My “Mess” is My Message

Today I received my copy of Stephanie Ackerman’s latest book Faith Journaling for the Inspired Artist. Did I need another book on Journaling or Art? Well, apparently I did! Not five pages in, the photo to the left smacked me upside the head…kinda crazy, right? Stephanie, among other wonderful women, have encouraged me from afar with their zest for art, an insane love for God, and the desire to intertwine the two.

For the past month, God has really been working on me & my obedience factor… at the forefront has been a host of new cancer challenges…. but those challenges have been the catalyst to realizing I haven’t consistently been giving God my best.  I’ve been giving what’s easy and through numerous experiences… sermons especially ….(thanks Pastor Jim!), I’ve been convicted as to how I’m living my life I’m for God.

Stage IV Cancer, like so many other chronic diseases, is HARD.  It doesn’t go away.period. and more often than not, you get new challenges… like wonky lungs, blood clots, and such.  I am very thankful though – just think if God allowed cancer to hit you with everything all at once? No bueno!

While I thought I’d learned my new normal, I was still entirely too focused holding tightly onto the things I could still do.  Like grocery shopping, housekeeping, or walking the dog… yeah, call it what it is….PRIDE.  Don’t get me wrong, staying active is essential, but holding too tightly onto things is a slippery slope and sets you…me… up for missing great God opportunities.

As it is today, I’m in a season where those types of activities aren’t necessarily adding value to my days. Instead, little things, like going out to the grocery store, have the potential to set me back vs propel me forward.  So I’m learning to choose more wisely and it’s definitely a process!

My 2018 goal (starting now!) is to be more mindful and dig deeper in my relationship with God.  While cancer isn’t exactly what I may have chosen, it has given me the opportunity to focus more time on Him by not trying to balance a demanding and stressful full time job….HE is my full time job…and that is pretty darn amazing – not many get that opportunity!

If you’ve read my blog, the consistent thread has been my lack of consistency in writing. And writing is a big part of my relationship with God…to be vulnerable and transparent, and to share how He leads me daily to walk closer with Him.

If I had to choose ONE thing that propelled me into deepening my relationship with God, it was a little book you may be familiar with called The Love Dare by Alex and Stephen Kendrick. It is a 40-day Christian devotional designed to strengthen marriages.  No, I’m not married – I’m not even dating or in a relationship.  God brought me the book as a dare to strengthen my relationship with Him.  Weird? Odd? Perhaps.  But I hope you will follow me as I share, and possibly help,  precious readers do the same… coming soon… My Love Dare with God.

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God’s Mighty Love

My goodness it’s been a busy crazy summer! So different from last year, yet equally insane.  

Last year I was feeling pretty lousy – cancer complications were problematic and I was coming off four weeks of intensive radiation, followed by a case of shingles that landed me in the hospital, all the while planning a wedding!

This year has truly been a great year cancer-wise – I’ve felt great & much more physically active. Over a period of six weeks I made multiple 6+ hr (one way) drives to visit my daughter & family tucked in between a super condensed 4-day trip to California to help pack my sister as she moves forward in her journey there. 

Somewhere in the mix, I overdid (yes, that’s a big DUH!) ….things were going so well… until they weren’t. All of a sudden I was constantly tired, sleeping more, and simple short walks weren’t so simple. A middle of the night trip to the ER revealed I had a blood clot that moved to my lungs – no bueno – especially when you have stage IV cancer. An ambulance ride, meds, days of extremely thorough doctor checks, and I was good to go….slowly!  

When I’m feeling good (aka not constantly reminded of physical limitations), I wanna be like the other kids! I wanna go for brisk walks, water aerobics, long trips, play time with my grandson….but, I’ve got to remember the pace… and be mindful what a blessing that I’m able to do those things! But maybe….just maybe, I do them in moderation so I decrease the risk of setbacks and increase the probability future fun. 

The absolute best part???? It’s so wonderful to feel well enough to spend time expressing faith through art again! Hands down, the Thrive Bible is my all-time favorite  – I love how God speaks to me through the devotions, causing me to often say to myself, “wow! I never thought about it that way!” and to continually be in awe of His Mighty Love for us

Curious About Bible Art Journaling?

Recently I’ve posted about Bible Art Journaling…if you’re interested, but haven’t quite wrapped your head around the how-tos…Rebekah Jones is a precious blogger & artist not only willing to share her journey into Bible Art Journaling, she recently interviewed other bloggers/artists getting their point of view on this hot topic.

I encourage you to visit Rebekah’s website! She has loads of info, videos, and best of all…devotionals with each tutorial!

To meet Rebekah and link to the interview, simply click on the photos below

Here’s one of Rebekah’s recent tutorials – enjoy!

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Big Things – Little Things – All the In-Between Things

March 25, 2010

I wonder how many people read a daily devotional and think, “Wow! This was written just for me!” Last year as I started on my new path of spiritual growth, a friend forwarded a daily email devotional – the name caught my attention right off the bat, “TGIF – Today God Is First” pretty clever, huh? I’d love to say I read them every single day, but the truth is sometimes it seems like I’m catching up on the entire week! 
 
ANYWAY, there is a point coming…a couple of weeks ago my supervisor gave notice he was leaving the company.  Needless to say I was happy for him, yet disappointed to see him leave.  I found myself trying to put the puzzle pieces together…desperately wanting to know how the new picture would look.  Those thoughts quickly shifted to my position within the company, what I thought I needed to be fulfilled and successful…see a pattern?   

Thankfully, God gave me the nudge I needed through the daily devotional…as I read, my mind was still focused on workplace events and emotions were…well…let’s say…a bit elevated, when I found myself staring at a quote that stood out like a flashing neon sign! I don’t know who Dr Sam Peeples is, but he’s on to something…
 
“The circumstances of life, the events of life, and the people around me in life, do not make me the way I am, but reveal the way I am.” 

Well, well, well…that little quote opened a can of worms…I quickly realized I was focused (yet again!) in the wrong direction…on some level believing I needed certain things, worldy things, to be successful and stressing over fear of the unknown.  Hello????? Even as I write these words I’m amazed how easily I lose focus.   

Do I still lose focus?  Absolutely.  But ya’ wanna hear the good news?   And this is the really cool part…I’m relying on prayer…not the “this is what I’m supposed to do” kind of prayers, but real conversation prayers….my little one-on-one God sessions…every single day, several times a day…for big things, little things, and all the in-between things.  And as I draw closer to Him, I’m hopeful I’ll start revealing not just the way I am, but the way He wants me to be.