Monday, March 21, 2016

Nurturing myself with Faith, Writing & Art

Mentally and physically I was really struggling last week, and I needed to take time to nurture myself.  I found comfort and refreshment in prayer and my Bible as well as the encouragement of friends.  Once I felt a bit stronger I decided to relax and do some writing and art.  

I made pleasing progress with sketching using "You can draw in 30 days"

Most days when I woke up I wrote in my morning pages journal or did Bible copywork.

This is a painting I started over a year ago, but I felt stuck for many months not knowing what to do next.  Finally I asked a bunch of friends, who helped me decide that it is finished.  This means I can let myself move on to my next painting project, a set of smaller canvases.


I ordered a stack of 'How to Write' books from an online bookshop ... not sure how much time I have for novel writing, nor which story I want to resume working on, but it's a harmless and inexpensive hobby and I'm going to give it time and space and see how I go.

In a real bookshop I bought a beautiful book about Australian trees, a quotes and colouring book for Jasmine and a book about Escher's work.  I am always falling in love with particular trees, especially gum trees, and I hope this book will help me learn more of their names.

At the art shop I would have liked one of everything, but I resisted the temptation to buy too much.  I found some sketching supplies and a new game, "My Big Art Show".  We haven't played it yet, but I will let you know what we think once we have a go.

On my Facebook page GLOW this week I shared an article about the workspaces of famous scientists, which fuelled my desire for a dedicated writer's space.  We have a lovely shared study at one end of the lounge room, but I do wish for a space which is just mine.  I know that's selfish, when other people don't have a safe place to sleep.  I spent some time overthinking this and many other things.

In the midst of my woes last week, I read this message from Lisa TerKeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries:
  "Prayer does make a difference. A life-changing, mind-blowing, earth-rattling difference.  So keep praying, sweet friend. The Lord is leaning in close to listen. "  
I felt inspired to write about some of the prayers He has answered for me, and I shared my thoughts on Facebook:
Prayer has changed my life dramatically ... 🌺 
When I felt like I was striving in my faith in my own strength, I was shown scriptures like Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16-17 and Romans 12:1-2. I took a leap of faith and prayed for a sign that it was true, and He gave me a new fluent language, right then and there. My life changed in that instant. 
When I prayed "Lord, if you want me to marry again you'll have to hit me over the head, because I am not looking, I don't want to make any more mistakes in my own strength." He did. He made it abundantly clear that Pete was the one, and He made it all so beautiful in His timing. 
When I was newly remarried and very sick at Christmas camp in 2002, I went to the prayer line and asked someone to pray for me. I was instantly healed of a tummy upset I'd had since a trip to PNG 3 months earlier, a back injury from the same trip (bus with no suspension meets a car-sized pot hole) and a long-term personal health issue. Instantly healed.  
When I was at an Easter camp years later and could barely walk to the dining hall, I was so exhausted and depressed, people there prayed for me. They encouraged me with verses like Isaiah 41:14-15. I didn't know I was healed until a few days later when we went sightseeing ... I expected to struggle from the car to the visitors centre, but determined to believe I could do it with His help ... I walked to the top of Mount Kosciusko, even carrying my son (about age 9 at the time) when he got a bad stitch.  
Many more times I have had prayers answered ... sometimes instantly, sometimes with a gradual awareness of what is needed to move forward. I am praying now for another healing, no bigger or smaller than those issues, just once again humbly asking the Lord to heal me. I needed to read this, and to give thanks for all that He has already done.
One more thing I wrote publicly about was my Gratitude Journal.  Do you keep one?
My keeping of a gratitude journal started with a book, 'One Thousand Gifts' by Ann Voskamp. The idea is summarised here: http://onethousandgifts.com/a-letter-from-ann 
For my gratitude diary I chose a nice notebook and started writing a list of what I was thankful for, with enough detail to remind me what I meant when I look back and read it years from now: 
1. New day, early waking, quiet morning birdsong & crickets the soundtrack for a peaceful start.
3. Blank pages, new journal, a dare to count to 1000, one thousand moments to notice and thank Him for.
4. Little people soon to emerge from slumber.
21. Happy memories of childhood bikes, trees, pools, friendships, big happy extended family. 
At the start I aimed to write 3 things a day I was thankful for, little or big. Now I just add to it sporadically.  I write straight from the heart, often as part of my prayer time, part of that ongoing conversation. I haven't reached 1000 yet, but I think I will keep going until the book is full.  There is so much to give thanks for!
This post is Part #6 the Australian Mum's Encouraging Mums blog hop.

I'd love to hear about the hobbies and activities you find refreshing, or how you nurture yourself when you feel the weight of this broken world.

Kind thoughts,
Vanessa