The Ribbon of Courage stamp set is a beautiful symbol of the courage shown and needed by those facing cancer! Not only does it contain beautiful images, but it also has wonderful words of inspiration. And even though it was one of the first stamp sets I had ordered from the new Stampin’ Up! catalog back in June, it wasn’t until last week I that I was drawn to pull it from my shelf and create with it. I hadn’t deliberately avoided it, but I hadn’t been intentional about using it either. After this weekend, I’m beginning to understand more about myself and perhaps why.
It’s funny how things turn out sometimes! I can’t help but think that my Heavenly Father smiles when He inserts surprises into our lives. There are surprises and then . . . there are surprises! While attending my church’s annual Sparkle women’s conference last Saturday, I was honored with a very BIG surprise . . . I was named Sparkle Woman of the Year, which is an honor/award given each year during the conference (an important detail for you to know is this year’s theme was Flourish). To say that I was completely blown away would be the understatement of the year. As I watched my pastor’s wife and friend, Renee, take her place behind the microphone to announce this year’s recipient, I thought to myself, “Hmm . . . it must be someone from the Eagan campus”, (I attend the Eagan campus of River Valley Church, which is multi-site.) . . . then she began to tell about this person. Within a few sentences, I knew that this person was me. (You can read her announcement here.) I truly was blown away!
Until Saturday, I realized that I hadn’t really taken time to look back over the past 18 months. I’d been too busy focusing on moving forward as I took the one next step that God had for me. Waiting on Him for the next step was the way He lead me and also sustained me during this fight with cancer . . . not to mention that my mother’s health and ability to care for herself were declining at the same time. (And that’s another story for another day . . . it’s nothing short of miracle!) With each new step and challenge I faced (and they all seemed daunting at the time), He was there empowering me to not only survive, but thrive. I was able to thrive because of His Presence in my life. I flourished not because of anything I did, but because of who was and is and will always be the object of my faith, Jesus. I can’t imagine facing any of the obstacles and struggles this life throws at me without Him. He is and always will be my Rock. And while He’s promised me a full and meaningful life here on earth, I know that this life isn’t all there is . . . my time on earth is but a speck compared to the eternity I will spend with Him. He’s promised eternity with Him to those that put their trust in Jesus . . . and I’m choosing to stand on that promise. If you know me, you know that FOMO is a real thing . . . fear of missing out! I’m not about to miss out on any of what He’s promised . . . I want it all!
Looking back, I am truly humbled and marvel that my journey has impacted others in a positive way . . . that others have been inspired by my story. I came across this verse a few years ago. I believed it then and believe it even more today.
Romans 12:1-2 from The Message (MSG)
Place Your Life Before God
12 1-2 “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out . . . God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”
I now see that it was time . . . time to look back and reflect . . . reflect on all that God had done in and through me during the past 18 months. It’s rather overwhelming to think that He could use someone like me, but that’s what He does . . . He uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. So that all will know that He was the One who did it. . . that others will come to know and put their faith in Him! While I wouldn’t want to go through this again, I am truly grateful for what this part of my journey has done in me. He has changed me from the inside out! To put it simply . . . it is and was Jesus in me. To Him be all the Glory . . . what a wonderful surprise my Heavenly Father has lavished on me!
So what about some cards with the Ribbon of Courage stamp set?
Here’s what I’ve come up with so far . . . from very quick and easy to stepped up with heat embossing! You’ve gotta love that the “hope” stamp from Watercolor Words stamp set! It’s coordinates perfectly with the Ribbon of Courage set as does the Powder Pink sheets in the Fresh Florals Designer Series Paper Stack!
I love how the sparkle in the Black Shimmer Ribbon brings out the shine of the black heat embossing on the one above!
Want to make a bunch? Use the Whisper White Note Cards & Envelopes!
Stampin’ Supplies for Ribbon of Courage Cards
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