types, hair colors and textures, the mannerisms, the ways the body moves.  I find it fascinating  how people walk–stride, pace, heels or toes.   A lot of times you can tell what kind of athlete someone is just by how they move.  I think I am disconcerting to people sometimes, but I can’t help myself.  I wish I had more time to draw people–it takes a lot of practice to get it right.

And not only are we completely unique from the outside, but our insides.  I am always fascinated that children know what they like so early.  It is innate.  I truly believe God has plans for us in a big picture way–it just depends on whether we follow HIS plan or not.

 

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According to Faith

according to your faith

Good morning!  Sorry I missed a couple days…I didn’t get them scheduled before my trip and it took me a couple days to recoup.  I needed Tuesday to sleep from early flights and excitement and Wednesday was all about recovering my house and pantry–they ate everything and wore everything.  😉

I am feeling like this verse is so so true right now…my faith has deepened an incredible amount in the last five years, and especially the last two.  And God is using my willingness to surrender to Him for His good works and is blessing me accordingly.  90 women showed up Monday night and studied the Word through art with Leslie and I.  And it touched a lot of hearts–new friendships were made, connections were made, some broke out in giggles of excitement, some shed tears of restoration.  It was just what we hoped it would be.

But I also know of people going through some tough tough situations right now.  How is their faith reflected in that?  I suppose that is the age old question.  In my BSF Revelation study right now I have learned that God uses those times to bring us that much closer to Him.  And sometimes He is using His faithful followers to bring others to Him through those difficulties.  I know that as I see faithful ones responding to hard times… I am encouraged.  It helps me focus on God.  It makes me look back on my hard seasons and see the growth, see how God never left, and it does bring me closer.

Our faith does not promise we will not be persecuted by sickness, grief, financial issues, relationship woes–if anything the Bible tells us we may end up being tested by Satan that much more to pull us away from our faith in Christ.

We must remember there will be riches in joy and peace here on earth according to our faith.  But there will be far more riches of joy and peace in heaven when we can be right next to our Savior.

So I am grateful for the good things in my life now–for a wonderful event and trip, for a great partner in Leslie, a loving and supportive family, and all of YOU.   I lean on my faith in God that deepens everyday. I am thankful for the dark time that led me to faith art journaling and this ministry.  And I am ready for the storms that will come, for I know according to my faith…it will all be good.

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Celebrate with Trumpets

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Let’s celebrate our confidence in faith.  Get out there and enjoy the seen and unseen.  Get out there and enjoy our faith in the unseen.  Celebrate the confidence we can have that we are strong, even in our weakest moments.

That is a lot to celebrate.  Those are reasons to blow the trumpet.  All the time.

Even the lonely call of taps is a celebration of a job well done and a day well spent.  A call to celebration and strength of what has been, and what can be.

And isn’t that what sharing our faith should be???   Celebrating light and love.  Keeps rolling around to that for me.  Light and love.  Not rants and raving on sins, but sharing the celebration and calling others to gratitude.  And obedience just seems to follow in gratitude for the celebration.  Have you ever noticed that?

Yes, let’s blow the trumpet.

 

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Sand Dollar Confidence

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When we visit St. Maarten I love looking for sand dollars, alive and skeletons left behind.  Sand dollars are amazing to me–they are this strong little creature living in a harsh ocean environment.  And then when they die and lay in the sun on the sand they bleach to these incredibly beautiful, insanely fragile bits of beauty.

It makes me think again about the seen and unseen.  The body is weak. It can suffer all sorts of things and will eventually not work anymore.  My human body is seen, but it is my strong unseen soul that makes me alive.   And because of grace, because of confidence in the unseen, my soul will exist eternally in power.  So I am strong in this husk of weakness.

And isn’t that the whole story of everyday life????  We are constantly weak.  Thinking of children again, they realize they are weak and cry out for help all the time.  We as adults need to recognize that as well.  That we are WEAK and must call out and ask that we would recognize how strong Jesus makes our souls.

I don’t know about you, but that actually gives me a lot of confidence–in myself, in faith, in the seen and unseen.

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Faith is Confidence

faith is confidenceAnd then I came across this gem of a verse in Hebrews.

Children have mastered this.  Jesus knew that, that is why He wanted children close to Him and exalted their faith, teaching that all of us should be so lucky to have that kind of belief.

I made all of those little bubble/cellular things thinking of all the little things we as adults do believe in.  It is easy for us to believe science that there are stars millions of miles away, and teensy tiny neutrons and such creating our world.

I made them thinking of all things unseen little kids believe in and are aware of that are unseen.  And they could care less about neutrons.  They seem to understand early what is important, don’t they?

I want to be more child-like in my faith.  I see Jesus’ point.

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Strong God–and a bit of a soapbox on shootings

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This is from the song “Strong God” (Writer(s): Meredith Andrews, Jason Ingram, Jon Egan).

(link and verses at the bottom)

This is such a powerful song.  I pulled it up for the link, and as it started to play I had to stop writing, I just sat and rocked, listening and singing along–and it has that effect on me every time I hear it.  It stops me in my tracks.  As Jon Egan, the writer, says in another video, he based this song off Psalm 68.  He wanted it to be “a massive proclamation of truth, to sing out”.  He achieved that.

Our strong God is so needed.  The latest mass killing in California saddens me.  But even more so, I saw this article from PBS news about all of the mass shootings in the US in 2015.  We hear about some of them, but only a select make national headlines.  That is what is really sad.  The number of people shot in Chicago on a DAILY  basis is alarming.  2, 771 have been shot this year just in Chicago–on average EIGHT people every day.  THAT is really sad.

This weighed heavy on me yesterday, especially as I listened to others discuss this incident.  And I came to two conclusions:

  1.   There are a lot of people who need our STRONG GOD.  It is not guns that shoot people–it is people shooting people. People who are sad, and mad, and lost, and hurting, who feel unloved.  These people need God in their lives.  And not Christ shoved down their throats God.  But gentle, sweet assurances, deep help for what is wrong in their bodies, brains, and hearts.  They need to know there are other ways.  So today I am singing this song to the powerless, to the father of the widows, to the weak, to the prisoners of hate and sadness that God will move in their hearts.  And I will do what I can for those around me to spread His love.
  2. I will NOT BE AFRAID.  I heard a Christian radio station morning host talking about how he is afraid to let his kids go places because of the shooting.  It ENRAGED me.  Really–I was yelling at the radio in the car.  (I know..strong reaction…maybe a little crazed myself.)     But this is why I got mad:  we are not to be afraid.  We are the ones who are supposed to trust our Strong God in all circumstances.  We are the ones who are supposed to go out and help these lost–NOT HIDE in our homes and cower in fear.  If we are afraid as Christians then our culture is in even worse shape than I thought.  And as those numbers up above tell–if we are going to hole up in our homes afraid of a shooting, we  might as well never leave because it happens every stinking day in every stinking place.

Our nation is at war.  We are at war with ourselves.  We need our STRONG GOD.  Focus with me on Him, pray with me for our nation this weekend that we will stop fighting each other.

Father to the fatherless Defender of the weak

Freedom for the prisoner we sing

This is God in His holy place
This is God clothed in love and strength

Sing out lift your voice and cry out
Awesome is our strong God mighty is our God

You’re with us in the wilderness faithful to provide
Ev’ry breath and ev’ry step we see

There is no higher no
There is no greater no
There is none stronger than our God

 

 

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Bravest Thing

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This piece is a little different from what I usually post.  I make more collage pieces, but they tend to be more personal in nature, so they don’t make it onto the blog.  And they tend to be messy on the paper as well as emotionally messy.  But this one is different.  I had fun collaging bits from my desk that are part of my story:  stamps (travel, writing), hearts/love, growth, circles and cycles, birds, measurement, music, a J for Jeff–and then a random goldfish, just because I liked it.  🙂

But it is the quote that really spoke to me and that made me want to share this piece.  I am pretty open about my fight with depression these days, but I wasn’t always.  And fighting through the process to healing was definitely the hardest and bravest thing I did do.  And coming out on the other side loving myself, giving myself grace.

I did a presentation at a MOPS group a few weeks ago.  I was supposed to be talking about faith art journaling, and I did, but what I ended up emphasizing was owning my story and the process that brought me to healing and the part art played in it.  I think the coordinator was disappointed–she wanted more of an art lesson.  But I had three women come up to thank me for sharing.  They felt like they had heard their own stories, diagnoses, and felt they weren’t alone as I spoke.  God sent me to them that day.  God knew I needed to own my story and be brave about it to help those other women.  It was worth it.

Love your self today enough to be brave today and own your story.  You never know where it will take you.

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Far Better Up Ahead

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One more Lewis.

The best part of being a Christian is knowing that better things are ahead.  We are promised the greatest reward out there:  eternal life with Jesus in the best place ever in complete joy without any suffering at all.

Super awesome.

As long as we stay focused on that far into the future, we can’t go wrong.  Things will happen here on Earth that are going to bring us pain and struggles, but we will leave all of them behind.  Just drop them and go.

Why not do it now?  Why worry?  Live life.  Yearn for better things.

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Our Heart Yearns

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C.S. Lewis was a wise man, from as far as I can gather.  He at least has some really good quotes!  I have three to share with you this week.

I love the word YEARNS, and it is a word that we just don’t hear anymore–

  • have an intense feeling of longing for something, typically something that one has lost or been separated from.
  • be filled with compassion or warm feeling.
    synonyms are:  long for, pine for, crave, desire, want, wish for, hanker for, covet, lust after/for, pant for, hunger for, burn for, thirst for, ache for, eat one’s heart out for, have one’s heart set on

And it carries so much meaning!  We do yearn for heaven.  We don’t just want it, we search for it with intensity.  So many people are searching for that one thing that will bring them joy–and when we do finally surrender to Christ and feel that joy–we understand.  As Lewis says, Earth cannot supply it.  Only Heaven.

I am so glad we have found Heaven and joy.

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