Love from the Center of Who You Are

This painting is inspired by my reflection of Romans 12:9
"Love from the center of who you are."

The rest of the verse goes on to say, "Don't fake it!"

I've been thinking about this verse for a few days, what it means to love from our center, and how often it is easier to fake it. Loving from the center takes presence. It takes paying real attention to what is in front of us. It takes shutting down all our physical and mental distractions and saying Here I am...Just here, right now, for you.

For me this weekend, it's been about coming into my real life and not staying "safe" in my house. Going across the street to the neighborhood Halloween party-where I know NO ONE...yes.
Going to the Bible study I've never been to and sitting across the table from someone I'm just getting to know...yes.
Going in to do bedtime hugs and kisses when I'd rather just stay on the couch...yes. 

Take Your Everyday, Ordinary Life

Take your everyday, ordinary life-your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life-and place it before God as an offering.
Romans 12:1

I struggle every day with feeling boring, small, and ordinary. But that plain, ordinary life-diaper changing, barefoot cooking, backyard playing, art making life-is good enough for God even when it feels like nothing important to me. 

This painting is my reminder that God is not placing expectations on me to be great or examplary or acknowledged or important. He only asks that I live my one life, in all its ordinary beauty, to the fullest. To love my days, to kiss my children, to savor the soup that bubbles on the stove. To try to live and embrace my life fully. I believe that is the best offering I can give to God-an oridnary life fully embraced and lived with joy. 

My People Will Live in Peaceful Dwelling Places

This painting was done in my mixed media art journal. I started with a base of ephemera, including a handwritten letter on the right, a bank note, pages from an antique Sears catalog, and a flashcard. 

I was reflecting on Isaiah 32:18
My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.

This verse is framed in my home and is a reminder that we are not meant to have lives of stress and hustle, but that we are created for peace and rest. As a person who struggles with anxiety, I stand on this verse as a promise that however scary, argumentative, or upsetting the larger world may seem (especially on my mind now as the presidential election looms near), my home is a place of safety, security, and peace. 

My daughter drew and cut out the small house for me last night and gave it to me, and she gave me permission to use it in one of my paintings, so I knew I wanted to think about the idea of home and to incorporate her drawing. 

Mixed Media Art Journal Angel

This painting is done in my mixed media art journal. The background is a patchwork of vintage letters and other ephemera. My favorite background pieces are some ration tickets from World War II that I kept visible at the neckline of her dress.