Bible Journaling

Creative Retreat Kits | Child of God

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“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”

1 John 3:1

I’ve already shared a few stories about my dad here in the blog, so it’s probably easy to tell that I’m a big fan. 🙂 I know that I am very lucky to have the father that I have on this earth. He is wise, loving, kind, patient, strong, protective and a strong follower of Jesus. My dad has modeled so many important things to me and has helped shape me into the woman I am today. A lot of my best stories involve him. I love him dearly.

This made it particularly hard and painful as my dad started showing some strange symptoms a few years back. Besides a pretty progressive amount of forgetfulness that was not characteristic of a man in his early 60s, there were other things – confusion, anxiety, mood changes and declining comprehension. We began round after round of testing, second and third opinions, traveling for expert doctors and finally landed at a specialty clinic north of where we live. Just a few days after his testing there in December 2015, the doctors called a family meeting and sat us around a large oak table where they broke the news that my father had early onset Alzheimers Disease at a moderate stage.

Everything became a blur punctuated by a few phrases… “terminal disease”, “will never improve”, “average diagnosis to death…8 years.” I had seen signs of my dad slipping away prior, but this made it official. My dad was fading and we would have to watch him fade away before losing him completely. To say my heart was crushed is an understatement. I never imagined the possibility of losing a parent in my 30s or 40s. We were supposed to grow old together, sprout gray hairs together and laugh about “the good old days”.

My emotions have ebbed and flowed as we’ve navigated the last 3 years since his diagnosis and the slow loss that accompanies time. I have really good, strong and positive days, and I have very dark, sad and lonely days. Mourning the gradual loss of someone who is standing right in front of you is indescribably painful and exhausting. As I explained the emotional roller coaster to my best friend, I found myself choking out what my heart had been struggling with…”Sometime soon, I won’t have a dad anymore. Who is going to take care of me? Sometimes you just need a dad! I can’t do this life without my daddy.”

It was a few weeks later that I first heard the song “No Longer Slaves” from Bethel Music and cried my eyes out. These particular verses were gut-wrenching and beautiful to me:

From my mother’s womb
You have chosen me
Love has called my name.
I’ve been born again to my family
Your blood flows through my veins. 

I’m not longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God.

I am surrounded
By the arms of the Father.
I am surrounded
By songs of deliverance.
We’ve been liberated
From our bondage.
We’re the songs and the daughters.
Let us sing our freedom.

It was a real WHOA GOD kind of moment for me. Though I will have to endure the pain and loss of my early father, I will never be without a Father. The God of the universe was my father first. I AM A CHILD OF GOD. I belong to him. I always will. And what greater love is there than the love of our heavenly father.

I have found great comfort in the knowledge that I was, am and forever will be loved by our Father God. No matter what comes, I am his child and will be covered by his grace and compassion. On tough days, I meditate on 1 John 3:1 and the promise contained therein. The promise that our Father loves us so very much that we are called his children. And I honestly feel his arms wrap around me and surround the pain, and provide me with peace and love.

When I opened the August Faith Art box I was blown away when the very first thing I saw was the child of God medallion sticker. Friends, our God really meets us where we are at and where we have a need, and I needed to be reminded of this powerful truth.

This was an emotional entry for me and honestly, creatively, I struggled. I was inspired by the beautiful entry that Lindsey did last month and so I framed out the verses for the entry in a similar fashion. I then got out some different shades of red and pink gelatos (Iced Currant, Red Cherry, Metallic Melon, and Guava with some accents of Metallic Icing) and made some circular shapes reminiscent of the rosettes in the stamp set. I used a light wash of water to make a watercolor effect and blend the shades together. After they dried I stamped in the rosettes on top using black VersaFine ink using some paper masks to layer them and then sprinkled in some leaves from this and previous kits.

DSC_3711I then framed the verses with a few strips of light blue paper that matched this month’s colors and fastened on this sweet lace border using a bit of clear embellishment glue. I used a dimensional dot to place the child of God medallion and make it pop up so I could layer the blossom stickers underneath.

I finished with a few of the enamel shapes from last month’s kit and a bit of journaling at the top right of the page.

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I really wanted to include the lyrics from the No Longer Slaves song to make it really personal so I cut the reflection questions from the devotional card, printed off the lyrics and fastened them to the card, framing it in a bit more of the lace border. Then, I used the wordfetti from the kit to add the title, “My name is child of God”. DSC_3715I love this little extra card! I’m using the sweet floral print bow to secure it into my bible. DSC_3717

And I love that it includes the great reflection questions on the back. I love having a reminder of what I’ve been studying right there on my page.

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My prayer for you is that you would know the love of our heavenly Father. Love that is deep, pure, unconditional and grace-giving. No matter what your earthly father is like, or whether you know or have a relationship with your dad, you are still a precious, loved child of God and there is nothing better than His love for you. His love covers all pain, fear, shame and doubt. You will forever be his.

Be blessed, friends!

Need inspiration? Follow @creativeretreat on Instagram and follow the hashtag #creativeretreatkits. Are we friends yet? We should be! Check out my IG @bibleartgal.

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Bible Journaling

Creative Retreat Kits | Truth in Good Fruit

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“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”

Matthew 7:15-20

I was in my pre-teens when I learned a very expensive lesson … rather, my parents bore the weight of the expense while I dealt with the embarrassment and aftermath of my poor decision. I grew up the 80s and 90s when the landline phone was king (long before the smartphone). I just LOVED talking on the phone. I talked on the phone A LOT (sorry Mom and Dad). I was also very young and very immature and very impressionable. An advertiser’s dream, really.

So, when I stumbled across some advertisements for a phone-in psychic, I was dazzled. Someone who could remarkably and accurately tell me my future?! Sign me up! Maybe she would tell me if that cute boy in my class liked me back? Maybe she would would tell me if I was getting that killer boombox for my birthday? I was desperate to know what the future held for me, so I called in. My eyes didn’t even pause over the fine print. The fine print which explained that each call would cost $5.95 to connect and another several dollars per minute to continue. Yes, per minute.

I wish I could say I called just once. I wish I could say I called just twice. What I can say is that well over a HUNDRED dollars later, my parents got the phone bill and confronted me. I was caught and I crumbled under the reality of what I had done. My parents, of course, were upset about the expense they would have to pay. But what they were truly disappointed in was that I was even reaching out to a psychic. I was seeking truth in a place that I would never find it.

Matthew 7:15-16 speaks of false prophets who appear in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are like ravenous wolves. Wolves in sheep’s clothing. A lie. A farce. A predator out looking for prey. It goes on to provide aid in identifying those false prophets – by their fruit, because a healthy tree will produce good fruit and a diseased tree will produce bad fruit. You’d better believe a false prophet is going to be bearing some bad fruit.

In a world full of “fake news” and false prophets, inauthenticity and mirages of “reality”, it can be really hard to tell truth from fiction. But the Bible gives us this incredible road map for truth and markers for finding it. Truth bearers are also good fruit bearers. But what is good fruit? Well, we’ve learned in Galatians 5:22-23  what that fruit is – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Those qualities are pretty clear to see. You will know good fruit when you see it. And similarly, it can be pretty easy to spot bad fruit. What kind of fruit is your life producing? Have you seen bad fruit, in yourself or in others? What kind of fruit do you want to surround yourself with?

I’ve never called or even had the desire to speak to a psychic since. I now know where truth is truly found, and my eyes have been opened to what a false prophet really looks like in this day and age. I’m truly grateful that the word of God has been a light unto my path, giving me a road map to truth and shining a light on deceit.

I started off my entry this month with a very soft wash from a gray gelato just on the left margin of the page, which I buffed in lightly and then set with a light wash of water. I love that gelatos can behave like watercolors and I loved this effect! I then went in with the cute little branch/sprout stamp from the July Faith Art box and stamped with a Versamark pad and white embossing powder to create a nice crisp white embossed background. I used a scrap piece of paper to mask off the right side of the page and again keep everything in the margin.

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After that I went wild with the stickers from the kit and laid down all of the fruit of the Spirit, accenting each one with the fun enamel pieces. I very lightly traced over everything with my white gel pen, and outlined my verse with a black journaling pen.

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I cut out a tab from the devotional card backer and layered it with a bit of washi tape and a few more stickers from the kit.

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I felt like the page really needed a fun pop and I was SO INSPIRED by Julie’s page last month where she created a cute little shaker for her page, so I decided to go for it. I cut out the reflection questions from the kit’s devotional card and tossed it in a pocket page with some buttons, sequins, glitter, and a few of the enamel pieces from the kit layered back to back to form little colorful circles. I sealed it up using my Fuse tool and added a bit of washi and some more stickers to form the fruits title.

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To finish it off, I made a quick clip from some pink and gold baker’s twine and used that to clip the shaker to my page. I was back in my super chunky bible again this month so I didn’t mind the thickness it added and I loved being able to have the reflection questions right there. I had so much fun with this one!

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My prayer for you, my friends, is that you will always look for the good fruit and to cultivate a life in which good fruit springs forth from you. Do not be deceived by false prophets or anyone that tries to convince you that you are anything but a precious and loved child of God. May the Holy Spirit be revealed in you through your good fruit.

Be blessed, friends!

Not sure where to start with the Faith Art box? Follow @creativeretreat on Instagram and follow the hashtag #creativeretreatkits to get inspired. While you’re there, let’s be friends! Check out my IG @bibleartgal.