2018 has been a year of slowing down and letting go of what doesn’t serve my purpose anymore. I spent more time at cafes, savoring my cup of tea and writing down on my journal. This was also the year I started having Quiet Time with God everyday, “writing” to Him just as I would write a friend. It became a habit, not out of obligation or just to tick it off on my to-do list, but it’s my “special date” with the Lord each day, thanking Him for the day before and the day that is yet to unfold. Anything goes!
Why Am I Doing This?
Mid-2018, I was diagnosed with DDD – Degenerative Disc Disease. It’s actually not a disease but a condition where my c-spine is aging much faster due to several heac and neck trauma I had the past years. I have thickening of the PLL (Posterior Longitudinal Ligament). There’s no cure. In time it will thicken and calcify and can lead to nerve damage, paralysis or death. I have to live with the chronic pain on my neck, sometimes head and at times pain in my arms or legs. It depends on what nerve is being compressed at the moment. What used to be the last thing on my list, self-care became one of my priorities. I need to take care of myself so I can take care of my family.
Given that diagnosis, I cried for 2 days. No, I did not ask God “why”. I just felt sad for my kids and husband if I get to that point where I would be a burden to them being paralyzed and have to be taken care of when I should be the one doing it. Also, I still want to do a lot of things like run the 6 Major Marathons, climb Machu Picchu, hold a solo exhibit, travel the world with my family. I’m at the peak of my “life-after-kids” phase.
But when you have been seeking God through His Words everyday of your life for the past 6 months, and you’ve seen how He has been faithful to you in the past, you can be shaken for a short time but will always, always find a way to get up and fight the good fight of faith. After 2 days, I told myself, “Okay, I’m 44 and maybe I have 16 more years (this is just my estimate haha!) that I can still move almost normally as long as I do yoga regularly and care of myself. That’s still a lot of time but what I have is NOW so I’ll do what I can with the time I have.”
My TEST will be my TESTimony.
I’m a ticking time bomb – yes, but I am not claiming it. Instead, I have an awareness of living on a borrowed time (we all are!) so I must be prudent with how I spend my time with myself & other people and things that I do and God’s purpose in my life.
For the past years, I already knew that my higher purpose is to create meaningful art combined with my advocacy for sustainability. It was in 2016 that I started Bible journaling to seek God more, maybe out of gratitude for saving my life literally through art and journaling. But I’d like to think that it was my time – His calling in my life. Art+FAITH was born.
Art+FAITH + DDD = Christian Mindfulness. Last October, I painted my 2019 Calendar after a year of skipping it in 2018, (due to limited time & my artist residency). Aptly, I decided on mindfulness as my theme for my calendar. This calendar is also special for me because I went out of my comfort zone – painted backgrounds instead of the usual Doodle Fairy/Girl on a white background. This time I went “full color” and boy I grew a lot of courage muscles on my painting skills. My “why” for this calendar is to share simple mindfulness practice every month for mental and physical health, something I do and #goals.
Last November, I felt a prodding from God to make an Art+FAITH + Mindfulness project, something like a spin-off of my calendar. I spent many days contemplating and discerning it because, to be honest, I was terrified. I thought, “I am not worthy to do this. I am not an authority on this. I don’t think I can sustain this for 52 weeks because, you know, as an artist, I have a tendency to jump from one project to another to keep me from getting bored. Haha!” Disclaimer: I’m only speaking for myself! Negative self talk are lies that the enemy tell us to keep us from being God’s best. There were days when I would say, “Okay, Lord, let’s do this.” and days I would come up with all sorts of excuses. Up until yesterday (January 3), I have been procrastinating. But you know, no matter how hard I tried to “hide” from Him, He would always find me (of course, He’s God!) and send me “targeted” messages. Haha! That’s how He is. Kung makulit ako, mas makulit Sya!
Okay, so this intro is waaaaay too long! So, yes, I’m doing this because I don’t think I can escape this like Jonah haha! Seriously, my hope is that I can be a vessel to help others realize “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 ESV through my work as an artist.
Seriously, my hope is that I can be a vessel to help others realize “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 ESV through my work as an artist.
So How Do We Do This?
I made my 2019 Year of Mindfulness Calendar with each month focusing on one mindfulness practice. Incorporating Art+FAITH, I’ll be sharing a related verse (Yes, mindfulness is also taught in the Bible!) and simple art project that you can copy or get inspiration from. The purpose of this weekender project is to help us slow down, do something we enjoy while we focus, meditate and contemplate on God’s words each week. A supplementary devotional may be included to inspire you if you want to do journaling. A video process of the project or instruction sheet will also be provided to help you do the art project.
Remember, you are free to interpret the verse of the week in any art form you want be it creative journaling, sketching, painting, collage, essay. I’m a visual person and I really get into meditation when I draw and paint so the projects I will share are simple paintings that anyone can follow.
You don’t need to be an artist to do this. You just need to love God and would want to spend time with Him doing what you love to do! “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.“”1 Samuel 16:7 ESV
I would love for you to share your projects and/or reflection with our private group on Facebook and/or tag me on Instagram @aireescreates or @journalsandteacups so we can inspire one another. You can DM me your username so I can add you to the group or request to join.
Hashtags: #52weeksofARTplusFAITH #52weeksofChristianMindfulness #acupofteaandawholelotofJesus #acupofcoffeeandawholelotofJesus
I will try to upload the weekly project as early as I can before the weekend so you have more time to prepare but really, you don’t need to prepare much – just intend to make time with God every weekend. Think of it as “ARTambay with God”. 😊 Join me?