I'm not sure if I've written out my whole story before: Of how I loved art and writing in high school, declared a major in biochem, then bagged the medical track for maybe the wrong reasons, changed majors, married a teacher, went to seminary, then bagged seminary for maybe the right reasons, became a pastor's wife (same man), had two baby boys, became a church planter's wife (same man), had two more babies, started blogging, became a school founder's wife (all the same man, promise), had two more baby boys (that's a total of six), and started painting again after over a decade of dormant brushes and dried out paints. That's the condensed version. God used a storyline I wouldn't have written for myself to cause me to live for Him in a way I couldn't have desired or known otherwise. Finding the grace of God in the everyday - where what we believe meets where we must dwell in the fleeting trials and joys of life - is the heart behind what I write and paint here.
Two years later, GraceLaced Shoppe, the paint-with-a-baby-on-my-lap to simply give my gifts back to Him and adorn the inherent beauty of the Gospel endeavor, has become a successful, thriving company with 5 employees, almost 9,000 orders sent around the world from our home, and yet...still reflects the heart of where I began: finding Grace and beauty in the everyday.
In some sense, you could say that GraceLaced Shoppe became my 7th baby...a labor of love that has grown into something that has changed our family's life and brings us so much joy for the global impact that we never imagined could be possible through words and brush.
I wrote this the other day on Instagram, in a different context, but it's still true:
What the Lord keeps teaching us: "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33) All these marriage things, family things, work things, business things, health things, relationship things, dream things...we're made for the pursuit of the eternal, with the earthly things as merely vessels; not the other way around. And so, we marvel, open our hands, and respond to Jesus' call to simply: "Follow Me."
Maybe you relate: We tend to strive and maneuver ourselves to gain the life we think we want, but I dare say, the Lord is merciful to cause the most wondrous blessings to occur apart from fine-tuned plans and well-rehearsed strategies. That's how he gets the glory and we get to be his children. He delights in using those who think they've been forgotten, whose giftings aren't fully realized, whose daily decision to be faithful right where they are trumps being fabulous elsewhere.
When we are willing to simply follow Him, He makes much of Himself and His glory through our willingness to lay down our pride and carry the true Treasure in our jars of clay.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. (2 Corinthians 4:7)
So, with that, I want to tell you where following and treasuring Christ has led this 40 yr. - old mama - of - six - boys vessel of a woman who's given up as many things as she's persevered in...
I'm so excited and humbled to announce that I've signed a contract with Harvest House Publishers. My first of three books will be in bookstores Fall of 2017. For now, I'll simply say that in the course of these three books, I will have the opportunity to see the culmination of several areas of stewardship in my life. I couldn't be more grateful and surprised to see the Lord use my life in this way.
I would be so honored for you to support me through prayer.
- Would you pray that I would thirst after God's Word?
- That I might steward well this opportunity?
- That I would manage my time well?
- That I'd lead the business with clarity and vision?
- That the Lord would be honored with the way I live the unseen moments of my life with my husband, my boys, my friends, and my church?
- Would you pray that the Lord might use the next 9 months of my life to birth yet another labor of love...that the manuscript I turn in this November might be a sacrifice of praise to Him?
I'd be so so honored if you prayed for me in this new chapter of my life. You, dear readers and faithful supporters of my art and writing, are why I've had a ministry in this corner of the internet. I'm so very grateful for each of you.
...And, as you may have read in the previous post, my oldest, Caleb, and I are traveling to Ecuador with Compassion Bloggers this Saturday. We will be advocating and telling the story of God's love for the nations through the work of Compassion International each day next week. Caleb will be guest posting too! Please join us here and consider beginning a relationship with a child in need through sponsorship here!
(Oh! and find me on Instagram to see the new fine art canvases releasing tomorrow in GraceLaced Shoppe...but get special discounts by signing up for my newsletter below, which will go out tomorrow!)
Much love to you....
Because of grace,