Sunday, March 31, 2013

Celebrate! He is Risen!

Blessed Resurrection Sunday to you all!

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Exchange (more chalkboard art)...{Finding Sanctuary - Part 21}

Another free download, click here...

The Cross of Christ is the inexhaustible exchange of Calvary.

All the evil that was due us was put               So that all the good due Jesus could be
was put on Jesus                                                given to us.

He was punished for our sins                          So that we could be forgiven.

He was wounded                                                 So that we could be healed.

He was made sin with our                                So that we could be made righteous

He died our death                                              So that we could have eternal life.

He became a curse for us                                  So that we could have the blessing that
                                                                               was due Him.

He became poor with our poverty                     So that we could be made rich
with His riches.

He endured our shame                                       So that we could receive His Glory.
He endured our rejection                                   So that we don't have to be rejected
                                                                                       anymore.  We are accepted the way
                                                                                       Jesus was accepted, as God's children. 

The rest of this post is part of the Finding Sanctuary series - read on if you are following!
Today is the final (almost) installment of the Finding Sanctuary final activity to "seal" the work you and the Holy Spirit have been doing!  But first, a short recap...
We have been traveling a road of dealing with issues, the stuff that makes life less abundant than God ever wanted for now, you and myself have been walking a new path for a couple of weeks, there have been times when we have stumbled and fallen...but we have gotten back up...

To be honest, I haven't added more to my original weaving piece, but I will {and I will show it to you!} know how life sometimes gets in the way of the best laid plans...but, I needed to spend the energy on actually making the inner heart changes...{smiling} plus getting ready for our Passover/Resurrection celebrations and our church has started lay counselor training - of which I am a part of (of course)... and the tree with roots art piece will definitely come forth after Sunday's celebration - it dovetails perfectly in the course material at church!

But, the final activity has always been:  a touchpoint of some sort...

What do I mean?  To me, a touchpoint is something tangible, small, 
an act, 
an exchange, 
and a promise

that anchors this point in time to your life...

You can see the item, remember the act, lay hold of the long as you want!  And today is a perfect day - as we contemplate the cross of Jesus and all that was accomplished there.  And my touchpoints always involve taking an object that represents my issue to the cross and nailing it there {the act} - either figuratively or even sometimes literally, i.e., nailing a piece of paper on which is written the issue to a piece of wood.  But just as we never need to leave the cross empty in our hearts or empty handed, there is an exchange Jesus wants to do, so with this act, we want to "take something with us" after we have left the issue {the item} - something that reminds us of the exchange, something tangible...and then always. always. always. a promise from Scripture {the promise}...

Some ideas:
 The item representing the issue                      The item representing the exchange          The promise  
       a stone or small rock                                       a paper heart (a "new" heart)                      Any
       a twig - break it to represent the                     a silk leaf or a leaf that can be                   that
                   breaking of the power of                          preserved to represent                           the
                   the habit over you                                     "new life"                                                   Lord
     a piece of dark cloth - representing                  a piece of white cloth -                                   a
                the sin brought by this issue                       representing the righteousness              friend
                in your life                                                  of Jesus you are walking in                          has
   a piece of black construction paper -                  a silk flower, or flower that can           you
            to represent a wound or trauma                      be preserved that represents             that
            that was the root of this issue...                      your heart healing in this area          brings
You can get the picture!                                                                                                                comfort

For me, today, making this chalkboard image is my touchpoint....the butteflies can mean our sin being removed; or new life emerging in all the areas that we have dealt with...or both!

Now, the Lord has also impressed on me that since it takes 60+ days to form a new habit, that we need to keep up the effort...and the timing is perfect to move from the "Feast of Firstfruits" on Sunday to "Feast of Weeks" on Pentecost!  So, I will post every Monday during these coming weeks - encouragement and thoughts to see you through...

Blessings on your Holy Weekend...

To see other posts in this series, click the button below 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Rebirth - the message of spring...

Titled: "Rebirth" in honor of the coming Passover and First Fruits - 'rebirth' is what the Kanji says, too.
Looking up through our cherry blossoms this year...I love the color of the sky that day...
Processed with two layers of Kim Klassen's "now" texture, one at soft light and one at multiply.

Monday, March 25, 2013

What to do When You Fail in Making the New Habit...{Finding Sanctuary - Part 20}

Something I have been working one - titled "Metamorphosis"
I blew it this past week.

I blew it sometime on Friday, the increasing resistance to doing school last week {we homeschool} caused me to move from the place of calm maturity to that of the weight of her future success being totally on my shoulders at that moment, and it was too much to bear.

I wasn't yelling, I kept my outward composure, but I let sweet tweener know I wasn't happy about the situation...and she wasn't happy about the consequence...

While others may say that I hadn't blown it, I knew that I was not experiencing that place of peace and knowing that "He has it all under control"...I was shaking on the inside...I felt "out of control" and I was desperately trying to release that flash of anger in a healthy way.  And when I knew it had passed, I knocked on her bedroom door {where she was - working through her own emotions}...

I let sweet tweener know that I had "blown it", even tho' she had to continue with the consequence for her own wrong, because she knows God and I have been on this journey for Lent this year.  After talking with her, I heard the "got new message" tone on my phone, and it was so perfect!  Her youth department sends scripture occasionally, just to encourage - and that was the was Romans 12:12 NIV:
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
It was like He gave us both a hug...

Then, when I checked emails for the final time that evening, this was in my inbox...someone else, brave enough to talk about their anger:

How to deal with (your own) anger - from Simple Homeschool

So...while my "Steps" didn't formally contain this final one, it does now...really, I take it for granted that He never lets me go, even in my worst moments - but if I am going to write down steps towards transformation, I cannot forget to document this most important one.  After all, it does go along with "embrace imperfection"...

Final Step:  Look for God's encouragement even when I fail....getting up and beginning again
  "though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again...Proverbs 24:16"
  Find the other posts in this series by clicking the button below: 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Chalkboard Signs for Easter - Free for Sneak Peek Friday

The files are big, so please be patient as they open ☺

I call this one, "My Easter Prayer"
free download here

and this one, "I AM"...
free download here
Playing with chalkboard signs the heart-work of Finding Sanctuary is going on...I looked on pinterest and saw there were only one or two examples of chalkboard easter or resurrection I knew I needed to add my take {smiling}...

Enjoy, and if you are following my Finding Sanctuary posts, click on the button below to see all posts so far - there will be 2 more to come, and then after that, several follow up posts...

Also joining with other creatives at Studio JRU here,
and Missional Women, here

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Reflections in Blue...{Finding Sanctuary - Part 19}

I saw a tattoo similar to this and the art just captured me...I thought it would be the perfect ending to my blue feather series!

The final "reflection" from my mind map work...
Reflections from the Blue highlights of the mind-map:
  • need a new plan (a new "go to")
  • 1 John 4:4 again (yellow + blue connections)
  • fear: a) fear of punishment; b) fear of unknown 
Embrace: Definition - clasp, cherish, encircle, enclose
                               a) to take up - especially readily or gladly
                               b) to avail oneself of, welcome
                               c) to take in or include as a part, item, or element of a more inclusive whole
                               d) hold close, encompass, enfold, include, clasp

Imperfection: Definition - a fault, blemish, or undesirable feature; incomplete...

I think this indicates I need to finish a developmental task -
I need to find the line:  discernment vs. fear
                                      fear of God vs. carnal fear (False Evidence Appearing Real)

To "embrace imperfection" means to encircle, clasp hold of, blemishes; my incompleteness; my weakness...this is where I meet Jesus- no, rather He meets me - He completes me, covers my imperfections...

When I push away my "imperfections", I refuse my need for Him, and miss opportunities to invite Him into my messiness.  Those who still fear have not received mature love the scripture says...they are still living in an immature mindset - perhaps that is why there is such a feeling of immaturity inside?

Fear vs. discernment
trust vs. fear? - when my needs aren't met, I feel abandoned, less than, like somehow "It's my fault" - the ways a child thinks* - perhaps another reason for the immaturity of feelings?

I could think different thoughts... 

*this connected to a developmental model outlined by Erik Erickson - the Eight Stages of Life that describes tasks that are normally "mastered" throughout the lifespan.  I liked this when I read it during my graduate days as I thought it nicely correlated with the breakdown of the Jewish stages of life  (perhaps I will write about that more later, ??).  Also, there is a wonderful, Christian based book - tho' older - that I would recommend you read if you are interested in exploring this topic further..."Healing the Eight Stages of Life" by Matthew Linn, Sheila Fabricant, and Dennis Linn.

What was really amazing is when I connected to the child like also connected to truth such as children are blameless, but not faultless...meaning that children don't do things perfectly - only with the level of understanding that they have and thus are blameless...
...and it also connected children's natural egocentricity, you know, how children tend to think that negative things in their lives are due to the fact that they have done something wrong that has caused that thing to happen...i.e., a six year old can believe that they are responsible for their parents' divorce...I know my family had some trying times during this stage of my development...and somehow it affected this area of my life...coupled with the unhealthy  For this particular issue, as soon as the connection was made, the issue disappeared!  And the Lord has been faithful to allow some situations to test me, so that I can "see" that the old has truly been done away with and the new has come - almost instantaneously (that is after the work of the mind map + years of experience, learning His ways, and graduate school!)...but I think you get the idea of how come it "feels" instantaneous...

Now there is still more "walking out" of other portions of the issue, but this one little thread has been taken care of - I am "free to fly..." 

Till tomorrow...

Other posts in this series can be found by clicking the button below...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Yellow Reflections...{Finding Sanctuary - Part 18}

The chop characters in the picture mean peace (top) and joy (bottom)
Pictures of our cherry blossoms from last year...they are blooming again this year, but aren't nearly as full since we have had less rain.
Processing:  a layer of Kim Klassen's texture "red" at soft light
                     Chinese character brushes from Obsidian Dawn
                     Chaos mask and snow textures from ShadowHouse Creations
                     Masked Wonderland Brushes
                     Font:  Haiku

The rest of this post is part of a series on exploring personal issues through healing art...

Did you take a step yesterday? 
Take another could be the same one as yesterday, or it could be the next on the list you and the Holy Spirit developed...or another that you can do...

Another action: assign a color to your steps if you haven't already (a different color for each step perhaps?)...and add one color into the vertical (reflection journaling) strips of your weaving...paint it, use colored pencils, weave another paper or string or yarn or it so it pleases your eye...
  • do one each day this week, or 
  •  spend some dedicated time to place more
  • you can use different colors than you did on your mind map...
  • think about which color you want more of...does it correlate to a step that you need to focus more on?
  • do your color additions and the intensity (through value or repetition) reflect the amount of change required in each area?
  • spend a little time, even just five minutes, to journal your insights...
  • (if you wish) start planning to recreate your art piece with colors only to become a final work of art to display that commemorates your work and journey.
My brief reflection as I recorded my yellow highlights...

This you know, my beloved brethren.  But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger, for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.  Therefore putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.   James 1:19-21

So I have healthy anger - that is not the one that flashes...that is what still needs healing.  It was interesting to see the idea of "planting" in the next verse as well as putting aside what remains of wickedness - the process I am in!

Note:  "to save"is the Greek word sozo, and is in the aorist tense (meaning there was a specific point in the past when the action began, and the action continues into the present and on into the future....wonderful!!)
 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.  1 John 4:18
(The verses around this one are good for more study, too.)  
Orge is righteous anger - concerned about defending the defenseless - is anyone defenseless?  God sent Jesus to satisfy His righteous anger at sin.  Anger needs to lead to Jesus...

Yellow had  
  • immaturity
  • rooted in childhood
  • and fear of punishment 
       connected to it...

- this connection needs more addressing
- the idea of growth is evident in this verse, too (the 1 John 4 passage) 
- orge and thumos are intertwined - there is intensity, but it IS limited...

My step that corresponds with this journaling is to meditate on these two scriptures, keeping the "ears of my heart" open to hear what the Holy Spirit whispers through them...I actually have been doing this for the past ten days, and it has served to be a grounding type activity, dampening the "flashes to anger"... the phrases moving through my mind and heart when the same situations arise..." punishment...", "...what are you afraid of?", " need to fear...", " My love {for you and for _____...."

It truly has been a time of experiencing the becoming and feeling encompassed by His love - 
"When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me."  I Corinthians 13:11

For all the posts in this series, click below:

Monday, March 18, 2013

Take the First Step (and Red Reflections)...{Finding Sanctuary - Part 17}

I am still in love with birds and all things pertaining to them...totally the Lord's fault!  After all, I am being obedient to His encouragement to "look at the birds of the air..." (Matthew 6:26).

I know one thing that draws me to these sweet creatures is their constant song, no matter what the environment is doing...their joy greets me in the mornings, especially in spring - and now there is a nest of newly hatched babies that loudly await their breakfast outside our den windows.  They are too high to see, but we can certainly hear!

Now, you have spent your time with God, you have had time to hear His thoughts on "next steps" today's instruction is simply: Take one!  Take one of the items, it can be the first or it can be taken from the midst - the point is to s.t.a.r.t.  Inertia is a powerful force, keeping us stuck in old habits.  Simple take a step.  It doesn't have to be perfect.  I used to have a friend who would say "Get the Nike anointing - just do it!"  Trust Him to walk with you and help guide you, but you must take the step!  Find one that you can do today - now! - and walk in that Nike anointing!

Now on to share my journaling about what was labeled with the red color...

Red.  Anger: a normal human emotion.  It can be expressed healthily or unhealthy expressions, it is carnal and a reflection that I am acting in my own strength, not waiting on God to work or even trusting that He will.

My anger is a "flash" kind - for the most poart I am not an angry person.  When it flashes I feel childish - it feels like the unhealthy anger I was exposed to in childhood so that is where the "learned behavior" comes from.  It also erupts when I feel the fate of  {whatever the issue is} is all upon my shoulders alone - this is where the word "isolation" came in.  When I feel this way, anger is my "go to"- "Just do it my way" is what my anger says to the one I am angry at - "Can't you see how `right' I am?" - the thought comes from a sincere and thoughtful place, genuine concern for the other, but oh!!!  When I wrote this I "see" such pride!!!

The opposite of this anger would be "peace" and even "rest"...and "trust"... 

I don't think I ever slowed down to "hear" my own thoughts before...the feeling of concern, the responsibility of parenthood is the root...of this area at least...I am feeling alone, separate from God, like He is waiting to see how I am going to handle the issue, not that He wanted to handle it with deep, these roots of self-reliance.  I know we each must find these areas and lay them on the altar of sacrifice...and I am grateful this is happening...I have been saved since age 13, and there is still so much sanctification!  But what is good, even the best, about these explorations is the increased intimacy with the Lord that results! 

More tomorrow! And remember to click here to see the list of posts in this series...

Friday, March 15, 2013

Possible Action Plans?...{Finding Sanctuary - 16}

Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
  Proverbs 16:21 ESV
Studio JRU friends, the rest of this post is part of a series of an art therapy exercise we are doing for Lent...I invite you to read on, or you may just enjoy the picture...
As  promised, here is a list of possible items the Lord might use in your new plan of action - 
based on a general overview from scripture of how He leads us into wholeness and holiness (or perhaps you will feel more comfortable with the word "sanctification").  And as the above scripture says, it is His purpose that will stand - so we come into His courts with our requests, and engage our hearts to understand His plans for our situation...and then we can move forward in confidence... writing the vision and running with it...

Possible Plans that the Lord could speak to you:
1.  More time at His feet, a) listening (and He will get specific - 5, 10, 15 minutes?)
          Martin Luther once spoke that "I am so busy now that if I did not spend three hours each 
                                                                  day in prayer, I could not get through the day."
                                          b) enjoying His presence - spending that extra time doing something you 
           especially enjoy with your spiritual ears open to His voice (after all, He wove you together to
           enjoy the things you do...some people may take a walk, some may create art, some may just 
            rest quietly - )
                                           c) write His words of love over you ( personalize them)...and write some
            response words back!  For an idea (or to start off some of your time with Him, read these 
2.  Practice "New Creation" thinking - there are so many resources for this ("I am (in Him)" lists:
          Joyce Meyers, Niel T. Anderson (Victory Over the Darkness), John Piper,
          but perhaps you already have scriptures marked in your Bible, and He would have you write 
          them down and post around your house, reading them repeatedly till they get worked down
          deep to the bottom of your soul..or make one collage with all those scriptures/"I am" 
          statements; or do an art journal entry - 1 each day, working through those  
          scriptures/statements...simply anything that makes your mind, your hands, and your memory
          work at the same time, for a time {smiling} 

3.  Practice Forgiveness.  Has the work revealed anyone you still need to forgive?  Do you still need
     to accept His forgiveness to you over an issue in a more deep way (frequently referred to as 
     "forgiving yourself")?   In regards to other people, forgiveness is a separate issue from trust and
       reconciliation...some believe you haven't truly forgiven if you haven't achieved reconciliation
       but this idea comes from a misunderstanding of what the scripture really teaches.  Simply think 
       about this:  Jesus forgave us all from the cross, but only those who accept His free gift of eternal
      life are reconciled to Him and can enjoy a daily relationship with Him...

4.  Put on/Put off:  Colossians 3:1-17 contains a list of practices to "put off" and another to "put on" -
     as if we can change character like we change clothes!  But the metaphor is right on target!  To
     keep that RAS focuses on God's plan, He may have inspired this passage to help us develop new 
     habits...for instance, everytime we put on a coat, or our clothes for the day, if we use that 
     opportunity to review His plan for this topic, we would be actively working with Him in the 
     change process...

5.  Invest in yourself:  Has there been a book you have been considering buying?  An online course
     you think might benefit you?  A conference nearby that has been tugging on your heart?  Getting 
     some targeted coaching?  Taking a day away from normal responsibilities to refill your own 
     creative + emotional tanks?

6.  Encourage educating yourself on one or more of the subtopics relating to the issue you are
     exploring.   Read articles, listen to teaching tapes, take someone to lunch and discuss the topic: a 
     friend, your pastor, a small group leader, a Bible Study leader, etc.

7.  Go to Scripture and do a "topic" search for the issue under consideration and do a survey about
      ways the biblical characters faced similar challenges.  Is there any ideas you can adopt into your 
     own situation?

8.  Is there a habit you must resist?  He may give a replacement activity for the one you must 
     resist...perhaps He will ask you to get help to get free from something that has its "hook" in 
     you...pray for someone you trust to hear God's heart and come to you to help you in this area.
     Otherwise, again I refer to Neil Anderson's site for much insight and help in this area.   
There are as many more possibilities as there are situations, but this can help you jumpstart your own process.  Many of the plans may take days to fully implement, but that too is part of the plan, as change begins immediately and gets firmer as time and information accumulates.  You may find (as you search the internet) that many people/sites have jumped on the "21-day to develop a new habit" train of thought...scientific research shows a much different time frame.  For we Christians, tho', we know it is a daily process that will continue till the day we are with Him in eternity...and we are willing to put the effort that the research underscores for our lives to become conformed to His...

Remember:  as you formulate your plan, be as specific as possible {with God's help}!

Till tomorrow -

And since the list below is becoming quite long, I believe I am going to make a button and a special page to hold this list!  Thanks for your patience!

Older posts in this series: 
The Journey begins  
A new tool, part 2
A new tool, part 3 

A new tool, part 4 
A Soft Answer, part 5  
How do We Step Into and Out of Anger? part 6
A Time for Reflection, part 7 

Building a Personal Art Piece - Stage II, part 11
Building a Personal Art Piece - Stage III, part 12 
Getting Specific with a Plan of Action, part 13
Sharing My Work, part 14 

My Discovery through Reflection - Orange, part 15 
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