Recently, my church had its end of the year award ceremony for the Awana ministry. For an end-of-the-year gift, Traci and I decorated big cereal boxes with colorful scrapbooking paper and put each girl’s name on the box. When we were done, I put little gifts inside the box for them. They were toys they could play with over the summer.
The art form we used is known as decoupage. Decoupage actually comes from the French word “decouper,” which means to cut out or cut from something else. Traci had seen the idea on Pinterest, and she also heard about it from a friend. She thought it would be more fun than just buying a bag and giving the girls gifts. I like doing crafts, so that’s what I did with help from Traci. It was fun, but a very time-consuming process. To do this, we used Traci’s manual die-cut machine. The die was placed onto the paper and then the whole ensemble was pressed between two plates. The entire ‘sandwich’ was then passed through the die-cutting machine, sequentially cutting out the design.
It reminded me of something similar to an old jack-in-the-box toy because it had an easy-to-turn lever. For the most part, I was able to do it once Traci lined up the paper. However, there were a few times when the paper got stuck, Traci had to get a new piece of paper, and I tried again. The key was to make sure that my hand was directly on the lever, moving it up and over, and then the paper could pass through the machine’s rollers with the right amount of pressure applied to cut the die into the different shapes of the letters to spell each girl’s name.
The problem occurred when my hand was on the handle, but my fingers that were helping me were turned to the side while I was rotating the lever. That’s when the paper got stuck and was stopped from coming through. I got a lot of resistance. Eventually, I got the hang of it, and we were done with the letters in no time and moved on to the next step.
This minor struggle reminded me of how, even as Christians, we run into trouble when we try to do things on our own strength instead of turning to God and saying, “What is your will in all of this?” When we haven’t been gathering with other Christians, reading our Bibles, and praying to God regularly, we can be like the paper that doesn’t pass through the rollers; our hands, or in this case our hearts, aren’t in the right position. However, when our hearts are in the right position, we can be like the paper that passes right through the rollers without any trouble at all.
I think people often misunderstand Philippians 4:13 which says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” In many conversations I’ve had with people over the years, they seem to believe that if you just have enough faith, you should be able to do whatever you put your mind to. For instance, when people look at me in my wheelchair, they seem to believe that if I just had enough faith, I could rise out of my wheelchair. All I have to do is believe that God will make that happen, and He will. Not necessarily.
People often don’t think about what the Lord told the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” That means that we can ask God for something, but if it’s not God’s will for our lives, it won’t happen because it’s not supposed to. God wants to use our struggle to reach people in a way that we otherwise wouldn’t be able to. A hardship that sticks with you is not a mistake.
How about you? Is your heart like my hand on the die-cut machine that was in the wrong position? Are you stopping God from coming through with the answers to help you, or is your heart in the right position and you’re depending on God for strength? Are you ready to be shaped into the perfect form God has in mind for you?
Help me to have my heart in the right position, and be like the scrapbooking paper that passes through the rollers whose die is shaped into the perfect form you want it to be. I can’t wait to see what other great surprises you have in store for my life. I know that no matter what happens, you’re always good.
Here’s an example of what Decoupage looks like.. Traci is right behind me She’s the one who told me about it. I had fun making the boxes with Traci. To learn more about decoupage, click the link below.
Amy, Author. “What Is Decoupage? Learn from an Expert!” Mod Podge Rocks, 10 Jan. 2021, https://modpodgerocksblog.com/decoupage-learn-from-an-expert/
Author’s Note: Philippians 4:13 is in the New King James Version, and 2 Corinthians 12:9 is in the New International Version.