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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Fear? Goodness, no! {part 3: A SOUND MIND} & GIVEAWAY

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So here we go! The conclusion to our discussion based on 2 Timothy 1:7. If this is your first time to our blog and you’re scratching your head, “Conclusion? I just got here!” Feel free to backtrack to {part 1: POWER}, and then hit {part 2: LOVE}. But if you are the rebellious type and you don’t like me telling you what to do, that’s totally fine. No problem, friend, read on. I promise, I won’t try and make you feel like you’ve stumbled into a conversation mid-way through.

2 Timothy 1:7, sing it with me:

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In this post I’m tackling the third gift… A SOUND MIND.

Do any of you feel like you have anything BUT a Sound Mind?? (Ladies, maybe just once a month? No? Then I shall study your ways.)

Do you ever feel like you are out of control? You put the “Cra” in Crazy? I’ve heard some mom’s refer to it as “baby brain”—forgetful, irrational, crying about nothing, and yelling about everything! Sure, let’s blame it on the innocent. (I couldn’t blame crazy brain on them before they entered this world, maybe I should suck-it-up and not do it now.) All joking aside, there is some truth to it. You add together aging, along with a few bundles of joy, countless sleepless nights, years of aspartame, and you’re bound to feel like your brain isn’t quite firing on all cylinders. They say with more grays comes wisdom, but I see it as growing wise to the fact that you’re losing it! Did I just use shampoo or was that the conditioner… darn it, maybe I should just start all over?!

My Mom:  “If I tell you the same story over and over, will you just stop me?” She’s been telling us that recently over and over. Just kidding, Momma! You’re all good!

{*Sidenote: The mind is a powerful gift God has given us, and I might be having fun poking at the reality of what aging naturally does to us, but I’m in no way speaking about mental illness, etc. Just want to make that clear.}

So, what does He mean by “sound mind” anyway?

A sound mind means a disciplined and self-controlled mind. In other words, God did not have it purposed that defeat should be the norm of your Christian walk. We should be disciplined Christians rather than slaves to our emotions. Now, living with a sound mind will not happen in our strength or by believing we’ve got the right mojo to make it happen, rather, we have been gifted with this mind. Now choosing to live using this gift… that’s up to us.

Our mind must be engaged, fixed and focused, and at all times seeking to align ourselves to the gospel of Jesus Christ. John MacArthur said that we’ve been given a sound mind to “focus and apply every part of our lives according to His will.”

Wired by the Creator God, Himself, we at times drip, trickle, slop, and spill out with emotions; but emotional living is not how we are to live. We sometimes make decisions out of fear and anxiety when we’re operating in self-preservation mode or when we “feel” good or bad—that’s not the voice that should control our next step.

We all experience fluctuating feelings, but if you haven’t focused and applied your life, circumstances, dreams and fears to what is said in His Word revealed by His Spirit, then you are not going to make sound, disciplined decision. “You’re not using your noggin’!” as my Dad would affectionately say, while (lightly) knuckling my head.

Are you weak, tired, drained, empty, lost or disengaged? How are you responding based on how you feel? This is an opportunity to take Him at His Word whether you “feel” like it or not—to make a CHOICE (like I talked about in {part 2}) to live in

HIS POWER,
HIS LOVE,
AND HIS SOUND MIND.

Q: So if having a sound mind means that we are to be disciplined, controlled, and sound in our decisions, how does fear steal our discipline? How does anxiety and insecurity rob our minds?

A: Anxiety leads you to make rash decisions. Fear makes you explain away what He’s called you to, due to fear of actually having to do it, fear of the unknown, fear of what others might say, or fear of failure. Fear leads us to unbelief and distrust in His Words and His commands. Instead, we set our path based on how we feel.

For those of you that like to talk to yourself, here’s a great passage just for you!
(High-five, peeps, we’re NOT crazy, after all!)

 “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence.” (Psalm 42:5)

Sometimes we just need to give ourselves a little stern talking to by addressing our very souls! And that’s why I love this verse so much! It’s saying, Insert your name here, why are you down? Why are you distraught? Why are you fearful… worried… anxious?” This is where the pep talk comes into play: “Stop it! HOPE IN GOD!”

We need to hear truth whether it’s from one another or from ourselves—CONSTANTLY!

May today we converse with our ever-present God, asking Him to continue to teach us how to live aligning our minds to His Will and asking for peace to reign when we feel crazy, anxious, or tempted to make our own happy. May we choose to live based on TRUTH rather than feelings.

Sooo… speaking of putting Truth in our ears, hearts, and minds, it’s time to explain our GIVEAWAYS! I chose these specifically because you’ll be able to use them as pep talks for your soul! Here’s what’s up for the taking.

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TWO GIFTS for TWO WINNERS:

#1:  The Great Exchange is a band that I think is fantastic! I would love to give 175away their CD, “We Are The Branches”. I do happen to know the lead singer, Tyler Greene, he’s our worship leader at Lifepoint Church. Not trying to brag or anything, but after you hear him and hear his heart, you’ll see why I sound like I’m bragging. We are a blessed community! The lyrics on this album are full of the Word and the Word never disappoints or returns void. Check out these dudes: http://www.thegreatexchangeband.com/

#2:  Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young, is a devotional jesus callingthat Holly and I received from a gal in a church we spoke at in Illinois last year (you know who you are). What a treasure this book has been to me in my personal time with the Lord! If you haven’t heard of it, it’s written as if Jesus was speaking to you. He is a personal God, and this is such a sweet reminder of that intimacy that He longs to have with us. Again, Word-based. There’s a theme here, isn’t there? I’d love to give one away!

AND THAT’S NOT ALL! Along with #1 and #2 the winners will receive a bag of coffee from my favorite roastery: Heroes Coffee! Woah, now I’ve got your attention! “Wake Up. Do Good. Repeat.” That’s their coffeebaghome-heroes-seperato copyslogan! Heroes Coffee Company is a gourmet wholesale roaster in Springfield, Missouri. I didn’t like coffee until I had their coffee! Plus, the owners happen to be friends and neighbors of mine! (If you’re a weirdo and don’t like coffee—been there—it’ll still be a sweet gift to a coffee-lover you know!) Why coffee? Just helps to be awake when we are living out this POWER, LOVE, AND SOUND MIND!

THIS IS HOW YOU ENTER: 

1. Subscribe to our blog, would you? We’re a big fan of God’s Word and we believe in sharing the gospel, and this is one way we do it. We strive to share a little something every three weeks or so. We’ll try not to annoy you.

2. Share this blog post. I know this particular post is the conclusion, but I believe the Lord will use it however He so chooses. Pray as you share…

3. After you’ve shared it, leave a comment below that you’ve shared it and which prize that you would like to win:
#1 The Great Exchange CD along with Heroes Coffee or
#2 Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young, along with Heroes Coffee!
(It’ll be fair and square… picked by a random drawing.)

I’ll announce the winners of GIFT #1 & GIFT #2 on Thursday 5/23! You’ve got a week: Ready, set, GO!