Into the Wild
Hello 2022! Where the heck did 2021 go?! For the past probably 5-6 years I have jumped on the "One Little Word" bandwagon, choosing a word that sets the trajectory of my year. A few over the last years have been more, jump and path.
However, this year I couldn't really focus on the idea of just one thing because I felt like my life was in two completely different worlds of evolution: the everything is falling apart side and the things are going amazing side. And it was hard to find a word that would encompass both ideas.
And the more I thought about it and the more the "falling apart side" started to take over my life, I really felt like I was in one of those "wilderness" seasons that are the subject of so many bible studies and sermon points.
A "wilderness season" is that time when nothing goes right and even though you might never stop moving, you don't feel like anything is getting accomplished. Or at least nothing that is bringing forth any fruit or moving you towards your goals.
So, I started researching the idea of "wilderness" in the Bible and there were two stories that spoke to me the most: the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 17 and the story of the Israelites in Numbers 14.
Because they are both "wilderness" experiences, but they each had their own purpose.
The "good" wilderness
Let's look at 1 Kings 17:2-6: Then the Lord said to Elijah, "go to the east and hide by Kerith Brook, near where it enters the Jordan River. Drink from the brook and eat what the ravens bring you, for I have commanded them to bring you food." So Elijah did as the Lord told him and camped beside Kerith Brook, east of the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat each morning and evening, and he drank from the brook.
Why did the Lord send Elijah into the wilderness? For his own protection. You see in the verse just before Elijah had prophesied to King Ahad that there would be no rain fall or even dew drops for the next few years until Elijah declared it. And for a country whose wealth was contingent on crops, rainfall meant to crops, which meant no wealth.
The evil King couldn't have that. I mean‚ who doesn't like money? So, to protect Elijah, God sent him to hide by the Kerith Brook, which in Hebrew translates as "cut off." God literally CUT HIM OFF from everything he knew to save his life.
Plus... bonus! He not only told him to go away and be cut off from everything he knew, but before he packed on bag, made one reservation and stopped his mail, God said, "and don't worry about the provisions. I'm going to provide all you need by way of Raven Meal Delivery."
You see‚ not all wildernesses are bad. Some are meant to be a time of protection from things around us that could potentially destroy us, but even then‚ there is provision.
The "not so good" wilderness
Probably the most well-known "wilderness season" in the Bible is that of the 40 years the Israelites spent wandering the wilderness after the spies who were sent in to scope out the promise land brought back a fearful report and instead of holding to the promise that the land was theirs, the people complained against God and denied their own promise. We find this account in Numbers 14:29-35 where it said: (29) Because you complained against me, every one of you who is twenty years off or older and was inclined in the registration will die. (30) You will not enter and occupy the land I swore to you. The only exceptions will be Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. (33) and your children will be like shepherds for forty years. In this way they will pay for your faithlessness. Sometimes the wilderness is punishment. And sometimes that punishment isn't of our own making.
The young ones of Israel didn't do anything wrong, but they were still forced to endure the punishment by their forefather‚ faithlessness. Was it fair? From my perspective no, BUT what it did do was to teach them perseverance. To teach them that even in a wilderness that they did not choose or create, that they could and would survive it. If we look in Deuteronomy 2:14 Moses is giving a speech, recounting the last 38 years of wandering and he says "thirty-eight years passed from the time we first left Kadesh-barnea until we finally cross Zered Brook!‚" In Hebrew, Kadesh-Barnea is translated as "holy purifying wandering" while Zered Brook is seen to mean "exuberant growth." Their journey LITERALLY and FIGURATIVELY lead them through time of purifying wandering to a place of exuberant growth. And if we let it, our wildernesses can do the same thing.
Two Wildernesses, One Journey
It can be hard when you are living two so-very-different journeys at one time. It leads the war of "Do I rejoice or morn?" "Can I be happy and devastated at the same time?" and your mind is in a constant exhausting tug of war. It's Matthew 6:24 "No man can serve two masters, for he will love one and hate the other; or he else he will be devoted to one and despise the other." What we must do is find the purpose in the wild.
Why are we here? What is God trying to teach me.
Is he protecting me? Is he teaching me perseverance? What is the purpose? It's not until we find the purpose behind the journey into the wilderness can we even begin the journey of moving through it. Psalm 138:8 says, "The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me." Every trial has a purpose, find it and it will direct your journey.
Until next time,
1) I have always heard the "joke" that you are either going into a wilderness season, in a wilderness season, or coming out of a wilderness season. Do you feel that's true and if so, where are you?
2) Looking back, have you ever been in a wilderness season? If so, take a moment to analyze it. What did you learn? What was its purpose? How did God show up for you? How did others show up for you?
3) If you are in the middle of the wilderness, stop and think about where you are and what you focus is. The Israelites ended up in the wilderness because they lost focus. Have you? Or maybe its an Elijah wilderness where you are in uncharted territory and it's scary, but it's a good scary. What does your wilderness look like? Ask God where you need to go from here.
- Gel Press Plate. Choose Your Fave!
- Gel Press Brayer
- Soft Pastels and/or Eye Shadow (any soft pastel or eye shadow will work for this technique! This is a great chance to head to the dollar store for cheap eye shadow!)
- Applicators (like eye shadow applicators, make up wedges, blender brushes or even cotton balls)
- Copy Paper
- Acrylic Paints (keep them light like light blue, white, etc)
- Bible or Art Journal
- Acrylic Plate (if you have one)
Let's Get Creative!!
I wanted to try something a little different, so I am using the 8" Round Gel Press Plate.
To create our masks we are going to start by tearing our copy paper. Tear peaks of different widths and sizes. Also, tear strips of the paper in gently waves that we will use for our sky and grass.
Start with one mountain shape and the applicator of your choice to apply your pastel or eye shadow.
*NOTE: Yes‚ I know eye shadow sounds weird, but the powdered pigments work just as well as soft pastels for this technique at a fraction of the price! This eye shadow set is from Walmart for only $6! I like to use a makeup wedge for a technique like this because it is easy to pick up the pigment and fill a large space at one time.
Continue to layer your "mountains" varying the sizes/shapes, overlapping them to build your mountain range.
You can continue to add mountains in the background and foreground. Having your colors get lighter in the background will give the illusion that the mountains are farther away. Now let's work on the land and sky!
For this we will use the strips we tore instead of the "mountain" shapes.
Keep layering until you are happy!! Now let's lift this beauty! I chose to use white acrylic paint so that my colors would POP, but experiment with different colors to see what you get. Using your brayer, add a thin layer of the acrylic paint of your choice.
This is where having your plate on an acrylic plate come in handy. Having it on the plate allows you to easily flip it over into you Bible or Art Journal.
Press your plate down onto your page. I LOVE that you get a sneak peek at what you print is going to look like through the plate! Gently peel your plate back to reveal your abstract landscape!
To add a little Bob Ross flare, I used my white acrylic paints to add snowcaps to my mountain tops.
Now it's time to personalize! Add doodles, journaling‚ whatever you want!!
Let's look at our finished project again!!
This technique can be used with so many variations. You can change up the colors for a more pastel look.
Or even just use the strips and variations of a single color, like blue, to create a water effect with beautiful variations.
This print gives me planet vibes so I think that would be another awesome use of this technique!!
Thank you so much for hanging out with me today. Make sure you follow us on social media, join our Facebook groups and use our tags so we can find your creations: Use our Hashtags: #gelpressobsessed #gelpressnostress #infusedwithfun #faithimpressions #faithimpressed #fitinfaith