Friday, January 8, 2016

fresh & new hope

Last year was the first year that I had heard about picking a "word of the year."   Lately I have heard of several people taking on a word of the year instead of a New Year's Resolution.  "Go" was an obvious choice, last year  after reading Follow Me by David Platt.  However, this year, I didn't have a clue what it should be or even if I should tackle the idea again.  Life's busy enough without adding something else. But then I thought, life's busy and I need something to remind me of what's important. 
I began reading Friends of Jesus by Karen Kingsbury just after Christmas.  Without going into a whole book review about it; I really liked it.  There were many things about the stories that I hadn't known about. Several times I went to my Bible to check the validity of the details in the story.  The author was spot on.  I realized that I needed to be more deeply studying the Word.  Otherwise, I might be missing even more details.
The last story was of the Disciple John and how arrogant he was about his friendship with Jesus. His story spoke of many occasions including when Jesus washed the disciples feet in the upper room.  The next day I was reading 1Peter and it mentioned water again.  This time it related the flood to the cleansing of baptism.
Fresh.  New.  Isn't that what we all think of at the beginning of the year.  Technically, life just continues the same with the flip of the calendar, but we hope for something new.  We have that chance at something new each and every day.  He tells us this in His Word that His mercy is new every day (Lamentations 3:23). This truth is something I need to keep at the forefront of my attitude each day.  Today is new.  I can choose to think and act like the world is a desperate place and that it's hard to survive as a Christian woman/mom or I can choose to know that I am a Christian woman/mom who lives in a desperate world that needs Christ.
In the middle of writing this entry I stopped several times to reflect and come back to my writing.  During a quick trip to the store I got goosebumps when I heard the Proverbs 31 radio spot for the day.  I can't remember if it was Lysa Terkeurst or Renee Swope, either way it was exactly what I was just feeling in the writing before this.  She even quoted this verse! This is where you see God whacking me with a nice pine 2 by 4 
So, how can I argue with a word like "NEW?"  I can't. Obviously.  It's Spirit led.  Those moments that you wonder if it's coincidence or God.  It's God.  My feeling is that there are no coincidences in life, there are moments where you glimpse God.  It makes me all tingly just thinking about it.
I haven't, yet, done a page in my journaling Bible or art journal to reflect this word, but I will be sure to share as soon as I do.  Most of my endeavors end up on my Instagram, which is where I saw a post from Natalie Elphinstone, of the Illustrated Faith team.  She had done a circular pattern that I really loved, but it looked too involved and tedious.  So I just put it away as an impossibility.  That was until I was working on painting letters with my 4 year old.  Scento paint dabbers are circular and bright and perfectly wonderful smelling!  Eureka!  Circles in my Bible here I come!

My preschooler's collection only included red, blue, green, and orange and I wanted to add a little more than four colors.  Enter acrylics. 
I drew circles on lines that I measured and penciled in starting from the center of the page, moving to the outer edge.  The I used the Scento paint markers to color in the circles in the areas that worked best.  Then I added the yellow and purple colors in acrylic paint with a stiff brush similar to a stencil brush.  A gentle touch was needed because of the stiff stencil brush, the page came close to ripping in a few spots.
A tag was added with the phrase, "When you are in the storm...remember His promises."  The covenant and ensuing rainbow from God to Noah served as a reminder that God would not destroy us but give us a second chance.  That second chance was Christ.  We have 365(366 this year) chances to reflect Christ each day this year.  The world needs it.  I need it.  What word are you reflecting this year.  Share what you are focusing on this year in the comments below.