In February 2020, I launched the first of my journals from my collection. Yes, in the middle of what was about to be a global lockdown, I created a product and launched it by faith! Scroll forward to December 2020 and I produced two additional cover designs. As of this week, not only did I receive my biggest order to date, but it caused me to sell out of my first batch of inventory!
I write this blog post because I think it is incredible to watch God move! It will forever amazed me. It continues to remind me what stepping out on faith with what He instructs will attract. It's something that continues to keep me in awe and helps me to grow even more in faith. Additionally, I hope that reading this inspires someone else to be faithful with where they are because you never know how God will use it to be a blessing to others in the future.
Here's the short version of the backstory of how the journals came about:
It first started with the artwork. Keep in mind that I have never taken an art class a day in my life and even my own mother would tell you that there was nothing particularly genius about my abstract finger paintings growing up.
I started to painting as a creative and therapeutic outlet between 2011-2017. Back then, I was a single woman, living in my studio apartment and going through a process that I like to refer to as "the undoing." During those years, I was discovering my relationship with God. I spent hours reading through the Bible and watching inspirational sermons. The more I pursued after the things of God, however, the more I experienced many changes in my personal life and relationships.
One of those being that, for the first time, I was genuinely single.
I was committed to not entertaining "situationships" until I had allowed for healing from past relationships to take place. For the first real-time, I had set a boundary on any dating, began to assess the kind of relationships I had been in, and fully take ownership of my role in the past - good and bad. During that time, I realized that I was attracting what I was and soberly admitted that I was not too fond of the quality of man I was drawing. The mate that I saw in my future and the quality of man I wanted to meet was completely contrary, and that recognition required me to make decisions to level-up in the quality of woman I was to become. As a result and apart of that process, I found myself painting a portrait that reflected my desire and determination.
I remember on another occasion when on one evening it dawned on me that I was living from this place of desiring and wanting someone to love me, accept me, approve of me. Somewhere along the way, God's spirit revealed to me how much of my worth and value were wrapped up in if I had a ring on my find, or someone applauding my choices, or based on how "good" I behaved. My validation was coming from external situations and forces. Yet what I needed to come to an understanding was that, because of Jesus, God had already accepted me. I didn't need to seek to be loved or approved; I needed to learn to live from the awareness that I already am. I produced another painting from that space.
The Pruning Process
I remember the season when God started stripping me of everything that wasn't helping me grow! Ouch, that season hurt like heck! "Friends" stopped being friendly. I would get a sick-yucky feeling when I went into specific environments. I was so uncomfortable with some of the comments about me desiring to live according to the Bible. Then, when reading the Bible, it was like holding up a mirror that exposed ALL of me while simultaneously convicting me to step up. It was uncomfortable, painful, and challenging. I found myself pouring out the Psalms of my heart on the pages of my journal. It reminded me of David's Psalms, where he poured it all out. His depression, sorrow, joy, trust, hope, and sometimes, I'm sure, not words at all. Simply just the sound of his harp as worship to the Lord.
I couldn't have imagined that when I created those paintings as an outlet of expression and to helped me navigate my journey, they would become tools that others could use for their walk. It is so special to me when I see people carrying their journals and using them to write in. I've seen people use them for sermon notes and a study notebook. I've seen them used as prayer journals and places to put their desires for the future. I am humbled because I view journaling as one of the most beneficial and cheapest things someone can invest in for mental health.
Most importantly, I want the reader of this blog to remember that sometimes where you are is not where you will always be, but while you are there, God is developing in you a skill that you need for the next season. You never know what He can do with your mustard seed of faith and sticking with His perfect timing. Do not forsake the days of small beginnings. Keep allowing for your character to be developed. Keep plugging into positive and uplifting things. Keep focusing on Jesus and less on what everyone else is doing. Your life has meaning and purpose. No matter what level you're on, allow God to work on you so He can work through you and get all the glory that He deserves out of your lifetime!
I'm looking forward to the MORE that God has in store!
Until next time,