Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hope for Thailand

Okey dokey --

It is finished! At least, the print is. I haven't listed it yet, that is on my to-do list for the next three days.

This particular print is very special to me. The verse is from Hebrews, which I have been studying this fall, and the proceeds from all the sales on Etsy (excluding the shipping costs) will be going to support church-planting in Thailand. I created the print by spending several hours laying out the verse so I had the space filled in a appealing way and the words I wanted to emphasize in compositionally important places. I printed the plate using oil-based black ink, and then tinted the lettering with watercolors.

I have mentioned before that I spend a summer in Thailand with Mission to the World on a team of interns. That summer changed my life and heart in significant ways, and I have been aching over the floods that continue in Bangkok, especially as I hear brief updates from my friends over there about their work caring for flooding victims.When I say that the proceeds of this print will be going to church-planting in Thailand, I mean that I will be sending the money  to the missionaries with MTW and to New City Fellowship Church on a rotating basis. You can read more about the team here, or on the entry I posted two weeks ago.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Our sure anchor

Almost done with a linocut for Thailand. I hope to put up pictures tonight!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Praying in the Storm

I was praying about Bangkok and the flooding taking place over there this week, when to Lord guided me to this psalm. I'm not making the argument that David's imagery of drowning was anything more than a metaphor -- Psalm 69 certainly wasn't written about the floods in Bangkok, but no matter what challenges a person (a grad student struggling to finish all their work, for example) or a community (a group of grad students struggling together to finish all their work), or a nation like Thailand, it is good to remember that the Lord is with us.

Many of the slums over there (I've included a picture from my time there, below) are built on marshes, and the people have no other place to go. I hope to finish a linocut and list it on Etsy in support of some of the work my friends are doing in Bangkok. Until then, here is Psalm 69, and the links to their blogs.

Save Me, O God

To the choirmaster: according to tLilies. Of David.

69 Save me, O God!
For uthe waters have come up to my neck.1
I sink in deep vmire,
where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters,
and the flood wsweeps over me.
xI am weary with my crying out;
ymy throat is parched.
zMy eyes grow dim
with awaiting for my God.

bMore in number than the hairs of my head
are cthose who hate me dwithout cause;
mighty are those who would destroy me,
ethose who attack me with lies.
What I did not steal
must I now restore?
O God, you know my folly;
the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you.

Let not those who hope in you fbe put to shame through me,
O Lord God of hosts;
let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me,
O God of Israel.
For it is gfor your sake that I have borne reproach,
that dishonor has covered my face.
I have become ha stranger to my brothers,
an alien to my mother's sons.

For izeal for your house has consumed me,
and jthe reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me.
10 When I wept and humbled2 my soul with fasting,
it became my reproach.
11 When I made ksackcloth my clothing,
I became la byword to them.
12 I am the talk of those who msit in the gate,
and the drunkards make nsongs about me.

13 But as for me, my oprayer is to you, O Lord.
At pan acceptable time, O God,
in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.
14 Deliver me
from sinking in qthe mire;
rlet me be delivered from my enemies
and from sthe deep waters.
15 Let not the flood sweep over me,
or the deep swallow me up,
or tthe pit close uits mouth over me.

16 Answer me, O Lord, for your vsteadfast love is good;
according to your abundant wmercy, xturn to me.
17 yHide not your face from your servant;
zfor I am in distress; amake haste to answer me.
18 Draw near to my soul, redeem me;
ransom me because of my enemies!

19 You know my breproach,
and my shame and my dishonor;
my foes are all known to you.
20 bReproaches have broken my heart,
so that I am in cdespair.
dlooked for epity, but there was none,
and for fcomforters, but I found none.
21 They gave me gpoison for food,
and for my thirst they gave me hsour wine to drink.

22 iLet their own jtable before them become a snare;
kand when they are at peace, let it become a trap.3
23 lLet their eyes be darkened, so that they cannot see,
mand make their loins tremble continually.
24 Pour out your indignation upon them,
and let your burning anger overtake them.
25 nMay their camp be a desolation;
let no one dwell in their tents.
26 For they opersecute him whom pyou have struck down,
and they recount the pain of qthose you have wounded.
27 rAdd to them punishment upon punishment;
may they have no acquittal from you.4
28 Let them be sblotted out of the book of the living;
let them not be tenrolled among the righteous.

29 But I am afflicted and in pain;
let your salvation, O God, uset me on high!

30 I will vpraise the name of God with a song;
I will wmagnify him with xthanksgiving.
31 This will yplease the Lord more than an ox
or a bull zwith horns and hoofs.
32 When athe humble see it they will be glad;
you who seek God, alet your hearts revive.
33 For the Lord hears the needy
and bdoes not despise his own people who are prisoners.

34 Let cheaven and earth praise him,
the seas and everything that moves in them.

35 For dGod will save Zion
and build up the cities of Judah,
and people shall dwell there and possess it;
36 ethe offspring of his servants shall inherit it,
and those who love his name shall dwell in it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Give Thanks to the Lord, for He Is Good!

Need I say more? 

Actually, I need to apologize for not writing more -- not because I have a massive following hanging on my every word, but because there is so much praise to be done! 

Classes are wonderful; these people are wonderful. Haven't had a lot of time for painting or printing (pictures when I recover my camera charger from Georgia), but when that has happened, it has been wonderful too. This is hard. It is a big change and a lot of work, but it is "miraculous." It's from my Father. 

But I want to particularly thank God for the way He has carefully provided for my every need -- the close-cutting way in which my resources - my expenses come down to the dollar is elating. He knows what I need (how many time the past three weeks has He provided just a few days before for a need I didn't know I had?), and He gives me what is good. 

Better than that,  He IS Good. Please don't think that in praising His provision I am preaching the prosperity Gospel. If grad school wasn't where He wanted me; if I were hungry, sick, and alone, I could still praise Him. What I am given is good, "for He satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul He fills with good things." It is because of who God is, not a wealthy and comfortable lifestyle, that Paul is able to say "Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ." 

Psalm 107 (verses 1-16) says it so much better than I could: 

1 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
   for his steadfast love endures forever!
Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
   whom he has redeemed from trouble
and gathered in from the lands,
   from the east and from the west,
   from the north and from the south.

 Some wandered in desert wastes,
   finding no way to a city to dwell in;
hungry and thirsty,
   their soul fainted within them.
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
   and he delivered them from their distress.
He led them by a straight way
   till they reached a city to dwell in.
8 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
   for his wondrous works to the children of man!
For he satisfies the longing soul,
   and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

 10 Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,
   prisoners in affliction and in irons,
11 for they had rebelled against the words of God,
   and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
12 So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor;
   they fell down, with none to help.
13 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
   and he delivered them from their distress.
14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
   and burst their bonds apart.
15 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
   for his wondrous works to the children of man!
16 For he shatters the doors of bronze
   and cuts in two the bars of iron.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Hooray for fall classes!

Classes are fast approaching and, along with a painting, and a multi-colored lino, I've been working on a collection of school-themed cards. :) Pictures of these projects, and my wonderful, new studio-closet to come!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Summer of My Discontent

Dear friends and guests, 

I know that most of the people who visit this blog are my friends who know me well, to you, may I say thank you for your prayers this summer. I should say that just as amazing as the events I am going to describe was God's faithfulness to me in the summer of my discontent. To those of you who have never met me, my first blog post may give a bit of background on this situation. I'm going to jump right in in the middle. 

Just three weeks ago I still wasn't sure God wanted me at seminary in Mississippi earning my master's. It didn't even seem possible. I didn't have a car; I wasn't getting responses from the places I was applying for work. I wasn't able to get a work study position, and there were a few people who, upon hearing my doubts, were offering me other (increasingly attractive) options. But starting two weeks ago things began to move so rapidly my head is still spinning.

First, my father stunned my whole family by pulling put thousands of dollars he had saved, that we didn't know about (sorry, Dad, for making this public... but it should be. I'm "letting your works praise you at the city gates"), and buying a used car for me in cash. And my parents are offering to help me every month if I am short on money for tuition. Initially, and still, to some extent, I was (am) resistant to accepting their help. But their free and loving generosity has been so humbling, and as I am being humbled I've begun to see it for what it is: such a beautiful picture of Christ's love. Thanks to both of you, Mom and Dad, again and again. You both love me so well.   

Then, during this past week the wonderful woman who runs the work study program here, was incredibly helpful in passing on contact information for potential employers to me. I was hired by one of them yesterday! One day after moving to Mississippi! 

Finally, I had started an Etsy store about two months ago, hoping that (in addition to being so much fun!) it would provide a supplemental income. I didn't sell a single thing for two months (except for my wonderful/incorrigible mother and aunt buying things), and then last week I sold two items -- just enough to cover a few remaining bills from the summer. 

He is so good! And even more wonderful, as over-awing as the past two weeks have been, He was just as faithful during this summer. He broke my pride in my financial independence, and was preparing this for me even as I was furious at being (seemingly) left alone. I was reading Exodus 15-18 this morning. His constant provision, and my faithless fear has been the theme of my summer, and I can happily say that I am just like the Israelites in the desert, or the disciples in their boats. Like them, because I am faithless; happy, because as He loved them, He loves me. He told me to cast out my nets; I thought He left me; and they've come in full to bursting. 

:) Thank you, again for your prayers. I love each of you so much, and know that, although it might not happen in the same way, He is loving all of you just as well & faithfully. 

May we all learn to laugh at the days to come.