5 Minute Friday: Because

tumblr_mtf95pACTK1sdyj9lo1_1280

Five Minute Friday!

I have 5 minutes. Why? Because!

GO!

My employment situation is a negative mess. While I am grateful to have a job, I am not a good fit to the position or the management style. There are some days that I have to get up from my chair, walk out the door, and take a trip around the warehouse while praying. It is emotionally draining. Many Many days I ask God, “WHYYYYYYYYYYYY???”

It has been 10 months, and just this week, this nerve wracking week, I began to get some answers from God.

“Because, you draw nearest to me when you can’t fix your situation by yourself.”

“Because, I am using this frustrating place to speak to you. You can hear me, don’t pretend you can’t.”

“Because there are some people there that need to speak to you about me every day, and you have found yourself needing the encouragement of those fellow believers each day. Right?”

“Because. I don’t have to explain all of My plans to you. Just trust Me.”

While it encourages me to hear God in this, it has not made the job or the work place any easier….yet…it was a bear of a week.  I have a lot of self searching to do before that happens, I am sure. But He is right, I do hear Him talking to me. I’ll happily take that as my starting place!

STOP.

Trust Him with all your heart (Psalm 28:7),

Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 7.47.06 PM

 

 

 

Bible Journaling: The Wind

Scan

My women’s Bible study class is working through Beth Moore’s new study on 1&2 Thessalonians. This week, we did some thinking about the Holy Spirit, and how He is sometimes metaphorically referred to as wind.

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 7.46.00 PM

Scan 3

I first started thinking about the meaning of this verse back in college in 1789. My undergrad degree is in dance and theater. I choreographed a piece for the annual dance concert one year, using John 3:8 as inspiration.There was no music, and I made these props for the dancers Lynn, Paulie, and Pam. They were plastic drinking straws stitched on long pieces of elastic. The dancers used the props with many kinds of movement qualities: whipped them around, softly moved them back and forth,with rhythm and without. They made their own music, simulating the wind; sometimes whispers and sometimes near roars. Just like the Holy Spirit. It was pretty cool.

Back to class this week in 2014….Beth gave us an assignment to write down characteristics and things we know about the wind. Think about how these words that describe the wind, relate to the Holy Spirit:

ebbs and flows

soft or strong

a powerful source of free energy

can move objects

you can hear it coming

the sound can be soothing or frightening

you can hide from it

you can’t see it

you cannot control it

and my favorite: it can feed a fire

Can you think of any more?

Scan 2

This page in my journaling bible was done with watercolor pencils (tutorial), a water brush, and a black micron pen.

I am praying for the Holy Spirit to feed the little fire in me.

Count it all joy (James 1:2),

Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 7.47.06 PM

Bible Journaling: God’s Designer Label

IMG_1128

 

I do a good amount of journaling of bible studies and scripture, but how did I never think about doing it right in my Bible? I even own a bible with wide side margins that is perfect for it. Imagine pulling out your favorite or the most meaningful verses to you, and drawing them right on the page. Talk about bringing the scriptures to life!

And since this is a spiritual endeavor more than an art project, it doesn’t matter if my printing is straight or the paint bleeds on the paper. The journalling is just to help me remember.

Screen Shot 2014-09-21 at 7.59.51 PM

 

I started with something with a literal visual, so it would be easier for my first one.

IMG_1132Research turned up a lot of materials that will work on the thin pages of a bible, but in the end, I just used what I had. Inexpensive cake watercolors worked great with the water brush.

 

IMG_1136

Watercolor pencils worked great too. That is what I used for Colossians 3: 12-14. Go to the watercolor pencil tutorial to learn how to use them.

IMG_1138Here is the water brush I used. And I used a Micron pen to outline everything. The Micron pen does not run with water, and it come in colors and different diameters.

 

IMG_1128

To see examples of bible journalling, follow the Art from the Word Pinterest page. Or join the Journaling Bible immunity on Facebook.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart (Colossians 3:15),

Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 7.47.06 PM
countingmyblessings

Prayer Flags

IMG_0506

Prayer flags are fascinating to me. They come in all shapes and sizes. They can be stitched or painted, made of paper or fabric. They can be triangles or rectangles. They can be anything you design from your unique perspective or creative brain. You can get tons of inspiring prayer flag ideas on this blog.

Prayer flags have a long history. They were first just colorful pieces of cloth, hung on the mountain tops in the Himalayas. Then words were written on them and they were taken into battle. For early Buddhists, the colors symbolized different things, and Tibetans believe hanging them make their prayers one with the universe.

For me prayer flags are simply a visual reminder and a record. When I see them hanging there, they remind me to pray for whatever is written on them. When God answers those prayers I can take them down or exchange them with new prayers. They are also pretty, especially if they are hung outside where they have movement in the wind.

It is a great idea to do in a class. Each person writes out her prayers and everyone can see them each week.

IMG_0507

IMG_0508

IMG_0511

 

To make some like mine, you need: fabric, batting, ribbon scraps, safety pins, straight pins, scissors, permanent marker, and a sewing machine.

1. Make yourself a paper pattern of a triangle or rectangle. Trace it on the fabric and batting. For each flag, you need two triangles of fabric and one of batting. I cut mine out with pinking shears.

2. Layer the three pieces. Pin them together. Pin two pieces of ribbon (folded in half) at the top so you have something to string the rope through. Stitch around the outside, holding everything together.

3. Cut a smaller piece of a light color fabric. Write your prayer on this, using permanent marker. Safety pin the small triangle to the front of the flag. String all of your flags across your rope.

4. Commence praying! Write words on them and take them into battle!

Screen Shot 2014-09-20 at 4.25.57 PM

IMG_0516

IMG_0510

 

In all your ways acknowledge Him. (Proverbs 3:6),

Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 7.47.06 PM

 

5 Minute Friday: Hold

Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 10.34.14 PM

It’s 5 Minute Friday!  Check out 5 Minute Friday here. Scroll to the end of the post to read what everyone wrote.

Every now and then, sometimes more than now and then, I get carried away with myself when things go wonky. Yes, wonky.

Being a type A, task oriented person, I tend to jump right in with the “fix.” Then a few minutes into the fix that is never going to work, I feel it come over me….

HOLD.

HOLD UP.

HOLD IT.

HOLD EVERYTHING!

And then……Dear Father, thank you for reminding me that my immediate action should be to come to You. I know that without You, I am just going to spread the mess out more, not clean it up. But You O Lord, know how to solve it before it even happens. I turn my eyes to You now, and I give You this crazy wonky problem. I can’t fix it, but You can. Thank You for being a patient God. Thank You for reminding me that I don’t have to fix this problem, because You already know how it turns out. Thank you for reminding me to seek You first, before the panic, before I jump in with both feet. You have this, and I am grateful for it. Amen.

Some day I am going to learn to respond by seeking His wisdom first, instead of reacting with my own fix. That will be a great day!

Do you respond to craziness by remembering to ask for God’s divine assistance first? How have you taught yourself to put your own problem solving on hold in favor of His?

Seek Him first. (Matthew 6:33),

Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 7.47.06 PM

 

 

 

My Man Nehemiah: 2

tumblr_mu64mvL15v1sdyj9lo1_1280

Nehemiah card #2. Print, size, and tuck into your envelope.

Wanted! Project manager who has a heart for his people, is willing to relocate, is a planning and organizational genius, can motivate his team, is a creative problem solver, and has a strong desire to serve God..

That’s Nehemiah. God hired him for the job and Nehemiah got it done.

Nehemiah chapters 3 and 4 are some of my favorite chapters in the bible. As a project manager, I could not love more the way Nehemiah inspires his people to join the team, present a united front,  and together, get the job done. No matter what it takes. Even the goldsmith, the perfumer, the high priests, the politicians, and Shallum’s daughters are rebuilding walls and gates.

These chapters do not tell us Nehemiah’s motivational techniques, but they do tell us some things about working in service for God:

  • Everyone has an important part to play. Even if the project is not your strength, it is God’s, and if He calls, He will give you what you need to contribute. The entire chapter 3 is full of the names of people and how they each played an important part.
  • Work together. Take a look through chapter 3 and see how many times it says, “next to him.” We are not in this alone.
  • Serving God sometimes requires humility.  Eliashib the high priest built the sheep gate (3: 1). Shallum, who ruled half of Jerusalem, got his daughters out there and made repairs (3:12). It could be hard to garner respect from your constituents and parishioners when you are dirty and sweaty, and limping from dropping rocks on your toes. But this project was bigger than their reputations.
  • Work willingly. Even though the haters were loud and obnoxious opposition, the israelites had a mind to work. And they kept at it. (4:6)
  • Pray and make a plan. (4:9)
  • Be steadfast in your work. Nehemiah’s team had to build with one hand and carry a spear in the other. The threat to their safety was spoken loudly, so they stayed up all night guarding, and made repairs all day, they carried their weapons wherever they went, and never let their guard down. That is not the easiest way to repair a city, but they got it done. (4: 21-23)
  • Trust God for success. When the going got tough, Nehemiah reminded them who God is, and for whom they were building and fighting. (4:14)

When you look at what Nehemiah and his people had to overcome when rebuilding the city of Jerusalem, it makes delivering a meal, tutoring a child, or serving in the soup kitchen look like a walk in the park. You can do it!

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. (Colossians 4:2 ),

Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 7.47.06 PM

 

My Man Nehemiah: 1

DSCN0916

My small group is studying our way through Kelly Minter’s Nehemiah: A heart that can break. Nehemiah is one of my favorite guys in the bible. I can relate to some parts of his story. I have learned and am continuing to learn from him. You know how every time you study some passages, you find something new? Nehemiah is like that for me. And Kelly’s study has tons of life application.

In lesson 1, one of the things that really struck me was the importance of intercessory prayer. When Nehemiah found out that his people were in great distress and the wall of Jerusalem was broken down, he prayed. He seriously prayed with weeping and mourning and fasting for four months. He prayed God’s character to Him, he prayed God’s own words and promises back to Him, he confessed the sins of the Israelites, and he really believed that God would move in response. Day and night! Four months of this! And God did move in response to Nehemiah’s heart for his people….in amazing ways.

lesson 1

(Card #1, print, size, and put inside your envelope)

It made me think about the way I pray. Wow, I am really lazy compared to Nehemiah. But, it made me realize that God does appreciate when we are really moved by something. Maybe I can’t tell Him or ask Him too many times. After all, what God wants most from us I think, is our attention, our time, our desire to be in relationship with Him. God called Nehemiah to pray and he did not stop praying until God gave His answer.

My small group loves to make their own visual reminders with me as we study, but this time, because I missed them all summer, I have made each of them these cards….one for each lesson (print them out for yourself if you want!), tucked in a velum envelope. You can make an envelope very easily. Print out the pattern. Size it as desired. Cut it out and trace it on a piece of vellum scrapbook paper. Cut it out. Fold where the lines are.

Use any paper adhesive you like. I used double stick tape to hold it together.

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 1.05.15 PM

 

 Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 9.11.10 PM

Print out these words, or design your own. Slip it inside the envelope, trace on the front of the envelope with a Sharpie. Slip your cards inside.

Take time today to pray for your country.  (1 Timothy 2:2 NIV),

Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 7.47.06 PM