Thursday, October 11, 2012

FAITH... do you practice it daily?

Let's talk about Faith.  Do you have it?  And do you know that you can't live on someone else's faith!  Just because I was raised in the church and was the granddaughter of a Southern Baptist preacher, I have to make my own decision and act on it with integrity. 
This is something JM says that is worth mentioning.. "Recognition of God's love for everyone has influenced how I view otehrs.  THe Golden Rule has taught me how to treat peple.  God's love for me has given me great self-woth.  And the Bible has taught me how to lead people."
In Making Today Count, John Maxwell quotes Ken Blanchard in saying that leading people in the highest standard "doesnt' mean the bottom line or looking good to Wall Street or being praised by your peers. IT's not about getting the credit, or the promotions, or the raises.  It's about working with those you lead to get results in a way that honors God...."

Ummm hmmmm  I know THAT's right!
Faith actually gives a wonderful model for leadership and life.  JM says the Bible was the original leadership manual.  And basically, that is what should be emulated for how we lead and treat others.

So, at this art retreat, we learned to make stamped jewelry.  We chose crosses, obviously, to represent Faith. But we encouraged each participant to use whatever word they felt appropriate to symbolize what they needed in this moment in their lives.
Henri Nouwen was quoted as saying this is "the great conversation in our life:  to recognize and believe that the many unexpected events are not just disturbing interruptions of our projects, but the way in which God molds our hearts and prepares us." Faith not only can help you through a crisis, it can help you to approach life after the hard times with a whole new perspective.  It can help you adopt an outlook of hope and courage through faith to face reality. 
Dont' I KNOW that to be true?!  When Jake was diagnosed, we had an unshakable faith.  If you were following his caringbridge page, you know we were steadfast in our belief in his healing.  And when I tell you we never uttered the word, "die" amongst ourselves, I speak the truth.  He was sent home on hospice, and we STILL never said it.  It would've been contradictory to our mission of "BELIEVE"!! 
But you know what?  My Faith in God and in His perfect plan was strengthened with Jake's passing.  I was sharing with someone today that I saw a photo of Jake as a baby yesterday.  I even snapped a photo of a photo because it made an impression on me.  That impression was that when Jake was a baby we had no idea he would have cancer.  In fact, he may have already had it?!  But GOD KNEW.  And He knew what kind of message of hope and love and spirit and family that his little life would bring the world. 
And only through reflection after his death have I come to KNOW that God's grand plan is just that. It's grand!  And so if I were to pass from this earth tomorrow, know that this is NOT a surprise to God.  And know that because I have faith, I BELIEVE in God's perfect plan for my life.  And because I accepted His gift to me, I KNOW that I am saved by His sacrifice for me.  And because of that... THIS IS MY Cross....
They sang, "It is well with my soul" at my Nannie's funeral.  Dad says he wants it to be sung at his funeral (along with a whole bunch of country music, because he has requested a PARTY!), and I would like my life celebration to have it too.  I mean, what else is there to be said?  If you are a child of God, IT IS WELL WITH YOUR SOUL!  Period!
Ok, I'm climbing down off my soapbox now.  Ahhh.... hang on.  There.  I'm down.
A quote in John's book is this, "Faith gives you peace and strength only if it's not superficial.  The deeper the faith, the greater its potential to carry you through the rough times." 
You know THATs right, too!
A Holocaust survivor, Frankl, said, "A weak faith is weakened by predicaments and catastrophies whereas a strong faith is strengthened by them."  YEP! 
And one more quote:  Theologian F.B. Meyer said, "Unbelief puts our circumstances between us and God.  Faith puts God between us and our circumstances."  Can you tell I LOVE quotes?! They SPEAK to me.  So succinct.  So juicy.  So awesome!!
You become like the people you associate with, so if you want to become deeper in your faith, spend time with those who exercise theirs.
Don't think that developing your faith is any different than developing yourself physically.  It is about "reps", consistency,  discipline and conditioning your mind.
John read in Romans, "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God."  John said when he read that passage, "I had closed my Bible and prayed for faith.  I now opened my Bible and began to study, and faith has been growing ever since."
And that's that... now onto our project. 
Everyone picked their word and chose them in whatever font they wanted.  I have about 10 fonts.
I have a friend, Tonya, who I ran into about two days prior to my art retreat.  That was serendipitous.  I asked her if she'd like to come and participate in our event in exchange for teaching us stamping on metal.  I have done it in the past, but I also wanted to participate in this class.
And bless her heart, she did a great, great job!
There are some metals that are softer than others.  And the metal crosses we were using for this project was awesome!  It was soft and a great way for everyone to learn.
Hey Rebecca, check you out, girl!  You are a jewelry designer now!!
And Pala found her niche with making jewelry.
Emery made a cool wrap bracelet in all silvers and with a funky gear strung on  it.
Cool.  One of my favorite words!
Riley chose "strength".
Karie chose "Love".
She is full of love.  Does it show?
Here's my "it is well" pearl necklace.
I couldn't resist... I had to make a JOY bracelet too!
I so loved getting to do the project with the rest of the crew.
Courtney has totally turned the crafty corner.  I hear from her mama that she is now a little obsessed with all things crafty!  Awww, I am a proud mama bird!
Jennifer is a fan of "bright".  Can you tell?!  It matches her bright personality!
ANd by the way, she chose "faith".  Good one for today's blog post, huh?
This is the group's pile. 
Some people chose to do a bracelet, some a necklace, and some chose chain vs ribbon.  Some added a little extra with a dangly pearl or stone.  I loved everyone's creativity.
We began with a blank canvas.  We had our discussion on FAITH, and then, we got after it.
How's your faith walk?  And what is the commitment you are making today to improve your faith? 



Lori Curran said...

LOVE the individual representations of Faith! Individual and unique just like each person. For me personally, faith is the cornerstone of all that I am and do. I love having physical reminders around me of what it means to me. I love the idea of taking the cross and personalizing it. Another inspirational post Melanie! Keep them coming!

Mama J said...

I learned from "my" John Maxwell growing momma. Her faith was sososo strong and she was so quiet and resilient. I loved to be in her company because I just soaked it up. Without 'faith', I truly would be nothing. I love 'faith'..because God knows how much we love Him, He wants to know how strong our 'faith' is in Him. Awesome Mel!

lauren said...

love your blogs. I was wondering if you would be selling and of the stamp jewelry. Love them. Realize your schedule is crazy. Thanks and god bless

Amy K said...

Reading today's post, I find tears streaming. Witnessing authentic faith brings me to my knees in prayers of thanksgiving and praise. My church home is struggling through some turmoil right now, and you just reinforced my belief that if I stay true to my beliefs through the Word and Prayer, God will see us through. He will never leave us nor forsake us. From the bottom of my heart today, THANK YOU! You are a blessing to so many! {Hugs}

Sharidrew said...

wow! What an inspirational post. I love your quotes. You know, I was talking with one of our trainers (I work in the training industry) and they quoted John Maxwell. I immediately thought of you. Then I thought, wow he must really have good stuff and it's being spread by great people. Awesome that you have taken so much from what you learned and are spreading it to those in your life. Keep it up girl!!

Ps. Loved the jewelry!! Dude!

Hugs from Missouri,

SamC said...

Amen Mo! Preach on sista!!

I love quotes too. Here is one I read yesterday. Don't know who said it, but, it is profound. . .

"Today is the oldest you've ever been, yet the youngest you'll ever be, so enjoy this day while it lasts."

Shannon said...

Saved by grace through FAITH! It is well...
Amen, sista!

So we are, on a finite level, people who can create. Why does man have creativity? Why can man think of so many things in his mind, and choose, and then bring forth something that other people can taste, smell, feel, hear, and see? Because man was created in the image of a Creator. Man was created that he might create. It is not a waste of man's time to be creative. It is not a waste to pursue artistic or scientific pursuits in creativity, because this is what man was made to be able to do. He was made in the image of a Creator, and given the capacity to create- on a finite level of course, needing to use the materials already created- but he is still the creature of the Creator.
-The Hidden Art of Homemaking
Just read this quite and thought of you.

jenny said...

Love these Faith-reminders, Mo. Have a wonderful faith-filled, JOYful weekend.
P.S. It Is Well is my favorite hymn of all time. It was sung at my sweet Daddy's funeral in 2005.

Wendy C said...

I've had a rough couple of years and I know it was my faith that got me through it. Faith that I knew that He had a plan for me and that He would see me through some of my darkest moments.

I sing in a barbershop harmony chorus and one of my favourite songs that we sing is It Is Well With My Soul. Everytime we sing it I get a warmth that surrounds me and I know that He is right there with me!

Ness said...

I took the word BELIEVE on 071905the day my sweet husband had to tell me after surgery that I had thyroid cancer, that they didn't know how long it had been there and although they removed the entire thyroid, they felt it had probably migrated to other places, lying dormant and thus every year I get a week of blood work and nuclear scans. The treatment I took has left me with short and long term memory loss. But I remember Jake~I remember the Believe train and I remember when Christmas was moved up to Halloween when his journey was nearing completion to God's loving arms. Jake handled everything with amazing grace. I would pay for a silver metal cross with the word BELIEVE to add to the many crosses I wear on a lariot around my neck every day. I live by faith~Our God is an awesome God and He takes care of our every need. $3 can cover food for a month~I can testify to that. Don't EVER stop believing!