Valentines from the Heart

I love Valentines, which is pretty surprising considering how much anxiety they caused me as a kid.  It’s sad how early we begin comparing ourselves to others, wondering if we’ll fit the mold we think will buy acceptance. When I’m not careful, that same ridiculousness threatens my creativity now.

A few years ago a magazine article inspired me to make my own valentines, and every year I invite my girlfriends over to “play”.  It’s a lot of fun – seeing all the different ways we create is a good reminder to just be myself.

This is me working with what I have – my own hand as a model. I got a bit of razzing for this… from people who can’t even draw. Which gave us a good laugh as we each merrily created our own brand of perfect.

Fear Not. Really.

There are things we hear about happening to other people and think to ourselves,  I could never go through that… while inwardly begging God not to ask us to.

Then it happens. A worst fear comes to life.
And we survive.
And we add it to our list of “done that”.
And the fear of it loses its power over us because we faced it and came out standing on the other side.
And we learn that we can walk through anything God asks us to because He doesn’t ask us to walk alone.
And we are no longer afraid.
After beginning my life wrought with fear, I can quite honestly and humbly say that there is very little I am afraid of anymore.  I have a better understanding of how big God is and what He can do.
I have no reason to be afraid.

Treasures in Dark Places

HauntedForest_sign

The other day, my eyes landed on Isaiah 45:3-4
“I will give you the treasures of darkness
And hidden riches of secret places,
That you may know that I, the Lord, am God…”

What went through my head wasn’t thought… it was sight. I saw it differently.

God was giving me a deeper perspective: when it’s dark, not to despair, but to look for the treasures.

I saw a movie the other day about a treasure hunt, and that verse came to mind.
The treasure isn’t out in the open, it’s always hidden in some dark place no one would ever think to look.

Life’s waters are rough right now, and sometimes it’s so dark I feel like I’m drowning.
I was reading a devotional, and the prayer said, “Find scattered, terrified lambs where no one thought to look before.”
They are “treasures of darkness” and “hidden riches”!

If we’re constantly bathed in light, how can we find these hidden treasures?
It’s in the dark places we find the lost lambs and it’s in the dark places that we usually seek the treasure of His face.

The enemy puts up signs yelling DANGER , WARNING, SCARY DARK PLACES to psych us out.
“I don’t wanna go in there…no way!”
God says we don’t need to fear the dark! The enemy is bluffing!
Because he knows what’s hidden in the dark… treasures.

Human treasures Satan wants to keep there.
Experiences that drive us into the Lord’s arms.

My favorite Lamentations verse says… “IT DOES NOT CONSUME US!”
Why? Because His mercies DO NOT FAIL.
Anywhere.
Even in the dark.

New Rule: No Fear

I rode the Griffon – the scary new roller-coaster at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg.
It’s 205 feet tall, with a 90 degree drop – straight down. No floor.
And I wasn’t afraid.

That’s me far left. Yes I bought the picture. I wanted proof.

Two years ago we were at Busch Gardens Tampa with my sister’s family, and I stood in line to ride Sheikra – the Griffon’s equivalent – only to chicken out when the man tried to strap me into that thing. The empty seat on the left (below) was mine…. that’s my sister, nephew and daughter having a blast without me.

Something happened between then and now.
My dad died unexpectedly last year, and I decided I wasn’t going to be afraid anymore. Life’s too short to be afraid.
Not to say I haven’t hesitated a few times.

But I had to ride this roller-coaster or my kids and nephews would be razzing me until I die.

Call Me “Journal Wrecker”

Today I explored messing up my journal.

I am a first-born-type-A perfectionist. Miss Prissy Perfect Pants is real.
I was one of those annoying kids in school who re-copied her paper if the eraser left a mark or if dirty fingers left a smudge.

“Wreck This Journal” is radical for someone like me. The ideas were so outrageous that I printed the page to digest slowly.
But I intend to try every suggestion at least once.

I think this is the first time I have EVER entertained the idea that messing up my beautiful new pages could be anything but horrifying… let alone fun.

Today I actually used masking tape [gasp!] to tape a fabric swatch in my journal because I couldn’t find the clear stuff.
And I didn’t rip it out and re-do it when I found some.
Pass the brownie points.