I am Accepted

Today’s post is from a new journal I started inspired by Valerie Sjodin, an awesome artist and art journaller. She used a moleskine notebook to journal an ‘A to Z of me’. You can see all of her beautiful pages HERE. Please do go and have a look. You will see that I can only aspire to what she achieves.

However I offer my little attempt.
I took the same approach as Valerie in using an ordinary notebook and I’m using just pencil crayons, fine liner and the occasional felt-tip to highlight.

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I was prompted to use the word Accepted for my ‘A’ page because of a conversation I had recently where someone clearly struggled with who I was and what I felt God was calling me to.

I reflected on my response and discovered to my delight that I’ve come a long way in being confident in myself and my calling.

I look back on my life and see how much I’ve been hurt by seeking the approval and acceptance of others and not finding it. Now I know its important to get along with others, to find ways of working together with mutual respect, even in disagreement. I wholeheartedly embrace this.

What I’m talking about here is when people do not accept you just because of who you are, regardless of how you do something. Perhaps it’s because of the colour of your skin, the family you were born into, your gender, your nationality, your faith, or any number of things that form our identity, who we are. Prejudices and narrow-mindedness are out there.

But there is good news. In God’s eyes, through Jesus, you and I are already fully accepted. We are God’s children, and God loves us unconditionally. When we live in that love, God calls us to his plans and purposes because of who we are. We don’t need to justify ourselves to others.

So today, rest assured that you are loved by God unconditionally. When you choose to embrace that love, you will know that you are accepted as a child of God, and what others think will pale beside your status and importance in God’s eyes.

See what love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God. 1 JOHN 3:1

Doodling prayer

Like many others, I have been moved this week by the news of the bombing in Boston where two people died and 175 were injured. I was also moved by the news that on the same day bombings in Baghdad killed 31 people and left 200 injured.

Yesterday I decided to ‘doodle’ a prayer as my response to this news.
Here is what I did…

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(If you scroll down this post, I have shown how the doodle developed.)

The Christian tradition often uses candles as a symbolic representation of a prayer. The imagery is linked to Jesus as the light of the world shining in the darkness, bringing hope into difficult situations. Other traditions use prayer flags and I don’t know what they mean specifically in those traditions but I like the idea of a flag waving in the breeze as a symbol of God’s spirit blowing into the lives of those who are troubled or need comfort.

So I decided to doodle both candles and flags to represent ‘all the Lord’s people’, as the verse from Ephesians says.

Today I woke up to discover there had been an explosion near Waco at a fertiliser factory, and again bombings, and deaths occur daily amongst our brothers and sisters in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and many other places around the globe.

The colourful nature of this doodle reflects the diversity of humanity. As I drew and decorated my flags and candles, my prayer was, and continues to be, for comfort and consolation for those caught up in these situations and for a global community of peace and love amongst all the Lord’s people. Can you say Amen?

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I tend to create backgrounds in my journal when I have time but with no particular idea what I will use them for. Sometimes I use an old teabag dipped in water which works well, but for this one, I soaked the pages with water then dropped blobs of paint around in a random way. On the right hand page I just did random streaks of paint.

I then drew a basic outline of my doodle in pencil. I don’t recommend doing too much rubbing out though as it takes away the background. Even if you’re not completely happy with what you’ve done, just go with it – it’s a doodle and doesn’t have to be a masterpiece.

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I then added some more flags to fill the gap at the top, the bible verse I wanted to use, and lightly drew in patterns on the flags. I coloured the flags with felt pens (nothing fancy just basic children’s ones – art doesn’t have to be expensive!). For a contrast I coloured the candles with pencil crayons, picking up the colours of the background and just using random colours on some (be careful not to mix these as you end up with a mucky brown!)

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I then outlined everything with a thin fibre tip pen and added some doodle patterns to the candles. I was going to leave it at that but it didn’t look right to me so I picked out some areas of the candles with felt pens but tried to preserve the rainbow nature of the colours below. I also added some little dots around the flames and some pen lines around the flames and flags to give a sense of life and movement.

And here’s the finished piece … a visual prayer.
Hope you feel inspired to have a go yourself – feel free to copy what I did or just do you’re own thing. God hears your prayer either way!

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