On Loving and Longing

it’s Valentine’s Day next week, and the aisles at Target are working overtime to make sure we know that love is in the air, am I right? 

And does it seem like we are all collectively trying to feel light, flirty, and happy…yet know that life is truly often heavy, burdensome, and even our best days are as the Psalmist says: “but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.” (Psalm 90:10)

I’m not trying to be a downer; I’m just telling the truth from where I’m seeing it: Love is sweet and fragrant and fun, but it also requires labor, sacrifice, and diligence. I can’t look at pink hearts without considering all the purple ones too in the trenches of life. Love and loss, love and longing…seems to always go hand in hand.

After almost 19 years of marriage and loving a husband plus six kiddos…love (the verb) and the celebration of it feels much different than it used to:

Less fluff and more foundation. Less stuff and more substance. Less heartburn, but more heartache.

Life is full of opportunities to love, feel longing or loss, and to love anyway.

I’ve been thinking on these things as Valentine’s Day approaches and GraceLaced Shoppe launched the Be Still Series this week (with a sale!) The series is about fighting chaos and the discouragement of waiting for change, with the steadying truth of God’s Word. It’s His Word that reminds us that:

He is good when He blesses and takes away. He is not through with us yet and will indeed wipe away every tear and make all things new. We can be still because He is still on the throne, even when everything is not perfectly lovely or loving.

Love and longing can sometimes feel like the same thing: Both make the heart ache and both teach us to trust what we can’t always see with our eyes. 

So maybe these verses meet you at the intersection of loving and loss, maybe they find you yearning and waiting, and maybe these verses remind you that you must just keep pressing on in love and praise because Christ is love and your life is in Him.

I hope so.


*And if these (or anything else in the shoppe) speaks to you this week, we are having a shoppe-wide sale, so enjoy the discount and free print promo through Wednesday 2/15. 


Cheering you on, friends.

Because of grace,

 

(Family portrait by my friend, Joy Prouty of Wildflowers Photography)

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Hope…In The Desert {Launch + Sale!}

For those who know barrenness, waiting, thirst, and longing…

…those who know dry seasons of the soul…

…for the one who’s cup isn’t overflowing like it once did:

God makes a way in the wilderness. He provides rivers in the desert, and breaks up our fallow ground. He is the author of hope in, and through the desert.

I have known such desert seasons more than a few times in my life, and can confidently say there is nothing more satisfying than a parched soul whose thirst is quenched — Jesus alone is our balm and sustainer in those seasons. 

I am grateful and thrilled to share with you the Hope in the Desert 2017 (3-in-1) Calendar.

My prayer for us is this:

That come what may in 2017, whether our current circumstances change or don’t; whether we feel relief or not; whether we experience lush growth or press on in drought, we might hold fast to our HOPE in Christ, the source of living water, himself. 

As with the last year’s Garden of Truth 2016 Calendar, the Hope in the Desert 2017 Calendar is meant to instruct, inspire, and encourage us as we speak to our longings with the truth of God’s Word.

It is designed to be repurposed as (12) 8×10 art prints and (12) scripture memory cards. My desire is for us to find the Word of God beautiful, practical, transformative, and purposeful in our everyday lives. That is my heart behind every piece painted in GraceLaced Shoppe, but especially in our annual calendar. We hope you love this year’s version as much as we do. 


WE ARE CELEBRATING WITH A SALE!

 

Now thru September 20, receive the entire 12 image Hope In the Desert Lock Screen download set, FREE with calendar purchase. (You will receive an email with FREE coupon code once you’ve purchased a calendar.)

(FYI: With the 20% storewide discount, our already discounted 4-pack bundles are only $120…making the calendars only $30 a piece!)

Take advantage of the 20% entire store on canvases, including brand new Hope In the Desert Canvas offerings…

I hope these verses are a balm to your soul as they are to mine as we break up the fallow ground of disbelief and hardness of heart, and welcome the downpour of sustaining grace that comes only by way of redemption. He is our hope in every season…even in the desert.

Grateful for you all. Press on, friends.

Because of grace,

 

Worry, Replaced.

I’ve been a worrier my whole life. Biting nails, thinking too long into the night…and at times, feeling that all too familiar weight upon my chest. And while there are all sorts of enjoyable ways to shake off our struggles and distract us from our worries, the fight is not easily won. I don’t know about you, but I can’t simply apply “Don’t worry, be happy!” or “Shake it off!” or “Believe in yourself!” to the inner beast of worry. You see, the root of worry is rarely a simple rearranging of circumstances or fixing of others’ perceptions of you; worry is rooted in idols of the heart. 

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Phil. 4:6)

Worry, a sinful trusting in ourselves over a mighty God, stands guard at the doorway of our heart idols: fear, approval, pride, justice, self-sufficiency, comfort, ease. I’m familiar with them all. 

The only way I’ve known to battle worry effectively is only by Grace: to slay the idols of my heart with the powerful love of Him displayed through redemption in Christ, and replace them with the truth of God’s Word. Here’s where we must preach truth to ourselves. Nothing else will do. Not friends, favor, sunshine, good food, travel, nor new shoes. They all lighten the burden, but only the gospel will throw the weight of our self-suffiency upon Christ, and set us free.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

{While we’re on the topic of worry, do any of you entrepreneurs, creatives, or writers ever worry over how to use social media, especially Instagram? How? How often? Why? Is it making a difference? 

I’m over at the Hope Writers Podcast episode: Instagram For Writers. Find the full interview with me about Instagram at Hope Writers site (where you can do a trial membership to check it out!

Between book writing, personal circumstances, and the busy Mother’s Day season at GraceLaced Shoppe, I’ve not yet found my rhythm with how to be more present here at the blog; but, I’m grateful that you show up. I’m grateful that you join me here to find GRACE – not self – as the beauty in our everyday.}

Because of grace,

 

A Garden of Truth for 2016

I’m slow to learn and hard of hearing…and sometimes hard of heart.

There are 365 days in a year, and 365 days of the year you will find me fighting to keep Truth at the forefront of my mind and in the pliable part of my heart. It’s not just about waging war on sin, it’s about setting our minds on things above as a means for battle. 

I have to continually pull up the weeds that I hope to replace with a garden of truth.

That’s the heart behind the debut of what I hope to be an annual Garden of Truth calendar in GraceLaced Shoppe.  The calendar, which releases today, was designed to 3-in-1, with 12 repurpose-able 8×10 prints, and 12 coordinating scripture memory cards. I wanted to offer the kind of calendar that would draw you in with beauty but would anchor you to truth….all year long. 

Each month is adorned with a flower that blooms during that time of year + a portion of a verse of Truth that is worthy of rehearsing over and over again. The full verse is located beneath the print, so you can easily read it and remind yourself throughout the month. 

You may want to make it a verse to memorize all month long, as a family or with a friend. Once the month is over, you can follow the instructions and cut the page of the month out as a separate print + scripture memory card. I’ve also created a set of 12 lock screen downloads that coordinate with the calendar so that you can have access to your yearlong garden of truths everywhere you go…


To celebrate the calendar release, I’m running a SALE and PROMO through Sunday, September 20!

Take 20% off entire shoppe, including ALL new releases! Use code: TRUTH20

+

Every order with a calendar purchase, now through Sunday, will receive an emailed coupon code for a FREE download of the Garden of Truth Lock Screen Set!

(both offers last thru 9/20/15, 11:59 MT)


As always, I’m honored to have the opportunity to share my artwork with you. I’m grateful that He’s chosen to use words and brush offered from this place as a means of encouragement. May His Word richly dwell within us and spur us on in both hard and fertile soil. 

Because of grace,

I’m so honored that you are here. If you enjoy this blog and would like new posts to come directly to your inbox, I invite you to subscribe to GraceLaced by email.

Endless Summer and Back To School {New Releases + Sale}

It’s back to school in our neck of the woods, and I’m both holding on to summer and transitioning to the challenging work that is schooling our children. The end of carefree and the ushering in of responsibilities always reveals more than the need for order to a schedule; it reveals our NEED FOR CHRIST. 

This new set of releases is both my celebration of an endless summer…and reminders of where our real comfort comes from…


The “Summer Poppies” painting is for all of us who long for summer to linger a little longer.

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…in journal and notecard sets…

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And…the reminder that our striving and efforts to show ourselves able are simply not enough, nor needed: “Power Made Perfect” is one of my favorite new pieces in the shoppe.

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And I leave you with this last new release: “Endurance and Encouragement” found in the only One who can provide lasting assurance…in our families, our relationships, our pursuit each day to glorify Jesus. It’s simple, but I pray it helps keep the reminder and truth squarely before us as the seasons change…and we head back to school.

To celebrate the new releases, I’m running a little sale through Sunday, August 23.

All new releases discounted at introductory prices (10 % off, no code necessary) only thru Sunday.

PLUS

Take 15% off any order over $40, only thru Sunday.

Use Code: BACKTOSCHOOL

Sale ends 11:59 pm MT, Sunday August 23


As always, I’m grateful for your support and honored that you are here.

Because of grace,

Wherever You’re At in Motherhood {+New Mother’s Day Releases}

UPDATED 4/20/15:

In effort to encourage you to get all your orders in in time for Mother’s Day arrival, we are running a sweet sale through Friday. 

15% off everything in GraceLaced Shoppe with code: MOTHERSDAY

Plus, every order of prints automatically receives a FREE gift of a single 5×7 of one of the Floral Fruit of the Spirit prints (I have a stash of 5×7 FFOTS “seconds” with hardly noticeable blemishes, perfect for a freebie!)


Though I’ve now been through several seasons of motherhood, I still wouldn’t consider myself a seasoned mother.

Motherhood is the most amazing journey we never quite arrive at perfecting. I dare say, despite how it feels to all of us who long to excel in a task and conquer it, we simply weren’t meant to master motherhood. The hard work of parenting is really no one’s forte, strong suit, or natural gifting.

Parenting is the hardest job I never knew I wanted. And yet, if motherhood and homemaking wasn’t so unnatural to me, would i have known how faithful my Savior is in changing hearts and making the impossible possible? Would I have given him praise for the sweetness that raising boys has been to me? It’s mercy that God made mothering more challenging than I would have liked. 

And so, with Mother’s Day around the corner, I’m releasing 3 new prints today in honor of three seasons of motherhood:

…At the beginning (where you were)…

 

…In the trenches (where you are)…

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….And celebrating God’s faithfulness through it’s many season (where you are going)…

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My prayer is that each of these prints will serve to remind you and those you love, of the high calling of motherhood. I long to see us press in to Jesus when we struggle to press on. Two of these reminders have been made into my first ever journals in GraceLaced Shoppe! I hope you love them as much as I do. 

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And…due to popular request, I’ve redesigned and relaunched the Floral Fruit of the Spirit 5×7 sets…Enjoy!

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Sale and free gift ends on Friday, April 24th at 11:59pm MT.

 

 

Be blessed, friends. Our savior is so faithful in this, and every season of motherhood.

Because of grace,

I’m so honored that you are here. If you enjoy this blog and would like new posts to come directly to your inbox, I invite you to subscribe to GraceLaced by email.