Greetings Illustrated Faith Tribe!
I prayed a lot about this post. Honestly, I struggled over it. Usually, the Lord gives me a picture in my head, an illustration to go along with truth for my posts and they usually come at the same time. In starting this post, my only confidence was He wanted me to write about 1 Peter 5:8 –
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.
I knew this because the scripture danced off the page a few days ago, but I had no picture and no words to go along with a post. I prayed some more and I looked in my soul and asked God to make clear the path.
As with most of us, my heart is so broken over the violence and hatred our world is experiencing. I can’t even watch the news and I don’t have a place in my heart to put all the negativity that people seem to thrive on. In fact my tolerance for negative comments has become zero — just ask my kids. I want healing for all those who are hurting. I want peace. I want people to open their eyes and hearts to the beauty of differences. I want to see people lift others up and not tear them apart. I want to shout from the rooftop, “stop this craziness!”
Hmmm…I went back to the scripture and I pulled out some Bella Blvd Illustrated Faith die cuts, a favorite clear cut sheet; and started sorting through, asking God to show me what He wanted me to illustrate.
The pieces started to fall into place. I cut several pieces out of the She Paints Clear Cut sheet and played around with design. I liked that I could paste the LOVE die cut on the clear cut and then washi tape it into my Bible so I could flip it back and still read the scripture.
I still sensed there was more God wanted on the page, but nothing came to my mind, so I set what I had laid out aside and prayed some more, I listened, and I waited for God to put the image in my heart.
Several days later the words “above all” stood out. That seemed pretty clear to me. First priority should be “love.” I scribbled “above all” and then God gave me the picture, hands of all shapes, sizes and colors holding up their imperfect, colorful, experience filled, hurting hearts to Him, and asking God to help them “love” each other. I drew on a scratch piece of paper.
Ahhh… that was it. The pieces fell into place. I nodded my head in understanding. Oh Lord, forgive us, we can’t love each other without your help, can we?
If we rely on our own hearts to love each other, we will be filtering everything through our own broken hearts and experiences. Those broken places feed all the fear and misunderstanding and the enemy thrives.
But what if we ask the Lord to help us love?
Maybe, just maybe, we have a shot at real love and healing peace.
Kindness might replace impatience.
Encouragement might replace criticism.
Differences might be celebrated and learned from.
Peace might replace vengeance.
Forgiveness might replace hurt.
Charity might overcome want.
Respect might permit voices of reason to be heard.
And the ugliness of fear and violence might be silenced.
I transferred the image to my Bible.
Next, I colored in the hands with pencils and filled the hearts with strokes of water, dropping in colors of all shades. Then I used my .65 Illustrated Faith pen to draw wobbly lines around the hearts to symbolize their fragile, broken condition.
Adding an enamel heart and washi tape to the LOVE clear cut piece finished the page but my mind was still moving.
It would take a miracle to change the direction of our world to love through God’s grace.
For a moment I was discouraged. But then I thought, away Satan! I know a Miracle Worker, His name is Jesus. I can pray. I can lift my heart up and ask Him to help me love in His grace. I may be only one, but I know a story about one little boy with two fish and five loaves of bread who followed the same Miracle Worker and he fed a huge crowd (John 6:9-13). Maybe if God’s children choose to love with His grace, it will begin to move the tide.
So, I think I will begin with me. I will lift my heart up to Him and ask Him to help me love, really love. I will continue to pray in faith for our world and for the hearts of others. And then I will trust the Lord with the rest. Will you join me?
In His love and with lots of hugs –
ESV Leather Journaling Bible | Illustrated Faith by Bella Blvd She Blooms She Paints Clear Cut | Illustrated Faith by Bella Blvd Die Cut Prompts – Family | Illustrated Faith by Bella Blvd Precision Pens | Illustrated Faith by Bella Blvd She Blooms Enamel Hearts | Sharpie Water Based Black Pen – Fine Point | PrismaColor Premier GoldenRod PC1034 Lyra Skin Tone – #93406 and #93402 | Faber-Castell Watercolor Pencil #8200-263 | Prima Colored Pencils – #101 and #04 | Sennelier Watercolors | Angora Watercolors | Daniel Smith Tube Watercolors | Washi tape from Illustrated Faith I Am Strong Devotional Kit