I have an ever-growing list of scriptures I want to illustrate. However, for my last Illustrated post of 2015, I am digging back to a post I started creating and writing in October. I love how God seems to delay things so that they are timed perfectly. Even when we feel late, He has a reason. He is always on time!
I began working on the post this fall by asking my daughter what her favorite verse was. She whipped out her phone (because where else would an 18 year old keep her precious stuff) and tucked in her list was Psalm 62:8. It captured my heart and I began creating and writing.
Trust in Him at ALL times, O’People;
pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us.
Fast forward to now…
This Christmas felt like a storm to me. Usually, I feel a cloak of protection during Advent. A safe warm place of provision from which I can give others what they need. In years past, I have been the one feeding those who needed food, praying for those who needed faith and hope, speaking truth over every situation, supplying gifts to those who didn’t have the capacity to put treasures under their tree, and loving those who feel unloved. I always seemed to have an endless supply of energy, time, and provision.
This year was different. It was more like a storm. A messy, endless storm. I had to fight to keep my eyes on Jesus every day. I felt empty and needy and incapable of “giving” anything of value. Everywhere I looked there seemed to be messes, impossibilities, sin, and pain. I had to remind myself daily WHO was in the midst of it all and WHO was the solution. And guess what, the solution wasn’t me!
HE is the Refuge. My only job is to pour out my own messy, needy heart to Him. To trust Him with it all and let Him guide any steps I need to make. If He wants me to move, He will give me what I need. If not, I remain still, waiting and trusting.
I don’t think the messy stuff is over yet but I can tell you I have grown. Messes are hard but God is bigger and He won’t waste a thing, not one tear, not one breaking heart. He won’t let go of His children and He will use it all. When we are empty, He is enough. Enough for us and enough for everyone else.
Now, let’s illustrate. Here’s a bit of my process.
I always start with a color scheme. Sometimes my theme comes from a pretty paper I love or one of my color swatch watercolor squares. This time I started with a color swatch square I made. I also knew I wanted to use the word “refuge” in Bella Blvd Illustrated Faith’s Whatever is Lovely collection. I added other elements from my stash and prepared my page with Dina Wakely’s Media Clear Gesso.
I placed two clear sheet protectors behind my pages to protect the pages around my design. I discovered the awesomeness of these sheet protectors when I was teaching a class and needed enough protective pages for all the students. I searched my supply closet for something inexpensive that I could give to the students, and voila, heavy duty sheet protectors!
I love color and blooms of any kind so I elected to use a light watercolor wash of blue “storm” flowers over the whole page. The flowers are a reminder that even storms can be beautiful in God’s capable hands. I like using watercolors because I can still read the words. I added some white detail with a Uni-ball Signo white gel pen.
After I had the flowers in place, I put a clean sheet protector on top of the page to help me lay out my letters. Once I achieved a layout I liked, I transferred the letters to the Bible page. The “our” is cut out from some scrapbook paper with my Sizzix Big shot die cut machine. I used my tab punch and some scrapbook paper to make the tab and added “true” from Illustrated Faith’s Whatever is Lovely Collection. I also added washi tape to the edges of my page and outlined my letters with Bella Blvd’s Illustrated Faith pen.
So much truth and power tucked into such a short verse.
When our world rocks and our hearts feel like they are about to break into a thousand pieces, we have a place to turn and pour out everything that is happening. God not only listens when we cry out to Him, He becomes the safe refuge where we can rest our emotions and breaking hearts. He doesn’t shake his finger at us and tell us we are being overly emotional, messy, or dramatic, He just listens, tells us to rest in Him, and focus on truth. God is not afraid of messes. He’s always got us and He is always ready and willing to be the refuge from any storm or any heartbreak. We just need to trust Him, turn to Him, pour out our hearts, and then let go knowing He’s got it. How awesome is that. We are never, ever alone. We always have a safe place to run. He is our Refuge.
Trusting in His Refuge, amy
ESV Journaling Bible | Illustrated Faith by Bella Blvd Mini Mrs. Blueberry stickers | Illustrated Faith by Bella Blvd Big and Bold Black Eyed Pea Letter stickers | Illustrated Faith by Bella Blvd Whatever is Lovely Sticker Sheet | Illustrated Faith by Bella Blvd Pen | Watercolors | Uni-ball Signo White Gel Pen | WeR Tab Punch | Xyron Sticker Maker | Sizzix Big Shot Die Cut Machine | Sizzix Alterations Letter Die | Assorted Scrapbook papers | Washi tape | Clear Heavy Duty Avery Sheet Protectors | Ranger Mini blending tool | Dina Wakely Media Clear Gesso |