Tag Archives | roads

Fruits of the Spirit–or Road Directions?

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If you look closely, you can see this started with actual pieces of fruit in the background.  What a silly.  As soon as I did it, I knew it was all wrong, and it sat unfinished for a month.  BUT, then I went in and learned from the lesson, was true to myself, and GOD, and let HIS words shine through–in the art, and for my life.   I do like how that mix of color ended up working behind the verse.  And more importantly Galations 5:22 is helping me figure out what God has planned for me in this next season.  This list isn’t just a list–it is a set of directions.  Have you ever looked at it that way?  I never had, but when I did, it changed my thinking and my heart.  I had plans–to paint fruit, to be a traveling speaker.  Mmmhmm.  And God is using this to remind me–Nicole’s plans did not result in the fruits of the SPIRIT, at least not all of them.  My plans don’t give me peace, patience, generosity, gentleness, or self control.  BAH.

God did not intend for us to only get HALF of His gifts, that would be a shame.  He planned for us as Christ followers to attempt to attain all of them.  He wants us to live in the fullness of Christ, through the gifts of the Spirit.  THAT is God’s plan.  And that is when I realized this was the road map to my future, this was truly a gift of the Spirit to lead me in my seasons.  This was the gift of discernment I had been praying for all along.

Look at your current plans–those you have, those God might have.  Now line them up with this list–do they correlate?  Which ones? If they all do, praise Jesus you are on the right track you lucky duck!  If not, maybe you are like me.  We need to rethink how our plans, and need to follow God’s directions so that we can gain more of those Spirit fruits.  Because I don’t know about you, but that list is pretty tantalizing.  I crave that list.  My hope is that you do too.

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Way Far Ahead

wise man who built his house on the rock

You know just how far ahead of us God is?  It is like this picture–we can stand at the top of a mountain and see for miles and miles.  It seems like a long way.  But God, can see much much further.  Farther than we can ever imagine.

Sometimes we need to climb high to get God’s perspective and trust that He will guide and protect us up and down that trail.  Trusting in God’s words and practicing the good things He teaches us brings wisdom–the kind that lasts and lasts–that cannot be weathered.  The kind that is not obsolete with trends or changes in technology.  The kind that we can actually pass on to another generation after we have seen and done and learned.

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What Has Happened

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Phillipians 12:12

 When I happened across this verse (Paul writing in prison), I knew exactly how I wanted to put it into artwork.  You know I love me some stones and especially a path! His wording really stood out to me.  Even though good and bad things had happened to him, he realized how it all worked together for good.  So this time I wanted the stones to be colorful to represent all the different things that happen in a lifetime that build a path.

And for me–it is the bad things as much as the good things that got me to here today.  If it hadn’t been for that crazy bad depression in 2011 I would not have started art journaling my faith.  My artwork wouldn’t have developed into my own style, I wouldn’t have a blog or a business and I wouldn’t be using all that to spread the gospel.  Even though that depression was Baaaaad with a capital B, it brought me to here, closer to God, closer to you.

There are a lot of good things too–I have had a lot of wonderful Christians on that path.  A lot of great experiences.  They all came together to this point.  That’s why the stones are all different shapes and colors, no two are alike or have more impact–just different.

How about you?  What does your path look like?  Has it brought you to a spot you can help spread some light and love?  Or not quite yet?  Have you ever looked at your past in this distinctive perspective? Take a few minutes today and contemplate that.

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Witnesses

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I hate it when I get used by people, don’t you?  You know that there is nothing in it for you at all.  You can tell that nothing is genuine.  Yuck.

Except when that person is Jesus. And He is totally using me people.  And in this instance it is so cool.

Jesus called us to the great commission for a reason–to share His light and love, to encourage each other daily to the ends of the earth.  To witness to as many as we can–until everyone has had an opportunity to choose light and love.  See that hand up there–it represents all the roads we can take, how they can all intersect, how they can spread everywhere.  It also represents what happens when we are witnesses–the truth of light and love starts flowing through our veins, it is imprinted in our hands.  Everything we touch can be filled with light and love.  Super cool.

I want to keep sharing lots and lots and lots of light and love.  I get to do that through my art.  I shared lots of ways you can support my ministry yesterday–but really this is GOD’S ministry.   He is using me.  And He wants to use you.  

“Ew!” you might think. ” I am not ready to witness.  My road is short right now.  I don’t even know how to witness!”

WELL, I am going to make it super easy for you.  Share my artwork.  Let it lead people to Jesus.  Hopefully it will help them ask questions.  You can use my artwork in lots of ways–schedule a workshop with me at your church, buy some prints to give away, or just share this blog on Facebook or through email.  Let’s spread some light people! Let’s go to the ends of the earth.  Let’s make some roads that lead right back to God.

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Catch a Breath

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I sketched this on the plane to Atlanta this August.  I almost missed the flight, but God opened some paths.  After takeoff I pulled out my devotions and Bible and this was the verse.  He reminded me that it is His plan not mine that will work.

I am not sure what that right direction is right now.  It is my busiest time of year with lots of Christmas orders, custom requests flying in every other day, shows, and art to create—and our modem broke.  I can use Jeff’s business computer when he is not home because mine runs off WiFi–no internet at my desktop.  At least I can still scan and print!  I just can’t do things on my own time.

Maybe that is God’s way of making me slow down in this busy season.  Yes, that is how I am going to think of it.  This maybe one of those times that I am being a bit headstrong, and God knows I need something else.

Do you ever feel like He does that for you?  Stop right now, really consider, is God putting up some roadblocks?  Are you fulfilling what YOU want, or what HE wants?  What paths are free of detours?  Maybe we need to take a deep breath and head down those back roads for awhile.

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The Benediction–Go in Peace

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Numbers 6 Benediction Go In Peace by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

 

As you we end this week–as you stay home or travel this weekend–may you remember this verse.

In the ELCA Lutheran church we end every service with this. And then the pastor will say:  Go in peace, serve the Lord.  And the people respond with:  Thanks be to God.

It gives me peace, I hope it does for you also.

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Movin’ Forward

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Isaiah 43:18 Move Forward by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

Forward,  we are called to move forward.  Not backward.  Not stay stationary.

God is calling us to move forward, one foot at a time, in His love and peace.

Renewal people.  I am telling you!  ‘Tis the season me thinks to look at the resolutions we made back in January and see if we have moved forward with those.

Time to move forward with cleaning the chaff out of our lives.  Clear the weeds from the garden.  Plant new seeds.  Nurture the good ones.

Time to move around with vacations, retreats, renewal of relationships.  Moving toward better times, places, people.

We are called.  Not to keep things the same.  But to move.  Forward.

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Peace Be with You

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Peace Be with You by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

I love love love this verse.  Jesus is promising that His peace will be with us.  I am realizing, it always is–I just have to acknowledge it.  I just need to slow down and appreciate His peace.  Peace be with you.  

I send you.  That is the other part of this verse that is so important.  Jesus sends us.   He is sending us out with peace.  To spread His love and gospel, and PEACE.

He isn’t sending us out to cause a ruckus, scream and cry out, run roughshod.  However crazy way you want to put it. He is sending us out in peace and love.

As you vacation this summer, wherever your travels may take you, or in your own backyard.  Enjoy the peace that Jesus gives us.  And take that peace, that renewal, and revival, and retreat out into the world.

Love ya’ll.

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A Place of Retreat

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Retreat of Renewal by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

I love it when a plan comes together.  I knew I was saving all of these artworks until now for a reason.  I love when I create something because it touches me that day, but then I look back at them and can put them together like puzzle pieces.  It helps me feel safe in God’s plan.

He knew I was going to need this renewal time.  Summer usually is my retreat–I escape to family farms in Iowa, and to Michigan or Ohio.  This summer, circumstances with schedules are not allowing for the travel–and maybe that is good.  God knew I was going to need my own home to be my retreat.  He wants me to renew right here.  He was waiting for ME to wait for His word.  All of these changes in my diet would be crazy hard traveling.  I would never stick with it.

God, I have heard you.  I am listening.  I am ready for your renewal.  You are my place of quiet retreat.

How about you?  Are you doing any renewing this summer?

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Trust in God

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Trust in God One Day at a Time by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

This is my mantra through this journey of renewal.  I have been illustrating/studying the book of Exodus with Bible Stories from the Heart throughout June with Leslie, and she has done an amazing job of showing how God used the journey of the Israelites to force them into leaning on God every single day to get them from Egypt to the promised land.  Every single day, He made sure that they needed Him, and Him only, that they were reminded of His power.  They relied on God for their very survival and in turn it deepened their faith creating a whole history that paved the way to Christ.

If the Israelites can do it, so can I, so can you.  I can trust in my Savior, Jesus, each and every day.  He has a plan of restoration, renewal, revival–and He wants us to be a part of it.  The first step is to just TRUST.

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Revive Us

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Hello!  I hope that you enjoyed the art for the last week.  I am finally starting to feel fully myself again!

The whole episode the last two weeks (rash, swelling, urgent care, ER, drug reactions, steroid and antihistimine fog)  made me really think about all sorts of re words:  revival, renewal, repair, recovery.

I feel like God has spent the last two years renewing my spirit and soul.  He and I have done some hard work fixing my brain and my heart.  Renewing my faith into a whole new, deeper relationship with Him. Restoring my laughter and joy in every day life.  Repairing relationships.

But somewhere along the lines this winter I left my body behind.  I sat down and really thought about the last time I felt HEALTHY.  And it was definitely before Christmas–January was a bout of flu, February  was a relapse that took 10 days off my life, early May I had that horrid stomach virus, and all the way in between I never completely recovered.  My system just got more and more worn down, my body in more disrepair.  I was sleeping less, and worse, my eating habits were horrible–I was turning to carbs, sugar, and caffeine more and more to try and keep our schedule.  So my brain was fogged and I started messing things up, forgetting things, becoming unorganized.  That is not me.

The episode (can you tell that is my new name for it? LOL) made me stop and really take stock.  The first step in repairing all the havoc in my body is diet–I have cut out all dairy, gluten, eggs, sugar, and anything processed.  Eating lots of beans people!  And fruit!  And drinking a ton of water and chammomile tea, because I cut out coffee and alcohol as well.  I am telling you–what I wouldn’t do for a glass of wine and chocolate anything dessert right now.  BUT–getting my body back in balance and repaired is more important than the 20 minutes I would enjoy that treat.  I am sick of being itchy!  And tired and everything else.

I have prayed fervently to God to revive my body that I can continue His service.  I realized, I can’t make art, teach classes, process orders, or illustrate anything if I don’t feel good.  God has done His part to bless my art ministry, now it is my part to take care of the tool that does the work.  I am praying He will grant me the strength to do this hard diet and changes.  There are so many temptations!  But I know Jesus will carry me with love and peace through this renewal, so that makes it easier to face this recovery.  

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Beautiful destinations

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My family LOVES survival and natural monster shows.  I don’t even know the names of all of them they watch so many on NatGeo, History, Discovery, etc.  Nothing stops them in their tracks like somebody purposefully lost in a swamp, jungle of Costa Rica, or the forests of Alaska.  Seriously.  They love nothing more than seeing people eat bugs.

The cool thing is we see lots of beautiful places, learn some anthropology (River Monsters is actually excellent for this), survivalist techniques, geography, the scientific method, inventing,  and live vicariously through these people.  That is good tv.  And I really love when it coincides with something we learned in homeschooling.  Bonus!

I especially love the scenery.  It inspires me.  And the journey of it all.

I have been working on path/journey quotes for several clients recently.  In fact, four of my last major projects had this theme.  It makes sense, the journey of life is something that speaks to us all.

I have been writing about my own journey–and how my directions are all mixed up and I need to be centered again.  I love the above image because that is exactly what it shows.  A meandering path through a dry and desolate area, but it ends in the center of a lush green landscape.  A lot like the survivalists in the shows.  We all love when they catch that fish, find that civilization, or are even picked up by a helicopter.  Their faces are always joyous.    I know when I get my path figured out it will refill with joy.

Most of the survivalists do not have compasses to find their way.  They look to the sun.  To the light.  My light is Jesus.  He is my compass on my journey.  He will light my face with joy.  He is yours, too.  And whether they are faithful or not, He is guiding those survivalists as well.  Because, really we are all survivalists in this great big world.

Here’s hoping your paths are clear and destinations are beautiful.  That Jesus is lighting your way.  And that your suvival skills are honed in on Him.

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Light my path

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Jesus is with us.  He is trying so hard to light our paths, to direct us.  Sometimes it seems like there is a fog hiding the light doesn’t it?  Or maybe even the bulb burned out.  Then other times it feels like He has his brights on and is flashing like crazy in our eyes.  Seriously, there are times when I feel like he took the lamp and hit me over the head.  But then others, I feel like I missed the light switch and fell down the stairs.

You know that puzzle?  I am feeling the last example up there in this case.  I think He has been lighting my path all along and I just missed it.  So God finally took that lamp, not a gorgeous crystal one from West Elm, of course, but a nasty Goodwill one (that I can’t even repaint) and BROKE it right over my head.  BAM.  He was like, “Girlfriend, GET ON WITH IT!  HELLO!”

So no more dragging my feet.  The time has come to walk that yellow brick road of golden light.  The time has come to follow God’s plan and path, not my own.

Oh, Lordy, pray for me.  I will pray for you.  🙂  Maybe we walk our paths together.

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