Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Yesterday Ended Last Night

Don't you love it when the pastor says something  almost "in passing" that hits you like a TON of bricks! It wasn't even his main point! But it was definitely the point the God intended me to hear...and just maybe...He might like for it to cross your ears too!

It referenced Philippians 3:13-18, you know where Paul is talking and says, "Forgetting what lies behind, I press on to the race set before me!" And then he said it..."Yesterday ended last night!"

Ummmm yeah! I waste so much energy and time thinking and rethinking things that happened "yesterday!" And isn't it just like God to reinforce His message within the first 24 hours. I was talking this evening to a young mom - a single mother of three while we both waited for our take out dinners to be packed up - and we were watching a large group of people who came in after us....and they just COULD NOT make up their minds what to order...and my new friend and I were laughing just a little bit, because we both walked in telling them what we wanted! No muss...no fuss!

And this sweet little Mama says..."oh yeah...during the day, I am a drill sergeant...do this; I want that; No, the BLUE one; Yes I'll be happy to help with that! But when I get in bed and am still for a minute my brain explodes! I replay conversations and analyze what I wish I had said. Or I ponder choices I need to make for my kiddos and am SOOO wishy washy! Before I know it, its morning and I feel like I haven't figured anything out!" Her words could have been mine!

Boy oh boy! I am a "processor." And I haven't really thought about the fact that all of that "processing" is keeping part of my mind and heart rooted and grounded in the past!

I'm sure the rest of the sermon was good...but God had my attention and I didn't want to miss a thing that He had to say to me....so I pulled a pad of paper out and just listened to Him speak to my heart...and quickly jotted notes so I could remember.

Here are three of the things that spoke to me about this simple phrase" "Yesterday ended last night!

1. This isn't a "free pass" on unconfessed sin. If there is something that has happened and I haven't made it right - first with confession and repentance and then by doing whatever is appropriate to the situation - then what is going on in my head is CONVICTION and doesn't end with the setting of the sun...it is the Holy Spirit lovingly calling me to repentance...and the quicker I step into obedience, the quicker the sun can go down on my sins of yesterday.

2. All the energy I put into thinking and rethinking ROBS me of energy that I should be expending on the "road before me." I know you've heard this - "Delayed obedience is DISOBEDIENCE." Perhaps for the first time, I realized that focusing on the path BEHIND me instead of the one BEFORE me is just flat out disobedience. And that is just unacceptable!!!!!

3. And the one that caught me off guard is this: When I insist on analyzing things that have happened in the past in order to determine a solution, I am displacing God's role in our relationship. I'm, in effect, saying to Him..."I don't need your help....I've got this!" Wow...that is arrogance and pride all rolled up in the blanket of idiocy! Do I REALLY think that I can come up with a better solution than God?!?!?! Of course, when asked in that straight forward manner I would fall all over myself denying that I would EVER think that...much less give it voice! But my actions speak louder than words...in fact they just SCREAM that I think that God needs my help. Yeah...that is the EXACT moment when that ton of bricks fell on my THICK HEAD!

Ouch! Enough to give a girl a headache!

Here is my illustration that I will use to remind myself of just how futile and silly it is for me to live in "Yesterday rather than TODAY!"

I chose the sunrise over the mountains because of a couple of scriptures:

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:23-24

When I let "Yesterday End Last Night," I gain His fresh and new mercies  in full measure in the morning which is EXACTLY what I need. And,

 "I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?" Psalm 121:1

I don't want to be arrogant...I want to be grateful.
I don't want to divide my attention...I want to be laser focused on God's plan.
I don't want to hinder God's mercies...I want to be the recipient of EVERY blessing God wants to bestow on me.

How about you?

I have created a free printable if you would like to create your own version of this page.... You can find it on my website here: Printables

I have also created two new Illuminated Journaling Workshops...and am launching a whole area on my website dedicated to Illuminated Journaling... You can learn more here.

Thanks for sticking with me on this one - I wanted to share it with you while it was still fresh in my mind.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Illuminated Journaling:

We had a quiet New Year's Eve...actually - those have become my favorite kinds. Family, a Netflix binge watch together, Rotel Cheese and sausage dip and of course...a little Bible Journaling.
I had several things that I was looking forward to working on in my Journaling Bible...an illustration in Ephesians and a couple of prayers sparked from some of my devotional time over the Christmas break...so I did something I don't usually do, I got my lapboard and brought my Bible, watercolors and colored pencils into the room where my guys were watching a football game...I just wanted to be in the same room with them AND I wanted to be in my Bible...so I decided to do both.
I was reviewing my notes and slowly turning through a couple of verses that I had thought would be the right location for illustrating my prayer...and something apparently happened on the football field because the guys went wild - and I HAD to look and see what brilliant thing had happened! I honestly don't recall what happened...but when I got back to my Bible I had left off turning pages on the last page of the Old Testament...Malachi...and I read the final words of the Old Testament.

"He will turn the hearts of Fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers". Malachi 4:6

I couldn't help glancing across the room at my guys...there is something incredibly wonderful about seeing a Dad who loves being with his son...and a son who is equally glad to hang out with his Dad. I love watching the relationship that they share...sometimes I don't exactly "get it" - but that's because I'm a girl...but this Mom's heart just gets all "swoll up" watching them laughing together - or headed out the door on some "Man Errand!"

But I have several friends who are working through the pain of estrangement from one of their kiddos -or equally painful - seeing their child not walking in right relationship God. My heart hurts for them, with them...and I join them in praying for restoration of relationship.

As I have prayed with them - it has turned a light on how God must feel when we intentionally choose to go against His commandments. When sin separates us - we are not the only one who hurts...our Father in Heaven is heartbroken too! He gave His only Son so that we/I could always be in right relationship - so when I feel the sting of separation...the responsibility for it rests fully on my shoulders. Fortunately, He eagerly awaits for my heart to be turned back to Him.
So if you are still with me after the rabbit trail I took us both down...I had to change my plans for journaling that day. I needed to capture all of these thoughts and put them into a visual to remind me of the insights that sprang to mind in those few short moments

1. To rejoice that God's Word has promises like this one for me to cling to when I am discouraged.
2. How thankful I am that I see my son and his father enjoying a relationship that is reflective of their hearts being turned towards each other.
3. How much I want to do everything I can to be in right relationship with my Heavenly Father. I don't want to hurt his heart...I want to give up my own stubborn will and to submit to His best for me!

All of these things seem to be summed up in this illustration of a dad and his son walking on the beach at sunset...a child that reaches his hand up to take his Daddy's hand in trust and love...gains the strength of his Dad and the safe assurance that his Dad is by his side.

Sorry for the winding path...but I appreciate you all letting me share the "behind the art" story. I don't just want to add "pretty pictures" to my Bible...I want them to Illuminate what I have learned from my time in the Word and with my Heavenly Father. I am going to begin tagging them (here and on Instagram and Twitter) with the hashtag: ‪#‎IlluminatedJournaling in addition to the ‪#‎IllustratedFaith tag. If you share your story behind your Journal Entry - I would love to be able to search and find you through these two tags...I grow in my Faith by being inspired by yours!

Several of you have asked what the back of one of my illustrations looks like...and I remembered to take a picture this time....I thought it would give you a better indication of what goes through on this page that was blank. Bible pages tend to be thin...and I have developed a technique to use watercolors and colored pencils in layers to keep the bleeding to a minimum. The pages do definitely get a bit wrinkly when I use watercolor on them...but they smooth out pretty well after a few days with the weight of a couple of books stacked on top. I actually kind of like the bit of wrinkling that is left, because as I turn the pages and feel a "wrinkly" page coming up I know I am about to revisit a passage that captured my time with the Lord.

Here is an introduction to Illuminated Journaling that I wrote on a blog post last year.

I am working on some resources for you in the YouCan! Classroom and my website. I will be back to share those soon. 

Supplies: Watercolors, Prismacolor Colored Pencils, Gamsol, Micron and Pitt pens