shop updates: international shipping & more!

So… my shop went up on Big Cartel and so many things went wrong. First of all, the shop was not easy to use AT ALL. Several people couldn’t figure out how to order and the orders weren’t even going through. Second of all, they wanted to start charging me $10 a month just to make it more user-friendly. I said “peace out” to that. So my shop is now on Etsy!! Yay!!!!!

ALSO: Etsy allows me to ship my paintings and cards internationally!!!!!! So that’s really really exciting. Unfortunately the t-shirts cannot be internationally shipped due to the weight. But the paintings and cards are good to go!

The new link for my shop is https://www.etsy.com/shop/czechlist

I also just made the shop name the same as my blog, to make it easier. So now it’s not only easier for people shopping, but it’s also easier for ME to upload more art and get the word out! Praise Jesus for that. So feel free to shop & spread the word, I also take requests for paintings by email!

Also if you already ordered something from the first shop, you are still getting it! If you ordered something but never got an email from me personally, then it didn’t go through and your money didn’t either, Etsy is way easier to use so the problem will be solved!

I don’t have a whole lot to say in this post other than my shop location is changing and I should be doing my British Lit homework but instead I’m writing this… yeah I’m gonna go do that now.

In Christ,

Kelley

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impatience that stems from selfishness

Everything you could possibly want is almost instant these days. You wanna know what restaurants are good in town? Google it. You wanna talk to someone who lives halfway around the world? Facebook message them. You wanna know who shot Alexander Hamilton? Again, google it. It was Aaron Burr, in case you wanted to know. We live in a culture of instant gratification, which in turn makes patience an incredibly rare quality. Be honest, when you take a test, you want to know instantly how you did. And how dare the teacher not post the results on blackboard when you want them?! When things take longer than 30 seconds these days, we grow impatient and in turn, hostile. I know this firsthand, and have been dealing with my impatient heart for as long as I can remember.

This week, I launched my online shop. There were several difficulties that I didn’t expect to come up, and what I wanted to have done by Thursday ended up being done Saturday. I underestimated all that goes into it. It was a little overwhelming, but it felt great to finally have it done. But I couldn’t even enjoy it because of my impatient heart. We’re always wanting to move on to the next step immediately in life, and when my shop was open for five minutes and I had no orders, I was irrationally angry. I’m laughing at myself over it because instead of relaxing in the grace of God for a few days, I just kept clicking refresh on my order page hoping that I could be done fundraising by Friday (not really, that’s crazy) and not have to wait for anything until I get on the plane in may.

The thing is, impatience cannot exist without selfishness. All things that we wait for are usually to our own benefit in some way, and regardless of what we’re waiting on, it’s always coming from a place of selfishness. It’s not just surface selfishness either. Because while sometimes you could be impatient about waiting for a test score, you can also be impatient waiting for something like knowledge of God’s plan for others in your life when things are uncertain. Impatience, as I’ve experienced, results when we stop trusting God’s plan and provision. When we trust God, we don’t mind waiting. It’s when we start thinking that a silly little earthly concept like time is running out, and God is running out of time.  I can assure you, God is never running out of time because it is all HIS time. Nothing, not even time, belongs to us.

During my senior year of high school, I was all bright-eyed and ready to go to college, but I hadn’t yet found a roommate. It was about February or March, so it wasn’t like it was impossible, but I was freaking out and I was mad at God for not providing a roommate. Every day I checked the roommate profiler, my email, everything, until eventually I was so defeated that I barely did. One day, after I was so annoyed with things not going my way, I ended up emailing a girl named Bailey from Bentonville who had just decided that week that she was choosing the University of Arkansas over Alabama (truly a miracle). She described herself as, “I babysit a lot, I knit a lot, and I love to sleep.” It might as well have been written by me. God made me wait to get a roommate because the perfect one was coming. 2 years later, she’s my best friend. I think about that a lot when I’m not trusting God’s timing, and Bailey’s friendship is a constant reminder of how God provides the best in his good time. If I had ignored his timing and roomed with some random girl, I would’ve missed out on knowing one of my best friends. It was then that I developed a mantra of sorts: God’s timing is not my timing.

I mean, just imagine we ignored God’s timing because we think ours is better. First of all, if we think our timing is better, we are seriously mistaken. Second of all, it’s so beautiful to look back on things that took time and know that even if it felt like it for a minute there, God did not ever leave. He doesn’t hold off on things because he’s too busy for us, or because he doesn’t know what to do, or because he just doesn’t want to. He knows what we need before we do, and he knows when it needs to be done far better than we do. If you treat God like some sort of safety net genie who just works his magic right when you think you need, you’re not really serving God. You are serving yourself and your idea of how God should work, and that’s not a relationship, it’s a selfish ideal that God made this world to revolve around us.

The picture I attached as the face of this post makes me laugh, but also really convicts me. Because how many times a day do we have to discover that the world does not revolve around us? Like when I’m driving, for example, I always get mad at slow drivers, because don’t they know that I have somewhere to be? Don’t they know that it’s an inconvenience to me that they are in front of me? Never do I think that maybe they have a baby in the car. Maybe they’re following a map and they don’t know where they’re going. Or maybe they just drive slow because they want to. I get frustrated and upset when I have to attend things that are just so inconvenient and get in the way of the time I could be using to lay in my bed and watch The Office. Just two days ago, I was so mad that I had a Physics & Human Affairs test because I’m an English major and it’s not fair that this class could ruin my GPA because I’m not good at science. So many times I have to remind myself of, “just found out the world doesn’t revolve around me. Shocked & upset” due to how ridiculous it sounds, yet how easy it is to actually think like that.

My impatience and selfishness are always getting in the way of the childlike faith that I strive to have. It’s something I don’t even notice half the time. And I can blame Facebook, google, wikipedia, etc. for my horrible impatience, but really it’s a heart issue that only God can fix. So pray for me this week as I work on my gnawing impatience, and pray for me to trust God that his time is better than mine, as is his provision. I hope this can serve as an encouragement to you as well, to remember how important it is to be patient and wait with a full and trusting heart, regardless of what it is you’re waiting for and regardless of how little time you think you have. God’s got all the time in the world in his hands. God’s timing is not our timing. And it’s a good thing it’s not.

If you’re interested in buying greeting cards, paintings, or t-shirts from me to help support my trip, visit my online shop and spread the word! I take requests for paintings and cards, and the options uploaded aren’t the only things I’m selling. I’ll be updating with more available products as I paint them!

lovetothenations.bigcartel.com

“wait for the lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”

psalm 27:14

In Christ,

Kelley

the shop is open!!!

Hey there friends and family! I’m just posting really quick to say that my online shop, which sells handmade greeting cards (which are in the featured image of this post), paintings, and t-shirts, is now open!! Please spread the word, I ship anywhere in the United States and I do take requests for paintings and cards. It’s called Love to the Nations and there’s also an Instagram account, where I’ll repost any photos the account gets tagged in!

In Christ,

Kelley

lovetothenations.bigcartel.com

when the struggle gets real

I had the opportunity to go to Winter Conference with Cru over break in Fort Worth, Texas. And while I, an Arkansas native, was raised to hate Texas, I had a great time. One of the things they talk about a lot is Cru summer projects. And by that time, I already knew I was going back to Czech, so every time they had a student who committed to a summer project talking about the challenges, I was listening with open ears. Surely I can get something out of this even if my summer mission isn’t with Cru. They always would ask the question, “what was the biggest fear you had about going on a summer project?” and I would think to myself, “oh, I already know the answer to this one.” But they never gave the same one as me. Answers including stepping out of comfort zones, leaving family, being good enough, etc. were given, and I was absolutely shocked that no one had my answer: money.

How, as a bunch of college students, were they not scared about the money? I couldn’t believe no one said that! For a long time, I debated even applying to Josiah Venture, not because I didn’t think I wanted to go or that I wasn’t good enough, but because I’m a poor college student. So many of my friends in the past have said they wish they could do summer missions, but the money just isn’t there. It’s a giant stress on my life, and as a girl in college with two older siblings in graduate school, I found myself telling God “no” instead of listening to what he had to say.

So, I gave God all sorts of excuses. Eventually, I made a deal with God, which is so funny because I knew I wouldn’t win. I said if I apply and I get the internship, then that means God’s gonna provide for me. Well, you can guess what happened next.

After talking to several of my close friends about it, they all pretty much said the same thing: God always provides. I gave excuse after excuse, and all my friends told me that the issue wasn’t financial: the issue was my heart. And they were so right, as much as I hate to admit it. We all have things we struggle to trust God with, whether it’s a job, a relationship, a class, a friendship, a family issue, or money. I didn’t even realize it myself, but the issue wasn’t that I was scared to raise the money on my own. I know good and well that I can’t. The issue is that I was letting the enemy tell me that God can’t. The enemy loves to pick at our insecurities, and if he can get me to think that God isn’t in control and God can’t help me, that prevents me from going. And I am NOT going to let that happen.

So how do you deal with this? How does one deal with trusting things in our lives to God that are hard to let go of? It’s an easy answer, but a difficult practice: you just do. You pray constantly, you ask God to change your heart, and remind yourself that God is bigger, greater, far more vast and infinitely good than we can even wrap our heads around. Even now, I have to fight that little voice from the enemy telling me that all my fundraising projects won’t work. That no one’s going to buy t-shirts, paintings, and greeting cards from me because they just don’t want to, or because my painting isn’t as good as other people, or because I don’t know enough people, etc etc etc. It’s lies. It’s all lies that are being used to try and sway me from using the gifts God has given me to raise this money. It’s a hard thing to do, but there are two steps to trusting God with the impossible: the first is to pray for a change of heart, and the second is to ignore that little voice. “Be still and know that he is God” is the verse that comes to mind.

I didn’t write this post to make people feel like they should support me because I’m stressed. No, I wrote this post because it’s a part of my journey. I want my blog to catalog not only the victories, but the struggles as well. And my biggest heart struggle is trusting that God will provide. With something that’s already such a stressful part of a college student’s life, it’s hard for me to trust that God will provide what is so hard to come by. And the enemy loves to attack me on it. I can’t tell you how many times a day I have to combat the thoughts of how this was my most expensive semester for textbooks that I’ve ever had, or that I had to cut back my babysitting days and there’s no way God can provide if I’m struggling financially. But those thoughts are lies. I know that we serve a good good God and he will not abandon us or leave us. He will always give us what we need in his good time. For a girl who is always stressed about money, it’s so easy to forget how big and powerful my God is.

This week I’m in the process of opening up an online shop which will sell t-shirts, paintings, and greeting cards. All the proceeds of the paintings and the cards go to the trip, and half the proceeds from the t-shirts goes to the trip (the other half goes to the cost of making the shirt). It’s so hard to shut out the voice of the enemy telling me, “you can’t.” So here I am, publicly proclaiming, “no. I can’t. But my God can.”

I’ll wrap this up by asking for prayer. Pray that I do not get discouraged in my fundraising, that I am reminded daily that God is bigger than my resources. Pray that I am able to come up with fun ways to raise the money, and pray that I stay strong in the knowledge that nothing in this world is mine, or yours, but it all belongs to him and he will use it for his good. I’ll leave you with a verse that I’m taking to heart during this process.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

In Christ,

Kelley