Tag Archives | just a bunch of sinners

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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Let Them Grow Together

wheat-and-weedsMatthew 13:  29-30

This is from Jesus’ parable of the weeds.  A man sows good seed in his field and during the night an enemy sows weeds among the good wheat.  The servants ask if they should pull the weeds.  But the man replies… the above verse…let them grow together until the harvest and then we will separate them.

I let a giant thistle grow in my garden last spring.  I mistakenly thought it was a poppy.  (Hey–just look at a poppy leaf, they are similar!)  The thistle turned out to be just a weed, one that my daughter lovingly deemed the devil’s flower.  But at the same time it wasn’t–I have always loved the purple color of the blossoms, and I like the texture of the leaves.  And they are the favorite food of goldfinches, who kept tabs on the plant hoping they could get a taste.

As I have studied Revelation this year, I see just how much God follows this strategy.  He lets the weeds grow, they have purposes, and He is waiting until the harvest to give them chances.  There are weeds around me all the time testing my faith, giving me opportunities to see how I might react, if the weed might have worth and will I give it that possibility.  And to share my faith and hope that maybe, they aren’t just a weed–but just a different kind of plant that will in turn yield its own kind of good fruit.

I am human, no matter how hard I try not to be judgemental, but it happens.  In my head pops an opportunity that I have missed.  I am not giving that person the chance I should, and I need to right that wrong.  And I am humbled, because a good friend is giving that person an opportunity.

I am sure there are others…but this is the weed God might be calling me to.  Ever have those?  Who are the ones we consider weeds right now?  God is leaving them there until the harvest.  How can we see the worth in that plant and give them a chance to bear fruit in Christ?

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I am His lighthouse

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I have been worrying a lot lately.  I know, I know, I preach don’t worry.  But I am human, and there have been several things in the last month that I just don’t feel sure about.

I have not been faith full.  I have not been constant.

And yet, God is coming through on my prayers.  Despite myself, I am His.  What an amazing light in the darkness.

As I have prayed, with eyes closed, I see a light behind my closed lids.  I am sure there is some scientific thing about the light transferred or mirrored or some such thing.  But to me, it is like seeing the light of God shining as a beacon to remind I am His, He will take care of everything in His own time.  Sometimes faster than I expected, sometimes slower.  But He is always there reminding me.  What a comfort and joy!

I hope that you see that light and are reminded as well.

 

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Power in His Name

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Inspired by this song:  Break Every Chain sung by Jesus Culture

A little on this artwork:  I was listening to this song, thinking about rocks–I think I painted this about the time I wrote the stepping stones series.  This time I was thinking of the purity of Christ and the whiteness of marble.  I was thinking about broken chains and just how hard that is to do.  About all the things He does, that I want to do with Him.  And this came out.

Notice the word at the top of the pile is the word I have been focusing on:  obey.  And from there I wrote ways to obey.  These are all ways I can do what Jesus is calling me to do.  And when I call on His power to help me do these things He shares with me–strengthening me in ways I will never imagine.

There is power in the name of Jesus.  There is.  There is power.

He breaks every chain holding us to sin, to the Earth, and He makes us pure in heaven with Him.

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Become Better

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Become Better by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

I haven’t shared a C. Joybelle C. quote in a long time.  She does have sooo many.

See the hope associated with this one?  The ability to RISE above.  To BECOME more and better.  To let go of past hurts, and past positives to be honest.

Because, sometimes, the good things that have happened can hold us back just as much as the bad!  I know there have been times that I thought I was as good as or better (read superior) than someone due to my education/grades/honors, my home state (Ok…still feel this way about Iowa, sorry), my Christianity. EW.  Did I just admit that?  I wanted to go around bragging about my “wonderful” history.  All the good stuff.  Well, you know what?  I needed to get over myself.  We all have good stuff we all have bad stuff.

And the reality is:  NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT MOST OF IT.  And to be completely honest…most of the time, most people DO NOT CARE.

They see what is right in front of them at that very moment.  That is what they will form opinions about.

Our goal needs to be to ALWAYS do better, and to do it in humility.

Butterflies don’t run around showing off.  They just ARE.

In the moment.

Above the noise.

On hope.

With sighs of the Spirit.

That’s where I want to rise to.  How about you?

 

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House of Prayer

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Isaiah 56:7 House of Prayer by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

Let’s pray today:

  • that people will realize that churches are full of broken, real people
  • that we are all in search of daily soul healing
  • that more people will realize that they can find healing in churches
  • and that more Christians will be accepting of their own faults, and allow more who need healing in their midst
  • that Christ will lead those people in the church:  those in charge and those who are following
  • that churches will be visible cornerstones of communities not closed off buildings
  • that our homes will be filled with prayers to you Jesus and be focused on coming closer in relationship with you and your babies
  • for all people of this world:  those in governments with peace, those with governments in chaos
  • for all the people of this world who are healthy and those in need of healing
  • for those people who do not have homes, and that those who have them will be grateful for all they have

In your name Jesus….all God’s people said….AMEN!

 

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The Hospital

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The Church is a Hospital by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

Where do we go when we need “fixed?”

When our body has weakened to a point it needs specific attention we head to a doctor’s office or when it is really bad, the hospital.  We know we can’t cure the ailment on our own anymore and it is going to require the medical knowledge of a doctor or nurse.

So where do we go when our soul needs “fixed?”  CHURCH is where we should  go.  Too often I think that people think church buildings are museums, and full of perfect people and they choose to go where they perceive more broken people are:  places where they can find alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling.  Places that have things that don’t heal the sick soul but just deaden it.  When what they really need is a soul overhaul, operation, whatever, to scrape out the infection of sin and restore health.

I don’t know about you, but I am BROKEN.  My soul needs constant fixing.  I am like that pesky car that always needs to go in for a tune-up.  That sick kid at the school always on antibiotics.  I hope that when people see me at church, or headed there, or when they see me in a class, or in this blog that they don’t see someone “good”, but someone in constant need of prayer, confession, and healing.  I need me some Jesus medicine!

That is why I take my daily dose of Bible time, listen to Christian music, paint for Jesus, pray constantly.  I take my thyroid and crazy lady/happy pills daily for my body.  Why wouldn’t I take my soul meds too????  I mean that is a big ole duh!

You know what…how cool would it be if we could have Jesus in a little oxygen tank we drag around??  I know that sounds silly, but really!  Breathe Him in, everyone sees our need and broken-ness, we have to think about it constantly, everyone sees we are turning to the right healing.  I like this idea!

I know.  Crazy.  I better make sure I take my meds:  body and soul.  🙂  How about you?

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Be Lifted High

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My Life Lifted High by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

This song by Hillsong United inspired this faith art journaling piece. I don’t think I can’t end this week any better.  Here are the lyrics.

“Came To My Rescue” Writer(s): Dylan Thomas, Joel Davies, Marty Sampson

Falling on my knees in worship
Giving all I am to seek your face
Lord all I am is yours

My whole life
I place in your hands
God of Mercy
Humbled I bow down
In your presence at your throne

I called you answered
And you came to my rescue and I
I wanna be where you are

My whole life
I place in your hands
God of Mercy
Humbled I bow down
In your presence at your throne

I called you answered
And you came to my rescue and I
I wanna be where you are
[x2]

In my life be lifted high
In our world be lifted high
In our love be lifted high
[x3]

I called you answered
And you came to my rescue and I
I wanna be where you are

 

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Debts are paid while I faith art journal

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Debts are Paid by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

This is faith art journaling:  me thinking out loud on paper with paint.  🙂  This particular day it was in bright pink, turquoise and yellow.  It was layers of collage and paint.  It was notes all over the place as I contemplated.

This is what I love about faith art journaling.  I started with praying and confessing my sins.  Then Jesus whispered back to me, “Thank you for giving me those loads.  Thanks for paying your debts to me by confessing and spending time with me.  Now–no more worries, I have got this–I paid your debts to everyone.  Go do some work for me–tell others how much I love them, that I paid their debts too.  And really, all I want, is for you to Believe in me.  I know the rest will follow.  You will want to be a better person, so you will do better.  I look forward to seeing what you do and become with me leading!”

Really, that is pretty much what happens when I sit down to paint and play.  It is no wonder I want to do it every single morning.  That I want to spend more and more time with it.

Do you have a way that you sit and confess and talk it over with Jesus?  If not, you really should.  It is so nice.

If you want, you can join me in painting.  We started the Exodus study this week @biblestoriesfromtheheart.com  I am sharing tutorials on how to get started using art to respond to faith and life.  Who knows what God will whisper to you!  I’d love to have you join us.

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All Are Welcome at the Table

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Luke 15:2 All Are Welcome by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

You know the best part about giving our loads to Jesus, not just when we are exhausted– but all the time?  He welcomes it.

He welcomes all of us to His table.  No matter how great our sin, when we are willing to give up and surrender to Him, Jesus is willing to take us on.  Nothing is too big for Him.

When I came across this verse it just rang out to me.  I could just hear it, like a bunch of teens gossiping together today.  “Like, OMG!  Did you see Jesus at Starbucks with them???  What?  That is so crazy!  They are so GROSS!  I mean they don’t even use hand sanitizer, or where good brand names, or anything! Quick, instagram and hashtag it worst ever! Somebody needs to shame Jesus into not doing that anymore.  I mean, really, those people DO NOT belong here.  They need to stay in their part of town.  Nobody talk to Jesus any more.”

Pretty bad, right?  But that is basically what happened.  And how bad are we about thinking those thoughts?

Jesus didn’t just hang out with the “best” Jews and Gentiles when He came to Earth.  Nope, He liked the prostitutes, tax collectors, lepers.  You know, the ones everyone else was clamoring to invite over for dinner. Not.  But that is who He chose to minister to the most.  Many of them are the ones who made it into the Bible.  Many of them became great believers and apostles.  They needed Him the most sometimes and responded in kind.

So do we invite sinners in?  Are we willing to invite them to our own table?  Are we willing to be at our own table and admit that we are in good company?  That we sin just as much in our own ways?

And then like the many sinners in the Bible are we ready to turn our lives around and give up those sins?  To try and live a better life?  More loving, more forgiving, less judgemental more like Jesus?

The first step is to stop the thoughts like the conversation above.  Even if it is with our self inside our own head.  We have to stop.  We must try harder to welcome all.

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Give Your Exhaustion to Jesus

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Give Your Exhaustion to Jesus by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

Do you ever feel overwhelmed?  Just bone tired? Full on exhausted? Like you could go on vacation, but you want to go some place not very exciting so that you can just sleep the entire time?

Ahh, summer.  When I was teaching full time in the public schools I remember I would just veg for the month of June.  Just sleep in, do some gardening, long walks, take a long nap, read a book, hang out with Jeff, go to bed early.  For two to three weeks my body just needed to soak up as much sleep as possible and my brain needed to rejuvenate.   I let those little kids just suck me dry during the school year.  After resting, I would go at the speed of light again on house projects, getting ready for the next school year, craft projects, travel, until school started again.

I’ve seen the same thing with my kids.  They just lay on the couch for a couple weeks and decompress.  Then they are ready to go.  Sometimes I want to do a long hiatus like that again.  Just time to sit, rest.  But our current way of life makes that harder.

So I give a lot more to Jesus.

Which, actually, is the better way to handle life in the first place!  Maybe if I had given more to Jesus when I was teaching instead of trying to control it all myself and going at breakneck pace, I wouldn’t have ended up so exhausted.

Because it is heavy to carry everything on our own.  God never intended for us to do this thing called life on our own.  He never planned for our lives to move so fast.  We have done that to ourselves.  And He tells us over and over in the Bible to let go of it and let Him handle it.

I am exhausted from trying to appear stronger than I am.  The artwork was my first step in admitting that a few years ago.  Step two was creating this blog and putting it out there for the public.  Step three is to truly step back, to fully admit Jesus is stronger and better at handling my life, and to let Him lead my path.  Giving Him all of my load.

It can be hard, right?  But can you do it with me?  Let’s give Him our loads and stop being exhausted.

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