A meditative doodle and a meditation on Easter Sunday and in anticipation of the UK general election.
Love one another as I have loved you
Love one another…
That’s every other, not just the ones who are like you.
As I have loved you…
In the way that I have loved you…
Because I have loved you.
Love; that is an action, not a feeling…
One another; especially those whom others do not love…
As I; God incarnate…
Have loved you; you who do not deserve to be loved, any more than they do.
“Love one another as I have loved you.” John 13:34
As we are somewhere between the UK Mother’s Day and the US Mother’s Day, I thought it appropriate to think about Mums and to share some cards I made for my Mum.
This was last year’s Mother’s Day card I made …
And here’s this year’s …
And just for good measure here is the birthday card I made for my Mum too …
The cards are all made with watercolour paints, Promarkers and a black sharpie.
I don’t often make my own cards now because I don’t have much time so I only tend to make them for people I know who will really appreciate the work that’s gone into them.
But I know my Mum will. Partly because she makes her own cards and partly because appreciating your kid’s artwork is what Mums are supposed to do – however old you are.
Encouragement and support for your child is the key to good parenting in my book. It doesn’t mean you turn a blind eye to their faults, but in the ups and downs of life, a child needs to know that whatever happens, Mum and Dad are on their side. It’s called unconditional love. And I’ve had to practise it thousands of times with my kids already. Although we want them to do well at school, and develop good values and behaviours because we know that’s best for them, they know that even if they don’t do these things, we’ll still love them. Even if it seems like the world hates them, there’s a safe and loving place to come home to.
And I know that’s true about God too. God loves us unconditionally, whatever we’ve done. He is a safe place to come home to. He proved this by sending his Son to show us the way back to him.
Here’s a quick doodle in my journal to illustrate this …
And this beautiful verse from Isaiah says it all …
“I have swept away your sins like a cloud.
I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist.
Oh, return to me,
for I have paid the price to set you free.” Isaiah 44:22, New Living Translation.
This is the letter B in my ‘A to Z of me’ art journal, inspired by Valerie Sjodin.
You can see my letter A entry here. I decided to do this journal just with coloured pencils and felt-tip pens so I could do it anywhere.
For all of us what we believe is a deep-seated part of our identity. Some beliefs we hold are helpful to us, others are less so. Our beliefs can help us achieve something, or can hold us back. Limiting beliefs we hold about ourselves and our capabilities prevent us from growing to be all we are meant to be.
My Christian beliefs empower me to be the very best I can be.
Sadly, for some people, religion (as opposed to faith) has scarred them and they wrongly associate faith and belief with the results of that religion experience. Some people use their beliefs to impose limitations on others, contrary to God’s will. I so wish this wasn’t the case, but the church, like the rest of society, is made up of flawed human beings. When I feel angry, annoyed or disappointed at someone or something to do with church, I remind myself that I too am imperfect, and that I’m a Christian because of Christ, not the church.
Probably the most famous verse in the Bible is John 3:16 …
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but shall have eternal life.”
I love this verse, it captures God’s complete unconditional love for each and every one of us, and I hang on to that promise of eternal life. But for me, my beliefs aren’t just about what happens in the future, they are also about life now.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
My life with Jesus is full.
That’s why I believe … for today, as well as for tomorrow and for eternity.
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.
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