Sunday, August 22, 2010
What a wonderful celebration we had of Stampin' Sisters in Christ's first birthday this past week! Blessings abounded! If you haven't done so already, I invite you to experience the blog hop for yourself. Each of the design team sisters, past and present, had a very special scripture and testimony to share. And I also encourage you to read all the lovely comments left on the SSIC blog post. I can tell you they made us shed tears of joy and praise God!
Our hostess this week at Stampin' Sisters in Christ is Cindy Coutts, who has shared her heartfelt personal testimony on the SSIC blog. She chose as the inspiration scripture Psalm 56:3, "When I am afraid, I will trust in THEE." The challenge is to make something that represents what could be your life verse, a place where God has revealed to you that you can trust in Him, something representing a turning point in your life, or just focusing on Psalm 56:3. This is more of an open challenge, something that only you understand. Cindy wants us to be encouraged and remember those special "Jesus and me" moments when the Lord truly revealed Himself to us, and praise Him for it.
You know what? It's not easy to stand up and profess your belief as a Christian these days. Maybe it never really was. I remember a time when I was the only person in my circle of friends who was a Christian. And, of course, there have been times that I've had my doubts. I still feel weird talking about it sometimes because I don't want to sound like a "Bible Beater," nor do I want to give anyone the impression that I'm self-righteous about my beliefs. That couldn't be further from the truth. I'm just finally at peace with my faith. My life is the better for it. It's not that I'm trying to convert anyone, per se... I'm just sharing the peace and joy I've come to know through my faith and belief in God, and I'm hoping that by sharing that peace and joy, a seed may be planted so that others might experience the same.
So what was the turning point for me? The time when I knew that God was reaching out and revealing himself to me? Oddly enough it was when I read the Mitford series of books by Jan Karon.
I wish I could remember exactly what year it was. I know it was before she finished the series because I remember eagerly waiting for the new releases. I'm guessing about ten years ago. I was going through a very crushing time emotionally, and I don't even remember why I picked up the first book. Oh yes, I do. I just remembered it was a friend of my MIL's who mentioned them to me.
What I discovered while reading those books is how SIMPLE it is to have a close relationship with God. How really easy it is to believe. How truly uncomplicated, life-affirming, peaceful, and thrilling it is to know and trust in God.
By no means am I saying that suddenly all the bad feelings disappear and bad things never happen. But I am saying it's easier to deal with it when you know that God is by your side, that He loves you and wants you to be happy, and that He isn't the one who causes bad things to happen, but He very much wants to be with you through those trials.
I've read the Mitford series through about three times, and I plan to read them again. I have The Mitford Bedside Companion next to my bed when I just want a booster shot. It's full of favorite scriptures, Christian writings, and the most wonderful sermons you will ever hear, woven into stories that truly touch your heart. You will fall in love with the good folks from Mitford. Plus there are two books of Father Tim's favorite scriptures and writings which are also good for a dose of spiritual goodness.
And no, I have not forgotten about the Bible itself. It is the Book of all books, not ever to be replaced or upstaged. I dare say that after reading the Mitford books, you'll be more inspired to pick up your Bible!
So, for my challenge card, I made a digital collage of the Mitford books as the backdrop to this image of Reading Rachel by Sassy Studio Design, our sponsor of this week's challenge.
I can't wait to hop around and read what the rest of the design team share about this challenge. I hope you'll join me in visiting their blogs, and then make your own card for the challenge and share your story. Like I said, it's not always easy to step up and share the good news of your faith, but if you knew about a really fantastic sale on paper crafting supplies, you'd share that good news, wouldn't you?
Have a blessed day!
P.S. Jan Karon's newest book, the second in the Father Tim series (In The Company of Others), comes out October 19th. You can bet I've marked my calendar! You can read the first chapter here.