I consider myself a positive person by nature. I’m a glass-half-full kind of girl. I know the importance of regularly taking stock of the blessings in my life and praising God for the good things he has given me. I thank God for my loving and supportive family, I thank God for my burgeoning career, I thank him for my good health and for all the many material possessions and spiritual gifts he has graciously poured out upon me. Many of you will have similar lists so you know what I’m talking about. But one thing that never used to make the list was thanking him for my ability and passion for scrapbooking and craft.
Now it’s absolutely true that I love these things. For me there is no better therapy after a tough day than to get busy with paper and glue and make something pretty. I also have this burning desire to make sure our family’s collective memory is documented through the photos and journaling that make it into my scrapbooks and Project Life albums. And when I started getting recognised in the online craft community for my ability to create something that other people seem to enjoy as well I considered it nothing less than a huge honour. But none of these things ever made it into my praise list because I believed that they had been put into my life as a distraction from what God had in store for me.
My idea of how God will use me centres around my role as a wife, mother, doctor and prophetic intercessor. He has placed a passion in my heart for these things, I enjoy doing these things and he has gifted me in these capacities. I spend time working to improve these aspects of myself constantly. Surely my hobby of papercraft plays no part within this destiny?
However, over the past year God has been speaking to me that none of my desires and abilities have been placed within me by accident. I have been fearfully and wonderfully made in exactly this way for a reason. Part of it is just because God loves to see us enjoying ourselves – He takes delight in our happiness. But always, always is the underlying theme of the great commission to go forth and use your individual skills and attributes to make disciples of all men. So how was God going to use my ability to scrapbook to reach people and speak a little of his love into their lives? Just as I was questioning this I discovered the world of Illustrated Faith and suddenly the lightning bolt struck! This is it! This is exactly what I was after. This is my two worlds of craft and faith meeting together in one glorious eye-opening movement.
For me Illustrated Faith serves two great purposes. First and foremost it’s prompted me to spend more time in the Word, and anything that achieves this is a good thing. Soaking in the word on a daily basis increases my knowledge, builds my faith and strengthens my spirit. And the second thing is that now I’ve been given a whole new audience to share my testimony with without me having to do anything new or different. Simply by putting my bible journaling pages on Instagram I’ve had people approach me online and in real life to ask me more about this process and I’ve been able to share my heart and forge new relationships. So it builds me up, and then it encourages others as well. Individual change, and then community change – that’s the great commission in a nutshell.
I don’t believe God does anything by accident. I believe he’s given me this particular set of desires and abilities for a purpose, and he wants to use them to extend his kingdom. He never asks us to give more than what we have, but he does ask us to give him everything that we do have.