Friday, August 29, 2014

Shake Well Before Using

I was listening to a sermon preached by Pastor Tim Dilena this past Sunday at the Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York. The sermon is entitled "My Pain Needs a Word".  In it he gives an analogy about reading the label on a medicine bottle, which says "shake well before using".  He went on to say, and I paraphrase, "sometimes God needs to shake us a little bit so he can use us".  What does he mean by this, you ask? I'll tell you what it means for me. 

November 2014 will mark the 10th anniversary of my being shaken up by God.  I went through a very painful situation that changed my life and shook me to the very core of my being. At the time I was left without a safety net and felt as though my whole world was crumbling. I had no way to turn and was desperately grasping at straws. I felt as if I was drowning -- literally. 

Though I was involved in church, I had just a fleeting knowledge of God and his Word. I knew I loved him; I knew I needed to follow his commands and live a life devoted to doing his will, but that was it, only knowledge. I had no feeling for his Word and no desire to do his will. That is, until November 2004. 

When I could turn neither left nor right, I only had one option: to turn to God and his Word. I grasped his Word and began the slow process of rising out of my pain and despair.  The more I read the Bible, the more I held on for dear life. His Word became my lifeline and I began to devour it to keep me floating.  I started listening to teachings on his Word; I joined a Disciple Bible Study class to learn his Word. I was already singing in a choir, however, it took on a new meaning as the words we sung spoke to my fragile heart and gave me hope that I would come through what I was going through.

God shook me up to get my attention and he succeeded. That experience could have broken me; it could have derailed my future and put a stop to my dreams.  But he wanted me to know the way I was living my life was not what he wanted from me. He had to pull the rug from under me so I would turn to him and not depend on myself or others, but solely on him.

Pastor Dilena used the following Psalms in giving his sermon and they really spoke to my heart.  Psalm 119:67, 71, and 92 state, "Before I was humbled I went astray, but now I keep your word... It is good for me that I was humbled, so that I might learn your statutes...If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my misery."  God had to shake my world and turn it upside down so I could learn his ways and follow his laws! 

Through my pain and the uncertainty of my future, I drew closer to God and learned to trust him for all my needs. I learned to call on his name in my darkest hour and watch as he came (comes) to my rescue; I learned to submit to his will for my life and allow him to use me to accomplish it; and more than anything, I learned to listen and to these words: "be still and know that I am God".

God wants to use us in mighty ways to bring glory to his name.  We are his ears, his eyes, his feet, and his pocket. We have been placed on this earth for a specific reason and he will have his way, even if it means to "shake well before using".

One of the ways God uses me is by utilizing the talents and gifts he's given me.  I love making greeting cards and I allow the Holy Spirit to inspire me to make cards that speak to those receiving them.  Today I will share a card I made for a church member who recently celebrated her 103rd birthday. I used MTC to cut the cover created by Bird from,  The background digital glitter paper is called Autumn Splendor Gold Rush and it  is from

Friday, August 1, 2014

Some Cards

This week I was in a creative mood, which got me working and produced a few cards (though I'm only posting three right now; I'll blog about the others in another post).

This first card was inspired from a tutorial here. I had this digital image pre-printed and stored in a binder I have for work I want to do, but haven't got around to. I thought it would fit perfectly inside the frame of the card. I colored the flowers and vase using Copic markers and added Stickles to give the appearance of water. 

The second card was inspired by some coasters I purchased last December. These coasters have all types of quotes and I thought they would make nice gifts, however, because I went out of state for the holidays, I didn't get around to giving them to anyone.  Here are some of them. Aren't they cute?

I took the coaster and attached it to the back of a frame I die cut with my Cuttlebug. I then attached that to a cardstock from my stash of patterned stocks and papers. Here is a front and side view of the card.

The last card was truly an inspiration.
I was checking out the SVG files on the Pazzles Craftroom and found this file.
I downloaded and printed it in layers using MTC and my Silhouette Cameo. The afrocentric pattern of the dress was paper pierced. I had to cut a neckline so the dress didn't go up to her neck, lol! I created the backgroud using Mixed Media technique combining watercolors, stamps (chevron pattern), and stenciling.  I found the frame
here (along with some other ethnic themed SVGs).  

What I enjoyed most about this card was coming up with the right sentiment. I took inspiration from Matthew 11:28-30: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (KJV)