INDOOR // i'm not usually a crafter nor a maker, but these faux ceramic napkin rings are tugging my heartstrings. i'm a sucker for a good paint speckle, and now with our dining room fit for visitors, i may just have to roll up my sleeves and make those cute things!
OUTDOOR // bring me that uninhibited horizon of dreamy tranquil blue and i'll be a happy girl. [countdown to california begins now! 7 days and i'll be soaking my prego self in the lovely pacific... sigh...]
the concept of God's will can be a little overwhelming... what is His will anyway? should i take this job or that job? should i move here or there? should i choose this or that?
sometimes we may even get so caught up in figuring out the "right" way that we don't take a step at all, we just stay in the same place because we're too worried about making the wrong decision, going in the wrong direction, taking the wrong opportunity.
this is something that i've gone in waves of struggling with... some seasons i'm totally moved by faith and confident in Christ's freedom, and other seasons i'm stuck where i'm at because i don't want to make a wrong move... because in my mind, it's better to stand still than choose the wrong path. this season has proved to be the latter for me, so i have to remind myself that this way of thinking isn't helping me or keeping me safe.
why is this a struggle? why does the idea of God's will scare us into doing nothing? i think it's because we've somehow inherited this idea that God's will means making every right move and if we don't, then God will punish us and withhold His sovereign plan from us. even saying that is an oxymoron - if the direction we choose affects God's sovereignty, then He's not sovereign at all, which would mean He's not in control.
yes, there are some specifics about God's will in the bible, but they're dealing more with the heart - it's God's will for us to be sexually pure [so if you're married, be faithful to your husband sexually and emotionally; if you're single, save sex for your future marriage], it's God's will for us to have thankful hearts, it's God's will + desire for us to love Him with our entire being and share His love with others... it's all centered on the heart.
as i read His word, it becomes clearer that God is more concerned with the place of my heart than the place of my feet. if my heart is loving, trusting, seeking Him first, then everything else is sort of just background scenery.
it's like if you were making a movie or writing a story, the actual setting that you place the characters in is secondary to what's going on with the characters. even if you created this amazing setting but the characters lacked any sort of depth or change or conflict or growth there really wouldn't be a story. the storyline is wrapped up in the characters, not the setting.
isn't it interesting that when you're reading a good book or watching a movie, no matter what decisions the characters make - whether good or bad - the story flows and ends exactly how the writer intended? if we believe that God is the author and finisher of our faith, then He will write our stories exactly how they're intended to be.... and guess what? He promises that all things will work together for good for those who love Him. every decision, every fork in the road - they will all be worked together for our good.
following Christ frees us from the weighty legalism of the "right" path and allows us to adventure and take risks and succeed and even fail! we have freedom to choose that job or change our careers or move to a different state or whatever it is we're debating. of course, let's pray for God's direction but let's also move in the assurance that our decision-makings and path-wanderings will not and cannot throw off God's plan for our lives.
so the "right" way is the one we choose daily - the one where we place our hearts in God's hands.
nothing can separate us from His love, and nothing can thwart His story.
these days, my mind [+ wallet] has been centered around baby's nursery, but every now and then a non-baby-related product will catch my eye that i just can't resist... for example, that hello tape + farmer's market bag are currently on their way to me as we speak!
we've also been playing with the idea of updating our kitchen just a bit. we definitely won't be doing a full on remodel or anything like that, but little touches like hardware and backsplash can really make a space feel completely different... and right now, i'm a little taken with those brass handles. heart eyes for days, am i right?
any home projects in the works for you guys? i have a feeling this summer is going to be nothing but nesting for me... thank the Lord for pinterest and all those diy videos out there!
spring has so wonderfully arrived a bit early here in montana and i couldn't be happier! the sun has been out and about with all it's golden glory, which has caused the lilac trees - along with the peonies - to come back to life... just about ready to burst into blooms! oh i can't wait! but i'm trying to savor these days because i know they'll be gone before i know it and i'll have cut every last bloom. c'est la vie.
this year has been quite different so far... of course, being pregnant brings its own newness and transition and excitement, but even aside from that, my work has mainly consisted of wedding invitations - something that has been completely unique since starting thorn + sparrow. it's been fun to switch gears for awhile, and i think it challenges me creatively which is always a good thing!
along with wedding invitations, i've been working on illustrations for intentional home, a ministry founded by karen stott, the lovely lady behind pursuit31. i have to say, this project is something i look forward to every month. i love getting to paint pretty little things for these downloads, hoping they brighten the tasks and days of every subscriber.
anyways! that's what i've been up to as i've been kinda quiet on the blog recently, hope you're all doing well and would love to hear what you've been up to this spring!
just finished up a few logo options for a ministry in texas, and i think this might be my favorite one! it was such a lovely experience working with irene - hearing about her steps of faith to start this ministry and wanting everyone to feel so welcomed into her home. so happy to be a very small part of her journey in this new ministry!
"now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us."
disappoint: to make [someone] unhappy by not being as good as expected or by not doing something that was hoped for or expected... synonyms: cheat, dissatisfy, fail, let down antonyms: content, gratify, satisfy
we can place our hope in a myriad of things - hope in getting a promotion, hope in being successful, hope in escaping, hope that a spouse will make everything better, hope in anything that will make you happier... and these can [and will] lead to disappointment - because it's a fleeting end. those things are just that - things. things that may temporarily bring happiness, but sooner or later you'll start hoping for something else, something better, something further out of reach.
i think if you just read that first little phrase in verse 5 and don't read the context, it'd be easy to say that hope does disappoint - that you've experienced hoping for something and don't get it..... because when you hope for some 'thing' you're bound to be disappointed. i've been there.... oh, a lot of times.
i love that the author of romans spells it out for us, gives us the formula and the answer for this hope that does not disappoint... the formula starts just two verses back:
"we glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;
and perseverance, character; and character, hope.
... now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us."
trials -> perseverance -> character -> hope
trials cause us to look past what we can see and look onto what we can't see - God. they cause us to realize that we're not in control and that ultimately, only He has control. trials cause us to persevere - choosing to keep going through the thick of it... which molds our character because we're no longer focusing on ourselves and what we want, but on God and what He wants....
giving us the buried treasure in the stormy trial: hope.
hope in what?
why hope in God?
because His love has been poured overflowing into our hearts, by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. GIVEN to us.
God has generously given His spirit, His love, His grace, and a life that goes on and on and on, a world without end... what we hope for isn't an "end" and it isn't a "thing"... it's a relationship that has no bounds and no end.
that's why we can boldly say that hope does not disappoint, because God does not disappoint or fail us - He does exceedingly above and beyond all that we expect, ask or think!
i thought kids were a couple years down the road for us... but sometimes God just sends you a little surprise party in your belly and you can't believe how completely excited you are and can't figure out why you didn't want this sooner! God knows our hearts better than we do... and He knew we wanted kids even before we really did... His timing is perfect and we just couldn't be more thrilled for this gift.
it's mind-blowing to think that God already has a plan and purpose for this little life and somehow we get to be part of it! we're just praying for a smooth and healthy pregnancy and of course, a healthy baby... and would love your prayers if you think about it!
i just love the beautiful, powerful simplicity of the gospel. by His sacrifice, we have salvation. He endured our punishment so that we could have peace. it's nothing we could ever accomplish on our own... it's not about how much we "do" or attempt to do for the Lord, it's about what He's already done for us!
His stripes cover every sin and heal every wound. He - the perfect / the strong / the sinless / the immortal hero / the King / the Creator - endured a pain so terrible and inhumane so that we - the sinners / the imperfect / the poor / the wounded / the depraved / the lost - could be set free.
His love gives life.
don't you just feel a weight being lifted remembering that? my heart feels so light with thankfulness when i reflect on what He's done for me, for us... He died so that we would have vibrant life and perfect peace and hope in the darkness.
and for that, life is lovely.
i've created these little phone wallpapers to help us keep our eyes on those lovely truths. [p.s. if you have an iphone, when setting the wallpaper, turn off the perspective zoom for a correct display of the image. :)]
"He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities,
a couple of years ago, i was in the beginning stages of choosing a name for this creative outlet, and i felt like "thorn" had been a word that the Lord kept bringing to me. thorn is used all over scripture to represent our sin, our struggles, our fall, our trials... and i wanted that reminder - the reminder that there will always be hard stuff, life is full of sin and struggles and trials but it's all for our good...
instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree,
and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree;
and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.
....and then i came across that verse, and i remember feeling a huge sense of hope, an assurance that whatever that "thorn" is, God would always grow redemption in that very spot. God would always use that area of my life - whether it's the thorn of my childhood, the thorn of my trials, or the thorn of my sin - to bring a flourishing, redemptive work that couldn't be explained apart from His ability to bring abundant goodness out of pain. life out of death. beauty out of ashes. trees out of thorns.
i love that picture! the very place, the very hurt, that seems the furthest from good or growth, is the very place that God will cause something stunning to flourish, because He loves us and wants us to live forever with Him. His love is overwhelming, isn't it?
whatever thorn you're dealing with today, remember that it's not in vain. that thorn is the perfect place for God to work wonders and bring about beauty.
p.s. please take a few minutes to read the entire chapter of isaiah 55 - it's packed with grace and promises and encouragement and inspiration for our journeys... love you guys!
"then moses said to the Lord, 'o my Lord, i am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but i am slow of speech and slow of tongue.'
so the Lord said to him, 'Who has made man's mouth?
or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? have not I, the Lord?
now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.'"
it's scary to step out in faith. it's scary to do something we've never done before, to stand before a great sea of unknowns... waiting for God to part it and make a path that we've never walked before. it's scary to follow God's calling because, most of the time, it seems impossible.
if we always stayed in a place of comfort, in a place of 'possible', there would never be a need to be courageous. only when we're faced with something scary or uncomfortable or seemingly impossible, do we have the chance to exercise bravery...
bravery: noun the quality that allows someone to do things that are dangerous or frightening.
i'm reminded of frodo and sam... small homebody creatures unlikely to have any sort of adventure or victory. they had never faced a day of battle or discomfort or setbacks or loneliness or climbing mountains or meeting new people... they didn't know all the ins and outs of their task, where exactly to go or what they might encounter.... but they were willing and went.
we won't know all the ins and outs of God's plan for our lives, we'll be met with forks in the road and we won't know which way is 'right'... so instead of just sitting down at the fork and not moving from fear of picking the wrong direction, let's move forward in faith. let's be assured that no matter which way we choose that God will direct us. He made us, He fights for us, and He will not forsake us.
the way will be dangerous and it will be frightening. that's why God
repeatedly encourages us through His Word to be courageous... because He knows
that what He's asking of us is scary, and we can't do it without Him, but He will be with us and He will do the impossible.
i've been super inspired by my dear friend chelsea, who has just embarked on a new journey attending hillsong college in australia. i'm amazed at her courage to step out in faith when it would be so much easier to just stay in her comfort zone. after i read her post about being totally afraid and totally excited, i borrowed her little phrase that speaks volumes to me and made a wallpaper out of it, to remind us all that He makes us brave.
i pray that this year is characterized by us not sitting in fear, but stepping in faith. i don't want to do something or make decisions out of fear, i want to be brave.
love you all, hope you're encouraged!
[the wallpaper is formatted for iphone 6, but i think it'll work on most phones! also, if you do have an iphone 6, when setting this as your wallpaper, make sure to turn off the zoom and reposition if necessary :)]