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Sometimes anxiety can be a lonely experience. "What are you worried about?" my husband will often ask.

"I don't know. It's just everything all at once," I usually say.  Anyone else with me?

It can be lonely to not even be able to express an internal struggle.

I was worshipping with my church family on Sunday and struggling with some anxiety, finding it a hard to sing out and focus. I think God said to me, "I know. I see it."

I am so blessed to have the sweetest friends and family in my life. They listen and pray for me. They reply to my SOS texts. They share my burdens. Just their listening alone is a sweet gift and invariably lightens my load immediately.

I hope you have such sisters in Christ. But even in those lonely moments when you feel alone, God says, "I know. I see it."

One theme for me this year is "faith over fear," so today I'm sharing with you a sweet little screensaver made from my watercolor over the hymn, "Blessed Assurance" by Fanny Crosby and a corresponding coloring page (look for the original painting + prints in the shop soon!).

I hope you can use them to walk in "blessed assurance," continually calling upon your God who sees you with compassion (Psalm 103:13), and choose faith in His steadfast love over fear.

"But I call to God, and the LORD will save me. Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice. He redeems my soul in safety from the battle that I wage, for many are arrayed against me." (Psa 55:16-18 ESV) 

You can download your screensaver by right-clicking the image below and saving and your coloring page by clicking HERE or on the image below!*




*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! Use for Bible studies, church groups or events, and Sunday school classes are all fine! If you're in doubt, I'm happy to answer any questions. All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, you're awesome (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. Thank you!!



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Faith over fear screensaver + coloring page


Sometimes it's hard to get on this blog and say encouraging things, whether from a place of my own personal trials or the ones I share with those I love.

And yet, the good news is still good. 


I hear the Savior say,
"Thy strength indeed is small,
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all."

It's hard for me to reconcile the goodness of God and pain. My tendency is to push God away and seek other comforts.

Lord, now indeed I find
Thy pow'r and Thine alone,
Can change the leper's spots
And melt the heart of stone. 

We are reading through Exodus for Lent with our community group (with the She Reads Truth plan). Yesterday I read about how the Israelites "turned aside quickly out of the way that [God] commanded them" and made a golden calf in their impatience for Moses to return from his meet-up with God on the mountain. Maybe they longed for a quick-fix God they could touch and feel and understand completely, rather than a God they could both fear and love, who operated on his own timetable (Exodus 32:8).

That is so often me, quick to turn aside from a faithful and patient following.

God is jealous for his glory and for my heart. Over and over, the Bible tells me that He loves me and long to comfort me, longs to save, longs to quiet me with his love.

"The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing" (Zephaniah 3:17).

So, back to pain. Running from pain only keeps me from running from His love. Running for other comforts keeps my unquieted by his love. 

"Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love" (Jonah 2:8).

And running from our sin, hiding in the shadows, keeps us running from His grace and unfailing mercy.

For nothing good have I
Where-by Thy grace to claim;
I'll wash my garments white

In the blood of Calv'ry's Lamb

As I read through Exodus, I'm again impressed at the details God put into the establishment and creation of the temple in Exodus, and the way it intricately foreshadows and sets up all He planned to do and complete in Christ.

And when, before the throne,
I stand in Him complete,
"Jesus died my soul to save,"
My lips shall still repeat. 

The patient God who set all that up and orchestrated, down to the very day, our salvation, is the God who knows you and your days. All his promises are "yes" in Jesus. What good would he then withhold from you?

"For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly" (Psalm 84:11).

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

The coloring page I'm sharing today is made up of the intersection of the words of "Jesus Paid it all" (the hymn in italics above) by Elvina Hall and the Scriptures in 1 Peter 3:18 and 2 Corinthians 1:20 intersect. It works a little differently in Spanish (my friend Abby helped me figure it out), but the meaning is the same. 

You can download your coloring pages by clicking the images below:




PRAYING the Word
God, forgive me from running from the comfort and grace I could find in you. Thank you that your love is never failing. Mine fails; yours doesn't. Make me a patient, enduring worshipper of only You. Keep me running for, not from, your comfort and your grace.

QUESTIONS to consider:
1. How about you? What do you do with your pain? Where do you go for comfort?
2. What does it mean to you that "all the promises of God find their Yes in [Jesus]" (2 Corinthians 1:20)?


*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! Use for Bible studies, church groups or events, and Sunday school classes are all fine! If you're in doubt, I'm happy to answer any questions. All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, you're awesome (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. Thank you!!



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Pain, Good news, and an Easter Bible Verse Coloring Page in English + Spanish


"Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:5-7 ESV)

Sometimes I describe anxiety like a train. It starts with a thought or a belief that, unchecked, begins to roll along briskly on the track of my mind. As it begins to gain speed, it gets harder and harder to slow it down.

To slow down the train, I have to look at what's feeding the engine, but that process can be scary and intimidating for me. Sometimes it feels easier to keep chug-chug-chugging along.

As Edward Welch points out in his book on anxiety (see my resources page if you're interested), we often hear God's instructions to "fear not" as a scolding. You should know better, do better, be better. I'm so tired of your struggles. But Welch says that we need to hear "do not fear" and "do not be anxious" as words from the heart of a good, good father.

It's a little like my three-year-old in the car:  "Mom, do you know how to get there?"

"Yes, Silas, don't worry. Mommy knows where we're going."

Or my daughter before Christmas or her birthday: "Mom, are you sure you got me a present? I'm really worried that you'll forget."

"Yes, sweetie. I love you and I haven't forgotten to get you something special."

My love and care for my kids is imperfect, but God's love isn't, even when the evidence of it is hard for us to see at times.

He is attentive.
He acts on our behalf.
He comforts.
He guides.
He speaks.

That's why He can say, "Be anxious for nothing."

If you follow along with my art on Instagram, you know I've been painting a lot this new year and experimenting with watercolor on old book pages. I've used my paintings to make a screensaver for your phone. You can choose from blue or pink by clicking on either image below and saving to your phone!






The lovely flower image in the header is from Elah Tree.

*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! Use for Bible studies, church groups or events, and Sunday school classes are all fine! If you're in doubt, I'm happy to answer any questions. All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, you're awesome (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. Thank you!!

Anxious for Nothing Philippians 4:6 Screensaver



My girls are enjoying their new teachers and friends at school, and have started to think ahead to Valentine's Day. My daughter and I worked on this fun set of friendship cards, and we're sharing them with you!



You can download yours HERE.

*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! Use for Bible studies, church groups or events, and Sunday school classes are all fine! If you're in doubt, I'm happy to answer any questions. All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, you're awesome (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. Thank you!!

Printable Bunny Valentine Cards

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort." (2 Corinthians 1:3-7 ESV)

Have you ever struggled so much that you felt like all you were left grasping were sooty ashes? Nothing good can come from this.

You might say with the Psalmist: "How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?" (Psalms 13:2 ESV)

Sometimes suffering is just suffering, the same suffering our Savior experienced, and there may never be a clear resolution in our hearts. But I find two sure things about suffering in the 2 Corinthians passage above:

1. You will be abundantly comforted by God, the Father of mercy and the God who draws near to you.

2. Our comfort nets the ability to comfort others with the same comfort we have received from God.

Suffering shared with Christ = Comfort shared with Christ

These truths give me great hope and joy today!

Today's printable Bible verse coloring page is from 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. You can download your page HERE or by clicking on the image below!*



PRAYING the Word
Jesus, comfort me in my affliction today. Make me a comforter with the same comfort you give me. 

QUESTIONS to consider:
1. What makes a person a good comforter?
2. In what ways has God comforted you in your suffering?


*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! Use for Bible studies, church groups or events, and Sunday school classes are all fine! If you're in doubt, I'm happy to answer any questions. All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, you're awesome (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. Thank you!!



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The comforted comfort + 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 printable coloring page

1 Chronicles 16:11

"Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice! Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles and the judgments he uttered, O offspring of Israel his servant, children of Jacob, his chosen ones!" (1Chronicles 16:9-13 ESV)

Happy new year dear friends! As I start this year, there are a couple of things God seems to be teaching me, things I want to work on with His help this coming year:

1. As the steward of my soul, I am responsible for taking care of myself. At times, I have been passive about the care of my body, soul, and mind, maybe afraid to be selfish. But I'm learning in the book Boundaries by Doctors Henry Cloud and John Townsend** that "appropriate boundaries actually increase our ability to care about others. People with highly developed limits are the most caring people on earth."

While it's God's plan for me to be in community and depend on and support others, only I know how my life feels and how it affects my heart (see Proverbs 14:10), so I am the one ultimately responsible for its care--as I abide in Christ. I want to better care for my life so that I can be used by God in the lives of my people around me.

2. I must be face my weaknesses. I read in my devotional (New Morning Mercies by Paul Tripp**) yesterday morning that when we fail to face our weaknesses, we are basically saying, "I don't want to be who I am or face who I am." I certainly don't like facing my weaknesses. I want to be able to do it all, and do it well, and for everyone to be happy with me, but this is not the life God has called me to or given me strength for!

Tripp writes that "the great danger is your delusion of strength, because if you think you're strong, then you don't seek the help that you desperately need from the One who is the ultimate source of strength of every kind."
"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." (2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV)
These are the lessons I'm learning right now. One outcome is that we have enrolled our girls in the local public school and taken a break from homeschool. It breaks my heart a little to give it up, but the girls came home happy and excited from their first day yesterday, and God has given them the sweetest teachers. This is one way I am trying to establish healthy boundaries and accept my weaknesses this year.

I am dreaming of things to create and share with you this coming year. I hope you'll follow along! For now, I'm sharing this hand-lettered phone screensaver of 1 Chronicles 16:11. What better way to enter a new year than to be determined to "Seek the Lord and his strength [and] His presence continually"?

To download, click on the image below and save to your device!
hand lettering Bible journaling

Books in this post (clickable links):**

     

*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! Use for Bible studies, church groups or events, and Sunday school classes are all fine! If you're in doubt, I'm happy to answer any questions. All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, you're awesome (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. Thank you!!

** “We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.” Bascially, if you purchase something using these links, I get a small portion of the sale. It's a small way you can support the blog if you'd like. Thanks!



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Lessons for a new year + a 1 Chronicles 16:11 Phone Screensaver

free Christmas coloring page
I typically take December off from blogging, but before I do, I wanted to share this December screensaver and printable Christmas coloring page with you!

This image is also available in the shop as a printable 8 x 10" print and Christmas card set (along with other fun new designs)!




You can download your coloring page HERE or by clicking on the image below! You can get your screensaver by right-clicking on the second image below, saving to your phone, and then setting it as your screensaver.*


Joy to the World Christmas Carol coloring page


*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! Use for Bible studies, church groups or events, and Sunday school classes are all fine! If you're in doubt, I'm happy to answer any questions. All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, you're awesome (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. Thank you!!



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Joy to the World Christmas Coloring Page and Screensaver

Hello friends!

I've been a little quiet around here, I know, but I wanted to pop in briefly and share this Scripture with you that has been ministering to me:


"When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul." Psalm 91:14

I don't know if you've ever felt the overwhelming weight of anxiety and fear. I sure have. Slowly God is leading me through, teaching me discern between the voice of fear and the voice of faith. Teaching me stillness versus hurry and worry. 


"But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me." Psalm 131:2

These are not simple issues. They require a God-sized rescue and consolation of our souls. 

One day, I'd love to share more of the ways God is growing me, but for now I am storing these things up in my heart.


"Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what He has done for my soul." Psalm 66:16

Also, this song and this song have been sweet encouragement.

Today's printable Bible verse coloring page is from Psalm 94:19. The ornaments in this coloring page were made with the iOrnament app, which the girls and I are loving! You can download your page by clicking on the images below (one in English and one in Spanish)!*


  
PRAYING the Word
Jesus, in all my distress and anxiety, I cry out to You, the only Comforter and all-wise Counselor. You know me. You see me. Your consolations cheer my weighted soul, and I am blessed when I put my hope in you (Psalm 146:5). Help me quiet and still my soul, content to be under your faithful care.

*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! Use for Bible studies, church groups or events, and Sunday school classes are all fine! If you're in doubt, I'm happy to answer any questions. All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, you're awesome (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. Thank you!!



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My anxiety and Your consolations + Psalm 94:19 Bible Coloring Page in English and Spanish


An author I follow on Instagram recently shared this experience: "When I tried to share about how I felt as a black female in a situation, they didn't want to hear it. It is terrible not to want to listen to a sister's heart, even when it could be hard. If we can't take the first and simple step of talking, there's little hope of racial harmony in the church. If we can't listen, we can't love. But there's hope and I'm always holding onto the hope of Jesus. No one can take that away."

(You can follow Trillia on Instagram @trillianewbell or on her blog here. She's also just written a super cute children's book about God's design in diversity).

I was struck by her words and thankful for her willingness to share. I hope that in this situation, I would have listened.

It's so easy for me to see blindness in others, but harder to see it in myself, harder to let God's light reach my own dark parts. But that's always where God has me start.
"If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make m a liar, an&d his word is not in us." (1John 1:8-10 ESV)
"Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." (Matthew 7:4-5 ESV)
I think I'm a pretty good listener . . . until I'm not.

I'll tell you when it's hard for me. It's hard when I feel judged. It's hard when I feel threatened or when someone challenges something I hold tightly. It's hard to listen when I can't solve something or make it better. It's hard when the conversation makes my uncomfortable or shakes my sense of rightness. It's hard when I realize the world can look so different from another point of view. I feel in over my head.

(By the way, that's likely why conversations about race make people of my color so uncomfortable. There's even a term for this kind of emotional breakdown reaction we experience until we develop a healthy resilience.)

So, my believing friends, what kind of listeners would Jesus have us be?

James writes to the church, "Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God." (James 1:19-20, ESV)

To clarify, I'm not talking about compromising our convictions or playing loose with truth. I'm talking about hearing and listening to other human beings, and thus honoring the image of God in them. Remember, each person we encounter is someone "for whom Christ died" (See 1 Corinthians 8:11. I suppose to be precise, theologically, Christ died for those who would believe in Him, so this refers to believers, but everyone is a potential believer). 

I see so much more enmity than empathy in the church these days. I see such a quickness to speak, but not a quickness to listen and learn (including in myself). Empathy (which in Greek translates "in + feeling"), means "the ability to understand and share the feelings of another" (thanks Google). Antonyms include: coldness, detachment, violence, indifference, antagonism, unfeelingness, passiveness, revulsion, and spite (Thesaurus.com). 

I can almost hear Satan's cackle of delight as he divides wedges between believers who love Jesus, but are incredibly diverse. The Deceiver, the master of "fake news," peddles the lie that we must be either-or and nowhere in the middle. His marketing campaign is booming and he deals in tents for opposing camps. He scoffs at nuance and gentleness.
"Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand" (Philippians 4:5 ESV). 
How can we manage those gut-level reactions we have when listening induces stress, fear, and anxiety? 

Our example is Jesus. He took all the anger, accusations, and hate without protest (Is 53:7, 1 Pet 2:22-23). And he did so without sin.

As Christ was secure in his position in the Father and had no need to prove himself, we can live out of that same security. We already know that Jesus died to forgive us. What accusation could anyone bring against us after that?

Living out of our security in Christ frees us to listen and learn instead of being on the defensive. Only then can we can live in the truth, even when it’s a painful truth we’d rather not see.

As we practice empathy, we get a glimpse of the patience and graciousness of our God with us, the God who “emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Phil 2:7). For love of us, He laid aside his position of privilege and power, and that has implications for us:

"By this we know what love is: Jesus laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers" (1 John 3:17).

Because of this, we are free to listen and grow. We have everything to gain by listening, including the hearts of those we hear.

This is where God is growing me, teaching me patiently to push past my own initial reactions and need to prove myself.  

Just listen, Mary. Learn. 


"Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.'" 1 Peter 5:5
"Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ." Ephesians 5:21

Like any area of discipleship, growing takes practice. We can build conversational resilience by listening to or following someone who will challenge our point of view. Listen to a believer that looks different than you and thinks differently than you. Read some history of this country from a point of view not commonly represented (I'm just finishing this book and this book). Practice empathetic listening without attempting to solve or fix or advise. 

In this season in my country when racial tension is painful, let's give our brothers and sisters of color hope by our patient listening and willingness to talk and learn from them. Let's floor the outside world with our sincere love, and unwillingness to be angry and defensive. 

Today's printable Bible verse coloring page is from James 1:19. You can download your page by clicking on one of the options below!*

ENGLISH
SPANISH
BLANK (for use with other languages)

PRAYING the Word
Forgive us Lord for the many ways we fall short of your glory. Forgive us for be in quicker to speak than to listen. Make us salt and light in our broken culture. Make us ministers of reconciliation who "adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things" (2 Corinthians 5:18 and Titus 2:10).

QUESTIONS to consider:
1. When do you find it hardest to listen?
2. How might you practice growing as a listener?
3. How does listening reflect the character of our God?
4. Do you think believers in our society known for their listening skills? 



*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! Use for Bible studies, church groups or events, and Sunday school classes are all fine! If you're in doubt, I'm happy to answer any questions. All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, you're awesome (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. Thank you!!



If you like this, you can get these posts in your inbox by signing up HERE

a call for empathy in an age of enmity + James 1:19 Bible Verse Coloring page


Between homeschool school and co-op, a craft fair and travel over the weekend, all manner of issues swirling around our country, and Fall allergy season kicking in, everything feels a bit "fuzzy" for me right now. 

There are things on my heart I'd like to share, but because "fuzziness" of the brain does not a great writer make, I'll share these words from Romans 12 with you today and pray that God speaks truth to where you need it most:


"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. 
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. 
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. 
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:1-21 ESV)
To get your Romans 12:12 screensaver, just right click on the image below, save, and then set as your device's lock or home screen! This image is available as an 8x10" printable in the "words of life" set in the shop.



*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! Use for Bible studies, church groups or events, and Sunday school classes are all fine! If you're in doubt, I'm happy to answer any questions. All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, you're awesome (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. Thank you!!



If you like this, you can get these posts in your inbox by signing up HERE

Rejoice in hope Romans 12:12 Screensaver