A Season for Growth

Many years ago I was a part of an organization called Youth With A Mission.  It was one of the most life changing experiences I have ever been through.  As I was reflecting on the card I am going to share with you today, I was reminded of a day back in 1987, when I was sitting in a Quonset hut in Manoa Valley. I was in a room full of students from all over the world. We were all a part of a school called a DTS or a Discipleship Training School.  Our leaders were all very young, energetic, passionate people who had a desire to know God and make Him known.  

One of the first things they did for each student was to have a time of prayer over them.  When it was my turn, I went to the front of the room and was surrounded by these young passionate leaders.  After they prayed for me, one of the gals said to me, "As I was praying for you, I saw a vision", she said, "I saw a beautiful rose, it was entangled with a bunch of other beautiful roses on this garden trellis. Then I saw a hand reach down and pick one single rose and plant it at the foot of the cross. Suddenly, the rose began to grow and blossom as it wrapped itself around the cross."  She went on to say, "I believe this means you were just in a very comfortable place in your life.  You were surrounded with good people, in a good environment, but you weren't growing.  So God reached His hand down and picked you up and planted you right where He wanted you and it is during this time that you will thrive and grow."

Those words spoke to me.  I not only believed she was right but through my experiences with YWAM that year, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was where I was supposed to be, doing what God had called me to do.  It was a season of growth, a season for change.  A season to learn about servanthood and making a difference.

The card I want to share with you today reminds me of that season of my life as well as the season I am in now.  I'll explain more in a minute but let me share the card first.

Graceful Garden Card

Graceful Garden Card

To make this card I used two stamp sets, Graceful Garden and Ribbon of Courage.  I stamped all the images in black ink and colored them in with an aqua painter.  The background texture of this card was made with our new Layered Leaves 3D Textured Embossing folder.  Besides using Very Vanilla Card Stock, I added a piece of gold patterned paper from the Bundle of Love Specialty DSP, a small strip of Fabulous Foil Acetate beneath the rose and a piece of Gold Foil under the sentiment.

The final touch was to add a jewel rhinestone in the "o" of the word possible and I used dimensionals on all the layers to build them up.

As I reflect upon that vision a young YWAM leader had for me many years ago, it makes me think of the season I am in today.  I know God is in control of my battle with breast cancer.  I am surrounded by prayer warriors who have been continually lifting me up.   I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is with me and I am where He wants me to be.

 That doesn't mean things are going to be easy. I have to admit yesterday was challenging for me.  I went in for the start of my radiation treatments and found that although I didn't experience a lot of physical pain, I did find it mentally and emotionally challenging.  However, even in the midst of the challenge, I remember these words that I learned in Sunday School and I began to recite them in my mind during treatment.

Psalm 23

1 The Lord is my shepherd;
    I have all that I need.
2 He lets me rest in green meadows;
    he leads me beside peaceful streams.
3     He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
    bringing honor to his name.
4 Even when I walk
    through the darkest valley,[a]
I will not be afraid,
    for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
    protect and comfort me.
5 You prepare a feast for me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
    My cup overflows with blessings.
6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
    all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
    forever.

Today, I just want to remind each of you reading this that no matter what you are going through you are not alone.   God loves you so much and He has a perfect plan for your life.  You may not be in a comfortable place at the moment but thats okay, know that He is with you.  Talk to Him with an understanding that He hears you.  Ask for His help, strength, wisdom and direction.  Just as He is helping me through this journey, He will help you too.

 I am thankful that as I design cards, God uses them to bless others and in this case remind me of a vision that still speaks to me today.  I pray that this same vision would serve as much as an encouragement to you as it is to me.  

Now as I go off to my second treatment, I will do so relying on His help, His strength and the knowledge that today I'm going to grow a little more into the person He desires me to be.

Thank you for allowing me to share my journey with you.  Know that as you are praying for me, I am also praying for you.  May you find hope and strength today especially if you are facing challenging circumstances.   Let's continue to trust God and believe that He leads us exactly to where He wants us to be and let's do our best to continue to grow in Him.

With love and a grateful heart,

Cindy