Monday, January 19, 2015

Journey of Transformation

I love the beginning of the year. Somehow it feels like, with the change of the calendar page, we can leave behind the past year and have a fresh start on January 1st. Whole industries revolve their marketing in January around this idea of fresh starts with the new year. We resolve to lose weight, gain control over our finances. organize our stuff better, change bad habits, add good habits...and we're going to start it all on January 1 with our New Year Resolutions. AND the companies and consultants and sales people in those industries are going to graciously help us overcome these issues..for a small fee.
But, usually after a few days or weeks of trying to push forward all this change for our fresh start in the new year, we begin to fade. We begin to slip back into our comfort zone and our bad habits. In Take Me Deeper this month our theme has been transformation. We are looking at God's desire that our lives be transformed into the likeness of His Son, Jesus Christ. And our need to be willing, vulnerable and submissive to the process.
Personally, my favorite metaphor for the spiritual transformation that God calls us to is journey. Thinking in terms of a journey helps me keep in mind that spiritual transformation is a process. One that I will be on for a lifetime. I think this is why I read authors who write about spiritual transformation and spiritual disciplines -which are really just tools to help us along the journey. Some of my favorite authors on this topic are Terry Wardle, Ruth Haley Barton, Robert Mulholand Jr., David Benner. Jerry Bridges, Jan Johnson...I could go on and on.
I recently read a quote in a book by Terry Wardle that used this metaphor of journey for spiritual transformation and fit in well with our studies in Take Me Deeper. I put the quote on a page for my TMD journal:

The quote reads: 
"Real change occurs as Christians respond to the call to journey with Jesus, meeting God in the particulars of day to day life. It is not so important that one knows every detail about the path they will take in life. But what one discovers about oneself and God along the way is critically important to the process of transformation and change. In this process of discovery, the pilgrim allows the Spirit of Christ to redeem and recreate him in very deep and important ways. This change demands  surrender and willingness, foundational responses to the call of Jesus Christ. Surrender on the journey involves laying down personal agenda and self-interest. Willingness is the prerequisite for picking up the cross of Christ - the losing of one's life so necessary to finding true life,eternal life." ~Terry Wardle.

My pages for weeks two and three of Take Me Deeper:

What kind of a journey are you on? Or do you have a different metaphor that you prefer for transformation?

    Tuesday, January 13, 2015

    Meandering 1.13.2015 and DLP

    I am finally getting around to posting the last of my 2014 Documented Life Projects pages. I must admit that I am quite pleased with myself. I have admitted in the past that I am a great started of projects but not always a very good finisher. I completed the full year of weekly pages for DLP! I'm so thrilled!!!
    Week 48 page spread

    Week 49 page spread

    Week 50 page spread

    Week 51

    Week 52

    Last page
    Dlp Journal Volume 2
    This has been a great project and I have made a lot of art friends in the group. I'm going to follow along with DLP 2015 and the new group Documented Faith. I may not complete each week's prompts since Take Me Deeper and Logos365 will be my main focus. I plan on incorporating them into my Take Me Deeper journal which I think will be in four volumes this year, one for each quarter.

    Take Me Deeper WEEK 2:
    Our devotion this week focused on our need for vulnerability in spiritual transformation. Our culture views vulnerability as a weakness of character. But I think being vulnerable takes great strength. We risk opening ourselves up and revealing who we are, trusting that God will work in and through our weakness. Our passage was 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.

    Monday, January 12, 2015

    My Word for 2015

    It's no secret on this blog that I continually struggle with issues of burnout. I think it may go hand-in-hand with the ebb and flow of life in full time ministry - or at least in my life in ministry. In the past few years this struggle has become more and more evident and, at times, incapacitating. It is a huge part of why I got connected to art and to art journaling as a way to help create balance and energy. At times my schedule is packed full of activities and events. In the midst of this there are kids and people with needs that need ministering to. My emotional, mental and spiritual energy can get drained and I have tried to find ways over the years to keep this all in balance.

    In the past year, with the help of some spiritual companions, I believe I have started to really get a handle on understanding what I need to keep my energy and my outlook in balance and have started to put some practices in place that help. So, I felt the Lord telling me it was time for renewal in 2015. It sure feels like it's time! A negative attitude and outlook has crept in over the past few years and I haven;t felt like myself as a result of that. But slowly in the past year there have been some shifts.
    In a sense I have been renewing my mind over the past year and am anticipating renewal in many areas in the year ahead. 

    I posted my page with my theme passage of Scripture last week, but am posting it again with some explanation this time.

    There are quite a few places in the Bible where renewal is talked about, but the passage in Isaiah 61:1-4 really connected with me. Jesus quotes this passage from Isaiah and applies it to himself in Luke 4:16-20. This passage describes a Savior who heals brokenness in whatever form or circumstances it is found in us - poor, captive, in darkness, mourning, grieving, despairing - He heals us. In healing He rebuilds, restores, and renews our lives. I'm looking to be renewed this year. To have my energy (emotional, mental and physical) renewed. To have my passion and vision for ministry renewed. To have my health renewed. To have my spirit renewed. To have my emotional equilibrium renewed. It all starts with having my mind renewed and this I cannot do myself. I can only place myself before God and position myself through spiritual disciplines and practices in Christ, ready and willing for transformation.

    I completed a few of the Logos365 prompts we posted on the HKC site:

    Definition page
    Goals page
    In order for habits to change and transformation to take place we need to be intentional and set goals. I decided to select 5 areas where I feel I need renewal to take place. I am going to set small, manageable goals monthly in some of those areas. It is said that it takes 6 weeks to make or break a habit and that slow is best in order to see lasting change. I'm interested in lifestyle changes not simply in behavior modification. I think the key to change is in making small baby steps that lead to lasting change, rather than trying to look at the full year and then giving up not too far into it. That may have been why I was able to complete the 52 weekly art calendar pages for the Documented Life Project when I usually struggle to complete projects. It was easier to just look at each week as it came rather than thinking about a full year of weekly projects and trying to plan it out.

    To make things more manageable I am combining my Logos 365 word projects in my Take Me Deeper art journal.

    Are you participating in one of the many word-of-the-year projects? If so, share your word with me in the comment section below. :)

    Saturday, January 3, 2015

    My Take Me Deeper Journal

    As I've written over the past two months, my main focus for 2015 will be the projects we have running in the His Kingdom Come (HKC) community: Take Me Deeper (TMD) weekly devotions and art challenges and Logos365 word for the year prompts and challenges. Today I want to share my journal for these projects and some of the pages I have made so far. If you want to know more about the HKC community and our projects you can check us out here.

    First, a little slide show of the stages of making my journal:

    Last year for the year-long DLP project I ended up using two journals to fit 52 weeks of pages in. So, this year my plan is to make a journal per quarter as I believe I may have more content for my 2015 projects. I already labeled this first journal volume 1 with that in mind. I purchased this book at a library book sale and I loved the book plate on the inside cover so I didn't want to cover it up entirely.

    Our purpose with the TMD project is to use devotions and deeper studies along with creative expressions to  go deeper in our relationship with God this year. Our theme for January is transformation. Since I like the metaphor of journey foe the process of spiritual transformation and growth, I think transformation will be a theme in my journal throughout the whole year. It also fits well as a foundation for my word this year, renew. My intro pages:

    My Logos365 word and Scripture passage page:

    Both side of the January tab page:

    My page in response to the first devotion which I wrote about in yesterday's post.

    I would love to know if you are taking part in the HKC projects. Let me know in the comment section below and, if you are, leave me a link to your blog as well. Enjoy your Saturday!

    *Also, make sure you check out my Etsy shop where I have vintage paper and ephemera packs custom made to your Logos365 or OLW words.

    Friday, January 2, 2015

    Take Me Deeper Week 1

    After months of planning the day is finally here! The start of Take Me Deeper weekly devotions and art challenges takes place today on the His Kingdom Come (HKC) site. We're building a community where we can combine our faith and our creativity with others who have the same desire. Visit the site and join us!

    In the month of January we're looking at spiritual transformation. On the HKC site there is a devotion this that includes suggestions for taking the topic and this week's Bible passage deeper through the week. Members of our art groups are expressing the topic and Bible passage through various art mediums ~ from faith art journaling to photography to creative writing and many others. We have a great team of moderators who provide examples of their work each week in the groups they lead. I am serving as one of the moderators in the Faith Art Journaling group.

    Week 1: Transform Willingly
    Scripture: "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God - this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will."  Romans 12:1-2

    My word for 2015 is renew and our first passage of the year contains my word! It wasn't planned. The devotions for this month were written before I knew what my word was going to be, but it did jump out off the page as I read the passage. I've heard it said that our battlefield is the mind and this passage helped reconnect me to a truth I already knew - in order for transformation to take place my mind must be renewed. And if any area of my life is going to be renewed it must begin with a willingness to renew my mind or my mindset. It's so easy to form habits, but it seems so hard to break them once they have formed and taken root. When the habit is good, that's great! But over the past few years I've allowed some bad habits to form in a number of areas of my life. I'll write more on that in my next post about my word for this year. One of those habits, though, connects directly with this weeks passage: a habit of negative thinking has formed in me over the past few years and it needs to go away! This has been my battlefield. It has ended up effecting so many areas of my life. Yet in the past few months God has used some circumstances and some people in my life to help me identify some patterns and habits and He has shown me some paths to renewal. Thus my word for the year. And so, the topic and the Scripture passage this week in the Take Me Deeper group really lay a foundation for transformation for me this year. Transformation and renewal begin with renewal of the mind. And I need a continual reminder that I must remain willing to offer God anything in my life - to hold the things in my life loosely - that He may shape me and form me for His use and for His glory, In Christ we are new creations, yet we are also continually being made new in Christ-likeness and this process will go on our whole life. What a blessing that we do this "in view of God's mercy"! The NASB says it is "by the mercies of God". We don't walk alone. God's mercy envelopes us and carries us and guides us along the way to the things that are good for us and that are good and holy and pleasing to Him. Transformation in our hearts and minds and lives is really God's work. Our part is willingness. Willingness to do what He calls us to; to go where He leads; to be who He has called us to be. 

    Will you join me in going deeper in my relationship with God this year? You can follow my journey here on my blog, but it would be so much better if you joined the journey yourself at His Kingdom Come and become a part of a community who are all on a journey to go deeper with God. I'm so excited to see how God will meet us in this journey and to see where He will take us!