The Lord's timing is always spot on, isn't it?
I continue to be amazed at how a topic chosen months in advance unfolds on a daily basis and blesses us with poignant verses that meet our needs on any given day.
We receive it, are lifted up by it, and then are able to pass it on to others. Comfort is a great "upcycling" program!
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,
who comforts us in ALL our troubles,
so that WE can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort
we ourselves receive from God... " 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
We are ALL living in a season of heartbreak, loss, and discomfort right now. Nothing feels familiar. We're ALL in need of comfort - - - yet we're restricted from many of our typical outward sources of comfort due to #covid19 restrictions.
Many of our natural support systems are disrupted because of social distancing. Gosh, even a simple hug is a precarious situation. Who's hugging? Who's not? Mask up! Turn your head away? Hold your breath? geez!
Yesterday's verse about God healing the brokenhearted resonated deeply with me.
This pandemic is a worldwide experience yet it is felt on a personal level. We're ALL suffering in a communal way. We've ALL been impacted by loss.
We are all brokenhearted for something that has been canceled, taken away, or put on indefinite hold. Living in limbo is hard on the soul and stressful on relationships.
God is NOT socially distancing Himself from us. He's available for us to draw near to Him at anytime and any place.
We do not have to "mask up" with Him because He already knows what's hidden within us.
We have safety in running to God and relying on Him to be our Dwelling Place.
We can Pray all of our worries and uncertainties onto Him.
God holds our tomorrows. We can take the angst of today and pray it forward for Him to hold.
Sometimes I need an "action step" in the midst of prayer, something tangible to help me process. I can highlight scripture I'm reading or scribble notes in the margin, but typically I turn to Bible Quilting to really dig into scripture with a creative element.
I recently explained to someone that Bible Quilting grounds me and helps remind me of an "eternal" perspective. When I spend time creating with the Word on a #biblequiltjournal page, I feel more connected. Period. I haven't had contact with anyone or engaged in conversation. I just feel a little more centered as I've written out scripture.
It's in these creative moments that the Holy Spirit shifts something within me. Often a friend or family member's name will pop into mind and I'll pray for that person as I'm Bible Quilting. As I continue to color my page or add a little embellishment, an idea will pop into my head of a topic, scripture, or a template design to share with that person.
When I "pray it forward," the Lord is able to work through me to bless someone with HIS Word.
Small steps of obedience and quieting myself allow the Holy Spirit to put all those connections together, transforming my creative time into an outreach for others.
Recently I realized that having some BQ templates prepared in advance helps me more readily equipped to send these out when a need arises.
Since I had already started collecting verses on a Sunburst template in my Month-by-Month Bible Quilt Journal for August, I copied the unfinished page so I could personalize it further yet not have to do all the illustrations/embellishments again. (I barely managed to draw a tower the first time!)
These Sunburst pages have been put into high gear this week as I've become aware of challenges, losses, and personal struggles that friends are enduring. Slowing down to create and pray over a page soothes my spirit, yet also encourages the recipient in a sweet way.
The Sunburst template is a simple tool to extend the comfort of scripture to a friend, hopefully brightening her day. And the Lord takes it from there!
One thing that has especially comforted me since my Mom passed away is discovering snippets of scripture she had jotted down on grocery lists, the back of receipts, or bill envelopes. This is a reminder to me of how much scripture was a part of her daily life.
I copied one of her scribbled verses and added it to my own Sunburst page this week. Her handwriting brings me comfort and makes the message of the verse that much stronger.
The beautiful truth of Comfort is that we can just keep recycling it!
Receiving it - - - Filling up with it - - - Giving it away again
A dear family member was diagnosed with cancer last week, which has had a ripple effect within our family. We're rallying together with her close friends to saturate her in scripture, brightening her journey with hope and comfort the best we can.
She's been so blessed with the support she's received and already has a prayer list going for those that have reached out to her. She is praying it forward even in her own challenging time and the Lord is overflowing her with peace and comfort.
We're only 5 days into this 31 Days of Comfort series, yet God's presence is already felt in mighty ways.
As we continue to soak up the strength & reassurance of His Word, let's be vulnerably open to His next step for us as we pray it forward.