Sunday, June 28, 2015

art, family and creating...

Photos from this Mother's Day visit to the Chrysler Museum 
The last few months, possibly six already, I have been slowly embracing that idea that it's ok to feed my desire to create. All the way up through high school I did art. I was even accepted to a prominent art school in New York but because of a couple factors (and my lack of patience) I decided to go to school for culinary arts instead. Despite how that college season of life turned out (not so good), God used it for His glory as the ashes were turned to beauty. The Lord took this broken girl and blessed me with a God-loving husband; a man who made me feel loved, special and worthy. He then blessed us with a son and a few months later my new life in Him. A year later, quite pregnant with our second, He called to my heart and I wanted to publicly confess my precious belief and need for Jesus, my Savior. I was baptized at that moment and sobbed (it was quite comical at the fear in the pastor's face at this sobbing pregnant mama lol.) The story, His story, slowly unfolds from there on, like layers of a sweet onion being peeled. This is pretty much reflected in this blog. For the most part this is why I wanted to start this. I wanted an outlet. Now, truth be told, I had some sort of high hopes and dreams of having one of "those blogs"; something that would be famous, insightful, money generating, fabulous photos, exquisite words. Oh how patient God is with me. Little did I know, God would use this blog instead for so much more. Blogging has allowed me to journal, to see God's workings in my heart, to help me see my heart (always helps to see your thoughts written out, gives a fresh perspective and hopefully a better one than your own), and truthfully just a sweet record of our family with pictures. I am thankful for this blog and for the creativity it allows. I am also thankful for the connection it's availed to so many other mamas, their creativity and the encouragement I have received from their walks with the Lord.  

Some things I have been embarking upon to add to the blogging outlet have involved reading The Fringe Hoursand this mama's sweet blog The book rocks. I haven't finished it yet, it's more of a slow read, depending on where you are at in life, savoring the chapters. But it was eye opening to see how many of us women think alike and that nasty burden of guilt most of us live under (that's for another post though ;) ). I have also started regularly reading the blogs I have on my side bar, several of them artist mamas learning to balance life, family while still being creative. They are embracing how God has made them, using the gifts He has given them. Mostly, what I have gleaned from these past few months is learning  that it is okay to spend some time creating, I need to be intentional in making the time for it, whatever I create is not going to be perfect (so just do it!), and actually acknowledging that it is something that makes my soul happy. 

So there you have it. Create. Use what God has given you for the main purpose of His glory, not man's. If you end up benefitting financially or some other earthly way, awesome! As long as it is for His glory, then He will use it for what He wants, whether it's just for a filling in your heart or for the benefit of others. :)

Happy and blessed Sunday to you! I am so thankful to have today off, to be able to spend time with our family, go to church, plus have lunch with some of hubby's family and their five wee ones (they were diligent in gently mentoring us as newlyweds and baby Christians) and later, a visit with my cousin, his wife and their sweet little girl.

To God be the glory.

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

His will, not my own...

This week...hmm, maybe actually these past two years, I have been learning:

1. God hears my prayers
2. God answers my prayers in His ways, not my own
3. He is faithful
4. He really does love me and my (His) family
5. One step at a time (and this is SO hard)

Like Dory says, "just keep swimming, just keep swimming..."

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
1 Peter 2:24 ESV

Despite what I want or experience here on earth, eternity has been bought for my life by the shedding of Christ's blood. And life in this fallen world is truly only temporary. Despite it being hard, I can have joy here and now because of His Spirit. He loves me! He cares for my needs and when my focus is on Him my perspective is fresh and new-it is His! Our circumstances are not ideal and our continued efforts are yielding such small fruit it seems. But I believe, not in a wishy-washy oh-so-spiritual-way, but in Truth, that God does have the bigger picture and plan. Proverbs 16:9 says, 
"The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps." My prayers are not going unheard. Hubby and I are trying to do what we think is right and what would be best for these sweet boys God has entrusted to us. But I also know...and trust...that He is closing doors that are not on the path to where He wants and knows is best for us, and for this, I am forever grateful and can have peace.

Finally, two recent events that God has used to greatly encourage me, continuing to reveal His faithfulness.

This past weekend I was blessed to help set up for our church's upcoming VBS. It was a bunch of mamas, most whom have been friends for quite some time and I am new to the group. But we had a lovely time and I realized that I was thankful to have been asked to help. I tend to not want to "bother" people and try to do everything on my own. But the Lord opened my eyes to see how this other mama asking me to help (truly because she needed help) blessed me. I had never considered asking someone to help would be a blessing instead of a hindrance. God is so good! 

While I was setting up at the church, hubby and four of the boys were traveling to NC for his cousin's wedding. I can't tell you how much his family means to me. My husband's aunt has such a precious testimony of God's redemption and I think of her often as I walk this road of motherhood, career, the boys' education. The wedding was a precious reflection of Christ being at the center of parenting despite the world and circumstances. The parents' lives have been far from perfect; one set a lineage of pastors, the other first generation Christians. But here stood two beautiful people, reading their vows to one another, promising to love Christ first and then each other; vowing to encourage and support one another and the dreams God has given them individually; vowing to love, not in the feely mushy way, but in the way God commanded us to- with their whole being and not just when they "felt" like it. My frequent fears of "messing up" by not homeschooling, missing family meals, being in public school, working outside of the home, not being the "perfect Christian family" (hello?! seriously??) are put to ease by this family's living testimony of the truth that Christ is bigger than my small mind can comprehend. Yep, deep breath. Please don't misunderstand me and think I am not saying these things are important because they are! However, we must bow to Christ and live the life He has given us and watch Him work. It is in our weaknesses we see His glorious strength. What is the most important thing in this life? My relationship with Christ. When I am at His feet, the rest falls into place. What is the most important thing for my husband and my kids and those I encounter? They're relationship with Christ and them seeing my relationship with the Lord. Life is not perfect. We live in this fallen world where we make mistakes and there are consequences. But God can redeem and bring beauty from the ashes. Oh, how His love is so sweet.

Here is to a new week and His glorious will, mercy and grace in our lives. May I bow, without fear, but with the security of being under His wings. In Jesus' name I pray this, amen.

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