NovelSisters

watching, reading, and writing stories

Using Your Gifts and Talents

This past weekend, I was given the opportunity to make artwork for a women’s conference. I’ve always enjoyed making little paintings and watercolors, but in more recent years I’ve started to see ways how I can use this hobby for God’s glory.

It all started with my mom’s birthday a few years back. She wanted to celebrate with a lot of people, but she didn’t want a bunch of presents. So she thought we could have a few donation options for people to give to in lieu of presents. Our church had been doing a similar thing with Christmas where you could donate to a charity and get a small ornament to give to a friend or family member and let them know that you gave the gift in their honor. My mom set up the church’s charity as one of her options, so people could get an ornament if they gave to that. (Maybe I should mention my mom’s birthday is in December). Anyway, she had a couple of other charities that she wanted to support and she thought it would be fun to have something to give if you supported one of those. Since all of the girls in my family like art, we decided to make several small paintings. Then if someone gave $50 or more they could have their pick of a little painting.

Here’s a couple of the paintings:

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These were my first attempts at more inspirational artwork. And one lady at the party asked if we had ever heard of or done prophetic art. The idea sounded a little weird to me at the time, but I think I kind of understand it a little better now. We all have different gifts and talents in the body of Christ. And art, just like any gift can be used for God’s glory. He can sometimes speak to people in pictures instead of words and I’ve found that combining the two is especially meaningful to me.

So fast-forward a couple years and my parents got involved in a Healing Ministry that wanted to give artwork to people who came to be prayed for. My mother volunteered and got me in on the reoccurring project. We decided to make watercolors since they are quicker and cheaper to make, especially if you need so many for one month. As I began with these paintings, I started to focus more and more on God’s Word and verses that spoke to me. Sometimes I’d start with a verse and try to paint something to match it, other times I’d start with an image and then find a verse to go with it. But each time I was excited to see how it would turn out and how others were impacted by it.

Here are some of the watercolors I’ve made:

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So when the opportunity came to do some more for a conference, I said yes and got to join with a friend and do it together. It was a little new for both of us to be making art with other people around, but it was also fun and I hope all the women at the conference who ended up with one of the paintings or drawings was blessed by it. In any case, I’m excited that God has given me these talents and opportunities and has more in store for me in the future.

So whatever your talent or gift is, I hope you look for opportunities to bless others with it and glorify God.

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Christmastime is Here

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Everywhere you look, Christmas is there. The familiar tunes blare on the radio and in the stores you see the wintry themes and special deals. You’ve probably run into a few Santa’s by now, either taking pictures with children or ringing bells, or just figurines set up all over the place. Lights are decorating the parks, houses, streets and storefronts. The smell of pine needles may be filling your home, either from a real tree or a nice candle. And then there’s all the things to do: parties, shopping, baking, decorating, and whatever else the holidays bring.

I’ve noticed that my old blog post about what Christmas is about has gotten quite a few views even though it’s a very old post. When this time of years rolls around, it’s easy to get caught up in the hubbub and then wonder, wait, why am I even doing all this?

And that’s an important question. Why are you buying gifts? Why are you going to that party? Why are you decorating? What’s so important about Christmas?

My pastor talked last week about how Christmas has become an idol in our culture. We put all of this pressure on ourselves to have a “Perfect Christmas” and think that it will solve all our problems. So we try to get the perfect gifts for others, and give hints to our family and friends of what we really want. We spend all this money and time on doing things and most of the time, we just wear ourselves out. If that’s what Christmas is all about, it’s no wonder so many people get depressed around the holidays. It’s impossible to have a perfect Christmas. There’s always something that went wrong, something you never got around to doing, or something you had to say no to because you can’t say yes to everything.

But this year, God has been teaching me something about my heart. I’ve known the lies of consumerism and materialism and commercialism: Get More and You’ll be Happy. I know that isn’t true. But I’ve still bought into the habits. I feel a pressure to buy people gifts, even if they don’t really want what I’m giving them. I’ve started making lists of what I want for Christmas each year. And each year I just end up with more things that I can’t even remember who gave them to me.

So, after reading a radical book about decreasing called “7” by Jen Hatmaker. I decided that this December, I’d try my own kind of reduction. Instead of feeding the consumerism desires in my heart, I’m looking for ways to give. And not by going out and buying things to give away, but sorting through the things I already have and finding ones to let go of. I’ve already cleared through my bookshelf and stuffed animal collection. And boy things look a lot less cluttered. But more than that, I’ve started noticing places where I can give and finding joy in actually doing it. It’s not one more thing I need to do, one more thing I need to buy. It’s letting go of what I already have, what really belongs to God anyway and seeing someone else enjoy it. It’s so freeing.

So this year, I’m trying my best to give the way God has given, even when it hurts, and find joy in the true reason for the season: Jesus Christ who gave His perfect life for me.

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What is Christmas About?

Christmas, Star, Gold, Red, Lights, Christmas Time

Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/christmas-star-gold-red-lights-513471/

It’s only five more days till Christmas hits us once more. But what is it all about?

Is it about pleasing children?
Maybe it’s about giving gifts or telling people you love them.

Is it about a little baby in a manger?
Or going to church and listening to hymns.

Is it about hanging stockings and waiting for Santa?
Or staying up late partying with friends and relatives.

Christmas can mean so many things to each person.

Sometimes all it means is a break from school, or a couple days off of work.
It could even mean more work as the Christmas rush crowds the store you work in.

It could mean a profit for businesses that have been staring at red numbers for the last two months.

It could mean new movies to go see, like The Hobbit, Saving Mr. Banks, or The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

What’s it all about? Why all the busyness, stress, commercials, lights, music, and hullabaloo?

Why do we get so excited at this time of year?

Is it just a habit? Maybe the excitement of childhood just kicks back in,
or is it something more?

I don’t know about you, but this is what I think Christmas is about…

A MYSTERY.

Manger, Christmas, Santos Reyes, Christmas Crib Figures

Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/manger-christmas-santos-reyes-69225/

It’s been sung about, talked about, and preached about for years.
How did an infinite, all-powerful, huge, perfect, holy, all knowing, all seeing, almighty, wise, perfect, beautiful God and King, become a finite, helpless, tiny, vulnerable baby. And why would He do such a thing?

If your life was perfect, free from stress, worry, hurt and pain, and you could control everything, would you leave that life and enter into a broken, painful, stress-filled life, where people are seeking to kill you and you can’t do anything about it?

That’s what Jesus did for us, and that’s what Christmas is all about. He left His perfect home, to bring are messed up world peace. He left His perfect life to give our broken one hope. He loved us, when we were unlovable. And one day He died on a cross in our place, so we could live.

As you go about the last minute Christmas preparations, remember what Jesus offers you: Peace, Love, Joy, Hope, and Salvation. Don’t leave his present unopened, enter in and enjoy what He longs to give you.

Merry Christmas!

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