Being Christian in the Depths

Knowing God

I have great esteem for people who have made it through the valleys and are able to speak honestly about it.  You can find many books about the lives of loss and redemption.  There are the moments when someone confides to a friend or stranger about their journey.  Many of these people are Christian.

Just because someone believes in Christ, doesn’t mean they automatically know how to follow him.  Just because they have given their lives to God, doesn’t mean bad things wont happen.

Faith is not a magic charm against the evil in the world or in ourselves.  Faith does not transform us into angels or heroes or a heavenly Jedi knight.  We can still be in God’s embrace, but also fighting  the wars with others or within ourselves.

And that is the beauty.

God is with us always, no matter if we acknowledge God or not.  God’s hand is always outstretched to us, even if all we can give is a glance or the light touch of a finger.

As long as I can remember, I have always followed God.  When I was young I couldn’t explain what it meant to be a Christian, but I knew how it felt.  In those moments in the depths, those times when emotions and thoughts and life took over my actions and thoughts, every time I was trapped, hiding, or running away, I felt God’s outstretched hand.

In those moments I didn’t need to know the correct theological definitions or Biblical doctrines.  I only needed to know that God was there.

Faith, belief, is the first step, and that is what makes us Christian.  But being Christian is not a check-off list, but a life, a way of being, a man-made title of an ever-present and ultimately eternal and unlimited relationship with the “I Am.”

Being Christian is grabbing onto the Hand of God,  already offered to us through the Word written, incarnate, and still living.  Being Christian is knowing that the Hand is there, even when we don’t know we have the strength to grab on or when we want to hide from it.  Being Christian is feeling the Presence, even when we can’t know.

And it is from there that we can begin our journeys, and it is there that we can rest and find peace.

Posted in Spirituality - Spiritual Journey, Theology | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Welcome to my Small Craft Studio!

To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.  Bruce Lee

JON_5186JON_5197Life isn’t always what we dream of, but it is our own unique, personal journey.  In the midst of making my life around other people’s needs and schedules, I needed a place that was mine – mine to create and be inspired by.  A place to seek refuge and clear my head.

I would love to have my own little cottage out in the backyard…one that has a “no trespassing sign” on the door.  Yet my kids would ignore the sign, and I would delight in their visits.  (Check out my Pintrest Boards for a peek into my dreams…)

So until I can build the backyard retreat or the kids move out in 15 years, I have carved out a 8′ x 5′ space in our playroom/office/TV room in the basement of our small house. It has become my inspiration board of-sorts, a place without Legos, school papers, and Disney princesses (but it does have a tiara!).

Also, it’s all on the cheap.  I have either re-purposed items we already had – many inherited from grandparents, things bought at barn sales or occasional shops, and even some from the dollar section at Target.  I always keep an eye out for something interesting…and inexpensive.  If it speaks to me, and my wallet, I buy it!

Welcome to my space!  If you have one posted on a blog, please link it in the comments as I love seeing what others do!

Studio SpaceThis is the view into my space…tight, but works great!  It is located in our basement, which has great windows and I have divided it off a bit with a vintage filing cabinet from my step-grandmother’s first husband.  The chair was my grandmother’s, the books cover everything from my favorite memoirs, ministry references, and quilt books.  The sewing machine is always out, ready to repair holes in jeans, or make doll dresses.  (At some point the curtains and carpeting will be replaced.)

Studio Space

I like keeping things I need easily accessible.  The yellow bin holds my current projects and I covered cardboard magazine files with wrapping paper to hold patterns and my plans for projects.  Since I have minimal wall space, I hung two pieces of my treasured collection from the Tentmakers of Cairo along the bookcase (purchased in Cairo prior to the Arab Spring).  The distressed table is from my in-laws’ farm…found in the garage as-is – a gift of time with layers of paint worn by the freeze of winters and heat of summers.

Studio Space

Storage and style can easily go together.  Other than being beautiful or meaningful, almost every item has another purpose, like being able to use for a ministry event or to store something.  Sewing notions are kept on the bookcase in glass jars, tin boxes, or trays.  On the bottom shelf is the first edition of my Dad’s book published the year I was born…a reminder of how calling and passion collide into something amazing.  Items hanging on the screen door, which came from my in-laws’ farm house, mostly relate to my sense of place – our family’s cottage in Michigan, mementos from trips or experiences with people I love, and reminders of God’s Love.  Under the sturdy Ikea desk are boxes of fabric scraps, beads and other craft supplies, binders of ministry ideas, and hidden by a rag rug made on the old family loom, a trunk holding batting and odd pieces of fabric.

Studio SpaceI have created a partial wall from the vintage file cabinet and an old dresser.  This “wall” helps create a sense of privacy, but allows me to remain connected with my kids playing in the other portion of the room.  The cabinet holds family genealogy resources and in the small amount of wall space taken up by some of my pictures.  Rulers hang on the wall, and at the top you can see a portion of my husband’s vintage toy tractor collection – some inherited from my grandfather.

JON_5185The mirror not only blocks the back of our TV, but reflects light from the window and my great-grandmother’s lady lamp.  My great-uncle made the child’s doll dresser for my mom, while my son’s baptism picture rests comfortably between an old camp stool and an Egyptian Icon.JON_5193I try to manage my fabric addiction, keeping it limited to the dresser drawers.  Yarn is tucked in the bottom drawer, with other supplies in the child’s doll dresser.  The rusted iron comes from a family farm, while the vibrant photo was a gift from my husband in memory of our time living in New Orleans.Studio Space

 

I hope you have enjoyed a tour of my space!  May it bring your inspiration for a place of your own.  Blessings!

 

 

Check out my Small House with Kids posts for more ideas on living with children in a small house:

Small House with Kids: Living Spiritually
Small House with Kids: Kids Sharing a Room
Small House with Kids: Collecting or Curating?
Small House with Kids: Purging, Organizing, and Right Living
Small House with Kids: Lego Organization and Survival
Small House with Kids: Shame Inducing Comparisons

For more craft/studio tours, see these links:
Craft Room Tours at Country Chic Cottage
The Inspired Room
Craftaholics Anonymous
The Zen of Making
Apartment Therapy

And plan on next years’ Junk Bonanza!

Posted in Marriage, Parenting, Small House with Kids, Spiritual Practice, Spirituality - Spiritual Journey, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments