Sunday, May 23, 2010

Stampin' Sisters in Christ challenge 40 . . .Distressed

Happy Sunday stampers! Its time for another challenge from Stampin' Sisters in Christ. I am the hostess for today. My chosen verse for this week is from Isaiah 64:6 KJV "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." Please click on the link for the main blog see the lovely samples from the rest of the design team there. When I first did this post, I didn't repeat my devotional here on my blog, but now that seems silly, so you'll find it under the challenge. I have to tell you this wasn't an easy devotional to write. It is much easier to hide behind layer upon layer of Christian shellac and pretend all is perfect in my world. But in being authentic and admitting life is not perfect after you're saved, I hope, will help others who might be facing similar struggles.

My challenge is to use distressing, or sponge the edges of your project, any chosen technique to give your project either a vintage or distressed look.

Our sponsor is Unity stamp company, which is donating a wonderful stamp set. You'll find a photo of it on our home page as well as the link to add your own projects. Hope you find time to play this week.

My youngest daughter and I recently read a fairy tale about people who could walk in the air. The kingdom's ruler always made sure she walked at least five feet above the heads of everyone else to remind them of her superior position.

In the past I would always describe myself as a 'nice' person. But in relationship to the holy Lord, God the Father, we are not good and cannot lay claim to that title. Isaiah 64:6 KJV "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away."
If we cruise along believing we are 'nice' people we fall into the trap of forgetting that "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God not of works lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9) I might sometimes do nice things, but am not inherently 'nice' or righteous any more than any other person.

God, in his wisdom and his love for me has brought me a situation in the past few years that has brought out the worst side of my nature. Dark, wicked thoughts have boiled up inside, I have repressed frightening impulses and come face-to-face with the realization that I am as capable of evil as anyone, that sin is never conquered while on this side of heaven. God in His wisdom knew that He would have to give me a thorn I couldn't ignore, one I can only conquer through His grace.

Why? What kind of love is it that would force us to dive into the muck and mire that lurks deep within our souls?

This is a unique love, unlike any you will find on this earth. You don't understand your need for a savior until you are face to face with the wickedness and hopelessness of your own situation. "But I'm already saved!" you declare. As am I. But problems still surface after you are saved and for good reason.

First of all if we're convinced we're complete when we're saved, then what message do we have to share with a fallen world, hovering five feet above the crowd, like that haughty ruler? What empathy could we bring to conversations with a fellow sinner while we remain enthroned in a palace of righteousness in our own minds?

Secondly, if we're 'nice' and therefore complete, what reason to go to our knees acknowledging our continued need for God daily in our lives? It would be all too easy to simply operate on auto-pilot and run from one committee or task to another in our quest for righteousness yet neglect the relationship that is our spring of life. God wants us to draw closer to him, to rely solely upon Him for our daily bread, like the manna in the wilderness that fed the Israelites.

Thirdly this realization of our desperate soul situation helps provide the assurance of salvation that some of us, who are works-oriented, desperately need. Once we've poured ourselves out striving and come to the end of our rope—only to realize that rope falls far short of heaven—maybe then, once and for all, it will sink in that Jesus paid it all for us on the cross. He alone has the power to wash us 'white as snow' and atone for our sin.

My card has brighter shades of color because the distressing techniques are not limited to browns or soft pastels, although I do love those shades. The bit of black I have included because it takes the dark times in life as well as the color. Thanks for looking.


Chris Olsen, Glowbug said...

This is so beautiful PeggySue!! Just love your colors and that verse is perfect. The embossing and the distressing are perfect. Thanks for an awesome verse to share and challenge...we all need to be reminded that without God's grace we are nothing and unclean. What a gift to have his Grace.

Have a great week!

Grace said...

Beautifully done Peggysue! Love the verse and thanks for sharing your heart with your devotional today! I thank Him for what He has done for me!!!

Lovely Linda said...

Hi Peggysue - What a great word you shared with us today - you brought such a truth my friend! Love your challenge and this gorgeous card - your coloursare fabulous and the distressing perfect! Thanks for sharing and inspiring! {{{hugs}}}

♥♥Marinette♥♥ said...

absolument slendide, j'aime beaucoup le travail d'encre et d'embossage, une superbe carte

Becky said...

Beautiful card this morning PeggySue. Love the colors.
Beautiful devotional today.

Anonymous said...

Peggysue, thank you for the wonderful verse to ponder this week. I love your style of writing it so specks of your heart. Your card is stunning!! Have a great week dear friend!!

Karen Lynn said...

As always, a beautiful card!! Love it!

Nerina said...

I love the verse you have chosen Peggysue! Your card is so pretty - and I'm inspired by the reason you chose to include black. Thank you for sharing your heart and your art!

Traci M said...

Thanks for sharing your insight and life experience to the truths of God's word, my friend...very thought-provoking and wonderful to me!!
Your card is a ray of pretty!!

Terri said...

Nice job. I like the reason behind why you include the black too.