Sunday, March 27, 2022

Surrender to Hope

 But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope. Lamentations 3:21

Hi Friends,
I don't know where you find yourself today- if you're having a good day or a bad day; but today, I want to talk about hope. We could all use a little! Hope is not found in this world and its messiness. Hope is not found in power or privilege. Hope is not found in worldly identities. Hope is not found in trying to control things. Hope is found by letting all the worldly stuff go, by surrendering to Jesus. After all, Jesus is Hope. 

In Lamentations 3:1-20, Jeremiah speaks of his afflictions. But then is verse 21, he says this: "But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope." In the midst of all his afflictions, in the midst of difficulty, he has hope. And he spends the rest of the chapter telling us what he remembers that gives him hope. And here it is:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.
His mercies never come to an end.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
"The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I hope in Him." Lam 3:22-24

For the Lord will not cast off forever,
But though He cause grief, He will have compassion according to the abundance of His steadfast love;
For He does not afflict from His heart or grieve the children of men. Lam 3:31-33

Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord!
Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven. Lam 3:40-41

You see, Jeremiah had hope because he knew God and was surrendered to Him. He knew the Lord's love was unconditional, that He was merciful and faithful, and compassionate. The Lord was more than enough for Jeremiah. Well, God doesn't change. Jesus is God, so He doesn't change. Jeremiah may not have known Jesus like we do, but he knew Jesus because he knew God. And he surrendered himself to Hope. We can do the same.

Page details: I used the following Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps sets: God is Sovereign, Landscape Silhouettes, Nature Silhouettes, and Texture Tiles 3. I started by painting the background with watercolor crayons. When using watercolor crayons, I usually get my brush super wet and dab color from the tip of the crayon. Then I dab the color onto the page. I dab the paint rather than brushing the paint across the page because I like how the dabbing looks dry. Then I stamped the horizon, then the flowers in the forefront. I used a texture stamp to make the water look more like water. And lastly, I stamped the words.

Have a blessed week! Surrender to Hope. Andrea

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Draw near to listen...

Hi friends,

When we come to God in prayer, is our first instinct to talk or to listen? I know for me, it is to talk. I have requests to bring, cares to voice, and hopefully thanks to give. But it rarely occurs to me to begin with listening. That's why I am so challenged by Ecclesiastes 5, which begins by telling us to draw near to God to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools. Rather than babbling on, we are to come into God's presence to humbly listen.

The writer goes on to instruct us (in case we haven't got it yet!):
Do not be quick with your mouth,
    do not be hasty in your heart
    to utter anything before God.
God is in heaven
    and you are on earth,
    so let your words be few.

That is quite the challenge, particularly if we have been told (and shown) that prayer is about an abundance of words to God.

So what does it mean to draw near to God to listen, to let out words be few? Perhaps it means developing the practice of silence before God, of stilling ourselves in his presence and just 'being' with him. This practice of silence is one that has long been practiced as a spiritual discipline across the history of Christianity, but in today's world it seems a particular challenge. There is so much noise competing for our attention that it feels like we have to continue the noise when it comes to God. But what if we resisted the pull of the culture around us and instead came in silence to listen to Almighty God? What space might that create to hear his particular word to us for that moment or season?

I used the new Spread Your Wings stamp and die bundle on this page, as I loved the image of a butterfly quietly coming near to the flower to draw on its goodness. I also used Watch Your Mouth for some of the words, as well as Marker Alpha and With Love Alpha to complete the text. I added the arrow from Send Me, and used the Mosaic stencil in the background with some Nuvo mousse, over the top of a watercoloured background using Inktense pencils.

Let's be people who draw near to God to listen before speaking.

Be blessed...

x Amy x

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Happy or Holy?

 He replied, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God 
and obey it. Luke 11:28

Hi Friends!
Have you heard or seen, "God wants you happy." or "God wants you holy." or "God wants you holy, not happy." I have. In fact, I've journaled a few pages with "happy" crossed out and focusing on "holy." And here's the thing. I believe 100% that God wants us holy. Why, because He tells us so again and again in the bible- 1 Peter 1:15-16, Romans 12:2, and 2 Timothy 1:9 to name a few. The world on the other hand, tells us to do what makes us happy. And therein lies the problem. What we think might make us happy usually is fleeting if we are looking to wordly things to make us happy. See, I think God wants us holy AND happy- but not happy because of worldly things, not happy because we're doing whatever we want. We find true happiness by following God's way which, of course, is holy. Holiness, being set apart for God, leads to happiness. Happiness and holiness are both found in Christ!

So, if my answer to my question is that God wants us both happy AND holy, let's talk about happiness. We often hear believers say that there is a difference between joy and happiness. In fact, I've said that myself. But in studying this verse, I came across this from "It is common today to hear believers speak of a difference between joy and happiness. The teaching usually makes the following points: 1) Happiness is a feeling, but joy is not. 2) Happiness is fleeting, but joy is everlasting. 3) Happiness depends on circumstances or other people, but joy is a gift from God. 4) Happiness is worldly, but joy is divine. 
But there is no such distinction made in scripture, and forcing a distinction between two words that are so obviously close in meaning is unnecessary. If a person is joyful, then he or she is happy. There's no such thing as glum joy. We cannot drain joy of emotion and still call it "joy." When God's Spirit gives us joy, then we are happy people."

As I said before, there are different places we can find happiness. So the choice is ours. Will we look to the world for happiness/joy? Or will we look to God for it?

You might be saying, Luke 11:28 doesn't even have "happy" or "joy" in it! The word translated as "blessed" in this verse is the Greek word, "makarios." It is most often translated as "blessed" in our English Bibles. But it also means "happy," and is translated as such a few times- John 13:17, Acts 26:2, Romans 14:22, 1 Cor 7:40, 1 Peter 3:14, and 1 Peter 4:14. 

So what is Jesus saying here in Luke 11:28? HAPPY are those who hear the word of God and obey it. Believers should be happy and holy because they hear God's Word and live it.

Page details: I used the following Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps sets: Beautiful You, Trust in the Lord, In His Image, Mini Bold Print Alpha, Mini Grunge Type Alpha, Decorative Frame Toppers, Grunge Dot Stencil, and Chicken Wire Stencil. I applied distress oxides to the page using a craft brush. Then I used the stencils to add to the background and stamped the words on top.

Have a HAPPY and Holy week! :)  Andrea   

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Everything is Beautiful in Time

"For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace. What do people really get for all their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end. So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God. And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God's purpose is that people should fear him. What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again." 
- Ecclesiastes 3:1-15

I'll be honest with you.... Ecclesiastes has never been one of my favorite books of the Bible. In fact, I really never much cared for it. Psalms and Proverbs, yes, definitely. New Testament, for sure. Even the Old Testament historical events, super interesting. But Ecclesiastes? It just always seemed so depressing. Everything in life is meaningless, without a point. Nothing is new under the sun. It just makes life seem so, well... futile. 

Then I was chatting with one of my Bible study friends and she told me that Ecclesiastes was her favorite book. You can imagine my reaction. ("It's your favorite book?! What?? Why???" ๐Ÿคฏ) She then proceeded to share with me all the reasons why she loved the book, and that one conversation changed my view completely. This time, I had a totally different mindset as I went into studying Ecclesiastes.

"Solomon set out to look for answers in wisdom - by which he meant human wisdom that excluded answers in light of eternity. This is the wisdom of those who guide us to a better life in the here and now; how to live a healthier, happier, ore prosperous life. This wisdom has value and many lives would be better for following it, yet it excludes a true appreciation for eternity. This wisdom has no true answer for the meaninglessness of life. It only shows us how to live our meaningless lives better." (David Guzik)

In all the times I read Ecclesiastes, I focused on the meaninglessness of it all. If you're poor, life is meaningless (and really hard). If you're rich, life is meaningless. If you're foolish, life is meaningless (and really, really hard). If you're wise, life is meaningless. It all seemed so meaningless to me. What really is the purpose of life?? But what I failed to take into account was that this was Solomon's under the sun viewpoint. He was looking for the meaning and purpose of life on earth. As a child of God, I have a decidedly different view than the under the sun view. Everything in life, from the most mundane of daily tasks, to the biggest, most publicized stage has meaning if done with eternity in view (1 Corinthians 3, 23-33; Colossians 3:17). 

Ecclesiastes 1:9-11 tells us that life continually repeats itself. Everything that has been done before will be done again. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Life seems to be monotonously the same, century after century, generation after generation. Fun, right? However, followers of Jesus have a life filled with new things: new life, new creation, new community, new help, new covenant, and a new hope. Hope that if things have been done before and people made it through, so can we. We are not alone in the struggle of life. There is nothing that I have gone through or am going through that others have not gone through. There is a certain level of comfort in that fact. 

Ecclesiastes 6:18-20 tells us that we should be satisfied with the goodness of life. Wealth and the capacity to enjoy it is a gift from God. Solomon says that it is "good and fitting for one to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life." I'll be the first to admit that sometimes I take life too seriously - I work too hard, I worry to much, I stress about the smallest things. If that is you too, stop it! Sure, parts of life can be extremely difficult, but it is God's gift to enjoy the good in life. Our lot in life may be different, but we all have something good worth enjoying. Don't be so busy toiling under the sun that you don't enjoy the gift God has given you - life. 

"I have seen the God-give task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. he has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end." - Ecclesiastes 3:10-11

We all struggle with the purpose and meaning of life and want to feel like what we do matters. Ecclesiastes 3 tells us that God has put eternity in our hearts. He has made us with the desire to find meaning and purpose in life. Life only becomes meaningless when we seek wisdom, pleasure, and satisfaction under the sun only. It's when we fix our eyes on eternity that our purpose and meaning become clear.

Viewpoint matters. Reading and studying Ecclesiastes with a different view enabled me to enjoy the book, and honestly filled me with hope and joy. I can do life. I can do life well. I can have balance. I can have fulfillment. I can enjoy the life God has given me. 

**I have a ton more notes on Ecclesiastes that I would love to share with you, but I couldn't fit them all here! I will do a flip through of my study of Ecclesiastes in my Instagram stories, and will save them as a highlight under Bible Study. If you have time, hop on over to my IG to check it out. ๐Ÿ˜‰

(A huge thank you to my friend, Alyssa, for helping me gain new perspective on this important book ๐Ÿงก)

Page Details

I had so much fun creating this page with Distress Inks and stamps, and I just love how it came together ๐Ÿฆ‹ First, I stamped the butterflies and flowers on vellum and colored with colored pencils. Then, I punched out a 2" circle on regular printer paper and lightly stuck it to the page to mask off the circle background, which fit my butterfly phrase just perfectly. I then blended the background, blended the Leaf Branch stencil, and used the Script background before removing the 2" circle. I then finished my title stamping and used double sided tape to adhere the vellum butterflies and flowers. Voila!


If you're like me and have found Ecclesiastes to be one of your least favorite books of the Bible, I encourage you to go back to it with a different point of view. You may find it to be more hopeful and meaningful than you originally thought. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Much love in Christ, 


Clothe Yourselves with Humility...

Hi friends,

I wonder how much time each of us spends thinking about what to wear when we get up in the morning. There are often so many factors at play: am I working or resting? Do I need to look smart or sporty? Is there a dress code to consider? What do I have that is clean? The list goes on. I wonder whether we spend any time thinking about what spiritual clothing we are putting on?

In the letter of 1 Peter, the apostle gives some instructions to both leaders and those they lead, and those instructions are vital for us to hear. But he follows this with a word for everyone, no matter their position of authority: ALL of you are to clothe yourselves with humility. The thing about humility is that is doesn't come naturally to the vast majority of us. So therefore we need to be active in putting it on. Just like we take care (much of the time) to choose our physical clothing, we need to take the time and care to think about how we 'wear' humility in our daily lives. What does it mean to be clothed with humility at home, at church, in the workplace, driving the car, in the grocery store? It means honouring one another and treating others as more important than ourselves. It means laying down our rights and preferences for the sake of others. That kind of clothing can be uncomfortable at first. It might scratch a bit at our 'skin'. But the more we wear it, the more used to it we become, until it becomes our favourite outfit (at least that's what hoping - I'm nowhere near there yet!).

I used the new Spotted stamp set to create the background on this page, stamping with different colours after using gelatos to add colour to the page. The adorable animals are from Warm Winter Friends, coloured with alcohol markers, cut out and stuck on the page. I used a few different alphabet sets for the text: Bitty Minnie Alpha, Love ya Like a Sister Alpha, Lollipop Alpha, and Skinny Lowercase Alpha.

Let's choose to clothe ourselves with humility daily, and imitate our Saviour Jesus Christ, who was the perfect example of a life lived in humility.

Be blessed...

x Amy x

Friday, March 4, 2022

His Mercy is More

"He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life."
Titus 3:4-7

Hello friends! We have been singing this beautiful song by Matt Papa and Matt Boswell in church recently, and it has been stuck in my head for weeks. The lyrics are so lovely:

"What love could remember no wrongs we have done
Omniscient, all knowing, He counts not their sum
Thrown into a sea without bottom or shore
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more
What patience would wait as we constantly roam
What Father, so tender, is calling us home
He welcomes the weakest, the vilest, the poor
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more
Praise the Lord, His mercy is more
Stronger than darkness, new every morn
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more
What riches of kindness He lavished on us
His blood was the payment, His life was the cost
We stood 'neath a debt we could never afford
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more
Praise the Lord, His mercy is more
Stronger than darkness, new every morn
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more
Praise the Lord, His mercy is more
Stronger than darkness, new every morn
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more"

I find myself tearing up every time I start to sing the last stanza before the last chorus. ๐Ÿ˜ข My sins, they are so, so many, but thank God! His mercy is more. ๐Ÿ™Œ 

I love to journal song lyrics. In fact, much of my Bible journaling revolves around music because it's such an effective way of getting God's Word and truth in my heart and mind. I often wake up for the day with a song already in my head. ♫

If you haven't heard this song before, I encourage you to hop on over to YouTube and give it a listen. (Better yet, download the whole album on Prime Music. It's full of Bible truth in worship ๐Ÿ˜‰)

Page Details

The background of this page was created using gelatos. I did prep the page using clear gesso, then gelatos, then I used a baby wipe and the Make Music stencil to wipe off the gelato background to create the clear music notes. It gave the page a neat negative color effect. The lyrics were stamped using a variety of alpha stamps (my favorites!) from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps. 


I pray you rest in His endless mercy this weekend. Always remember, His mercy is more - more than all your sin, more than all your shame, more than all your regret. More. ๐Ÿ’œ

Much love in Christ,