A better-than-chocolate, Valentine #Giveloveaway

by Heather Gilion

When I’m not in the throws of being Super Mom or Super Wife or just Super Crazy,

or when I’m not traveling with my sister Holly sharing Jesus with all my Fristers (friends + sisters),

or when I’m not writing and sharing my thoughts with those on the other side of the screen…

I am painting.

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Photo credit to Ziegler Photography

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Photo credit to Ziegler Photography

A year ago I started doing this thing… I started using one of my talents in a new way. I had no idea I’d be up to my neck in orders a year later, but that’s what happened when I said,

“God, what could You do with this?”

So, yes. I’ve been silent on this blog for far too long. I’m striving to learn balance in all the ahhmazing things God has birthed in my heart to do. But even though I may have seemed silent on the blog, it’s only because my paint brush has become another way I use my voice. So I thought it was time to give my two worlds a proper introduction. Shake hands, why don’t you! I think you are going to like one another.

If you’ve read our book, Dancing On My Ashes, then you know it is FULL of Scripture upon Scripture that God used to speak into my life and bring healing to my bones. His Word gave me direction, hope, fire, home-sickness, joy, peace… purpose. A year ago I prayed,

“God, what could You do with this hobby of mine? It’s Yours! These hands are Yours. My time is Yours. Show me how to use it to point people to You.”

Well, be careful what you pray for, right?

No! Pray. Don’t be scared. Pray them BIG prayers, it’s fun. Well, I’m watching God do what only He can do with a willing heart and refurbished wood and paint. You see, the Scriptures that I’ve treasured in my heart are now hanging on walls in homes all across the country. I started with some of MY favorite verses and then requests started pouring in for me to paint YOUR favorite verses.

“Can you make Isaiah 41:10 for my wife. It was the verse she clung to all through chemo.”

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“I’d love to have a piece with Ephesians 3: 20 hanging in my home. I went to a women’s conference and God really used it to speak into my life.”

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“We are adopting from Africa, and this verse is why.”

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“John 1:5 is our verse. We have been called into the darkness to stand as a beacon of light.”

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“I’m praying this for my grand baby.”

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“Joshua 24:15 needs to hang in our home for our friends and family to see that we are anchored to Him.”

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“Jeremiah 29:11 always seems to bring me back to the truth that I can trust HIS plan for my life.”

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Sometimes I just paint what is on my heart and watch how God will use it.

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And almost every time, story after story would emerge of how God chose to use each piece to display His goodness to His people. A love that is more than just wood and paint… it’s a supernatural love that pursues us. Relentless. Beautiful. Present.

Look where this piece ended up! It was purchased to be placed in a new shelter in Ethiopia through a beautiful organization called “Out of the Ashes.” She sent me a picture yesterday and I bawled my eyes out!

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“Can you paint my mom’s final words she said to my sister and I before she passed away?”

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Other times I have been asked to paint favorite songs…

“My mom’s favorite song is Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone) by Chris Tomlin. I’d love to surprise her with it.”

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“My sister and her family want the Creed hanging in their home as the theme of their lives.”

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These three pieces were made for families after losing children. Can you imagine the tears I shed over each of these pieces?

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So this is just a quick look at all the fun God is letting me have in painting truth on wood 😉 And it all comes back to this for me.

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HIS Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. I will continue to ask God to use what I have. My gifts at times feel like a couple loaves of bread and some fish, but when we take those things and hold them up to God we can watch what ONLY HE can do with them. I’m thankful to get to paint and meditate on His love letter to His people.

Which brings me to the gist of this post. I thought it would be fun to do a little giveaway. I’m calling it a Give-Love-Away! #giveloveaway

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Here are three pieces and I’m going to give ONE away on Valentine’s Day!

#1 Be Still

#2 It is well with my soul

#3 The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me {psalm 138:8}

I’m also giving away our book, Dancing On My Ashes to the winner! Follow steps one through three below and you’ll be officially entered… #4 and #5 give you an extra shot.

  1. “Like” the “Story Designs” Facebook page: StoryDesignsBySandH
  2. “Like” our “Dancing On My Ashes” Facebook page: DancingOnMyAshes
  3. Leave a comment here on this blog stating which art piece you’d like to win and why. {Maybe you want to enter to win one of these pretty pieces for someone else? That would be AWESOME! Enter to win FOR THEM! That would be in line with #giveloveaway!}
  4. Share this post with the hashtag #giveloveaway and get your name in the drawing twice! Whoop whoop!
  5. Follow the blog while you’re at it and get ANOTHER ENTRY in the drawing!

I will announce the winner on Valentine’s Day! Entry deadline is February 13, 2015, at midnight (CST). The winner must be in the lower 48, unless you want to pay the extra charge for international shipping.

Okay! I think that’s it! Happy liking and sharing and giveloveaway-ing!

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No Eye. No Ear. No Mind.

by Heather Spring

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This artwork hangs in my home. It is probably my favorite thing in my house. Not probably, it is, besides my husband and children. When I see it, my heart smiles. I love it for many reasons.

One. It was made by my sweeter-than-a-bowl-full-of-jelly-beans friend, Kris Crawford. She has such a gift from our Father. Her hands were made to worship in this way! And Kris’ worship now leads me to worship when I pass by these paintings standing tall in my home.

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Two. As you can see the words here are from Scripture. 1 Corinthians 2:9. I love that God’s Word is alive and active and He promises that it will never return void. So anytime it goes out, you will return with something, even if you’ve read the same verse over and over. I have read this verse a lot. I can’t give you a number or anything, but before it hung in my house I had read it and reread it throughout my years of being a follower of Christ (and before). I don’t know if you are like me, but there are times I read a verse and I have one of those WOW moments that leave you sitting there with your mouth slightly ajar coupled with an extra heartbeat or two. I LOVE when this happens. It is exhilarating. I have read this verse at different times in my life. Sad times. Happy times. Times of ease and times of searching for answers. And each time it has been a call to trust Him fully, rest knowing He has unimaginable good for us when we live loving Him. There’s no eye, no ear, and no mind that can comprehend or dream up what God has in store for those that love Him. I’m taking this verse in today over and over and my heart is leaping over this promise and my eyes get a bit teary, but that’s ok. I’m thankful that God is patient with me because I have to say I am a slow learner and I learn better with repetition. So to have this hanging in my house is good for me.

Three. Today was one of those WOW days. I had a bit of insomnia about 3 am this morning and I couldn’t stop thinking about this verse. Twelve years ago two very special people in my world stepped from this life to the next. And as I was lying there in bed this morning, I was thanking God that their faith became sight. Because they loved their God and had put their trust in Him, they stepped into eternity seeing in that moment, the One that they had put their faith in. I can only imagine how that might have felt. I dream of that moment… the excitement to actually see Jesus’ face. Feel His arms. I wonder if I’ll spend a few minutes touching His face saying, “Here’s the face I’ve been dreaming about!” I wonder if I’ll have one of my laughing-so-hard-you-start-crying moments. I can dream all I want. I can close my eyes and work hard to try and conjure up what I think it might look like or feel like to experience “what God has prepared for those who Love Him.” But even in my grandest attempts, they will never be good enough or sweet enough, or capture the WOW moment that will be mine on that day.

Four. I have analyzed those birds to artsy death. On the left canvas there are two birds on a wire. Waiting. Sitting. Longing. Maybe dreaming. Wanting to fly, but not. On the right, mirroring the second half of the Scripture, they are taking flight. They are now experiencing what they were created for. Should I start singing, “Wind Beneath My Wings” now? (It would fit, right?) Sometimes I think that the birds represent James and Scott. They are now experiencing wholeness of life that the rest of this broken world groans for. Or maybe I’m one of the birds. Maybe it’s a snapshot of Holly and I before and after our awakening. Or maybe it’s Dallas and I. Or our two boys. As a mom who loves her God and loves her children, I pray that they will understand His great love for them and choose to take flight. For me, there’s no other choice. I believe that this verse is true and that I can trust in this God. He is the only reason I can really live, move, love… fly. I KNOW Heaven will be amazing! It.will.BLOW.our.minds! But until then we get to fly here and now, experiencing even now what He has prepared for those that Love Him. Too often I don’t take advantage of the “flight” He’s prepared for me… on this earth. He has prepared good things for us TODAY. I can lose sight of that too often.

Are you one of these birds? If so, which bird are you?

So, be encouraged, birds, I mean, friends… if you know Him, let’s LOVE Him. Let’s let Him love us. Let’s hope, dream, let faith rise up, as we spread our wings and live and move all for His great name’s sake. He loves us. Sometimes I have to say it until I really get it:  He loves us! He loves you. While we have breath in our lungs, may we enjoy journeying with Him. If you don’t know Him, you can. (Feel free to message me if you have questions. But here’s the gist… He loves you regardless of whether you love Him or not. He died a death to bring you life. You can accept this love, by talking directly to Him, confessing your need of His blood that covers your sin. And believe in Him and begin following Him. Amazing love that leads to life, not death!)

Numbers five through seven. Kris made the branches out of newspaper. Some of the headlines and content crack me up. It’s a personal joy/game as I search out what other treasures are threaded in my trees.

(If you want a one-of-a-kind piece of worship for your home, feel free to contact Kris at kriscrawfordis@gmail.com. SHE IS THE AWESOMESTEST!)