How To Make Memories Out of Seashells

IMG-9063We had a wonderful vacation this past June in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It was our first real beach vacation as a family. One of my favorite things we did was walk down to the shore and collect sea shells. I collected a whole gallon size bag and decided apart from the two spoons I got for my collection I would make my souvenirs from my shells.

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                                                                                                      Hunter and David   collecting shells

I found so many ideas and things to do with them on line but to start I wanted to make a monogram of the shells first before I tried anything else. So when we returned home it was one of the first crafts I made. While collecting seashells I really liked the really little ones and initially planned on making it entirely of that but because of the way this wooden M was shaped I decided instead I would use as many different shapes as I could.

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                                                        Some of our shells drying in the sun after being cleaned

Before we left Myrtle beach I had already cleaned my seashells. To clean them I put them in a 2 gallon bucket with bleach water and let them sit for at least 5 hours, a few times overnight. Then using a small brush I cleaned anything remaining off and laid them on towels to dry on our balcony. That way when I brought them home they didn’t smell and were ready to store until I could make my projects out of them. The first step to making the seashell monogram was to find a wooden letter.6234D152-1D2C-49EB-9A97-D514A49F0FA1 I found mine at Walmart very inexpensive, you can find them at almost any craft store as they are very popular. First I laid out a pattern of the shells as carefully as I could on the M. It did not end up being the final design but allowed me to see just how many shells I needed and how I would need to place them so that they overlapped. B0696BBA-F321-4D4E-8C25-AA576D799271I also used a number of our broken shells to wrap around or layer by the whole shells. Then I took the shells off and laid them out on paper towels (you could use newspaper too) and sprayed them, front and back with Rust-o-leum Painters Touch Ultra Cover Clear Gloss. This gives the shells a shiny sheen so that they look like they are still wet. While they dried I painted the front and the sides of my M white and let that dry overnight. It took about two coats.

Once the M and the shells were dry I got out a plastic knife ( you can also use a wide Popsicle stick or stir stick) and my SimpleSet pre-mixed Thin -set Mortar in white.IMG-9015 I love this stuff and a little goes a long way. I layered the mortar on one area at a time and pressed the shells into the mortar. I used my favorite small shells for the skinny legs of the M and the big shells for the large ones. Once all the shells have been placed I let my piece dry in the sun for about 2 hours before moving it. I wrote the date of our vacation and where we went on the back of the M and hung it on my command center wall in my kitchen. IMG-9065

Its a wonderful reminder of the fun we had this summer.

Supplies you need for this project

  1. Clean Dry Seashells
  2. Wooden letter
  3. white wood paint
  4. Clear Gloss Spray paint
  5. Pre-mixed thin-set Mortar
  6. Stick or plastic knife for spreading

Want to try this project, leave a comment below.

 

Learning How to Plod Thru Hardships

 

2abideMaking jewelry is one of the things I truly enjoy. Lately a bracelet I made for one of my physical therapists has been on my heart. I was in physical therapy for 8 months after back surgery. Although I went from barely walking with crutches to walking, driving and swimming again I still graduated with only managing the nerve pain in my foot. It improved but today is still there. I had two physical therapists that I learned to rely on as I saw them up to three times a week. Physical therapy taught me a lot about plodding. It was a marathon not a quick race by any means. Healing of this kind takes perseverance and learning to see the small improvements as encouragements. This was something I definitely had to learn.  I can remember a few months before I was done with my physical therapy one of my therapists was dismayed as I seemed to plateau. She was almost as frustrated as I was. But I believe God heard my small prayers for her afterword and then next visit we found exercises that released my nerve and lessen the pain in my foot temporarily. I made them both bracelets and gave them to them at my last visit. One of them was based on Romans 5:3-4.

“And not only this but, (with joy) let us exalt in our sufferings and rejoice in our hardships, knowing that hardship (distress, pressure trouble) produces patient endurance and endurance proven character (spiritual maturity) and proven character, hope and confident assurance (of eternal salvation.) AMP version.

This verse to me is the importance of plodding. We need to learn how to plod thru our sufferings and hardships with joy. That can be a really, really hard thing to do and it takes a total change of how we view things. God doesn’t always use tragic events to teach us how to plod or abide in him. He uses hardships like the person at work you just can’t get along with, your child hitting their teen years, daily hardships we need to find joy in. When you are in these hardships or tests it’s important to remember that God hasn’t left you, still hears you and will establish you in the end. He challenges us to do do things in that testing like, pray for our enemies, (which is really hard!), have patience and wear kindness and love. Give when we think we have nothing left to give and depend on him to provide for us when we can’t see how he can.

I recently finished a wonderful Bible plan on Youversion called Everyday Supernatural by Mike Pilavachi and Andy Croft. On day six he writes about the importance of plodding. He tells the story of a missionary names William Carey. Carey went to India in 1793 to spread the gospel. While he was there three of his seven children died, his wife developed mental illness, Carey suffered a skin condition that would not allow him in direct sunlight and in the first 7 years of his time there he did not see a single person convert to Christianity. In that first 7 years he also lost six years worth of work one night when his manuscripts were destroyed in a fire. How hard it must have been to keep going as adversity after adversity hit him.

But at the end of his life he saw thousands of people come to know God and he opened up a way for other missionaries to enter India. He translated the Bible into Bengali, Oriya, Assamese, Arabic, Hindi and Sanskrit. He is known now as the father of modern missions.  Carey himself was once quoted as saying in response to a question about what he thought his greatest gift was, “ Mr Carey’s greatest gift was that he new how to plod.” It’s in plodding through our hardships God grows greatness thru us.

The bracelet is designed to look much like a vine. The cross at the beginning is green so that it represents Christ and us abiding in his vine as described in John 15:4-5 “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself, it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine you are the branches, If you remain in me and I In you, you will bear much fruit, apart from me you can do nothing.”

The yellow flower represents the joy that will grow in us when we suffer our hardships and when we celebrate our mountain tops. We will learn to put our joy in the Lord. As in Romans 5:3-4 The pearl represents patient endurance. The brown or bronze flower represents the growth of proven character or as the NLT version says strong character. The jade green bead represents hope.  

When we became Christians God did not promise us new lives with no trouble. He actually promised the opposite saying that we will have trouble but Jesus has already overcome it. I hope in whatever your plodding thru today this gave you some encouragement that plodding thru hardships is part of His plan to grow you into something great.

Other verses this piece of jewelry brought to mind are:

  1. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way to get the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:24 NIV
  2. I am the true vine, and my father is the gardener (vine dresser). He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, so that it will be even more fruitful. John 15:1-2
  3. I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard. My loved one has a vineyard on a fertile hillside. Isaiah 5:1

Check out these shoes!

Shoes have become a struggle for me. When you are faced with a long physical recovery it’s amazing how the small things in life can get really hard. As I explained in my previous blogs I am recovering from a ruptured disk and nerve damage in my right foot. Because of the neuropathy in my right foot  I can no longer comfortably walk around barefoot or in my flip flops this summer. I have been sentenced to tennis shoes.

Which isn’t horrible in and of itself by any means, But it does limit ones wardrobe. I’ve actually been very blessed with a husband who works for a well known athletic company, which has allowed me to wear tennis shoes that are supportive and sturdy. But, I’ve never been one to like to wear tennis shoes with a dress or skirt and well, I like dresses and skirts. Last summer since I was hobbling about on crutches I figured the last thing to worry about was my shoes but this  summer without crutches or a cane I decided I needed to have a pair of shoes I could wear that would work. I went to Kohls armed with coupons and bought these brown shoes.

brown shoes

It was a stressful experience as I had to buy a whole size and a half bigger than my feet were prior to the accident just to get my orthotics and swollen right foot in the shoe. My left foot sloshed around in the big space so after applying heel guards and tissues it finally stayed on. It wasn’t a good solution so I avoided dresses for a few weeks until I stumbled upon a pin in pinterest where they were decorating white canvas tennis shoes. I thought to myself, this is awesome I can make dressy tennis shoes. The pair in the pin I liked was a pair of oxfords. That very next week Michaels happened to have a sale on their canvas shoes and I bought two pairs.

I liked the oxford idea a lot but then I remembered when I was 11 my mom had bought me a pair of pink saddle shoes that I wore everywhere. I loved them. I thought to myself why not? I’ll bring the saddle shoe back so I began to make myself a pair, this time black.

IMG_8997I started out by finding pictures of saddle shoes and drew the outline of the back leather on the shoes in pencil. The stitching on the shoes I could use for a guide at the  heel area. Using a small flat paintbrush I painted black acrylic paint on the shoes in all the black areas and let the shoes dry overnight.

The next day I used a black sharpie and outlined the black areas to smooth out the borders. Using an artist eraser I erased any pencil lines remaining on the shoe. Then I took white acrylic paint and using the tip of the handle of the brush I created the little white dots around the border of the face of the shoe and heel. I let that dry till that evening. Once the paint was dry and set I used KIWI Protect-All sealant for leather and fabric footwear all over the shoes, especially on the painted areas to keep the paint from running or smearing when wet. The sealant does have to dry too so be sure to set them out for a few hours to let them dry.  I was very happy with the result and thankful that I now had a pair of dressy shoes to wear.IMG_9006

I did make a second pair as oxfords only I made mine pink. My teenager even liked them.

Have a solution to two different sized feet? Have you made your own pair of canvas tennis shoes? Share in the comments below.

 

Walking in His Redemption

My last blog was about time and God’s ultimate control of it.(It’s About Time ) God is also in control of the seasons in our lives.  A year ago I was in a very dark season. I couldn’t sit for more than 30 minutes at a time, spent most of my day in bed and walked around on crutches. This past week I spent at Camp Allendale in Trafalgar, IN with an amazing group of people and my daughter, Lucy. I walked 5 plus miles a day, (something I had not been able to do since my back injury) Sang and danced during worship and attempted the “Blob” at the lake.

I remember the first week of July last year taking Lucy to camp. I was miserable. I insisted on going because I didn’t have faith anyone else could get her checked in ( not true). I hobbled around on my crutch in tremendous pain and know I said some unkind words as a result. I am very sorry for them. Had I known the next year I would be blessed with a chance go to and serve I wouldn’t have believed you, I was at my lowest point.

It is amazing when God meets you in a valley.  Sometimes you have to look really, really hard to find him there, other times he sweeps in so unexpectedly it wrecks you. Last year when I was in these dark points I did all I could to cling what I believed. I read and watched anything that gave me a breath of God and his promises. At this time there were some free workshops available through Mark Virkler of CWG Ministries. One of them was a video series on how to hear God’s voice and I watched the series on my phone. It was mainly on prayer and christian meditation. Towards the end of each video Mark would lead the group in a christian meditation that was just imagining spending time with Jesus by the sea of Galilee. One of the days I was watching the video had been especially hard and I was in a lot of pain. As I was led in the meditation I saw myself as a little girl walking with Jesus on the sea shore. Jesus stopped, lifted me up and held me on his chest the way I hold my three-year-old when he’s crying, the way I held all my kids. That wrecked me. I don’t know how long I cried but I did a long time. I never would have imagined that Jesus would love me enough to do that, that he saw my pain the way I see my kids pain. It was one of the strongest gifts he could have given me as from that point on I tell myself that’s what he’s doing whenever things get hard.

It was unexpected, but not as unexpected as what happened this year. A few weeks ago We were in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. We stumbled on this small art store that featured paintings by Mark Kealthery. My girls and I love art. So we were walking thru the store oohing and awing at the paintings. They were beautiful and many depicted Jesus, always smiling. There was an upstairs. My girls wanted to go look up there but I stayed below, not wanting to over do any walking. However, My oldest, Zoë, hollered down, “Mom you have to come up and look at this!” Grumbling, “Don’t make me climb the stairs,” I climbed them and was greeted with a beautiful picture I can’t even remember, I can’t remember because of what I saw next.  A painting of Jesus holding a brown headed child, just like I held my kids, just like he held me, and I started crying like a baby.  How good is a God who loved me so much, knew me so well that he gave the same picture to a man I didn’t know who could paint it and place it in a gallery I would just happen to walk in.  It was a divine appointment. Knowing that these paintings were more money than I could spend at the time I composed myself, snapped a quick picture told my husband and the shop keeper, a very sweet lady, my story ( I had never told anyone before,) and we were on our way.

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Tower of Strength by Mark Kealthery

God is a God of redemption, not only in us but in our lives as well. Going to Allendale this year was a true act of redemption and trust. I did more physically last week than I thought possible and was constantly being put out of my comfort zone. I fell in love with the kids and the adults I worked beside and was challenged to show compassion, strength and to answer some tough questions about my faith. I came home on Friday with my tank full and thankful. But God wasn’t done blessing me yet. You see after we traveled to Gatlinburg we went on our vacation to Myrtle Beach, which was a wonderful restful time. There was another store that featured Mark Kealthery paintings that I did not see. My husband and daughter Zoë snuck in there during a bathroom break and purchased the painting and had it mailed to our house. When I returned home from Allendale, Dave had unpacked the picture and set it in our room where I would not miss it. His generous gift was not only unexpected and beautiful but told me how much my husband loves me. Now that I wasn’t so emotional I got a good look at the painting. Jesus is actually holding a little brown haired boy and there are two blonde girls in the background. For me it was all three of my children playing protected by the Sea. I had prayed for there protection every day for almost three weeks as we traveled and I went to camp, The painting that will hang in my living room is now God’s promise that He loves them just as much as He loves me, as much as He loves you.

He is a God of redemption. In Psalm 103 it says, “Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not his benefits, who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion…”

Last summer I was very broken and felt very alone. My girls struggled with new responsibilities and coping with a mom who couldn’t mother very well at the time. This year God is healing those broken places left by the last year. I am so thankful and grateful for His redemption.

Have your own amazing God story of redemption? Feel free to share in the comments below!

 

It’s About Time

We all have big fears, big, irrational fears, but what about the small daily fears? You know the ones that hit every day without fail? One of my little daily fears is time. What about time scares me? Running late. In fact running late has haunted me since I was really little. Growing up I absorbed how upset my parents would be when they ran late or how they would speak of others running late. I equated running late with being impolite or down right rude. It was breaking a rule and younger Kelly was never a rule breaker. Before kids I was rarely late. In fact I prided myself on being early. Yep that dirty word pride. But as any parent of a child under the age of 4 has learned you will be late. But that didn’t stop me from trying to not be.

The day I ruptured my back I was worried about running late to a new Doctor appointment. I think many of the poor decisions I made that day was due to my mis-management of time. But when I look back as I often do in these situations it wasn’t me that causes the lateness it is the surrounding circumstances, you know the things out of your control. So I think that is the whole point because well were not in control. Certainly not in control of time.

Once I surrendered to the thought that I have no control if I arrive on time or not It was so freeing. Yes I still want to be on time but I finally admit I am subject to circumstance like everyone else. I’ve also learned to admit that when I am running late sometimes these unplanned events are actually God’s protection. How many times if you would have left 5 minutes earlier been caught in a bad car accident? Its happened to me mutliple times. God’s time is sovereign in so many ways.

The Bible is full of examples of God putting the right people at the right time. Ester, David, Deborah, Jael, they all were in the right places at the right time and it wasn’t from their planning. I believe God is in control of our timing whether or not we are aware of it. Ecclesiasties 3 is dedicated to God’s control of time but  really like what it says about God in verse 11. The NIV version says “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart, yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

So what do I do when I am running late and that panic sets in. I pray. Did you know you can pray for God to increase your time? He can also help you move in his time. He can give you peace with time. I didn’t realize that until recently that he’s already worked time in our favor. When time seems to be the obstacle Gods just inviting us to trust. I still don’t like being late. I still stress out over getting to places and being on time but in those freak out moments I can tell myself to pray and trust that God will take care of it all in the end.

Why I am Passionate About Creating Jewelry

I like to make things. I  love to do crafty things and I really enjoy making beaded jewelry.  I have beaded for a very long time. It’s a hobby I pick up from time to time when life slows down a little. I started beading and jewelry making when I was at Ball State about 20 years ago. At that time I was working for J.C. Penney in the jewelry section and really enjoyed learning about jewelry. I was also pretty good at changing watch batteries and untangling chains. When I was a junior in college a man came into the J. C. Penneys in Muncie while I was working and asked me If I liked to make jewelry. I was surprised by the question and said yes. He pulled out a gallon Ziploc bag of seed beads all colors and said that God had told him to bring it to me that day.  He had just been diagnosed with an eye issue and couldn’t see to do it anymore. He explained that he was part Native American and also beaded. I remember being overjoyed at the gift and so surprised by his statement. This was long before I really knew how the Holy Spirit prompted people. I also find it interesting he gave me seed beads as he planted seeds into what I am starting now. I still have about half a bag of those beads that need sorted but I did used them until I had my children.

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                                                                 Colored beads represent the Fruits of the Spirit

I didn’t really start beading a lot again until 2016. I help organize and run a christian worship conference called Karitos Indy. In May of 2016 we had our conference and Heather Fox came and gave a workshop on using flags in worship. https://www.facebook.com/WOWFLags/

In that class I felt the Holy Spirit tell me that I would start beading again and use the colors of the beads like flag worshipers use the color of the flags. In flag worship each flag has a specific meaning or anointing as it is being used in worship. Here are some links to Heather using her flags in worship. There is also a chart below that explains the colors of the flags and symbols I use in my jewelry.

 

https://youtu.be/EQKNcD4sMIs

https://youtu.be/dFYro9SdGH8

I just love watching flags and dance to worship! Such a free expression of Love!

After that conference my mother-in-law started finding garage sales where people were selling beads. The Christmas of 2016 she gave me a large tub full of beads and beading hardware. I have so many to choose from that I have been able to make jewelry for a number of people without having to purchase more than clasps and some beading string.

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                                                          This was made for a co-worker while recovering from my back surgery

Beading had become a saving grace for me after my accident. I don’t sit still easily, when you are recovering from a back surgery and nerve damage that I had you can either lay down or sit still and that’s about it. I had to find ways to cope with not doing anything and pain. So I decided to make bracelets for everyone where I used to work. It was calming and distracting to sit and make the bracelets. It allowed me to be creative without over doing anything. All those beads are truly a wonderful gift from my mother-in-law and God. Since then I sometimes have days or moments when I have to rest, or sit still. You’ll find me either folding laundry at that time, (With three kids there is always laundry) sorting beads or beading. I’ve even taught my son how to bead with pipe cleaners and corn beads. We make words with beads with letters or patterns. He enjoys it too.

 

I really like making bracelets. I base my bracelets on scriptures of promises of God and hope that the wearer is reminded of these promises when they wear the piece. The jewelry does not bring good luck or piece like Hindu or Chakra jewelry. Its just to remind the wearer who they are, we are God’s children and He promises his children wonderful things.

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                                                          This bracelet uses light and dark purples to represent who we are when we surrender to the cross.

 

I have found standing on these promises when faced with fear, or anxious situations helps me overcome my feelings and get thru the circumstance without breaking into depression, sadness or anger. What I struggle with the most.

I am hoping to start selling some of these pieces at craft fairs and farmers markets starting in August. I am also putting together a page on Etsy that I hope to Launch mid-July. I have some bracelets that I have highlighted thru this blog that I hope will help different organizations that have become very dear to my heart. If you see one you like message me in comments below.

 

Colors of Worship (Taken from Heather Fox’s workshop on the language of Color and meaning of flags in worship, Karitos Indy 2016)

Red – Love, Blood of Jesus, war, life, sacrifice, consuming fire

Green– praise, wealth, hope, new beginning, restoration, healing

Turquoise– river of God/life, sanctification

Deep Purple– royalty, power, kingdom authority, dominion

Light Purple– Repentance

White– purity, surrender, peace, victory, holiness

Gold– glory of God, majesty, righteousness, mercy

Silver– redemption, wisdom, Word of God

Bronze/Brass– judgement of God, strength – I also use brown beads for this

Yellow– Joy, celebration

Orange – fire of the Holy Spirit, refining fire, healing, praise, fruitfulness

Black- Humility, death, sorrow, unity, sin

Rainbow– promises of God, Covenant of God with man

Royal or Dark Blue– prophecy, grace, faith, truth, heaven

Light Blue – holy spirit, the heavenlies

Pink- new life, right/Godly relationships

Rose pink – Messiah

Magenta – Joy, Passion

Iridescent – Cleansing

Burgundy – New Wine

Symbols  God has given me specific symbols to use in my bead work. Here are brief descriptions of what they commonly mean.

Cross – Represents Jesus and sometimes carrying our own cross if there is more than one

Flowers – Can have two meanings. They can represent worries or concerns, see verse Matthew 6:25-34 about worry, they can also represent fruitfulness.

Hearts– Hearts represent Love or the wearer’s heart. If one heart is in a piece that also means the cost of the peace is donated to the 1heart Ministry. (Find out more here)

Pearls – I use a lot. They represent the parable of the pearl of great price. Matthew 13:46. We are that pearl to Jesus and he is that pearl to us, verse. They also represent pearls of wisdom.

Butterflies – Mean Transformation! Your life is changing into something new! See verse Romans 12:2

Dragon Flies – Mean change, Dragon flies also eat mosquitoes, so I just found out, So I also believe They are representation of God’s protection around you.

Wings – Angels, or being protected, hidden under His wing

Anchor – An anchor is an old Christian Symbol from the first century church. Refers to our Anchor in the Faith of Jesus.

Elephants – Leadership

Leaves – Growth, fruitfulness, healing, your in the “Vine”

Moon – night time, sleep

Numbers – I know God can and does talk thru numbers as many prophets have explained. I don’t plan out using them a lot but some of my pieces I have implemented them in. Here are the most common. I will admit I like odd numbers when beading so that doesn’t mean I planned all my bead numbers. I try very hard to let the Holy Spirit decided this.

  1. God is first and foremost
  2. Relationships – I use this mostly with number of strands in a piece. I often will have pieces, like his grace is sufficient, where the two strands will come together and apart to represent our growth in Jesus and with Jesus.
  3. Represents the verse Ecclesiastes 4:12, A cord of three strands is not easily broken.  It can also represent verse, when two of you gather together in my name I am there also. If there are three of the same beads together that can be referring to the Trinity.
  4. Creativity. It may represent the artistic abilities of the wearer.
  5. Mercy. I am usually praying mercy over the wearer
  6. Man. It may represent doing something on our own without God’s Help
  7. The end. I use 7 in the coming clean bracelet to represent the time of darkness in the wearer’s life has ended and Jesus is making things new.
  8. New beginning

 

Biggest Tool in my tool box…Abide App

If you’ve joined me on this blog for my first entry It’s likely that you already know me. What many of you who don’t see me on a daily basis may not know is why I’ve suddenly decided to do this. Well let’s just start with saying it’s been a life-changing year and I’m finally at a point where I feel I can share this story. But I want to share in a way that expresses how life-changing events can help you change your mind on how you cope with fear, depression and anxiety.

On May 16, 2017 while trying to get my 3 year – old son in the van I ruptured my S5 disk in my back.  10 days later I had surgery and have been recovering from that, and nerve damage to my right leg and foot since. I am walking, driving and almost back to normal at this point (I’m still dealing with nerve damage) but It’s been a journey! Some of these blogs will be about that but most of them,I hope, will be more about how I’ve gotten thru this journey and learned more about how to manage my own fear and anxiety that I have struggled with for a very long time.

More importantly if fear, anxiety, depression, stress are things you struggle with I want to encourage you and I hope this blog does just that. So I’m going to start with talking about my biggest tool in my toolbox. Something that encourages me every day and I think it is my number one weapon when it comes to dealing with fear, anxiety, pain, or whatever is ailing.

Prayer.

Yep. Prayer. Now if your not ready for that yet that’s okay but hear me out. There is more to prayer than you telling God what is going on and God supernaturally fixing it. (or not fixing it…) Yes that can happen, does happen but I’m not talking about those prayers. I pray those prayers, a lot, but that’s not the ones I mean. I mean the sitting still meditative prayers. These kinds I didn’t even know how to do do or what they were till 2015 when I stumbled on a link to an amazing app called Abide, and that is actually what I want to introduce you to today. How to pray still, meditative, deep, prayer.  

So, if you aren’t really sold on the Jesus, this christianity and prayer thing this might be hard to get but I guarantee it does work. I know there are lots of books and experts on how prayer may work but I honestly believe it’s one of those things we’ll never quite figure out. Here’s my humble take on it. The God of the universe loves what He makes. He made you, He loves you. He wants to have a relationship with you. He gave you the ability to do certain things but he also puts us in situations everyday where we will not get the best possible outcome without His help. If we ask Him for His help we are allowing Him to work that situation for our good whatever happens, see Jeremiah 29:11. I once heard it said that “God is a gentleman and he doesn’t interfere unless given permission to.”   Deep meditative prayer takes that to a level of not only does he work to our good but he lets us in on what is going to happen. See Psalm 25:9.

So,  I actually knew the morning of my injury that something wasn’t going to go right ( I didn’t know what) but I felt the Holy Spirit tell me that I was going to be disappointed that my plans would not be completed. I felt that message as I prayed using the Abide app and it was thru through those daily Abide prayers that I had hope to keep on going when my plans did not happen day after day. I don’t remember very much about those first few days accept pain but for some crazy reason knowing God knew it was coming gave me hope He was going to get me thru it. I can’t imagine how much harder it would have been had I not prayed that morning or thru the whole ordeal.

The Abide app was created by a start up christian group in Sillicon Valley called Carpenters Code and it’s co-founder Neil Ahlson, who had worked at Google for 7 years prior,  said this about the purpose of this App in PR Newswire’s April 11 2017 issue.

“Christian meditation is one of the best ways to fight depression, the world’s leading illness, which often can go untreated. Our guided meditation app is designed to meet the often very private needs of people in the midst of very busy lives. Our users report that Abide helps them find pockets of time to connect with God for peace and stability in their lives.”

Boy do I want peace and stability every day in my life and if you know me you know I’m busy. I have three beautiful children. Two daughters who are involved with dance and band and plays and a son who doesn’t stop. But I have found just 15 to 20 minutes in the morning of sitting still and meditating on these prayers is a DAY CHANGER. The tidal waves of stressful situations I face become so much easier to navigate if I’ve taken the time to pray hours before they hit. It’s amazing how my attitude and outlook change on the days I’ve spent my morning with Jesus and Abide vs the days I don’t.

The App is free. You can become a member and their is more features with the paid version but even the free version is amazing. In 2015 Abide was launched and Carpenters Code  partnered with another app I use called Youversion The Bible App. One of the bible studies I was doing at the time had a prayer from abide in the devotional section at the beginning that you could listen too. I loved it. The prayer linked you with the Abide App.

The App itself features a daily prayer, with links to quick prayers on sleep, anxiety and emotions. The free version daily prayer is about 2 minutes in length and a tab of topics. Topics on grief, depression, anxiety, marriage, making decisions, insomnia, anger, kids, love…. there are actually 28 different categories to pick from. You can stream all the prayers or pick one to listen too. The paid version includes all these features as well as longer daily prayers with 5 minute, 10 minute and 15 minute options as well as guides that (much like youversion plans) give you 3, 5 or 7 step prayers. They are most used for (get this) their prayers on anxiety and panic attacks and insomnia! Prayers are guided by a slew of different male and female believers including K-Love Radio and Mandesa! 

“Abide gives you guided audio meditations and they vary from about two minutes to about 15 minutes and they’re all focused back on scripture. So we take a verse of the Bible and a topic around that and then really just take you through a time of reflection,” Ahlsten explained to CBN news  on 12/19/17.

There is also a place to journal after the prayer and a feature that allows you to share the prayers with someone and mark which ones are your favorite. You have a tab which keeps track of what you’ve prayed and how many times you’ve shared a prayer. I love this feature as there are some short 3 minute prayers I LOVE and listen too often or if I have a friend who needs prayer I can send them one I might feel they need to hear and pray it over and for them. It allows me to feel a little bit less helpless when those I love are sitting in helpless situations. I can’t tell you how many times a friend has texted back to me (that was so what I needed to hear.) I mean honestly how many times have you found yourself in a really hard situation and you don’t know what to pray. Abide has really helped me with that as the different topics often coincided with common concerns.

Christian Guided Meditation PR NEWSWIRE APRIL 11 2017 reported that “Abide’s topic on anxiety and worry is streamed 3 times more than any other topic in their more than 1,500 meditation sessions.” and “In a blind study among hundreds of people praying the Abide guided prayers, four of the top descriptions were: calming, comforting, soothing, and peaceful.”

Ahlsten told Purpose Nation in their second episode that Carpenter’s Code originally designed Abide to be a platform for prayer requests but that these guided prayers is what really took off. And its us women who are mainly using the app. 75% of the users actually are women the Christian Post reported on July 26, 2017.

I used the free version of the app until around March of 2016 when I “purchased” my very first app for my phone on my birthday. (yes it was Abide) I have been a member since and vie to start each day in prayer with it.

There is a lot I could tell you about meditative prayer but its best to experience yourself. When I started, I listened to the app in my car driving for 20 minutes to work. At that time the app was set up a little differently and it gave a daily prayer as well as other short prayers suggested each day. I would play all of them or sometimes one from a specific topic I was struggling with. I was struggling a lot with loneliness and dealing with confrontational situations at that time. Even though I wasn’t still (I was driving a car) it allowed my mind to focus on God’s promises everyday. I would hear the Holy Spirit pour hope into me that got me thru some awful days. Now that I’m not working I either drink my cup of coffee with it in the morning and pet my prayer buddy Chester or make jewelry while listening. Sitting still is hard for me, if it’s hard for you its okay. Start by doing something mindless and don’t feel guilty if your mind wanders while you pray. Sometimes that’s just the Holy Spirit’s way of talking to you. Those things you don’t want to forget will pop into your mind but just say, thank you help me to remember that when I’m done. I know God pours things into you even in those short minute prayers. He heals broken things, some you may not even be aware of needing healing.

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Sleep has been one of the things I still struggle with, months after my surgery and Abide has been a place of refuge for that as well. They have many guided meditations that are specifically designed to put you to sleep. These are 20-25 minutes long and I have never heard all of one so yes it works. They have all been lovingly put on youtube as well as in the App so if your not a member you can listen to them on youtube.

” I did not expect when we started this project that we would be a place for people to fall asleep and have some of those kinds of things..but it turns out a lot of people struggle with insomnia and so, you know, even Christians have a hard time falling asleep or they struggle with depression or they struggle with relationships all sorts of things, and so to be able to be guided through, Hey how is God going to be able to help me in this situation. Has been very effective. So every night we put a whole bunch of people to sleep when they click on our insomnia and our rest meditations and they fall asleep.” Ahlsten said on the Purpose Nation Podcast, Episode 2

Abide also sends emails about new prayers and devotions they have posted. This weeks is on finances which I plan to listen to before we head off on our vacation. It amazes me how the Holy Spirit works, If you a listener of KLOVE or AIR1 you’ve probably experienced that moment when just the “right” song pops on the radio which totally addresses your heart. Well, Abide has an amazing way of doing that for me with it’s daily prayers. Yesterday’s was on sleep the one thing I did not get the night before battling a summer cold. I guarantee I didn’t tell them but I totally needed to be reminded how important it was to ask for some good rest and boy do I feel better today!

So I hope you give Abide a try next time you’re feeling overwhelmed. I hope this becomes a big gun in your arsenal as well. If you own an Alexa and just want to hear one after reading this say to her “Alexa, Abide Flash Briefing” and you’ll get today’s two minute prayer. I’m sure you’ll be blessed by it.

For Reference:

My top 10 favorite prayers on Abide (BSU Grad, love Dave Letterman)

10. “Unknown Steps,” prayer on Isaiah 8:12 by Julie Barri

9.“Look up,” prayer on Job 42:1-5 by Shannon Owen

8.“When I feel Hopeless,” prayer on Romans 15:13 by Lindsey Nelson

7.“Gentleness Starts Within,” prayer on Matthew 11:28-29 by Daily Hope

6.“Offer what you have,”  Prayer on John 6:9 by Julie Barrios

5.“Rhythms of Grace,” Prayer on Matthew 11:28-30 The Message by Kate Stanway

4.”Jesus is Living Water,” prayer on John 4:9 by Julie Barrios

3.“Learning to Abide,” prayer on Psalm 131.2, Luke 10:38-42 by Kate Stanway

2.“Seeing in our Suffering,” prayer on Isaiah 53:2-4 by Julie Barrios

And the top prayer in my opinion on Abide is….

1.  “Never Forgotten,” prayer on Isaiah 49:15-16 by Joanna Quintrell