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If you spend any time at all on Instagram or Pinterest (as I do), you'll scroll past lots of cute saying about life--what matters, what it's supposed to be like, and how it's supposed to be lived.

"I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become."
"Your only limit is you."
"Be your own kind of beautiful."
"You are enough."
We scroll and absorb and then when real life smacks us in the face, we wonder what in the world is wrong with us, or the people around us, or with God even.

Dallas Willard, in his book, The Divine Conspiracy, says about trying to live your life by cute slogans and mantras: "Absurdity and cuteness are fine to chuckle over and perhaps to muse upon. But they are no place to live. They provide no shelter or direction for being human."

That's why Jesus says to build our lives upon the rock of the Word of God, on how HE says a human life is to be lived (Matthew 7:24).

I was reading these verses in 2 Corinthians this week and encouraged in what I should expect of life:


"But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh . . . So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day." (2Cor. 4:7-12, 16 ESV)

"For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened--not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord." (2Cor. 5:2-8 ESV)

Do you see here the paradoxical (I like this word which means something that seems contradictory, but is actually true) nature of our life in Christ?

For a follower of Jesus, full of the treasure of the life of Jesus through the Spirit, it is normal to be:
afflicted
perplexed
persecuted
struck down
carrying in the body the death of Jesus
given over to death for Jesus' sake
wasting away outwardly
groaning
burdened

For a follower of Jesus, full of the treasure of the life of Jesus through the Spirit, it is also normal to be:
not crushed
not forsaken
not driven to despair
manifesting the life of Jesus in our bodies
renewed inwardly day by day
prepared for glory
filled with the Spirit as a guarantee
always of good courage

This tension of real life in Christ doesn't fit easily into a slogan, does it?

Scripture affirms both our struggle and our hope. And these two we hold in tension until we're "at home with the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:8).

If I expect to achieve some magical state of non-struggle in this life, I'll (paradoxically) struggle even more:

I'll question my standing before God--"What am I getting wrong?"

I'll doubt His goodness--"What is He withholding from me?"

I'll judge you in your struggles--"Why can't she just be okay?"

Also (paradoxially), if I accept this ongoing tension, I find I can better deal and experience God's peace right in the middle of it--and not lose heart.

In Christ, there is daily both life and death. I don't understand it all, but knowing this truth encourages me today, and I hope it does you too.

Please use this month's screensaver to remind yourself to not lose heart. You can click on the image below and save it to your phone.






*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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Life isn't cute, but Jesus is life + 2 Corinthians 4:16 screensaver

"In secret" screensaver from Marydean Draws
stock image from Elah Tree
Happy July, friends! I am enjoying the summer with my kiddos, but wanted to pop onto the blog and share this screensaver and some thoughts with you.

I've been reading through Matthew this summer and have come to Jesus' sermon on the mount in chapters five and six. I have been struck by the term "in secret" that Jesus repeats.


I have been thinking how the things that matter the most to God, that make us "salt of the earth" and "light of the world." are the things that happen "in secret":


the health of our relationships (Matthew 5:21-26)
holiness of heart (Matthew 5:27-30)
marriage (Matthew 5:31-32)
our word (Matthew 5:33-37)
generosity and kindness (Matthew 5:38-42)
imitating Jesus, becoming like the Father (Matthew 5:43-48)
intentions and integrity (Matthew 6:1-4)
sincerity of heart
God's will and purpose
horizontal, person-to-person forgiveness (Matthew 6:5-15)

Then Jesus says, "where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:21). 

It makes sense that Jesus then addresses anxiety (Matthew 6:25-34). So much anxiety (at least for me) is rooted in seeking first the things that don't matter to God--the seen things: approval of others, my reputation, how things appear. 

God knows that seeking these things eat me up inside.

He also knows that when I focus on externals, I judge, and that a judging heart is not a heart that has fully experienced God's grace. He knows that my inner, secret life is the only one I can fully know (Matthew 7:1-5).

I am so calmed to know both that God wants to meet me in the secret place, and that the real value in my life is found there. And from that place, "flow the springs of life" (Proverbs 4:23).

PRAYING the Word
Thank you for making me your child and you my Father. Forgive my insincerity, my love of things that don't matter to You, and my resulting anxiety. Thank you that you delight to rescue me in my weaknesses (Psalm 18:19). Teach me to seek first the secret things of your Kingdom. Help me be a true "son/daughter of the Father," who imitates you--to your glory and the benefit of my community.

QUESTIONS to consider:
1. Is my treasure SECRET or SEEN?
2. Do the things that matter to God matter to me?
3. Is my relationship with God personal (Father-child) or only public? What kind of relationship does God want?

This section of Scripture inspired my watercolor painting below. You can download the phone screensaver by clicking and saving the image below!*


"In secret" screensaver from Marydean Draws

P.S. My second coloring book is out on Amazon! It's called "Coloring the Word: The Good News Story." You can see the preview below and get one 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!!



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In Secret Phone Screensaver + thoughts on the things that matter


If you've been around the blog or followed me on Instagram this year, you know I've fallen in love with watercolors. It started as stress relief and has turned into such a life-giving addition to my drawing (which I still love, of course). Watercoloring seems to bring out another side of my creative brain. It allows me to work more intuitively and freely.

Today I'm combining my drawings and watercolors and hoping to share my love of watercolors with you!

I created a simple watercolor template and recorded a tutorial for you to follow along and paint with me. The template is made from the Romans 15:13 verse art I shared with you earlier this month as a screensaver. (If you don't see the video below, follow this link.)


Here's what you can pull together to be ready to go:

Supplies:

  • jar of water (we reuse yogurt containers)
  • watercolor or gouache paints. I use this set** in the video, but sometimes also use something like this ** with the kids (ours came from Michael's). And don't worry--kids' watercolor trays will work just fine too--you'll just have to mix more colors yourself!).
  • your favorite brushes (I like one rounded brushes with tips like these**). The one I use in the video is a Master's Touch Round 14 from Hobby Lobby.
  • tray for mixing colors. You can repurpose something from your house like an ice cube tray or buy one like this.** Watercolors can be rehydrated, so I love that the paint is never wasted!
  • printed template that you can download HERE (watercolor paper this** will hold the paint best, but I'm just using white cardstock in the video. It bled, but held up okay to the water)
  • paper towel for blotting



If you like this art, I've just added prints of the original painting and a printable set with Bible verse cards, blank watercolor templates in different sizes, and greeting cards to the shop. I can think of all kinds of ways you could use these--for birthdays, congratulations, thank you's, and notes of encouragement. I think the full-size or mini watercolor templates would make a great activity to do with a bunch of girlfriends or for a women's retreat activity. You can find the whole set here







Did you like the video and template? Let me know if you'd like to see more--and more of what. Tag me on Facebook or Instagram if you try it out. I'd be thrilled to see! Don't want to watercolor? Try this same template with colored pencils, markers, crayons, or acrylic paint!

Again, you can get your free template here or click 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!!

**These links are Amazon Associate Affiliate links, meaning I get a small percentage of purchases made using this link.



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Watercolor with me! Video Tutorial + Printable Watercolor Template


I told you I'd be back (two blog posts in one week--what?)! 

Summer break is just around the corner for us. I'm freaking out a little bit about having everyone at home again, but believing that God has good things for us this summer, and that I will not go crazy and lose my hair . . . or my mind . . . or both.

Sigh. The anxiety is real, friends.

I want to have some loose rhythms for us this summer. Daily rest times with some books on CD, play time with neighbors, trips to the library and pool. One thing I'm brainstorming is doing some Bible memory work with the kids. 

I want to keep it light and fun, but we haven't done any memory/Bible work since they've been in school, so I'm hoping the summer will be a good opportunity to introduce more truth to their hearts.

I realize only God can truly soften their little hearts, but I want to at least give them the opportunity to hear. After all: 
"How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?" Romans 10:14
"So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.Romans 10:17
I created a super simple printable Bible memory work chart you can use this summer with your children (or all through the year).



Here's a sample schedule you could follow for each day of the week:
  • MONDAY: Read and repeat x2. Talk about any unfamiliar words. Color a coloring page and post somewhere where you'll see it often (car, fridge, dining room).
  • TUESDAY: Look up the verse in the Bible. Read. Repeat x2. What's one thing this verse is telling us about Jesus?
  • WEDNESDAY: Read. Repeat x2. Write or draw out the verse. A few years ago, I posted a fun little guide to doing Bible illustrations/doodles here.
  • THURSDAY: Read. Repeat x2. Talk about how this verse might apply to your lives.
  • FRIDAY: See if you can say the verse from memory. Celebrate with a special outing, reward, or treat. If one week is too fast, try memorizing your verse in two.
  • the NEXT MONDAY: Loop back to the previous week's verse. Repeat and then start on a new verse. Continue repeating the older verses each week.

Other ideas for using the the chart:
  • If they're old enough, let your child be part of selecting what they want to memorize. If you need fun illustrations, ahem (🙋), you can use free printables from this blog or choose a pre-made set from the shop. Many sets in the shop include full-color cards and coloring pages. 
  • Create a bookmark or notecard with the verse and give it away to a family member, neighbor, or friend.
  • Post your memory verse, or your child saying your memory verse, to social media (and tag me so I can see!).
For younger kids, I recommend this Big Truths for Little Hearts set. For older kids, the Good News Story Set (also in Spanish!), Identity, and Character would be great. This black and white set would be fun to watercolor on top of. 

I'm going to encourage my oldest daughter (nine) to pick some verses from the Comfort and Hope set (which also comes in pre-printed cards). 

If you'd like anything from the shop, from now until June 20, you can use the code below (or just click on the image), for 15% off.


I'm not sure how much I'll be blogging this summer, but I do plan to revive my #marydeandrawssummer drawings for the second summer. We had so much fun creating these images last year and still look back at the book of them we made. If you'd like to follow along, I'll be posting on my Facebook page and Instagram.

 
  

So, help me out here! What do you do to stay sane in the summer? What kind of rythyms/routines have you tried or plan to try? Or, are you just as anxious as me?

You can download your printable Bible memory chart in COLOR here, and BLACK AND WHITE here or by clicking on the images 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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Summer Bible Memory + Printable Bible Memory Plan Chart

Happy June everyone!

I can't believe my kiddos will be out of school for the summer after Friday! To celebrate the new month, I'm sharing a little burst of color and truth for your phone. A friend gave me this verse recently as encouragement and it paired well with this painting I had done, so I put them together for you!

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." (Romans 15:13 ESV)

I know hope can be hard to find sometimes. I know that joy and peace can seem pressed down deep in your heart. But I've also seen God work miracles of joy and peace beyond my understanding, through the power of the Holy Spirit, as I continue to believe Him.

You can save the image below to your phone! Also, look for a simple summer Bible memory plan coming to the blog later this week (hopefully).

You can buy a print of this art here and a printable cards and watercolor templates 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!!



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

Romans 15:13 Phone Screensaver


Today's the day! I'm so excited to share with you my my coloring book! It's called Coloring the Word: Comfort and Hope, and I hope that it's the first of many. 



God has been so faithful to comfort me through Scripture, and I'm so excited to share a little of that comfort with you through my art.

This is a book for those who are fearful, confused, tired, anxious, and feeling weighed down and alone. I find that when you combine art and Scripture, you're better able to rehearse the truths in the dark times because the images are linked to truth. And remembering truth is light in the darkness.



I hope this book can be a little tool you can use yourself or pass on to a friend who may need encouragement.

  

Today I'm sharing with you one of the pages from the new book. I love this proverb because it reminds me to tend to my soul, to pay attention to the "thoughts and intentions" of my heart (see verse below), because out of my heart flows my life. I find the heart is where the biggest battles are fought.

"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." (Heb 4:12 ESV)
The book has 30 pages of winsome, fun, and meaningful black and white Scripture illustrations that speak comfort and hope. All Scriptures are in the ESV version (you can learn about this translation here).

For a look at the whole coloring book, you can check out this video HERE.

  

You can buy the book HERE. If you order one, I'd greatly appreciate you leaving a review so that I can be found in results when people search on Amazon!

I'd love to see your colored pages, so feel free send me an email at mary@marydeandraws.com or tag me on Facebook or Instagram. I'd also love to hear any suggestions or feedback!

If you prefer a digital version, I've added that to the shop HERE. I plan to add printed color card sets of this same art to the shop soon, so stay tuned!

To download your free Proverbs 4:23 Bible verse page, click 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!!

A free page from my new coloring book!


It's a beautiful day here in Virginia. I've been enjoying working outside in the garden, mulching the flower beds, getting my fingers dirty because my gardening gloves are frayed in five of the ten fingers. That winter heaviness is being replaced by new growth.


Today I'm thinking about how what we believe about a person and how they feel about us affects how we interpret what they say and do. If we're confident in someone's affection and our connection to them, we trust their intentions. We believe their actions toward us are intended for good and not evil. We see everything they do or say in the light of what we believe about them.

Suspicion and distrust, then, can wreak havoc on relationships, even when they aren't based on the truth.

I'm wondering how this plays out in our relationship with God and the connection we feel with him? What are we believing about his character and about how he feels about us, and how has that affected our relationship?

I see the Psalmist wrestling with these feelings over and over. There is the very-real reality he can see--fears from within, opposition from without. "Where are you God?" he asks. 

And then he preaches truth to his heart, like here in Psalm 56:
"You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me? I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you. For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life." (Psalm 56:8-13 ESV)
Yes, friend, God is for us in the most important ways. No, the little and big pains and afflictions of our daily lives are not taken away or resolved. But when we step back and see the big picture of His love spelled out in the life and death of Jesus for us, then we have hope that endures.
"And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"" (Luke 11:9-13 ESV)
God is the good Father who gives good gifts. If we see him as the Father who will drop a scorpion in our lap when we ask for an egg, we miss these good gifts because we don't trust him enough to ask.

He hasn't given us ease or simple cures; He has give us Himself, the Holy Spirit as a deposit for a glorious future.

This is the kind of truth that sprouts hope in our hearts, even in suffering.
"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." (Romans 8:18 ESV) 
"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison." (2Corinthians 4:16-17 ESV)

Today's printable Bible verse screensaver is from Psalm 56:9b. You can download it be clicking on the image below and saving to your phone!

You are loved!

*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

This I know Screensaver


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!!



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

Faith over fear screensaver + coloring page