journals and art and missions and…free-ish stuff

Well, hello darlings. (I said that with a British accent in case you’re wondering. Which you’re not. Moving on…) I’m excited to share something with you, my online-family-ish-of-sorts. (I’ve obviously had too much coffee today.)

My 11-year-old daughter is going on her very first mission trip this summer to the Spanish Wells. And she has to take a parent. So I have to go with her. #Iamsostinkingexcited

Anyway, we’ve been brainstorming on how we could raise support for this trip and God inspired her creative side. One day she came in with a beautiful watercolor picture taped onto a journal and asked me, “Mom, do you think I could make these journals and sell them to raise money for the mission trip?” Um, yeah, they’re amazing!

 

 

So I bought some journals and she started painting a replica…which took her a looooonnnnnggggg time because my sweet thing is an artist-perfectionist. And that’s when I realized, “Wait. I’m an author. And I’ve self-published books. I could probably help her with this endeavor.”

So we took a picture of her watercolor(s), chose the font she liked for lettering the verses she chose, and voila. We created two journal covers. From there we designed a 180-page journal of blank/lined pages, hopefully to meet all your journaling needs. And now we’re having them printed through CreateSpace.

 

 

“How can I get my hands on this amazing watercolor-covered journal?” I’m so glad you asked.

1. You could buy it through CreateSpace. And that would be wonderful, but we won’t actually see those proceeds until after our April 30th support raising deadline.

2. OR you can get a “free” one. “How?” you ask. Great question. I’m giving them away to those who donate to our mission trip BEFORE April 30th. Here’s what I’m thinking…

  • If you donate $40 or more, I will send you a free (11-year-old-artist-cover-designed) journal.
  • If you donate $80 or more, I will send you a free journal and a paperback copy of one of my Bible studies.
  • If you donate $150 or more, I will send you TWO free journals (one of each design) and TWO paperback copies of my Bible studies.
  • If you donate $1000 or more, I will come to your house and personally give you a pedicure. And give you journals and books and coffee and chocolate. (local contributors are only eligible for this last option.)

 

If you want to help us on this venture, simply click this link –> DONATE HERE <-- donate what you feel led to donate and then email me at laragwilliams(at)gmail(dot)com to give us your mailing address.

Your support — financial and prayer — is vital to us. And so very appreciated. By the grace of our good God, I pray He uses this trip to spark an even greater love for Him, for people, and for missions in these precious 5th and 6th graders. They truly can’t wait to “tell other kids about Jesus.”

 

mission trip

 
 

six words. one question. life altering.

This one’s short and sweet, people. Six words. One question. The answer to which determines the trajectory (<-- my favorite word) of our lives.

“Who am I trying to please?”

 

Who am I trying to please

 

God graciously flipped the tables on me recently. Proverbially. He pulled back the veil. He opened my eyes to a deeply affecting truth that trying to please anyone anyone other than Him won’t work out how I hope. Because trying to please anyone other than Him is…well…idolatry. Yep. The “i” word hurts.

I won’t go into the gory (or not-so-gory) details of how He showed me my flesh tendencies to please certain people, but recognizing it for what it is and repenting to my God for vainly trying to put someone where only He belongs, has ushered in a new freedom. It has shifted something in me. It has brought a fresh confidence to walk in who He declares me to be — holy, righteous, called, equipped, daughter of the Most High God because of Jesus.

 

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?
Or am I trying to please man?
If I were still trying to please man,
I would not be a servant of Christ.
Galatians 1:10

 

The enemy is crafty. He connivingly beckons our hearts down roads paved with tricky little lies that sound somewhat godly. But the end is death — death of joy and death of confidence and death of experiencing the identity Jesus died to give us.

So I leave you with the question that God’s been asking me in recent days, “Who are you trying to please?” Don’t cuss me. Just think about it. Really think about it. Ask Him to show you. And then be ready. Because repentance leads to healing and healing leads to joy and joy leads to dancing and dancing leads to…people staring. But let ’em stare. In Christ, we’re dancing in the pleasure of our Father.

 
Fill me, Lord…

Have you struggled to please certain people? How did that turn out for you?
 

for when we’re tempted to give up

I had a bloggers blogging identity crisis the other day(s). With this big break I’ve taken from writing/blogging due to our house move/demo/renovation — while waiting for paint to dry — I’ve had time to think (and yes, time to repeat and repeat and repeat Psalm 119. I’m slowly hanging in there with that crazy plan). But the other day, in all of my thinking, I started wondering if blogging even mattered.

With me not having much time to sit and write out the blog posts that clog up my brain, I started thinking that maybe I just needed to hang it up, call it quits, pull the plug on this whole blogging thing. Because what does 400 words grouped together into a blog post actually do in the big, eternal scheme of things.

That’s when it hit me: water. Blog posts can be like a drink of water on a hot day when you’ve just run a marathon. Uphill. (I’ve never run a marathon but I imagine thirst happens.) Writing a blog post may not change the world. It may not even change a life. But it could shift a minute or two or three. It could quite possibly be something that God would graciously use to spur each of us on — to inspire us to take the next step by faith. Then maybe the next.

 

image

 

God using man to speak words that shift the atmosphere.

Why does all that matter to you? Well, I want to encourage you to keep on. God has gifted each of us for the good of the whole. If we stop walking in the things He lays out for us to do, someone beside us will start getting a little thirsty.

You and I aren’t called to individually change the world; we’re empowered to spur each other on in the journey that we call today. One cup of water to the next. One reflection and outpouring of Jesus’ love and power to the next.

So whether we’re mothering or wife-ing or loving on our friends (or our enemies) or teaching a Bible study or hosting a refugee or praying over the sick…or writing a blog post, however our God leads us in our moments, let’s keep on in faith. Let’s receive the sips of water that others offer. And let’s keep holding out a cup to the one running beside us.

Did I mention I’m speaking at a blogger’s conference this summer? Crisis diverted.

 
Fill me, Lord…

How has God given you a “drink of water” through another recently?