Howdy faithful (maybe 3) readers, haha! After much prayer and thought, I have decided to end my blogging for this season. While my hope for it was to provide a means for family and friends to keep up with our family's happenings, to encourage and edify the body of Christ, and to declare the gospel to those who have not yet been transformed by its power, I feel that I can better work toward those ends outside the realm of a blog at this time. Thanks for reading with me and sharing in my life in this way. I may be back in a later season, especially if I start up a small WAHM (work at home mom) craft company as I am praying about doing. But for now, it's the end of my blog as we know it. :)
Grace and peace, dear blog world friends,
Well, it has been over two months since my last post. Since I have been gone from blog world, I have been blessed to give birth to a sweet baby girl. I don't know that my blogging (or lack there of) can get much less frequent, but if it does, you now know why. :)
So far, the transition has been HARD. Everyone tells you that it's a joy, but it's hard. But you don't really know what that means until you get there. There has been much pain, ample frustration, many tears shed, and much sleep lost - all in all, great sanctification. This period of life truly has been one of the most difficult ones I have faced thus far, but I am so grateful. Oh how we prayed for this baby girl! I am already re-learning how I can't and shouldn't control everything, how much I am truly dependent upon the Lord for every little thing, and how precious I, as one of His children, am in His sight.
Before little K was born, one of my sweet sisters-in-Christ Erica introduced me to the work of Noel Giger, an artist who has been gifted and inspired by God to redeem into art what others cast off. What an amazing concept, and what an opportunity to share the gospel! I bought a sweet hymnal plaque from Noel for K's nursery.
Then Erica surprise gifted me with one of the necklaces (a redeemed domino) that Noel donated to her auction/garage sale fundraiser that she held for her year-long mission/teaching trip to Czech. You can follow Erica in her adventures here.
As I prepared my heart to take important pieces, including times of trials and suffering and all the sanctification that came with those, with me into becoming a mom, I asked Noel to create a custom necklace representative of this occasion. I gave her general preferences but left the design up to Noel's creativity and heart, as we both have fellowship in learning the hard way that God truly is good through all circumstances (See her blog - link above - for her story). You can't see the whole necklace (especially as it is designed on both the front and back), but here is a picture of it around my neck with little K's hand reaching up and grasping it. :) Makes my heart happy.
This beautiful custom piece was created out of a hymn written by Charles Wesley (music attributed to Dmitri Bortniansky). I am posting the hymn below both because it is a good artistic expression that speaks my heart better than I can in my own words and because I hope it encourages you:
Since pictures were requested, here is what I have been up to:
These are the curtains I made for the guest room that resulted in MUCH sanctification. :) With the changed perspective I shared a post or so ago, my dislike for sewing is slowly decreasing.
I sewed a bulletin board cover that had about three redesigns thanks to my inability to cut straight. I wanted to bring some of the red (not really red, but I've never been good with color names) curtain color to the other side of the room. I must thank my darling husband a thousand times for doing the sewing math for me - one's brain gets pretty fried after so many redesigns.
I finished the door curtains for our fake French doors, and my wonderful hubby graciously took the time to hang them so evenly even though he's got an uber busy week! Here are before and after pictures.
I finally started crocheting baby girl's baby blanket (this is my second attempt to start - the first started with an incorrect chain count. Boo).
Nothing increases one's affections for sewing like fun fabric! Hooray! These are my recent fabric purchases for burp cloths and cloth diaper wipes. I have started the measuring and cutting and will try to post instructions and pictures for anyone who is interested in making their own later.
This week, I have really found myself thinking about the way I live my life and what that shows about the state of my heart. Last Sunday's sermon at church was AWESOME! You can find it in .mp3 format here. I always love being reminded of the beauty of the gospel of grace. There was one question in the sermon that really caused some soul searching and conviction. I can't remember the exact wording, but it translated to me as:
Do you spend as much or more time pursuing and seeking the Lord as you do pursuing and seeking things in His creation?
When this question was posed, the answer, "No," immediately came out of my heart. We can seek God out in His creation - an example would be my most recent post about finding and worshipping the Lord in sewing - so pursuing Him isn't just what has become the cliche "quiet time". But how often are we really that intentional about seeking Him in all things? How often is our goal to meet with Him instead of learning about Him being an after thought as we pursue our own passions. I wish I always had an eternal mindset consumed with desire for the Lord and His presence, but the truth is that I often don't.
Recently in home group, we studied the topic of marriage and how it is a reflection/a shadow of the relationship between Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:32). I've been talking a lot with some of the women in home group about what it really looks like to submit to our husbands as unto the Lord (Ephesians 5:22) and how to respect our husbands well (Ephesians 5:33). We've been talking about what healthy marriages look like, what unhealthy marriages look like, things that really hurt marital relationships, and things that make marital relationships grow in the beauty and joy that they were meant to be. This of course has made me think on my own marriage a lot.
One of the biggest things I have learned about myself in marriage is that quality time and intentionality speak volumes to me. I enjoy verbal encouragement and nice words, but they mean nothing to me if actions don't seem to back them up. But oh man! If Robbie is thinking of me and responding to love he has toward me in being intentional about spending quality time with me or doing things that he may or may not like doing, how rich is the mutual joy and affection that results? What beautiful depths of love do we experience? How much more are we one?
Now, if I am the bride of Christ, what type of marriage/relationship do we have if I always put Him off, fail to make Him a priority, only spend leftover time with Him instead of using my time intentionally to respond to Him and His pursuit of me? Thinking on this relationally really takes the legalism out of Christian living for me. It's not about checking my check boxes. Think about all the richness and depth I'm missing out on! What if I'm too busy doing things supposedly for Him and His benefit that I actually end up ignoring His pursuit of my heart and affections? Then I'm actually depriving myself of love, peace, and joy that is offered.
Oh how I've fallen short before my heavenly husband and brought destruction to our marriage! But the good news is that He's offered grace through a covenant pledge (shedding His blood on the cross to reconcile me to Himself) - regardless of my failure (Romans 5:8). He's still pursuing me, still wooing me. How will I respond? How will you respond? How's the health of your marriage with Christ? Do you put as much or more effort into your heavenly marriage as your earthly one? If you do not have an earthly spouse, do you put as much or more effort into your heavenly eternal relationship as your earthly temporal relationships?
It's been fairly recent since I've seriously ventured into the world of sewing. I decided to start with a few home accessories first - pillows, various curtain styles. I've always wanted to know how to sew and have always had high hopes that I would really enjoy it. So far... WRONG! I am not enjoying it at all!!! But I'm going to keep pushing through the beginning stages hoping that as I become more comfortable doing it, it'll be begin to grow on me. I went to bed sooo frustrated and flustered last night, but when I woke up this morning God changed my heart and attitude about it by revealing Himself to me in sewing. I believe this is a great opportunity for growth. Here's what He's revealed to me so far:
- I don't like it, because I lack patience. I like to see things grow - like to see immediate results. Sewing has very little construction time; most of it is spent measuring, cutting, squaring, pressing, pinning - none of which have very encouraging visual results of progress. This is an opportunity for me to stretch my patience and learn that things are coming together and pushing forward in progress even when I am unable to see it.
- When I go to the fabric store, I deliberate forever!!! I want to know what type of material is best suited for the job, then I think about what it needs to look like to maintain unity with the rest of the house or whatever project, then I look for what is appealing to my eye, and (of course being the frugal person I am) I finally consider cost. God created us each with great care - He constructed us with a bigger picture in mind and with a purpose to serve and fit within that bigger picture. He made us to be beautiful and appealing to Him - a reflection of His own image. BUT God is not frugal. He did not consider cost. He paid His son out on the cross to bring us all together in beauty for His glory. Wow!
- In sewing, one must pay attention to the little details - edges must be straight, corners must be squared, measurements must be accurate. God straightens and squares us as pieces of His masterpiece for our good, the good of the whole piece, and most importantly for His glory. Sometimes we must have our wrinkles ironed out. Sometimes we must be pressed with heat to straighten our edges. Sometimes we need our poorly done and crooked stitches ripped out so that they may be lovingly straightened by the eyes and hands of God. Sometimes we also need to be pressed with heat to heal the holes left behind from torn out stitches that we're trying to keep.
I'm sure there's so much more of Christ in sewing than I can even see. But for now, I am praying that my heart and attitude toward the task will change and that I will rejoice in every little step as laboring in love over these pieces helps me see God's labor of love in me. I'm hoping to grow in patience and humility - here's to growing while I sew!
Where do you see God? I'd love to hear about it!