I can only sum all the lessons I’ve been learning in the midst of the craziness of this semester and these past weeks in part of a sermon from a few weeks ago that opened my eyes to a truth I didn’t even know I needed. To a truth I thought I knew, but have been realizing I don’t always embrace. Loved, accepted, treasured by Christ.

“If you believe that God has to be convinced to love such a sinner as you, if you believe that God looks upon your confession and looks upon your repentance with suspicion, if you believe that he needs to be persuaded to love you, if you imagine that God forgives your sin begrudgingly or that he is just waiting for you to mess up again so he can roll his eyes and say, “see, i told you so. i was just waiting for you to mess up again,” if that’s your conception of God, then you don’t know the God that is listed for us —that is illuminated for us in the scriptures. You don’t know the God of refuge we’ve been talking about on Wednesday nights. You don’t know the God who longs to gather us up under His wings, under his arms like a mother hen. You don’t know the God who says, “I will never, I will never leave you, I will never forsake you.”

You will never become one who loves radically in this world until you come to believe that your are radically loved by God in Jesus Christ.”

- Russ Pflasterer, 10. 14, “New Rules for a New City.”

(Now go listen to “New Rules for a New City” , once or twice for all the really good stuff.)

ingrained.

A few months ago, I mentioned some projects I was working on over the summer, and I finally finished this one a few weeks ago. Marcie (who is selling some fantastic christmas cards she designed to raise adoption funds…go buy them!)  saw the sketch of our church’s logo with the text of Isaiah 58 here, and asked if I’d be able to make something real from it to give as a gift to our pastor’s wife. So, I said “sure!”….having absolutely no idea what I’d actually make.  At 2 a.m, when I was supposed to be finishing my final french paper, I wandered into my mom’s craft area and found some wood left over from a chapel she helped build in Brazil last summer. My grandfather helped me cut & glue it together, and then I finally went over the wood with the text. It was an incredible process, to see God provide the materials and the design through family and friends.

Our pastor has been preaching a series of sermons on “The True Fast,” and this piece has become more and more meaningful to me each week.  God’s call for us to give up our own comforts for the sake of the hungry, the homeless, and the oppressed is ingrained into His expectations of us as church.

It’s been a beautiful thing, to see this passage lived out around me. From a member of our church who cared enough to stop and ask the homeless man sitting in front of the store today if she could buy him some lunch and a coffee, to the friends like Margaret, who stuck around town after graduation to continue leading the lunch buddy mentoring program in area schools, and Cari, who is passionate about planting gardens and providing healthy food in areas of poverty. Sacrificing their own time, their own plans, their own income and pouring themselves out for others. What a wonderful community to be placed in. What a challenging example they have set before me.

“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed[b] go free, and to break every yoke?Is it not to share your bread with the hungry  and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you;  the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;  you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’” -from Isaiah 58.

“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.”- Psalm 103: 13-14

I’m finding comfort today knowing that God knows my frame — he knows my frailty. He knows my failure. He knows my doubts. He knows my fears. He knows my unbelief. He knows my sin. He knows all of that, and still shows compassion. He hasn’t withheld a single good thing from me, even when those “good things” come in difficult and trying circumstances. He is good. He is compassionate, even to the lowly. To those facts, I cling.

 

 

whirlwind.

well, how things have changed since i last posted here!

i was asked to make this poster to promote one of my favorite things about union —life groups!  i’m still astounded that they liked it and that it was hanging all over the place. what a strange feeling.

And. to make a loooong story short…….., i’m an art (minor…major…?) now! How crazy is that? God has been so good to lead me to this new adventure. After a summer (and three years of school) full of tears and worry and conversations and prayers, I gave up on my hard-headed fear of really going after what I love. I’m honestly in awe at the opportunities I’ve had to create and make things that somehow, as simple and lacking as they seem to me, can serve those around me and move them in ways I could have never expected. I’m still terrified—some days I feel completely inadequate to create anything that measures up.  I’ve discovered God seems to always call us to do the things that make us depend the most upon Him.

So I’ve been thrown into three studio classes & I’m really even worse at drawing than this photo of a work in progress reveals. But what an adventure is ahead! I’m excited to learn and grow in the things I create.

kindness.

from my summer project, studying the fruits of the spirit.

“be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

I’ve heard these words quoted over & over again, but have so often failed to meet their mark. How quickly I become frustrated with the impatient customer in front of me, how often I withhold kindness from others simply because I fear their rejection, how partial I am in being kind to only those who are kind to me.

I’d like to learn to show kindness like the Father, a kindness that reaches into our resistant hearts and gives mercy to the rebellious. I’m far from exhibiting the sort of kindness shown by God, who paints sunsets in the sky for both the saint & the sinner to behold day after day. What extravagant kindness.

e t s y.

Well, guess what? I’m in the planning stages of starting an etsy to sell some of my crafts. I guess you could say it’s been a dream of mine, since I was a kid making cards and labeling them the ever-so-cheesy “Courtmark Cards.”

Thanks to some encouragement from several friends who won’t let me keep all my crafts secret anymore, I’m moving forward!  The shop definitely won’t be called “Courtmark Cards,” so I’d appreciate it greatly if you have a suggestion for a name. I’l be selling prints & cards at first, and then maybe adding some other things!  Leslie, my marketing-savvy roommate, suggested “CraftPosterDesigns4Sale4Lyfe plz buy,” so really I can only go up from here.

Anyways, here are some experiments/things I’ve been making:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you’ll stick around & maybe even purchase some paper goods! I’m excited to see what comes of this.

Until then, check out riflepaperco.com for some truly lovely things & send someone a handwritten note. I guarantee they’ll appreciate it.