Friday, August 30, 2019

Fear not!

Hi friends,

I want to talk about something today that I believe is really important to reflect upon for those of us who engage in creative worship. I have lost count of the amount of times I have read comments from people on social media, often commenting on my artwork, that express worry or fear about doing something artistic in their bible.

These kind of comments make me sad because fear should not play a part in our creative worship of God. I've thought a lot about what is behind those fears, and the main driving reason for fear seems to be fear of making a mistake, fear of failure, fear of 'messing up' the bible. In response to this I want to share a little of my journey and what I've learnt about why we do what we do when we draw, paint or stamp in our bibles.

I started Bible journaling over four years ago with simple stamping and stickers. I look back on the pages I did then and some of them I like, others of them I most certainly do not. There are even a few I wish I could tear out because of the disaster they were artistically! But for me this has been a journey in overcoming perfectionism. My natural disposition is one that never wants to make a mistake, is petrified of failure, of looking foolish. This would be the case even if I wasn't sharing my art on social media, but with that added factor the perfectionism tendencies are even more of an issue. But as I've consistently created in my Bible, I've learned a few lessons along the way...

1) It's about the heart before it's about the art. The purpose of this artistic activity is not primarily the production of beautiful artwork. It is about spending time meditating on God's word and hiding it in our heart. It is about creating time for God to speak to us through his Word and for us to respond in praise, prayer and obedience.

2) Mistakes remind us that we are not God... and that is a good thing. When we hold on to the desire for perfection we forget that only one is perfect and that one is God. We are most certainly not perfect, whether artistically or behaviorally! This is good to meditate on because it keeps us humble and it reminds us of the grace and love of God, who loves us unconditionally, despite our glaring imperfections.

3) Skill in anything takes time to develop - time and a lot of practice! I know this with playing and teaching the piano. Many people would like to play beautiful piano music but are not prepared to put in the practice required to be able to do so. The same goes for art. To colour beautifully, stamp accurately and design pages with balance and creativity requires practice, practice and more practice. Often we learn best when we make mistakes and we realise that certain things don't work. That's all part of the journey of increasing in knowledge and skill!

I used the sweet Be a Flamingo set for the images on this page, and combined the Sweet & Simple Alpha and Walk by Faith sets along with some tiny alpha stickers for the verse. I couldn't resist adding some Faith Wordfetti for finishing touches! I used Inktense blocks from Derwent to colour the images, using an aquabrush to pick up the colour. The background was also created using these blocks by spritzing some water on my glass mat and rubbing the block into the water to create a little coloured ink puddle. I then picked up some of this colour with a piece of acetate and 'smooshed' it onto the page until I was happy with the overall effect. Here are the stamp sets used on this page:

Can I encourage you to say 'no' to fear when it comes to expressing your faith in creative worship and instead to embrace the process of learning about God, yourself and creativity?

With every blessing...

x Amy x

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Created to Glorify God | Psalm 34

"I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips."  (Ps. 34:1)

It's the end of August, and we're wrapping up the different projects and pages shared here on the blog.  We've been so pleased with the God-honoring, God-centered posts we've seen all over the Sweet n Sassy facebook pages and Instagram!

This was a crazy - CAAARRAZY - month on so many levels.
The entire summer has been difficult with all sorts of camps, retreats, church events, vacations, and birthdays of many!
By now, we've wrapped up the summer with our final vacation that lasted for 10 days total: 6 days travel, 4 days stay.  Whew!  I'm still recovering, and not quite up to speed, but I'm much better than I was when we pulled into our garage.  
I'll never forget that night.  
I'll never forget that feeling.
I'll never forget that surreal-ness...
And ya know what?  I'm glad.  I need to remember what happened because it's what happened that brought me to my senses regarding God's overall care and control of a situation.  
My house what not as I'd left it.  It was not as I remembered.  When we pulled in, the floor of our garage was under water, inches deep.  Through the door into our laundry room, and turning the corner into the boiler room we saw the damage.  And we saw the source.
A leak just over a mist had popped on our hot water heater.  It sprayed so peacefully into our boiler room onto the neighboring wall, saturating ultimately all that hung on it, and causing sadly mold to develop on the wall of the next room.  Oh... boy...

There are not enough words for how my countenance had fallen; not enough words to explain that feeling that encompasses tired, weak, depleted, drained, bitter, and sad all at the same time.
My enemy was after me, and I knew - I KNEW - that his battle would rage against me somethin' fierce as I worked with the hubster to settle in and deal with some 100+ gallons of water from our garage floor.

"Singing Praises" stamp set from Sweet n Sassy Stamps.  Affiliate link below.

The morning after this all happened, I awoke with unease and that sinking feeling... you probably know that feeling I'm talking about.  As I mentioned in my processvideo on my Youtube channel, God drew me to my Bible that was lying open on my dining room table.  It was like something out of a movie as I moved from room to room, dismal and drained, to find the Word of God waiting for me among the piles of things still to unpack.  Even more surreal was turning to the next passage in my Bible reading plan, and seeing Psalm 34 in a completely different and relate-able way.

"I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise will always be on my lips. I soul will boast in the LORD; let the oppressed hear and rejoice! Magnify the LORD with me; let us exalt His name together.  I sought the LORD and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.  Those who look to Him are radiant with joy; they shall look to Him and never be ashamed.  This poor man called out and the LORD heard him; He saved him from all of his troubles." (vv.1-6)

"In His Image" stamp set from Sweet n Sassy Stamps.  Affiliate link below.

There are far less words I can muster on just how faithful God is and was during this time.  We've not yet done full repairs to what was damaged and cannot recover what's been lost, but His hand, heavy and glorious, lifted my burden and I felt a weight transferred elsewhere.  It was unreal, supernatural and completely welcome.
David wrote of tragedy and loss, despair and attack, but usually from the posture of praise!  Usually, his position in the LORD of all Lords, and the God of all gods, reminded him often (as it should the rest of us who are in Christ) that he was protected, watched, cared for and loved.  His heart was safe, secure in the hands of God the Creator and Sovereign.
The flooding of my downstairs was bad, but it could have been worse.  PRAISE!
The damage to our house was awful, but it could have been so much more.  PRAISE!
The loss of goods and items was countable, but we are still being taken care of by a good God. PRAISE!
"Let's Do This," stamp set by Sweet n Sassy Stamps.  Affiliate link below.

Dear God, your praise will ever be on my lips, so far as it is in my power to do so!  I count on Your Holy Spirit to continually nudge and convict me of how much You have blessed, that I may praise You all the days of my life, sun up to sun down.
I love You, LORD.  
I adore You, Yahweh.
I praise You El Roi, the God who sees.  Amen.

Much love,
Links to stamps below!

Link to "In His Image," here.

Link to "Singing Praises," here.

Link to "Let's Do This," here.

Monday, August 26, 2019

In the Beginning

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1

Dear Friends,
Our God is very creative! He made all that is- the earth, the heavens, and everything that fills both. Those of us who are creative can relate to His creativity. But, where we have materials to use to create, He created from NOTHING. That's huge! He's in a class all His own! God created all things by speaking them into existence. And when we read John 1, we see that Jesus is the Living Word. Jesus was there at creation. Everything came into being through Him. And, the Holy Spirit was there too (Genesis 1:2.) Each Person of the Trinity had a part in creation.

God is the Creator. Satan doesn't create. He only perverts God's creation. People don't truly create because we must start with something that's already been created. Everything originates with Him. Everything belongs to Him. And that's why everything must submit to Him. Yes, He gave humans free will, but someday, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord (Phil 2:10-11.)

This first sentence of the Bible only has 10 words. But, what a huge thing it's describing! It's really incomprehensible the magnitude of what He did. But, that's our God. A God who is mighty and can do amazing things. Rest in Him.

Page Details:
I used the following Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps: In His Image, Faith Wordfetti, and Send Me. I love both these sets! I also used watercolor crayons and a white pen.

It's pretty amazing that the Creator of all things loves us as much as He does. Rest in that truth. Have a blessed week! Andrea

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Water from the Rock...

Hi friends,

I am sharing four pages with you today because they all tie together within the same theme/events in the Bible. The two miraculous events are found in Exodus 17 and Numbers 20 and both are a demonstration of God's provision for a thirsty, grumbling people.

In Exodus 17 the people of Israel are traveling in the desert and have no water. They grumble to and against Moses, demanding that he give them water. His response is to firstly point out that they are in fact grumbling against God (a sobering truth to reflect upon in our own grumbling!), then he cries out to God for help. God's reply is that he should strike the rock that is in their midst, and when he does, water flows out - enough water to quench the thirst of many, many people. God's provision is so lavish and so gracious, despite the quarreling, grumbling and lack of faith of the people.

Years later, towards the end of Moses' life, a similar scenario unfolds in a different place. The people have no water and again complain to Moses and Aaron, grumbling about being in the desert, not having grain or fruit, and even wishing that they were dead! Once again, Moses and Aaron go and seek the Lord about this dire situation and God responds graciously. He commands Moses to speak to the rock that was in their midst and that water would flow. Moses however, instead of obeying God's command to speak to the rock, speaks to the people and says “Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?” He then strikes the rock twice. This response shows anger and frustration, and taking matters into his own hands. God in his grace still provides water for his people, despite Moses' disobedience, but Moses pays a heavy price: he is no longer allowed to enter the promised land. 

In Deuteronomy 8 we see Moses reminding the people of all that God had done for them (they had a habit of forgetting!). In this speech, he reminds them of these instances of provision of water from the rock, and this time he gets the emphasis right: it was God who brought forth the water, not him. In fact, it was despite him, despite circumstances and despite the people's grumbling attitudes, that God provided. Oh what grace. There are so many lessons we can learn from these accounts in the Old Testament. Lessons about going to God with your problems, about the importance of obedience in leadership and the need to not let frustration and anger drive our reactions. There are lessons about gratitude and grumbling, and about giving God the glory rather than taking it for ourselves. Isn't Scripture amazing with its richness?

But there's another aspect of this theme that appears in the New Testament...

In 1 Corinthians 10 Paul writes about how we need to learn from Israel's history, particularly from their mistakes and God's character shown in his dealings with them. In reflecting on these 'water from the rock' instances, Paul writes that the rock that followed them was Christ. It was out of the riches of Christ that the people were satisfied. Now here's where the part about striking and speaking gets really interesting. Jesus was struck for us (see Isaiah 53 and the narratives of the crucifixion) and as a result, salvation flowed to us. But once was enough (see Hebrews 7:27 & 10:10) - Jesus doesn't need to keep being sacrificed and struck for us because his suffering and sacrifice was perfect and complete. Now, we only need to speak to him in prayer to receive his provision, nourishment and life-giving Spirit. How awesome is that? I just love how these truths are unfolded throughout Scripture and how everything is centered in Christ.

For all of these pages I used the same supplies: Inktense blocks and a paintbrush, as well as black Versamagic ink and of course, stamps from Sweet 'n Sassy! I used the new School Days Alpha and Faith Wordfetti as well as Living Water, Mighty Fortress, His Name and Sweet & Simple Alpha. Here are the sets I used:

I know this post has been a long one, but there was so much to share about this thread of water from the rock throughout Scripture. I hope that you have been encouraged and that God will speak to you through his Word so you would know his gracious provision right where you are.

x Amy x

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

In the Beginning, God.

A good Tuesday to you, Creative Worshipers!

I'm in love. I'm seriously in love with the sets for the August release!  Have you enjoyed them?  Which ones are your favorite!  Comment below and let's talk. :D
But for now, I want to chit chat a bit about the Person for which the stamp set, "Made in His Image," was intended: God.

What?  lol, yes we're gonna talk about God.  That's what we do here.  That's what brings us the most joy and the most honor as we create and share!  God is amazing, worthy of praise and beyond worthy of our love and affections.
I fail daily to give Him my all; but even if for a few moments of your day, I can pour into your heart and encourage you by His Holy Spirit, I say, it's been a good day!

"In the Beginning, God," is something I heard a pastor once say.  I don't remember which pastor along the stream of pastors I've heard in the couple of decades I've been a Christian, but his words impacted me in such a way, that every Bible I've marked up has those words in highlight.
"In the beginning, God."

Let that sink it.
The very start of existence - EVEN BEFORE HUMANITY - God was there.  Already.  Already positioned in glory, on His throne, looking at the outstretched canvas of what we call our universe. 
He sees vastness.  Emptiness.  Void.
He plans.  He intends.  He inhales.
He moves.  He breathes.  He makes.

In the starting and pivotal stages of what would start the human race, God.
In the place of authority, majesty, sovereignty over all creation, God.

Have you read Genesis 1?  It's fantastic. 
What an account!  What a mind-blowing thing, too! 
How can one possibly imagine a Being out there in (quite literally) "no man's land," looking into the darkness that He may fill it with light?  That's so encouraging on many levels.
1.  God is working and planning the time when all things would exist, then mankind would enter and inherit such a place!
2.  God is moving and placing, creating and positioning the human hearts to love and adore Him from a place of complete intimacy, sharing His light and love with His beloved image-bearers.
3.  God is instilling authority that only He can give into mankind to rule with Him and carry out the tasks of keeping the earth. 

There's more. 
A lot more.
Insanely more. 
More than we can think, and unfortunately, more than we can hope for until Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, returns for His people to once again place them in a perfect state.
In John, we read, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God, and the Word was with God."  (v1)

Jesus Christ was in the beginning - right there by the Father - happily and joyfully creating the world for the coming inhabitants. 
Jesus Christ was in the beginning - right there with the Father - watching the plan unfold and readying Himself for His departure to live as a human.
Jesus Christ was in the beginning - right there in the Father - being filled with the Light of man, and the Light of all the world, that through Him, all the world would be saved.

In. The. Beginning.

The Tri-Unity of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit is amazing.  Too amazing. 
Vastly beyond our ability to understand, yet still touchable and relative.

This is my feeble attempt to encourage someone in their walk with the Lord, or to begin a walk with the Lord. 
He is, by and large, the greatest Thing you will ever encounter and the most passionately merciful God you will ever meet.
And life.

Friends, if you choose ANYone to follow, love, and worship, choose Him.
If you choose ANYthing to study, seek and meditate, choose Him.

Much love,
IG @mercies_journaled
Youtube: Mercies Journaled
Affiliate link for "In His Image," here.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Created in His Image

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."
Genesis 1:27

That's me right there - curly hair, glasses, favorite purple shirt, covered in paint. A whole hot mess. But a hot mess created in the image of my Heavenly Father for the purpose of bringing Him glory. 🙌

This page was a lot of fun to create! I first covered my verse with washi to prevent any accidental smudging (trust me, accidents happens A LOT with me), then I did my stamping using the stamp sets below, and used watercolor paints to color in the stamps. Then came my favorite part - splattering the page with paint!! I seriously love a good paint splatter! 

I used the three new release Creative Worship stamp sets, the always versatile Girl Power stamp set to create this page. 😊😍



AWESOME NEWS!! All alpha stamp sets are on sale "Buy 2, Get 1 FREE" through the end of the day today. Take advantage of the sale and scoop up those alphas you've been eyeing up. 😉

Have a blessed week!

Much love in Christ, 

Saturday, August 17, 2019

We are the Clay

Howdy Friends! I am sharing a new background technique I tried using plastic wrap today, but before I get into all the nitty gritty I have a fun sale to share with you... Sweet N Sassy stamps is having an amazing sale on all their alphabet stamp sets 2 get 1 free (no code necessary). This is a great time to pick up your favorite sets to use in your Bible journaling, card making, scrapbooking, etc. Okay now on to the fun....

To begin I got my page super wet then plopped (my beautiful technical word) color all over the page. Next I pulled out some plastic wrap and scrunched (yet another technical word) it around to create an interesting texture. Now comes the super boring part....I walked away, grabbed a cup of coffee and let it dry.

When I came back it was almost dry, I pulled off the wrap, but I really wish I had waited it would have created a more vibrant and interesting texture....but I patience and me are not always friends. After the page was completely dry I used StazOn black ink to stamp my title out and used a few tabs, washi tapes, and stickers in matching colors.

Isaiah 64:8 "But now, O Lord, you are our Father, we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand."

You and I were created for a beautiful unique purpose. We are continuously being shaped and molded by the master artist. It's ok if we don't look like our friends and neighbors, we all are called to fufill a different purpose. It can be so easy to see the beauty in others and often overlook our own. I can't tell you how often I look down at my wrinkled, stained leggings and baggy tee shirt and wish my life was a little less messy, but those stains and wrinkles mean I have littles whom I cherish and depend on me. I encourage you today to see the beauty in yourself. You were created for a purpose!

Thanks for dropping by I hope you are leaving encouraged and refreshed.
Don't forget about the alpha sale going on now through the 18th.

Love and prayers,

Supplies Used:
Watercolors- Illustrated Faith, Black Ink- StazOn, Washi tape- cross, and arrows (Illustrated Faith), Black and White Stripes (Hobby Lobby), Tabs- Illustrated Faith, Ephemera- Illustrated Faith, Heart Stickers- Illustrated Faith

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Keep Me Safe Lord

Psalm 17:8
"Keep me as the apple of your eye;
Hide me in the shadow of your wings."

Preserve me, guard me, keep me safe Lord. God looks out for each and every one of his children. He wants the very best for us and to see us prosper in this life. 

Jeremiah 29:11 
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Life can be scary. Not knowing what your next step in life should be, or how to handle a recent unexpected event. It's scary when I can't see the "whole puzzle" and how all the pieces are suppose to fit together. Only God knows what that final picture is meant to be. But God is there to keep us safe, shelter us from the storms that life brings, and guide us in the right direction. Life the mother bird, we can find shelter under his wings, keeping us warm and safe at all times. 

I had fun experimenting with the background of this page. If you're a crafty person like me, you may occasionally receive a card from someone and think "Wow, this is cool, I'm saving this for something!" Well that's what I did with a recent birthday card I received. The front had a beautiful cream colored cut out layered on top and I thought "That would look cool in my bible!" When I went to create this page I remembered that piece I had stashed away and thought it may make a cool stencil!

So I laid the paper piece on my page where I wanted it and secured it with some washi tape. I used Distress Ink in Antique Linen ( one of my favorites) and daubed it over the stencil until I was happy with the design it left. I had to use a make up sponge to apply the ink into the tiny holes of the stencil. 

Since I didn't want the stencil to show through my bird, I stamped the bird from the set Singing Praises onto card stock. I used a few different mediums to add color and shading. I started with rubbing two colors of Distress Oxide onto my clear acrylic block. Then applied the color with a watercolor brush. To add a little more depth, I went over the watercolor with my Prismacolor pencils. After applying all the color to the image, I went back and outlined the image with my black Faber-Castell pen and then a couple small touches of white acrylic paint. 

Stephanie Gammon

Singing Praises