Pure Joy

It’s difficult to describe just how good it feels to celebrate God’s faithfulness every.single.day. so I thought I’d just show it instead! God is really moving! Over the past two weeks, I’ve shared a devotional & words of encouragement faith art (below) at a local pregnancy center, I’ve been asked to lead a faith art session at an upcoming women’s retreat, AND I’ve been asked to create faith art coloring pages for a children’s ministry!

Isn’t God grand? Gosh….even the word grand doesn’t begin to describe God! The latter part of 2017 and early part of 2018 were more challenging as the trickle-down effects of cancer and its treatments wreaked havoc on my lungs, but God still has work for me to do! Thankfully, I’m feeling much, much better these days and pleased to report current scans & markers show the cancer remains stable! 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻

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The thing is, God has a plan that far exceeds anything I could dream up for myself…. the desire to create faith are came as a byproduct of cancer, and the  opportunities to share God’s love through art came before I received results of my latest scans… I didn’t hesitate to accept because…

I know God’s got this!

This past year, I’ve learned to live like I am always HIS and not just after He proves I’m His in a particular situation…. does that make any sense? In other words, I don’t wait until I see proof of His faithfulness to step forward….

Today I attended a Bible Journaling Group: H.I.S. (Houston’s Illustrating Sisterhood) and we discussed the perils of spiritual amnesia – God is ALWAYS at work and ALWAYS working for the best in our lives…especially when it may not “feel” that way!

Living in gratitude is a choice and testifying to the daily miracles of faithfulness He is working in our lives is a must!

 

Joy in the Journey!

More often than not, folks will say,

“how do you do it? how do you stay so positive? how do you always seem to be so happy?”

The answer is truly simple and yet seemed so elusive most of my adult life….God worked very diligently to prepare me for a cancer journey!

In 2013,

  • my daughter endured two debilitating bouts of meningitis
  • I moved my dad to assisted living as Alzheimer’s was taking its devastating toll
  • my job went from crazy stress, to off the charts insane stress
  • I experienced the brink of physical and emotional collapse

Being soooooooo close to that edge, I knew something had to change….and that’s where God took my trust in Him to the “liberating place.” A place where I set aside my overly analytical mind. A place where He was my sole focus. A place where I confidently said goodbye to the corporate world where I was dying. A place where miracles happen.

It was a time when I had NO IDEA as to what was next and a time where I wasn’t scrambling to come up with a “plan” of my own. It was a time of the most wonderful peace I’d ever experienced.

Don’t get me wrong, the crazies were still present in 2014 – they just weren’t dictating my steps! It was a time when my feet didn’t move without God’s influence.

  • It was a time when I began experiencing serious pain with no idea as to the cause.
  • It was a time when I enjoyed visits with my dad and eventually said goodbye.
  • It was a time when my mom & stepdad came for a visit that resulted in them staying.
  • It was a time when my relationship with my oldest sister went to a new level as we spent countless hours together helping my other sister transition her life as we packed up my parents life in California.

With God as my focus and sole compass, I began seeing each day, each challenge, so differently. Anxiety diminished and peace reigned. I began to more fully receive God’s no matter what precious love!

So later that year, when the doctor said, “you have stage IV cancer that has spread extensively through your bones,” I didn’t panic. I knew God was still with me & prepared me for the battle ahead.

Have there been really tough days? Definitely. But God is faithful. He’s my go-to guy and gets me through every single challenge – every single day.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

This past weekend I experienced a first – I attended a Bible Journalers group! I was like a kid in a candy shop for the first time – all these like-minded women in one place – at the same time – with more art goodies than I could ever imagine!

As we were about an hour in, the coordinator stopped by my table and asked what I was planning…. you would’ve thought she’d asked me to explain some vast scientific thoughts on the universe….of which I haven’t a clue!

I soon discovered that I’m really challenged to focus with so much external stimulation… granted I was probably a BIG distraction to others….I chatted incessantly…a combination of nerves and excitement…. but somehow God settled me long enough to create this page, which I now “see” as the preface to a Bible study by Lisa Harper on Job that I started this past Sunday – isn’t God grand??????

Sunday’s message is still filtering through to my heart…

Last night I started reading through Job – I may have read a verse or two before and knew the 50,000ft view (sort of)…. and as I read, it seemed as if Job certainly was affected by initial losses, but not dissuaded in his faith. Then in chapter in chapter 3, after the boils, loss & pain started taking it toll…

Pain & Circumstances….it’s something we’re all familiar with… when my focus is narrowed through my imperfect lens, I can’t focus to see what God is doing IN the circumstance.

For example,

– I have an aggressive type of cancer. check.

– I experience physical pain every single day. check.

Sure, I can get bogged down in the muck – I’m human! I have to nurture my Holy Habits – to KNOW and EXERCISE God’s promises…most importantly? BELIEVE His promises. God has promised my healing.period.

If my focus is constantly on ‘when’ or ‘how’ God’s healing will come, then I’m at risk to miss out on everything in between!

It’s the “in-between” where God shows Himself & is glorified

it’s the “in-between” where my relationships are enriched

it’s the “in-between” where I get to be extraordinarily grateful for sunrises & promises of a new day

it’s the “in-between” where I get to share His love in the midst of life’s storms

it’s the “in-between” where my love for Him grows with each breath…

Oh, precious readers…my prayer is that each of you experience and treasure the liberating place!

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Happy Friday!

For those of you following the study, My Love Dare with God, I wanted to post a quick update…  I am diligently working to catch up on audios – yes, I’m still behind, but steadily making headway!

So hop on over to the study My Love Dare with God or click on the Video/Audio link Video Links

imageimageToday is a really good “feel good” kinda day so I’m trying to get as many in as possible – they take a bit to upload, but by the end of the day I hope to post at least through day 21 (week 6)

 

Thank you again for your patience!

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The Face of Faith

Early Sunday, my church family learned of a tragic accident and loss of a beloved member, wife, mother, friend….

While I didn’t personally know Mary, I knew of her as a cherished Believer. The shockwaves through our congregation are palpable as many struggle to understand…. her husband Marc, is in the fight of his life as he sustained numerous injuries. Their precious children were delivered from the accident physically unscathed… so many broken pieces of their lives to somehow be pieced back together…

At some point in our lives, we have or will face similar trials… we will experience the pain of a seemingly untimely death of a loved one… a terminal illness diagnosis… physical loss…. emotional loss… financial loss…. LOSS in some form or fashion…

My nephew posted on Facebook today and his words were so impactful, I felt led to share….

I have to admit, I don’t understand God. But I also confess that despite that confusion, and perhaps anger… I cling even more to my faith in Him. My faith that through the brokenness He will be there. He has power to bring some good from it. I do not believe He caused it, nor that He “wanted” it. But I know that He “allowed” it. And that is where my frustration lies. I don’t know everything, so I defer to His wisdom, His goodness. Even though I don’t understand, His character is still the same. His integrity is still there. His glory still shines. So I will praise Him and serve Him the rest of the days He allows me to remain on this earth. And on that day that He calls me home. I will reunite with my friend in the presence of God. And no pain, no tears, no sadness will ever be experienced again. It will all be okay in the end. If it isn’t okay… it isn’t the end.

— Mike Gonzalez

This life is fleeting…. if you take away anything, hug your babies….your spouse…. your loved ones…. show kindness regardless of the circumstances … love like Jesus

My Love Dare with God – week 4

wk 4Can you believe it??? Week 4 already????  Hallelujah! You’re still here!!!! If you’re anything like me, it may be getting tough continuing to commit the time to fully immerse yourself in this study – one thing is for certain – you are not alone!

Hang in there – continue to strive for balance…don’t rush through to check this off your to-do list, but try not to drop it all together – a fine balance to say the least!  Remember, I’m the person who took 12 months to complete a 12 week study!!!! Keep asking God to stir your heart to know Him more intimately and trust in His timing.

This week we’ll be looking at:

  • how we express our love for God  through Cherishing our relationship with Him and others
  • avoiding the trap of insisting on having things “our” way and showing God and others we value Him/them by seeking their needs first
  • fighting fair – establishing and exercising me boundaries to build bridges instead of burning them

My prayer is consistently for you to thrive in this study and allowing God to grow your relationship with Him to new depths!

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My Love Dare with God – week 3

wk 3

Welcome to week 3 of My Love Dare with God!  I hope you are enjoying the study and ready to keep deepening your relationship with God.

This week we will take a look at four aspects of love:

  • believing the best
  • turning away jealousy
  • making good impressions
  • loving unconditionally

As I mentioned before, I recommend approaching the study tools as follows:

  1. print stuff
  2. read The Love Dare
  3. watch related video
  4. read related discussion
  5. complete Think-Write-Pray

I remain confident you will find your groove

My Love Dare with God Study – Week 3

I’m looking forward to your feedback!  Please share your thoughts & any questions on the site; also, please feel free to share any artwork on my FB Page – Celeta’s Journey

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My Love Dare with God – week 2

wk 2

Welcome to week 2 of My Love Dare with God!  I hope you enjoyed week 1 and found your way around the site.

As I mentioned last week, I recommend approaching the study tools as follows:

  1. print stuff
  2. read The Love Dare
  3. watch related video
  4. read related discussion
  5. complete Think-Write-Pray

Most importantly??? …. no set rules! No set timing!  I remain confident you will find your groove

My Love Dare with God Study – Week 2

I’m looking forward to your feedback!  Please share your thoughts & any questions on the site; also, please feel free to share any artwork on my FB Page – Celeta’s Journey

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