Tuesday, July 29, 2008

No Contingent Love

This Blog is updated each Tuesday.

This picture is the bridge where Don Piper says he died and went to heaven in his book Ninety Minutes in Heaven. It's right here in Trinity, Texas. I wonder about his story as I stare down the path as thought the Holy Spirit were still waiting there to tell someone else a profound mystery. Do I know if Don's vision was true? No. I do know, however, that it made him grateful. That's where I am at right now.

I am grateful. 

I stared at a picture from the New Orleans' mission trip and it made me thank God. There were concrete steps leading up to a house that wasn't there. Can you imagine? I don't have a home and I am grateful. 

Leaning on the generosity and kindness of the saints is a truly humbling thing. He has called us to pursue something though. There are times in my life that things I have loved have gotten ruined or lost. People have been taken away. Those times of loss change us. The letting go is a spiritual experience. It teaches us to embrace relationship over any thing of worth or any sting of death. 
I am grateful to have let go of my own vision and plan to desperately follow after the path God has lain out for us. I am grateful to have nothing and be forced to rely on God in a way I may never experience otherwise.

Is there something that you need to let go of today in order to pursue relationship with others? With Christ?

Would what you are holding onto glorify Christ more if you allowed it to slip from your hand?

Win these earrings. All you have to do is comment at the bottom of the blog or email me. 12,000 people have hit this site and only 1 person has entered to win. Comment or email, ladies!

Here is the newest item in our boutique. Get 2 Butterfly Clips for $4.00. Keep checking in. I will add items every week to help Gomer. All proceeds benefit Gomer's House.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Come in from the Cold

This Blog is updated each Tuesday.

I love the song Come In From the Cold by Marc Broussard. It has made it to my current playlist with Lizz Wright, Mrs. McCracken, and Ben Harper. Each time I hear those words, "come in from the cold," I feel my spirit longingly say 'okay' . . . even though it's 102 degrees outside. Do you ever feel like that? Perhaps you have been spiritually or emotionally out in the elements just a little too long and you are desperate to come inside to a warm, accepting fire and a cup of hot tea. 

The clouds are like a sea of draping chiffon dancing across the sky as I contemplate this thought. This has been the year of my undoing. Pride has been eaten up by deep gratitude. A new will to live has been issued. Creativity has taken over and quiet reflective prayer has become a refuge. Bread baked. Acrylic met the canvas. Tiny dress hand stitched. Love issued with depth and intention. Life.

When I was younger I would wander around Dabo's studio in awe that anyone could paint or sculpt in such a way that it appeared to be real life. His paintings hung outside the Oval Office. The caliber of man and artist that he was still inspires me. I too paint. I too shall sculpt. My sculpture may never sit in the White House, but I shall act as though the process is equally important.
 "Art is 10% talent and 90% determination."-Melvin Warren

I shall create and follow after the heartbeat of my Father. With each brush stroke I pray to know and love Him in a more intimate way. Like a child stepping into the shoes of her daddy, I long to know what He feels. What is one thing you could do today to help you understand your Creator? Is there something you have always wanted to do and have not taken the time or energy to do? Do it today. Create. Love.

Anne and I went to a sculpture class at the Umlauf Sculpture Garden. It was quite interesting. We started by doing a few pencil drawings of sculptures to help us translate life to art. I veered off the path a bit and decided to draw the man beside me. I loved him ( we had only exchanged common pleasantries, but I loved him). The trick was that we had to draw the subject without looking at the paper. What! That's difficult. As we were leaving, I gave Ralph, my beloved subject, the picture I drew of him in a sort of joking way (making fun of my own art). He actually seemed quite touched and told me he was going to Michael's to get a frame. Celebrate Ralph with me. He is a wood carver. Terribly interesting.

"Rock of Ages, when the day seems long

From this labor and this heartache I have come

The skies will wear out, but You remain the same

Rock of Ages, I praise Your name.

Rock of Ages, You have brought me near

You have poured out Your life-blood, Your love,

Your tears To make this stone heart come alive again

Rock of Ages, forgive my sin

Rock of Ages, when in want or rest

My desperate need for such a Savior I confess

Pull these idols out from my heart embrace

Rock of Ages, I need Your grace" - Sandra McCracken Rock of Ages

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Soak in the Silence

This Blog is updated each Tuesday.

As my Life Group watched The Truth Project this week, some interesting and wonderful discussion ensued. We discussed how Isaiah had an overwhelming encounter with God in Isaiah chapter 6. Isaiah saw the Lord on His throne as he was in the presence of seraphs declaring the His holiness . That made him realize how incredibly short he fell when compared to the glory of God.

"Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty."

Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your sin is taken away and your guilt is atoned for."
"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?"
Then I said, "Here am I. Send me!"

What if you sat in silence for 15 minutes and pictured the Lord on His throne? What if you spent 10 minutes meditating on His holiness? What if you spent 5 minutes taking your greatest weakness to God for healing?

Do something today that scares you. Allow God into the deep self-protected recesses of your being. 

A few weeks ago I sent out an email asking what made people think of rest and restoration. Just reading them made me feel at peace. I thought I would share the answers with you. Breathe them in.
*a roaring fire and a hot, steamy mocha.
* white, sandy beach with crispy, clear water
*time away with my husband to seek God's will
*sunrise or sunset or rainbow or clouds
*prayer in a hammock
*dim light, soft music, and a good book
*solitude and quiet
*light wind, sun on the face, field of flowers
*trees, warm bread, and a rocking chair
*on an old quilt in green grass


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Create and Inspire

This Blog is updated each Tuesday.
(I hijacked this rainbow photo off Anne's blog. It was over us on the fourth of July)
Each week as I set out on this blog writing adventure, I generally have no idea what I am going to write. I get out my journal, put on a hat (to increase creativity) and I wait on whatever the Lord wants me to talk about. I wait. 

ro·mance     (-māns', rō'māns') 
    1. A love affair.
    2. Ardent emotional attachment or involvement between people; love:
On the fourth of July my husband and I chased a rainbow in our car. As I stare at the expanse of clouds and the beauty of nature, I find myself thankful to God for the great measures He goes 

to in order to allure us to Himself. He sets brilliant stages and works miraculous things together in order to lavish a sweet healing love on us. The romance of God is overwhelming. Do you take notice of His sumptuous display? Have you allowed your heart to receive the beauty God is trying to offer to you? This is no abstract God that we serve. He is Vibrant, Alive, and Passionate. He's seeking after you.

"Therefore I am going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her."
Hosea 2:14

What is it that God has orchestrated for you right now that you barely notice? Do you return the love He offers you? We can measure the love we have towards God by how much we pour out love on others. What we withhold from them, we withhold from Him. You have been set out with a purpose to create, inspire, and allure the world to the tender God who made them. (Did you read The Shack yet? I love how they refer to God as Papa.)
What can you do right now to show one person the love God offers? 

"Life is Art." - Maya Angelou

I believe there is an inescapable yearning inside us as we enter into the torrid affair one gets in with the Holy Spirit. He offers us life outside of Hamburger Helper. 

When we create, we inspire others.
*pictures from Umlauf Sculpture Garden, Zilker Botanical Garden, and exciting Kyle, TX.
© Stephanie Cherry 2008

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