Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The heart of a mother

Hello friends,

How many of you have heard of bible art journaling? I love it. Bible art journaling combines 3 things I enjoy most: writing or journaling if you will, art and the study of God's word.

The concept of Bible art journaling is to spend time with God, studying His word and when He speaks to you through your time of mediation, you take the grain of wisdom He is giving you and allow your creative hearts to then covert His word to art. There are no rules, no mandates, no special art supplies needed. Just use what you have.

Now I will tell you that the study bible I use to spend time reading and meditating with is not the bible I use to create my bible art simply because of the types of mediums I like to use, many of which are not translucent which would prevent me from continuing to study God's word. Simply put, if I can't see it, I can't study it. Therefore I do my bible art in a secondary bible or in my mixed media tablets.

As far as I'm concerned it's not about whether you create art in a bible, journal, scratch piece of paper or a mixed media tablet. It's about the time you spend with God, what He's speaking into your life and then how you translate that conversation using the art supplies available to you.

That being stated, I'd like to share an piece that came to me based on Exodus 28. In this chapter God talks about using the colors blue, purple, scarlet and fine linen to create the priestly robes for Aaron and his sons who were to be priests for the Lord and over Israel.

There were very specific directions given on how these garments were to be made and which colors to use.  God also required that the names of the 12 tribes of Israel be engraved in onyx stones and placed on the shoulders of his garments.

Israel's 12 tribes engraved and placed on the shoulders...

Whenever I think of anything being placed on my shoulders, I think of a heavy load. In fact, when we see someone who's having a really tough time we often say to them, "You look like you're carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders," don't we?

Imagine. Everything about Aaron's garments were a reminder of who he was serving, (our God), who he was (a priestly intercessor), and who he represented, (the 12 tribes of Israel).

The whole idea that Aaron was to never forget his goal. To intercede on behalf of the 12 tribes of Israel to the Lord Almighty.

Instantly I thought of us ladies.  Isn't this who we are and what we do? We've been chosen by God to intercede in the lives of the children before us. Now, I can't say that I've ever met a mother who doesn't think of her children every single second of the day. We carry our children in our hearts and minds wherever we go. And let's face it, I would bet that it's safe to say that everything we do generally revolves around them to some degree. If we're cleaning our homes, making dinner, working a full time job, volunteering, whatever it is, they're right there with us.

As mothers we always carry the weight and responsibility of our children with us. Ever before us, they're in our hearts, on our minds and sometimes the responsibility even feels like a weight on our shoulders. If they're struggling in school or at work or in their marriages. If they're at home sick, fighting for their lives on the battlefield or in a cancer unit,  it really doesn't matter, whatever they are doing, we are right there in the trenches with them.  Praying for them, providing for them, teaching, guiding...the list is endless.

Now it's true that motherhood brings with it just as many, if not more blessings than one could count, but the sheer responsibility is ever before us, on our shoulders as it were, reminding us that we have the privilege just as Aaron did to present our children before the Lord.

Now as I continued reading chapter 28, verse 28 stood out: "Whenever Aaron enters the Holy Place, he will bear the names of the sons of Israel over his heart on the breastpiece of decision as a continuing memorial before the Lord." 

Bearing the names of the sons...over his heart...continual memorial before the Lord

These 3 sets of words stood out to me as I converted them to my life and into my simple piece of art: My sons, my heart, my God.

So here below is my bible art translation of God's word which places my sons names on my heart and uses the priestly colors of God as a reminder that they're interwoven specifically for a reason and that I, like Aaron have been given the blessing to intercede for my sons before our God.

I hope you will enjoy!

Tomorrow I'd like to share Part 2 of a The Heart of a Mother where I define the symbolic nature of the colors used in the priestly garments.

Until then, please know you are prayed for continually.

Blessings & best wishes,

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Happy New Year!!!

Gotcha, didn't I?

Sure it's October but that doesn't mean it's too early to start new resolutions.

So in my last post I told you about how we've finally moved and settled into our new home. As part of acclimating ourselves to our new city, the hubs and I have been taking one day each week to venture and this week we high-tailed it up to a small town just north of us to take in an antiques and craft show.

As we were  taking in all that the show had to offer,  I stepped into one booth filled to the brim with the cutest handmade snowmen. One in particular caught my eye. He was hanging on the wall just as cute as he could be with this little note stitched onto the front.

The second I saw it I laughed out loud and thought, "Hey, he's just like me...a little round!"

But a few minutes later I wasn't in such good spirits. You see, my own words hit home. I was round. I was a bit pudgy and it was all my fault.

Over the past few years I've let life and all of its commitments, responsibilities and stress get to me in such a way that it's pull me from being healthy to a bit pudgy. 

Not good.

So this is where I stop. 

Or as Bridget Jones would say, "Full stop!"

If I want to live to one day see my dreams come true, watch my children grow and hold my husband's hand until we're old and gray then I better take this seriously, otherwise I might as well write out my own obituary, kiss my dreams away and watch others enjoy life in ways that I'll never have the strength or vitality to do.

Now this whole thought of dropping weight and getting healthy got me to thinkin' about resolutions. You see I truly believe that God has brought me to this time and place for a reason. I'm not sure what that is exactly but I trust Him. I trust that He's taking me on a journey that will never resemble any other in my lifetime.

If I were honest I'd tell you that I'm super excited, a bit nervous and sometimes downright scared. We just never know what God has planned for us other than He promises it to be for good and for His glory.

Now there's a second resolution that's been on my mind. It's my writing. Deep down I've always wanted to be a published author in book length fiction.   But I've spent a lifetime believing lies, living in fear and hiding behind life's responsibilities as a way to not chase after my dream. But today, as with my health I call out, "Full Stop" and I start living out the dream God's put in my heart for so long.

We all know, a healthy lifestyle and a dedication to a dream takes a lot of hard work.

So am I up for the challenge or will I go to my grave a bit pudgy with my heart's desire still inside me?

If I were honest I'd probably tell you that I'm shakin' in my boots about all of it.

I've spent too many years making excuses in both areas and now here I am, looking at myself knowing the truth behind my eyes. I know what I've done and not done to get to this point.  

This is my point of accountability. I don't want to resemble a round snowman and I certainly don't want to keep my stories inside. From this moment on, I'm going to do my best to walk/run/write my way to the way God designed me.

But before I do, let me just take a second and commit my ways to the good Lord who so graciously gives me each day to take the next step.

Thank you Lord, You are so good. I commit my goals of dropping the weight and writing  "The End"on my story. A story You've placed in my heart.  I ask for Your hand to be on my life, strengthen my resolve to meet the challenges both of these areas will present and make way for the end results to bring You glory. 

And finally Lord if there is anyone out there in cyberspace reading this little prayer, with dreams big or small, with doubts that threaten to cripple or derail them from the plans You have for them, I would ask that you would put a "Full Stop" to the fear, excuses and reasons that have thwarted them thus far. I pray You would show them favor so that they too may one day sing Your praises. All of this I ask in Your Son's name, Jesus. Amen 

"Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and He will establish your plans."
 ~Psalm 16:3  NIV

Until next time,

Blessings & Best wishes,  

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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Back in the swing of things

Wow! It's been 5 months since my last posting.

5 busy, crazy, emotional months and what awaits me now is the unknown.

Can't say I'm too keen on the unknown. As I've shared before, change is not something I embrace easily so this huge change that's happened in our lives threatens to overwhelm me at times and at others I'm so in awe of what has happened it's hard to wrap my brain around all of it.

Has that ever happened to you? A situation, a circumstance that takes your breath away and leaves you completely dumbfounded?

It's not easy to process is it?

So what do you do when life happens pulls the rug out from under you?

I tend to shut down emotionally. Sort of like a turtle pulling into its shell. Occasionally I peek my head out and see if the waves are still crashing or if it's okay for me to stick my head out and really take a look around.

We've been here in the Northwest a few weeks and I'm doing my best to set up house, create a routine and navigate our new home town.  Each day has brought its challenges from finding the basics like grocery stores and post offices to trying to figure out just why exactly it takes going to 5 different stores to locate something as simple as a broom.   yes, it really took me going to 5 different stores...who knew?!

The biggest change has been my relationship with God. While we were in the throes of staging, selling, packing and moving the emotional side of this move really put a big gap between me and God. I simply could not process all of the emotions plus the sheer stress from getting everything done so quickly while shipping our sons off early to Washington, my husband constantly gone for business trips, our beloved family dog dying. It was really almost more than I could process so I shut down.

Most days it was a real struggle to say, "Thank you Lord" and mean it. If I were honest, I'd tell you, that when I did spend time with God I cried.  This move was heartbreaking for me and I had a hard time wanting to connect with God, the pain was that deep. 

Inside I knew God loved me and wouldn't be angry because I was struggling. I knew He was there although I wasn't. I knew He'd keep every promise He ever made. God's promises are what kept me going. The ones that prompted me continually to NOT be afraid, He would be there fighting my battles for me. To rest in knowing He was always there and that there wasn't anyone or anything (including a cross country move or my lack of ability to connect with Him at that moment) that could separate me from Him and vice versa.

And you know, it was enough for me to know that I could rest in Him. So much was already being asked of me, and all God kept asking me to do was to rest in Him.

He promised through His word to carry me through this one. And He did.  He was there. He met me when all I could was cry as I packed up the home where I'd raised my babies. He was there as I said good-bye to my friends at work , my neighbors and my parents. Yes, He was there.

And now, today, He is here helping me set up our new home, find that broom and to find my way back to Him.

My heart is forever grateful for His promises!

Blessings and best wishes to you my friends,

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