January 18, 2015

instead of thorns, there shall be trees

 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.
isaiah 55:13

....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!

January 8, 2015

iphone wallpaper // he makes me brave

"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.'"
exodus 4:10-12

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 :)]

paper + ink club

 at the start of 2014, i resolved to read more, zone less.... and by 'zone' i mean stare blankly at my phone as i scroll through feeds of photos. i like keeping up with friends and the people i follow on social media, but it was out of control in 2013, and i found that i only read two books the entire year... TWO!! i'm a reader, so for me, that's unacceptable... i nearly felt my brain turn to mush like the blob people in wall-e when i realized the lack of reading time. bleh.

rather than setting a specific goal like 'i want to read a book a month...' i just set out to slowly change my habits one decision at a time - instead of grabbing my phone, i'd grab a book instead. it's crazy and encouraging to see the difference that little switch made last year. i read eleven and a half books [sorry coco chanel, i lost interest halfway thru. oops. not pictured: c.s. lewis biography and amy poehler's 'yes please'] and listened to one audiobook [mindy kaling's 'is everyone hanging out without me?'].

i tried to mix it up between fiction and non fiction, spiritual and secular, young adult and adult. i think my favorite book from the year was 'walking on water: reflections on faith and art' by madeleine l'engle. oh. my. gosh. the woman is a genius but it's not so heady that you have to reread every paragraph just to understand what she's saying. i think her view on faith and art and mixing the two is profound and inspiring. i'd say it's a great read for anyone, but a must read for artists.

this year, i plan on doing the same thing - read more, zone less... so i'm kicking off the year with creativity inc. by ed catmull and the last battle by c.s. lewis. good ol' clive staples is always on my reading list.

what are you guys reading? i'd love to hear what your favorite books are or what you'd recommend! happy reading!

p.s. i feel a sense of responsibility for listing these books and somewhat promoting them... so i have to add a disclaimer to say that i really can't recommend amy poehler's book to you guys... she has a lot of great things to say, a lot of personal and inspiring things to say, but there's a lot of adult content and language in there too... so i don't personally recommend it.

January 1, 2015

new dreams new things 2015

do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. 
behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
isaiah 43:18-19

I will open rivers in desolate heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; 
I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.
I will plant in the wilderness the cedar and the acacia tree, the myrtle and the oil tree; 
I will set in the desert the cypress tree and the pine and the box tree together,
that they may see and know, and consider and understand together 
that the hand of the Lord has done this...
isaiah 41:18-20

so grateful for promises like these especially at the start of a new year... places where the sun has scorched and water has forsaken, God will cause new, unexpected, and impossible things to grow... 
a road in the wilderness, a river in the desert, the cypress and pine tree side by side.... obvious, incredible things that will cause people to look at who He is and what He's done, because there's no way we could do something like that! He will work miracles in our midst for His name and for His glory this year.

2015 is going to be great... happy new year everyone!!