Friday, December 05, 2008

Feeling Blessed

Today I am feeling very blessed. My application to teach a workshop at Art & Soul - Portland, 2009 was accepted.

My class is called "Collage with a Focus: Let Your Art Tell Your Story" featuring techniques in collage, working with acrylic/plexi-glass, and making tube rivets to create a collage with a focal point.

Along the way we will talk about how to allow the stories we all carry inside speak through our art and we'll talk about alternative ways to use the materials and techniques from the class to continue illustrating these stories outside of the class.

The example here and the one of the bird in the post below are my class samples to give an idea of what this looks like put together, but I am guessing with so many stories to be told there will be an awesome variety of finished projects!

Be sure to mark your Calendar for Art & Soul, Portland. My class will be on Sunday, October 4 2009.

"I Pledge Allegiance To My Denial"

Monday, December 01, 2008

Let Everything That Has Breath Praise The Lord!

"My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever." -psalm 145:21

I'm praising God today for the storms of my life. I know it sounds strange, but I truly am thankful. Not that I've been enjoying having to go through so many hard times, back to back to back, for literally the past few years. Unemployment, losing our home at the onset of the mortgage crisis, marital issues, health issues, so much more. I wouldn't ask to have the things happen to me that I've been through, no, I wouldn't even ask for these things to be brought on my enemies. But I see how God has been using these times to bring about changes that were necessary. In fact he has used these times to bring about the very things I have prayed for.

I came to a place in my walk with Christ where I began to grow dissatisfied. I grew more and more dissatisfied and hungrier and hungrier for a deeper relationship with Him. I naively prayed that God would give me more of Him. That he would take me from the milk of His word to the meat. I wanted to be a mature Christian believer.

And the storms that I thought had began to pass in my life began again. Hitting in full gale force. Winds that came so strong and so suddenly they knocked me down and for the first time in so long I didn't want to get back up. I was worn out, exhausted, felt helpless, lost all but the thinnest thread of hope that life, my life, was ever going to be anything more then troubled. I cried out to God over and over to deliver me from it. To rescue me. To come quickly and save me. At the very least, could you show me why? Why Lord would you let me go through this?

Amazingly some of you would write to me when I posted about some of these events and tell me how much I had brought encouragement in the midst of your own trials and storms. Sometimes I felt like a hypocrite in hearing this. How can you say that I helped you to want to work on your marriage when I am sitting here wanting to walk away from my own? How can you say that you felt closer to God today because of my words when I am sitting here feeling about as far from Him as I ever have?

I didn't feel worthy of these words.

And I wasn't, but God is.

These past few weeks, maybe longer, God has been lifting the veil from my eyes and showing me the answers He has brought to my prayers. "You prayed for your marriage, your relationships, you wanted a more mature walk with me" He says "and in the troubles you have experienced you sought counseling, you came to me and cried out, you opened to me in ways you never would have before, and now you are starting to see changes you never thought you would see. And you are growing each day."

"You prayed for more money, less debt" He says "but you had never learned how to handle money. And when I let your husband lose his job and then let you lose your home, and let you go through so many financial hardships I got your attention. You went to that class and started to open your eyes and now you are starting to work together in this area too. Starting to look to me to teach you. It has taken a lot of trials, but here you are trying and willing and growing each day."

"You said you were hungry for more of me" He said "but you were looking all around you, at your church, your friends, your husband, your family, to show you where to find me. It wasn't until I had allowed you to reach the bottom of that pit that you were finally quiet enough to hear me right here beside you. With you. You don't have to go looking. I am with you. And because of all these trials you have begun to look to me to lead you to places you never thought you would get to go. And you are learning and growing with me each day."

Recently, the reporter who wrote the story about us when we lost our home called my husband. She wanted to let him know about a phone call she had just received from a couple who had read that article. They said they had been on the verge of losing their home too and their own marriage was nearly ended, but when they read our story they felt encouraged and decided to try again. They were calling to let her know that as a result they had managed to save their home and their marriage and they just wanted her to know. She told my husband she was calling to pass this along to us because we had said "if we could help just one person with our story". When he told me this, it wasn't the reporters voice I heard in my mind, it was Gods "You said if you could help just one other person...."

Praise God. We didn't do it, it was Him. He was just gracious enough to let us have a part in it as a result of our storms.

"My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever." -psalm 145:21