Sunday, May 13, 2012

Stampin' Sisters in Christ challenge 139 . . two by two

Happy Sunday stampers! It is time for another challenge from Stampin' Sisters in Christ, where all of our challenges are based on scripture. This week our sponsor is Doodle Pantry images, you can find more creations from our design team on the home page right here. We have our expanded design team now so there might be up to 12 lovely project to view and all the ladies are far more talented than I am! 

This week I am the hostess and I chose this verse from Genesis 6:20 "Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive." The challenge this week is to use an animal or bird or living creature in your creation somewhere. And I apologize, I put Exodus in my devotional, I don't know why. Here are the thoughts that prompted that verse selection: 

About six weeks ago I found a toy ark for the new nursery we’re setting up at church; the room for babies up to age two. The ark includes Mr. and Mrs. Noah and several pairs of animals. We all know the story of course, two of every kind of animal went onto the ark to escape the flood. And that’s sort of what we come to expect from life, isn’t it—to be in a pair, a couple, a twosome?

I haven’t volunteered in a nursery for years because although I love the babies and it is a joy to hold them, I have a private struggle with sadness when there.  A lot of the other volunteers are young mothers who are in the room with their own baby. Their husbands come to the door to pick them up and they leave, together. This is a small, new church and a lot of the people are related, so cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents, are all worshipping and doing life together.

As happy as I am for these families, I have painful recollections of standing on the edge of groups and couples like this in my own child-rearing years, because for much of that time I was a single mom. Week after week, year after year, the kids and I walked through church on the edges and we were alone. 

It happens a lot you know, whatever the circumstances might be; whether you’re single and never been married, divorced, widowed or separated from your family by distance or circumstances beyond your control. Whatever caused those circumstances it feels as though you’re surrounded everywhere by nothing but happy couples; everyone walking through life two by two.

Several chapters away from Genesis in the bible, the psalms appear as soothing balm to the troubled soul. In this instance, Psalm 139 came to my rescue. As intimate as a marriage relationship or the closest bond between friends or even parent and child, more intimate is the relationship between the Lord and me. 1“You have searched me and know me . . . you perceive my thoughts from afar.” 3b“You are familiar with all of my ways. 4Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord.”

Who knows our inmost thoughts our deepest longings, darkest fears and cherished dreams better than the Lord, and who loves us despite and through it all?

15“My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place…”
God made me. How much more intimately can someone know me than the one who created me?

16“All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

My sudden status as a single mom was no surprise to God. And He was there every step of the way. He supported me when I was down, actually provided and safeguarded my little family in ways that I can only consider miraculous. I was never really alone, I was walking in a twosome with the God of the universe who is not a remote, foreign being but one who knew me and loved me in the best way possible. And one who still loves me and is gently calling me to lay that sadness down once and for all.

I honestly wasn’t expecting a toy, plastic ark to bring to the surface so many of my old hurts and feelings from that painful time. But God knows us and He loves us and doesn’t want us to stay stuck in our past pain. One great way to solve old hurts or new is to seek out answers in the scripture.

You have to search; I don’t know which verse will strike the right chord in your heart.  But when those wounds pop open at the sight of an ark, a tree, or cloud, the sound of an old song or a distant scent that opens the floodgates of a painful memory, start searching through the scriptures to find an answer. You won’t be doing it alone, the God who made you, who loves you is walking with you. 

Thanks for looking and we hope you can play along this week. 


Wendy said...

Fab card creation... and beautiful witness to the Word of God at work in the midst of difficult circumstances in your life Peggysuez!

Michelle said...

Peggysue - Your devotional blessed my heart today. It is hard being a single mom. I was there once upon a time myself. But God is faithful, and gracious and loving. Thanks for sharing a bit of your heart with us.
PS - Your card is great too!

Miesje said...

Oh Peggysue, this was a beautiful devotion! Thanks for opening your heart. Love your card too! Have a great week!

Diane said...

PeggySue...I can so relate to your devotional. I spent 7 years single parenting...and I know exactly the feeling you described. I so remember the heaviness of heart in seeing other couples at church. But God became the lover of my soul as never before and I learned to trust Him beyond doubt. I appreciate your devotional thoughts and know them to be true.

Your card is adorable. I loved this image too...perfect for the challenge, which I so enjoyed. Love crafting with you, sweet friend, and appreciate your heart more than you know. Blessings on your week.

ScrappySandie said...

Hi Peggysue, What a heartfelt, honest and inspiring devotional! Several excellent reminders in there for me! Thanks so much for opening your heart to us! And your card IS adorable! That image is so cute and you've colored it perfectly. Plus, I love the fish and polka dot papers! Hope your trip is going're in my prayers. DD too!

Traci M said...

Wonderful words, and they can only come from a heart that has experienced the closeness of her Saviour. I think your devotional will speak to many. It is always good to search out the scriptures for whatever your need is...and in this world, the needs are many!
Your card is sweet as can be, love that shell border. Praying for you this week!

seamom said...

Your devotion has touched my heart, not because I am or ever was a single Mom, but because I have for years and still do go to church alone. DH is a good man, but is not a believer. I sit at the back in church, and see the many couples who worship, pray sing and listen together. One week when I was especially struck by my aloneness, the realization dawned that I am not alone as Christ lives within me. I will always pray that at just the right time DH will come to faith though.

Helen said...

Thanks for sharing your heart this week. Your devotion brought back many memories for me and my son as well. Being a single mom was difficult, but God knew our strength, didn't He? And now, we've been blessed beyond measure with loving husbands to help us and be our partners. :) Your card is adorable! I love the papers you chose. Your coloring is great, too! Have a wonderful day, my friend! ~H

Kristine said...

Well you know I love Doodle Pantry, but that ribbon at the bottom is the cherry on top! It's just perfect!! And your devotional is wonderful! Thank you for sharing something so personal and what God taught you during those "alone" years. I know people who ARE married and still feel so very alone, so your story can relate to so many. Praying God comforts your DD's roomie especially as I'm sure how alone she must be feeling. Hugs, Kris

Grace said...

aggysue this is just adorable! Love the image!!! Super sweet and love the dp you used! Even more, I appreciate your devotional thoughts. Those of us who have not walked that road of single parenting may not even stop to think about the struggles but we need to and need to be more sensitive to the needs of ALL those around us, no matter the situation! I thank you for the thought provoking words and the sweet heart they came from! Miss you gf!

Lovely Linda said...

Your devotional is deeply moving Peggysue - I am always amazed at your testimonies and what a strength you are - you are truly beautiful vessel for God to live in!! Love your card and the beautifully coloured image - perfect! Sending you {{{hugs}}} Sistah! {{{hugs}}}

MariLynn said...

Peggysue, thanks for sharing from your heart. I loved reading how God is walking along side you healing your past pains.I collect little Noah's arks. When my second daughter was little I hand painted an ark and animal all the way around her room. I was so sad when we moved and had to paint over that room to sell the house.