How to make Scripture Wall Art using Canva that is fast and affordable  |  James 1:4

How to make Scripture Wall Art using Canva that is fast and affordable | James 1:4

Do you want to create beautiful scripture wall art in your home but wood signs are too difficult or your handwriting isn’t the best? (or is that just me???)

Well, NOW you can do it!

By using Canva, a FREE online graphic design tool, you will be creating and designing scripture wall art for every room in your home!

(If you just want the printable PDF for your home CLICK HERE)

1. Create a FREE Canva Account

Go to canva.com

Create a free account with your email or Facebook account.

You will have access to Canva via your desktop computer or download the app to use on your smart device.

2. Look for Scripture Wall Art inspiration

3. Select Correct Dimensions

4. Select Canva Template

5. Design

6. Download and Print

Paper Bible Vs Digital: Does It Matter If You Read Your Bible On Your Phone?

Paper Bible Vs Digital: Does It Matter If You Read Your Bible On Your Phone?

Have you been wrestling with a choice? A Paper Bible vs Digital Bible

Should I read God’s Word in my physical PAPER Bible or on my digital device? Does it really matter which one is used?

OR

Is studying God’s word difficult? Are you trying to navigate your Bible but can’t seem to find the time to dive deeper? Perhaps, you using your smartphone seems wrong and doesn’t provide a deep enough study?

During the early years of motherhood when I had tiny little ones attached to me almost 24 hours a day, it became increasingly difficult to read God’s word so I eventually turned to my smartphone as a supplemental tool to read God’s word.

Let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages of both and figure out which is best for YOU? In your current season or assignment in life.

YouTube Video: Physical Bible vs Digital Bible

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Digital Bible Apps

Using a BIBLE app isn’t a sin!

Today, you have access to a plethora of tools to study God’s word. You can read about it here. Don’t let someone, not even me, make you feel guilty about the tool being used to deepen your faith walk.

Using a BIBLE app isn’t a sin!

However, if you are here searching for answers on WHEN you should use a digital bible vs a physical paper Bible then let’s look at some clear advantages and disadvantages.

AdvantagesDisadvantages
Easily accessibleLacks the kinesthetic learning style
(cannot touch and write)
Travels easilyLacks deep engagement opportunities
Multiple ways to study:
studies, reading plans, and community
Lack of retention
(people are not retaining the information they read)
Can share scripture easily
and globally
Lacks creativity
(cannot doodle)

Paper Bible

Write God’s Word on your heart.

If you are not creating a deep relationship with God through your digital Bible app then it may be time to use your PHYSICAL Bible. It provides an opportunity to see the Bigger picture and connect pieces of HIS story to your story.

It has cross-refrences and a dictionary to dive deeper into the context of each lesson that the Lord is trying to convey to us.

Personally, I love my BIBLE! IT has been a resource in my life for 16 years – it is bruised and battered and barely held together with duct tape (sounds just like me!). I had to buy a new Bible cover to keep it from falling apart! It has been through many trials and tear-streaked nights as I have navigated the murky waters of this life yet the Lord has used it to highlight areas in my life where I needed HIM most.

My physical Bible is a treasure. In case you are wondering, here are my favorite Bible resources:

Let’s look at some advantages and disadvantages of a PHYSICAL Bible:

AdvantagesDisadvantages
Provides a kinesthetic learning style
touch, feel, write, visual
Big
Bulky
Bigger PictureHard to carry in diaper bag
Deeper Engagement
(cross-references, maps, concordance)
Not as durable
Doodling!!!Hard to navigate for beginners
More retentionLacks topical Bible plans

So what, who cares?

You do you!

Our seasons in life changes frequently. When I was a young believer and mom of young children, it was difficult to carry my Bible with me and keep it safe from little hands therefore using a smartphone was an excellent way to stay in God’s word so my cup did not become EMPTY. Nobody wants a mama with a bad attitude because her heart isn’t focused on GOD!

Now, I have a little margin and have developed rhythms for my days. Rising earlier and going to bed earlier have created margin to study in my REAL Bible so my cup stays full and overflowing. Right now (September 2020), I am going through 1 Samuel and it says that GOD judges by the HEART.

So mama, don’t feel judged about what you are using to stay in communion with the Lord. HE knows your heart! Only serve HIM.

What Is Your God Given Purpose? Figuring Out Your Calling Vs Your Assignment In Life

What Is Your God Given Purpose? Figuring Out Your Calling Vs Your Assignment In Life

How do you find your God-given purpose as a Christ-follower? It starts by examining your calling vs your assignment.

A Christ Follower is called to do good works in His Name BUT living out HIS purpose in our life seems to be this elusive concept that I, even as a Christ-follower, continually searched for each and every day. Eventually, the best approach I found was understanding the difference between a calling and an assignment.

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What is your God-given purpose?

EVERY Christ-follower has a purpose and a calling in their lives. It starts when they surrender their lives in salvation. However, it may be difficult to comprehend because prior to this calling there may have been this gnawing feeling that something was missing ….

Before you accepted Christ as your savior, there is this weight or burden on your life – I know because I felt it too. There was a void in my heart and life always seemed lacking. The pleasures of this world didn’t aid in healing it. Each attempt to “complete” myself seemed to evade my grasp. I was searching for this in performance-based acts such as good grades, relationships, jobs, money, and achievements.

THEN I did a total surrender of ALL my busyness, burdens, chaos, and goals, AND finally FILLED the void in my life.

Not only did the void disappear a flame was ignited in my heart that continues to grow today. A flame that seems unquenchable and ready to set blaze the calling God has placed deep within my soul.

YOU can have this flame as well. After you have accepted Christ, He places the same calling on you as he did Paul, Peter, Moses, and so many others. Moreover, HE gave us a road map! The road map is written in the New Testament of the Bible.

God-Given Purpose_His Word in the Bible

What is the calling of Christ-followers?

A Christ-follower’s Purpose or Calling is explicitly written out as the greatest commandment which was spoken by Jesus because Even the disciples, the chosen few, sought his answer to this question, “Lord, what is the greatest commandment?”

The greatest commandment of the Bible = the CALLING in our lives = your god given purpose!!!

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart

and with all your soul

and with all your mind

and with all your strength.’

The second is this:

Love your neighbor as yourself.’

There is no commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:30-31

We are to LOVE God with everything that is your your god given purpose and mine! Jesus doesn’t mix words about HOW we are to love HIM or our neighbors.

The command is simple but not easily put into practice. Use the following questions to examine if you are listening to the call on your life as a Christ-follower:

  • LOVE GOD
    • What does your heart desire?
    • What is the thing you love more than anything?
    • What completes you?
    • What is your soul?
    • Where do your thoughts go?
    • Is your mind fixed on the LORD or the world?
    • Where does your power come from?
  • LOVE OTHERS
    • Who is your neighbor?
    • Are you forgiving them?
    • Have you shown them mercy?
    • How are you loving them?
    • Would you want them to treat you the way you have treated them?

Spiritual disciplines are additional tools that shape your heart, mind, body, and soul to love GOD fully and love others sacrificially.

Complete a Bible Study about them here.

Calling, Purpose, Goal in Life, Aim for my children is to LOVE God fully and LOVE others sacrificially through servanthood.

Simply:

My calling in life is to:

Serve God and Serve Others

Holly Rigos

Serve God

Serving the Lord takes surrendered effort like practicing the spiritual disciplines such as reading the Bible, pray, meditate, memorize, and be a good steward of God’s grace in your life – even when it is difficult!

Surrendering our bodies as living sacrifices as an act of worship that serves the Lord for example sharing the gospel with others.

God knitted you and me in the womb according to Psalm 139. If He created us then He most certainly has the power to know our purpose because HE created us to use “whatever gift” we have received to glorify Him.

Serve Others

We can serve others through prayer, fellowship, and yes, practically through finances, time, and our skills.

Love on others in hardships and celebrate with them during joyous occasions. Shower others with forgiveness and kindness.

However, understand that the glory is always HIS and our approval comes FREELY from Him, not others. We live to serve HIM and love others (and forgive them) to glorify HIS mighty name. (You can read how I also had to learn these lessons here.)

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others,

as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

1 Peter 4:10
God-Given Purpose_Your Assignment

What is your assignment?

YOUR assignment is simply your current circumstances. Wherever the Lord has physically placed you is where you are suppose to serve!

  • EXAMPLES
    • Career
      • Teacher
      • Nurse
      • Blogger
      • Engineer
    • Life Changes
      • Wife
      • Mom
      • Foster Parent
      • Patient
      • Working From Home Parent

It isn’t easy to accept especially if your current situation is a prison or a hospital bed or at the bottom of the laundry. However, the Lord will use your circumstances to serve others and glorify HIS name IF you are willing to surrender to HIS will and be a tool used for good works.

Do not become disenchanted or give up hope that this place isn’t where you are supposed to be ESPECIALLY if you are practicing spiritual disciplines such as praying and being in God’s word diligently. Use this time, circumstance, aka NEW assignment to deepen your personal relationship with the LORD and serve others through love, joy, and peace.

Personally, I was a career-driven woman, running up the rungs of the corporate ladder then abruptly stopped to stay home with my newborn baby boy. A new circumstance that was unexpected and definitely not planned yet in God’s sovereignty HE knew I would use this time wisely – growing my faith and boldness to share HIS good word with others. (i.e. THIS WEBSITE)

THEN it happened again!

An upheaval of circumstances provided another assignment to serve GOD and others when my husband was diagnosed with cancer. He used that assignment to serve God right from the hospital bed.

SERVE

Embrace simplicity. Do not overcomplicate the Word of God and serve HIM and others right where you are – NOW!

Four Powerful Faith Lessons Following My Husband’s Lymphoma Battle

Four Powerful Faith Lessons Following My Husband’s Lymphoma Battle

Oftentimes I am asked, “What powerful faith lessons did I learn through cancer?” Well, a few lessons were immediate while others were like a slow burn that took time to etch themselves into my heart. So, I made a video and linked resources for each lesson in the blog post. You see, my husband was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Our story through cancer can be read here:

**HE is healed and in remission.

Watch the video or read below for the four powerful faith lessons I learned through watching my husband battle cancer.

No. 1 | Control is a LIE!

You do all the right things. Eat all the right stuff. Exercise all the time. Sleep the right amounts. Work the good job. Lessen your stress. Rest when appropriate.

BUT

Ultimately, life is like a vapor so brief and fragile that in an instant it could all be snatched away. Truly, life’s brevity is one of the main reasons I started this little blog. You can read about it here.

It was reiterated the day we learned of my husband’s tumor which was an eye-opener. Moreover, a day I will carry with me because…

Control is a LIE!

Control is a fallacy that also will lead to disappointment. It was a shock to hear my husband’s predicament was much more than a sore throat. Furthermore, it was a shock that it happened to HIM! A man that was a wonderful steward of his body, mind, and heart.

Being a good steward is important and we should be sheparding our lives well YET when circumstances beyond our CONTROL are turned topsy-turvey we can’t blame ourselves.

Proverbs 16:9, reminds us that we can plan our lives but the intricate day-to-day steps are established by the Lord almighty.


In their hearts, humans plan their course,
but the Lord establishes their steps.

Proverbs 16:9

Give Control to the Lord

All in all do not allow this to steer your heart away from being a good steward of your mind, body, soul, and life. Above all there is freedom in knowing that even as we plan our lives the LORD will govern the day-to-day circumstances, some good and some not-so-good, however, we have the ability to change our PERSPECTIVE through prayer and petition.

Did our circumstances change in 2019? No.

We battled cancer with the power and freedom found in CHRIST. Fortunately, we came out victorious over Lymphoma! But no matter what the outcome-God gets the glory in this story. (Because we know where we are going.)

Peace was our true aim through the battle not control. There is joy in trusting God with your plans.

“Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Matthew 11:28

RESOURCES:

YouVersion Bible study on control: Trapped by Control

No. 2 | Stop seeking Man’s Approval

Seeking the approval of man will lead you to more disappointment and eventually set you up for idol worship – performance-based relationships vs authentic relationships.

As a wife and mother, my DUTY was to serve my family not other people’s expectations which leads to bitterness.

THE LORD LOVES ME in my MESS! He knows my heart and has ALREADY granted approval. Trying to perform a miraculous job as a caregiver will lead to burnout which serves absolutely nobody! Luckily, the counsel in my life during this rocky first phase of cancer was superb. My community rallied in around us from all sides and listened and provided such wise counsel.

THANK YOU! Thank you to each and every person who supported us.

God’s approval is FREELY given

HE loves my mess and HE loves your mess! You do not have to earn HIS approval because it comes FROM him freely. One does not have to perform FOR others FOR their approval. God knows our hearts. He knows the deepest darkest most private areas of our lives and will meet us in those depths.

Welcoming the LORD into the cancer battle and allowing HIM to take control gave us peace and joy.

Where can I go from your Spirit?

Where can I flee from your presence?

Psalm 139:7

RESOURCES:

YouVersion Bible study on Seeking Approval: Seeking Approval

YouVersion Bible study on Approval and Identity: Approved

No. 3 |Spiritual Disciplines Matter

One of the Four Powerful Faith Lessons is understanding just how important it is to practice spiritual disciplines.

Life can get busy and doing spiritual disciplines can become robotic almost monotonous. However, the Lord commands us to press into HIM out of obedience because eventually a relationship – a deep personal relationship built on a covenant is built. By practicing the following habits, you will strengthen your “armor” for the battle:

  • Spiritual Disciplines:
    • Meditation
    • Submission
    • Solitude
    • Prayer
    • Study
    • Service
    • Confession
    • Worship
    • Guidance
    • Fasting
    • Simplicity
    • Celebration

Practice the spiritual disciplines that are outlined in the Bible because they will equip you to handle any trial that may come your way.

RESOURCES:

YouVersion Bible study on Spiritual Disciplines: Spiritual Disciplines and Evangelism

No. 4 |Total Surrender

Salvation is a TOTAL surrender. You become a new creation in Christ Jesus and let go of the ways of the world. No longer conformed but transformed through the renewing of your spirit in Christ Jesus.

However, as life gets complicated people slowly start to take back what was freely given to the Lord. Burdens of this world will weigh you down and hold you captive – once again!

Then, it becomes time to let go again to turn away – surrender and repent – again and again and again.

Surrender means the action of yielding one’s person or giving up the possession of something especially into the power of another.

For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God,

which is in you through laying on of my hands.

2 Timothy 1:6 NIV

RESOURCES:

YouVersion Bible study on Surrender: Giving God 100%

SUMMARY

In this article I only discuss the TOP Four Powerful Faith Lessons yet the Lord is constantly teaching us lessons and transforming our hearts to be more like Christ.

Join the journey as we discover HIS truths in our daily lives and encourage others to live a life intentionally.

Over 20 gift ideas for the Man of the House that encourage, inspire, and educate

Over 20 gift ideas for the Man of the House that encourage, inspire, and educate

Are gifts really a necessity today? Well, if you are anything like us, then maybe yes. According to the book, Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, my husband and I fill our love tanks up with quality time and physical touch. However, when parents are busy washing dishes, doing laundry, and/or climbing the corporate ladder those “love languages” are hard to come by. So we have started to compensate here and there with gifts. Gifts that truly enhance and enrich our lives by showing love and support for our loved ones through gifts that bring them joy through encouragement, inspiration, and education.

Also, we give gifts for sentimental reasons ANY TIME of the year 🙂 Here are my top 20+ gift ideas for the faith-based, techy, non-techy, griller, and all-around sport-loving DAD in your life. I hope you find some inspiration and gift-giving ideas.

(P.S. Since I adore technology, faith, and family-based activities my gift ideas revolve around those ideas and what my actual husband would enjoy or already possesses.)

Faith Gift Ideas

Scripture for Faith-Based Fathers – Every day your loved one heads to work for a grinding 6-8 hours (maybe even more like mine) AWAY from his family. How can you help him stay focused on what matters most? How to keep his heart, mind, soul, and strength envigorated with love, peace, joy, and happiness as he manages the workday? An inspirational Coffe Mug!

My husband recently realized that it is more enjoyable to consume his coffee from a coffee mug vs the metal traveler mugs. DaySpring has so many wonderful options! Maybe you would like to encourage your man of the house with a matching picture frame of the family in addition to a very masculine mug. Check out this bundle that will be sure to put a smile on your husband’s face.

Bundle with Frame with a matching picture frame

Also, my husband has really started deepening his faith through intentional Bible reading and books.

We both own and use this Bible . We love the NIV version and this one has amazing commentary including a side panel full of questions. It provides answers along with cross-references (please consider buying a used version to save you $$$).

More spiritual encouragement:

My husband listens to and reads books from multiple Biblical authors.

Michael Youssef — >> We have enjoyed Saving Christianity and The Leadership Style of Jesus.

Ravi Zacharias –>> Books on our wishlist are The Grand Weaver and The Logic of God.

My husband also benefited from this Bible Study and moved through the different books such as Milk, Meat, and Bread, as he grew in his faith. (Not an affiliate, we just genuinely loved this series for the new believer.)

Tech Gift Ideas

Tech for Techy Fathers – Father’s climbing the corporate ladder and accomplishing goals need tools like efficient and reliable smartphones that enable them to conquer the day.

My husband and I both buy unlocked Android smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy Active S7 because …

(1) Older versions work fine, (2) older versions are cheaper than the newest versions, and (3) the Active is more durable with rubber sides, gorilla glass, and water-resistant.

Buying an unlocked phone like this means you can operate them on a budget-friendly month-to-month plan like Wal-Mart’s Straight Talk service – we have been using Straight Talk for years and have been highly satisfied. However, very rural areas may not be covered – PLEASE CHECK YOUR AREA before purchasing a plan.

Speaking of the day, how about alarm clocks that energize you and your smartphones so you wake up more alert and energized! This alarm clock has a gradual light feature that mimics the rising sun along with natural sounds that are proven to help you wake more rested PLUS it has a USB outlet located on the back that charges your phone!

Sport Gift Ideas

Fitness and Sports Fans – In this household we do baseball and football! So let’s not rule out jerseys for your loved one’s favorite team and player. You may want to consider a course for them to become the best little league baseball coach in the county! (Not an affiliate link just a resource my husband was gifted.)

Baseball Course

Also, with the coronavirus quarantine, men who enjoyed their gym time may be needing an outlet for fitness. Kettlebells are an amazing and versatile piece of equipment that builds strength. A TRX system is also very helpful and adjusts to YOUR fitness level. YouTube has had a flood of new tutorials that will help you find easy DIY exercises to use with kettlebells or the TRX.

YouTube Tutorial for Kettlebells – Example

Outdoor Gift Ideas

Outdoor Enthusiasts – The Summer months are upon us and the grill is open for business. Having a reliable meat thermometer means you will always have safe and edible meat to serve the family. Perhaps, you want to take the family for a beach vacation. I recommend a wagon (FYI, Aldi’s had one for $40) for the sandy shores, coolers for the tasty treats, and bluetooth speakers for music are always helpful for the fun-loving Dad.

If your man loves the outdoors and has a creative spin, he may enjoy a durable camera like a GoPro.

More of a leisure walker than a marathon runner? How about a bird-watching camera like this DSLR with a telephoto lens to capture the wildlife?


Happy Father’s Day FREE Activities

In summary, these are gift ideas that I have bought, used, and/or recommend. Happy Father’s Day!

Before you go!

Here are a few more ideas to celebrate the day with or without gifts!

  • Plan a picnic in the great outdoors. Bring fishing poles or a good book to enjoy the rest and solitude.

  • Maybe your special someone enjoys his space. Provide him with an afternoon free to nap, catch up on his hobby, or spend it whatever way he would like!

  • Family man? Create a family fun night! Pick his favorite family-friendly movie, popcorn, order pizza, and board games like “Risk” that will provide the whole family an evening to enjoy.

  • Create a scavenger hunt that challenges Dad and the kids to go outside and explore for hours! Make it even more interesting by using scriptures as the clues. It is a great game changer if you have teenagers who need that added level of intensity.

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The Light shines in the Darkness: Documentary Photography during Quarantine

The Light shines in the Darkness: Documentary Photography during Quarantine

WOW! We are in week ??? I can’t even remember! But definitely past 60 days in quarantine in Upstate NY. School for the academic year is canceled. We are moving into week six of distance learning. The warmth of summer is only just starting and the landscape is morphing into a beautiful, green, and lush scenery.

It has been a hard few weeks.

As a creative, I need to seek out the beauty. Let the LIGHT shine in the darkness all around me! Here is a glimpse into my heart, my work, and my ministry during quarantine.

In him was life, that life was the light of men.

The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

(John 1:4-5, 9)

Black and White Series

During these historical and unforeseen times, my eyes and heart have been drawn to capture the simplistic nature of black and white documentary photography. My desire is to capture the stark contrast of how we are all feeling. The light in the darkness. The darkness could overtake us with the fear and anxiety of not knowing when this pandemic will end. The darkness of losing all sense of our realities – what truly matters in the grand scheme of things? My Job? My health? My family? The vulnerable? Others? Self?

The darkness did not overtake the light. The light of hope. The light that we all should and can cling to in this darkness that this too shall pass. The light that we are doing our part in staying vigilant, disciplined, and obedient to ordinances put in place for the safety of ALL. The light that we have loved ones near and/or they are healthy (if we are lucky enough to still have our spouses and children home) for comfort and joy. The light that we have technology as a tool to unite us. The light of HIS word.

Dark moments

Light in the Darkness_Covid-19_distance learning 02

The start of the day without the rush of school dropoffs and packing backpacks has led to slower mornings that allow time to pause and enjoy one another. Allowing us time to enjoy the light of early sunshine. Watching the sunrise while holding a cup of coffee still wearing your pajamas. The kids ease into new routines and there is fewer issues. Fewer meltdowns, tantrums, chaos, and busyness.

I sit here this morning before the kids wake writing about hope while my heart aches for my children because they lost their first pet. Real darkness in their lives right now. Thankfully they will have time to mourn since this quarantine is yet ongoing providing time to pour light into their darkness.

“The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

Numbers 6:24-26
Light in the Darkness_Covid-19_faith 01

Like many, during the first few weeks of the quarantine, it was a nice escape and relatively easy for us to continue doing activities we enjoyed previously. A challenge to stay active, engaged, and sharp. My goal was to continue reading my Bible daily but soon the hours and days started to mix and those habits are slowly fading away. The depression of being isolated and forced to stay inside coupled with cold weather during the summer months lays heavy on my heart. I am clinging to the truth in Psalms. HE is my stronghold and the refuge I need to run to with fear and anxiety. No matter the circumstances HE is my LIGHT.

The Lord is my light and my salvation—

whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the stronghold of my life—

of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 27:1
Light in the Darkness_Covid-19_distance learning 01

At the beginning of March 2020, the idea of being home away from school was inviting – almost like summer vacation! Distance learning started like a game allowing the kids to pick and choose new educational outlets via mobile devices, printed worksheets from the internet, and art activities crafted by parents and YouTube. We were all-embracing to this new “normal” the best we could and expectant for a rapid end. Yet, in May 2020, we are still on a knife’s edge hoping and praying for this distance learning to end-and not become the new normal indefinitely.

Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path.

Psalm 119:105
Light in the Darkness_Covid-19_supermarkets 01
Light in the Darkness_Covid-19_supermarkets 02

Light in the Darkness_Covid-19_supermarkets 03

Walking the aisles of supermarkets during the quarantine in March 2020. The documentation on doors, stickers on the floors, and new ‘protective’ gear around the essential workers made it very clear we were facing a new world. A world of darkness and fear that could overtake us if we didn’t let the light into our hearts and lives.

The sudden cough or sneeze made you weary or people immediately were apologizing for their allergies! Mothers with children were frantically trying to figure out how to go shopping with children with masks and stay six feet apart.

YET, I saw kindness and patience that wasn’t present before all of this. People were using manners in the aisles and not rushing about to get passed you and on their way. Even vehicles were at a slower pace on the road. Life had slowed down.

The unfolding of your words gives light;

it gives understanding to the simple.

Psalm 119:130

Finding the Light

Getting outside in the cold weather is hard for my southern roots. I welcome the warm even sweltering heat of the summer. Along with sunburns and sweat. Yet, here we are bundling ourselves up in coats, gloves, and hats in the month of MAY!

OH MY WORD!

I need the warmth of the sunshine to make this darkness disappear. The seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or winter depression was never something that plagued me. Years of living in south Georgia followed by a small-time in West Africa didn’t lend itself to short days combined with the bitter cold that leads to trapping oneself inside for months at a time. AND NOW, we are forced inside on orders by the government.

We were coming up on week five in the quarantine and my spirit started to deflate. The pressure of managing the home, teaching slash not teaching through distance learning with my children, and staying hopeful was getting to me. My priorities were all over the place!

I am a creative that is super flexible. I am also an obliger and INTJ that morphed into an ENSF – motherhood has a way of changing your heart and attitudes (I love personality tests by the way).

ALL of those traits lead to a person who doesn’t fare well with self-motivation and sticktoitiveness. I thrive in an environment of external motivators! I need deadlines, meetings, and other people to help hold me accountable. So yeah, the darkness was trying to creep in….

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

1 Peter 2:9

So as the weather started to warm up and the sun peeked through the clouds I started to get outside of my head and outside of my house.

  • I started running.
  • I started working out.
  • I started calling my friends.
  • I started establishing OUTSIDE communication.
  • I started being purposefully in reading my Bible.

Restore us, Lord God Almighty;

make your face shine on us,

that we may be saved.

Psalm 80:19

I needed the Lord to restore my heart, mind, and soul. We all travel to dark places at times yet do we allow the darkness to overtake us? Do we linger there? Do we stay wallowed up in that place of misery?

I used to. I have struggled with fear, anxiety, and depression.

It is in my past and I have been redeemed by my heavenly Father. It is through going to Him on a daily basis, praying through His Word, and applying the discipline of many of the scriptures into my daily life that has brought joy and peace.

My marriage, my parenting, and my own creativity is dependant on God’s power within and through me provided by the Holy Spirit. His face SHINES on me so that I may be saved.

Color Series

The second series of documentary photography is in color – bright, cheery, rainbow-tastic colors of hope and joy. Capturing the light pouring into our lives at times we didn’t think was possible. The soaking rays of sunshine pouring into my house casting gorgeous light flares around my children and our lives. His light shining into our darkness.

The joy of spending quality time with my girls during this quarantine is something that I am thankful for.

BE Grateful!

I am no baker yet the simplistic nature of making a cake – even from a box – was a great way to teach life lessons, use up some time, and make memories with my girls. I remember baking with my mother as a child. I was too afraid of our gas stove!!!! And now, I wouldn’t cook on anything else.

Arise, shine, for your light has come,

and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.

Isaiah 60:1

The Light dwells with Me

Like I said before, I used to stay in those deep and hidden places of depression. It was easier to just let my emotions dig deeper into hate and anger vs trying to find hope in any situation. I felt unloved and abandoned….

But wait….

GOD still dwelled in that dark place. HE was there with me every step of the way! He REVEALED what was truly lying in the darkness. He has been slowly molding me into a new creation with each disciplined step I take into full obedience to HIM. Each step is another step in serving HIM, my husband, my children, and my community.

and the light dwells with me.

He reveals deep and hidden things;

he knows what lies in darkness,

and light dwells with him.

Daniel 2:22

As the quarantine comes to an end, hopefully, I want to build my town aka my life on a hill with a light shining so bright that all will see.

A beacon of hope pouring out a message of peace to all who are hurting and suffering.

I am not perfect and make mistakes. God is still revealing the things in the deep dark places of my heart and teaching strength, perseverance, and diligence.

WE ARE THE LIGHT of hope, joy, and eternal peace. Let your light shine!

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.

Matthew 5:14

Finding light in the darkness took much dedication.

FOR ME, as a creative I have turned to my craft of photography and graphic design.

Using this website as a place to express myself through design. I have redesigned this website countless times during isolation. I have picked up my camera almost weekly and used my smartphone camera almost daily.

Every image on this blog post was captured with my PHONE!

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:5

Not Overtaken

In the image above, you see our fourth child. He is small, young, and unafraid. He sits in one of the most beautiful spots of light in our home. As the late afternoon sun dips down it shines through our front door casting a rainbow of colors onto the wall and floor. He has been provided more freedoms as he matures and now that very step where he sits used to be a protective boundary. You can still see the faint line to his right where a gate sat for over a year protecting him from the danger of going up and down the stairs. He was safe and my mind was at ease knowing he couldn’t go up without supervision.

Over time, we got relaxed in our home and his abilities but that didn’t stop him from growing, maturing, and testing boundaries. He seeked out opportunities to test his limits and quickly mastered the stairs with and without our supervision. And eventually, he wasn’t just crawling but walking up and down the stairs using the side rail as a helping hand – not mine!

The gate was removed and he confidently go up and down those stairs unassisted.

Does this mean the danger is gone? NO. Does this mean he will never fall? No. Does this mean I need to still hover and plan his steps? No.

The Lord is our gatekeeper. He is our shepherd. He guides us and nudges us back into the herd when we get out of line. Yet, he gives us room to grow. To have a teachable spirit that learns and matures by knowing His word. Applying His word.

Our son is young still and needs a guiding hand. I look to the Lord to keep nudging my heart through the spirit to stay alert and attentive to his needs. Though he may have mastered the stairs he still needs my guiding hand from time to time to do the most simple thing – walking.

He will do the same with your needs.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 8:12

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

1 John 1:7

Walk in the light

The Lord used this time to reveal many different things to us all.

My spirit needed to be reminded of my responsibilities and how to prioritize my time. To slow down and enjoy my children at this tender age. That we are not meant to rush these years because danger still lies around each corner.

BUT, we are also not to let fear overtake us. Not let the darkness take us down into the deep.

Look to HIM and HIS Word to rescue us. We are safe in His arms.

In this time let HIS light shine into your hearts.

Before you go…

As a sweet reminder of HIS light, I have created three verse art images for you to print and enjoy around your home. They can be downloaded and printed using your home printer on regular 8.5×11 paper.

I hope you enjoyed these documentary photographs during COVID-19 along with the verses about light in the darkness. Drop a comment in the comment section below and tell me, what is the greatest light lesson that have you learned? 🙂 Let’s start a discussion! Or better yet, bring this discussion to the Knitting Our Story Community!

—–> CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE BELIEVING THE KNITTER FACEBOOK GROUP

The”Believing the Knitter” community is MORE than just a Christian Facebook group for women. It is a sisterhood of faith lovin’ women who JUST WANT to tear down the technological walls and talk shop – smartphones, cameras, smart home gadgets, bible topics, and parenting aka issues RELEVANT to modern Christian moms, grandmothers, and ministry-driven women today. Join in to participate in the open discussions we hold after a message with me 🙂 This is a place for the Christian woman who wants to be in a group that points them to Jesus — all while learning about their everyday tech (no question is too simple)!

—–> CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE BELIEVING THE KNITTER FACEBOOK GROUP

LIght in the darkness documentary photography PIN 01
LIght in the darkness documentary photography PIN 04
LIght in the darkness documentary photography PIN 02
LIght in the darkness documentary photography PIN 05
LIght in the darkness documentary photography PIN 03
LIght in the darkness documentary photography PIN 06

Here is one more goodie for you to consider before conquering your day!

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