Calming fears and clearing minds…

Ok so to bring you up to date: I moved back to Regina, Saskatchewan. I completed my Interior Design Practicum at Ambiente Interiors. I was not hired. I am currently jobless. You would think that I’d be more stressed about that last fact…. but I’m not… sooooo…? These past few months have been an absolute whirlwind! However, God speaks to us in the whisper of the wind and that has been SO incredible as I watch as God’s Hand molds my life day by day, everyday whispering, “Just watch and see what I am about to do…” I moved back to Regina at the end of April and began my internship shortly after coming home – it felt great to be working in the field that I love. Remember last summer, when I was working at the design store? I was usually on the sales floor helping clients with high end light fixtures and furniture, luxury plumbing fixtures like claw-foot bath tubs, solid marble sinks, and gold faucets, etc. My job last summer was really fun and I learned SO much. Working in the design store gave me knowledge about lighting, plumbing and furniture that I would never have gained at school. Ambiente Interiors was a completely different experience. I love, love, loved working at a design firm! Ambiente was right up my alley; a small, high end design firm that does both residential and commercial design across Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. I worked with two other, wonderful designers and several tradesmen that were experts in their fields.

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Some people told me not to go to college… look at me now…

If you would have told me two years ago that I’d move to a tiny little town, to live with a family I had never met before to jump into a program I wasn’t even sure I was good at – I probably would have looked at you, said nothing and turned on my heel to walk away. There would have been a whole lotta “nopes” from me. I’ll be the first one to admit that change and I are not BFF’s – I literally buy the identical toothbrush from Walmart every time I need a new one. However, God made it clear that I was supposed to take Him up on His offer and move to Alberta for school. At one point I had already been accepted into a design school in Vancouver; I was going to be moving back out to the coast where my girl friends are and we’d have so much fun *Happy Dance* But God was the one who had a whole lotta nopes for that plan. He made Alberta so clear – until I had people telling me that I shouldn’t be attending a “secular” college. It was weird to have this feedback from people I talked to a lot. I heard almost all of the excuses, “You’re not strong enough in your faith to attend a secular school…” “You’re going to get caught up in the drugs and party life out there.” “You don’t even know anyone going with you!” “You’re not going to have any Christian friends to keep you accountable at a secular college.”

“I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?”

– Jeremiah 32:27

Trust me, the list goes on. But I knew that God had already made it clear that I was to go. I remember when I first moved out to this town; it was not easy. I had to learn a new place, meet new people, understand a new program and try to make friends. But God showed me that He was with me right from the beginning: I literally had hiking trails in the backyard, I moved in with a phenomenal, God fearing family, my class was hilarious and my teachers were fabulous. Despite all of these awesome things, my heart was still longing for something familiar’ I was running through the trails and talking to God about all of these mixed emotions, “God I don’t know how I am going to get through two years of this.” Immediately He gave me a verse.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” – James 1:2-3

When God put that verse on my heart, I knew it was His way of confirming that I had not started an easy path – it would be difficult and I would get hurt. But it will be great and I will walk out stronger after! Sometimes the Lord does not guide us down paths that are lined with daisies and full of sunshine. Quite often He’ll ask us to walk places that scare us and stress us out – but those are the paths that force us to seek Him. Those are the paths that strengthen you. I want to thank the people that discouraged me to take the path I did; the people that said I wouldn’t survive a college life. I knew the road would not be easy but what was meant to discourage me; God meant it for good. {Genesis 50:20}

Guys – as Children of God, we CANNOT stay in a Christian bubble. I don’t care how comfortable you are or how scary you may think it is to be out in the “big bad world”. The Lord did NOT give you grace so that you could keep it to yourself. As people that have been born again into God’s forgiveness, He commanded us in Mark 16:15, “”Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” When God reveals something to you, it is meant to be shared and passed on! Not kept to yourself where it won’t continue to encourage others! We cannot hide in a Christian bubble and expect to make an impact on the world for the Lord’s kingdom.While at a “secular”, “non-Christian” school, God has given me countless opportunities to be a witness for Him. There were times where God was able to use me and there were other times where God had to teach me. I did not hit the mark every time. But I do not want to meet God one day and be like the servant that did nothing with their talents. Matthew 25:15-27, “To one servant, the Master gave five talents, to another servant, two talents, to another servant a single talent; each according to his ability. Then the Master went away. The servant who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. The servant who had the two talents made two talents more. But the servant who had received the one talent, went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. The servant who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And the servant who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ The servant who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, “Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.” Guys, I don’t want to be that last servant – and neither do you!

Melting Forest

I believe that God will finish what He calls you to. I know this because me graduating from a “secular” college is proof of that. A lot of people told me that my faith was not strong enough to make it through college. I’ve got news for you: God’s strength is our measuring stick – not our own strength. If anything, having a “weak faith” and STILL coming out hand in hand with my savior Jesus, gives Him even more glory. Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength”. I believe that we don’t need to survive on our own strength. A lot of people questioned whether or not I’d have accountability. I believe that my accountability comes from everyone around me – not just from Christians. Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see Jesus in you and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” In fact, by being with people that don’t know about Jesus, I was kept more accountable because no one was correcting me. We have to keep our hearts in tune with Jesus to decipher between more than 50 shades of grey; to know what’s black and what’s white. Allow the Bible – God’s Word to be your accountability partner! Listen, Spring is a season of change (obviously my least favorite). I wanna ask you, is God giving you an opportunity to be a light for Him? Is there a crew of friends that don’t know the Lord that you could be spending time with and sharing Christ’s love? Are you praying for those around you? Are you diving into a new job or spring/ summer classes that you’ll be surrounded by people that might not know Jesus? I’m not suggesting that you run into these opportunities with New Testaments to shove down people’s throats – I’m saying be a light; be a witness. Let those people see by your actions who Christ is! And if they can’t see Jesus in you… then you’ve got bigger questions you need to ask yourself… Are you running away from opportunities to share God with others? Are you too scared to “stain” your “oh-so-pure-self”? A friend gave me a quote the other day, he said, “Light can only pass through what is transparent and what is cracked. God is the Light in us. We are to live our lives transparently and when we mess up and crack, people should be able to see Jesus shining through it.” Guys, we are not perfect. As Children of God, we are going to mess up because we are 100% human. But I want to encourage you to go. To go out and be a light for Christ. Don’t bury your talents and be like the third servant. I want Jesus to be able to say, “Well done – Good and FAITHFUL Servant” when we all get there. Last weekend I was praying with a friend; I was telling her some of my struggles and concerns about finishing school and she gave me a verse.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” – James 1:2-3

God finished this journey exactly how He started it two years ago. That struck a chord with me. I think God was reminding me about how far He has brought me. Reminding me to remember the past because He has brought me where I currently am; but to look forward to the future knowing that He will meet me there and take me further.

 

 

– Stay Satisfied

 

 

You can only mold mud…

This past month God has been saying the same statement to me over and over. Every time I am praying – whether I’m asking for something, praying for someone or thanking Him for something else; He always says this single phrase that silences me. For example, the other day I was praying about an exam that I had that morning. It was a three hour exam that would be submitted to the NKBA design competition in October. They do it every year for students across Canada and the United States. The NKBA creates a kitchen design problem and students have three hours to come up with a design solution and draw a floor plan of their design. In their design they must include kitchen appliances made by the current sponsor of the competition. Students must fully dimension and note their floor plan and write a list of specifications that make their kitchen unique (like flooring, counter tops, style, etc.) and they have to either draw a perspective of the kitchen or draft an elevation of one of the kitchen walls. It may not sound like a lot, but it’s a lot of work to manage in three hours – they go by fast! Anyways, I was praying and asking the Lord to give me peace and calmness during the exam and that He would give me a design right away for the space. “Payton, Look how far I have brought you.” I stopped. Here I was, preparing to write a three hour exam where I would design, dimension and spec a kitchen I had never seen before. “Two years ago, it took you three hours to sketch a picture of an existing kitchen. Look how far I have brought you, where you are not only going to design a kitchen from scratch, but you are also going to draw and render that kitchen in three short hours. Do you believe that I have looked out for you all this time and will continue to look out for you now?” Yes God.

“Go back to your family, and tell them everything God has done for you.” So he went all through the town proclaiming the great things Jesus had done for him.”

– Luke 8:39

I don’t know if you’ve ever worked with clay, or if you were the world’s best mud sculptor like I was when I was four… but you can only mold mud. You can’t mold clay when it is wet and soggy and too moist; it doesn’t old it’s form. You also cannot mold clay when it is rock solid, nor can you mold dirt. You can only mold mud because it has a perfect, thick consistency; it’s soft enough to alter and hard enough to hold it’s form. I learned that lesson the hard way when I had taken a pottery class a couple years ago. I wanted to make a mug – a coffee mug, obviously. Something easy and classic. The teacher told us to always keep our clay wet so that it wouldn’t dry out early, because once clay is dry there’s no going back. So I grabbed a bowl of water and had it next to me while I formed my mug. Wetting it down like, every thirty seconds…. you can probably see where this is going. At the end of the class I wasn’t quite done, so I spritzed it – just to make absolutely sure it wouldn’t dry out, put a bag over it and left. The next class I came back and my mug had morphed into this massive bowl that was too big to use even for soup. My mug was so wet it just kept spreading outward. It was ridiculous. My teacher laughed as she picked up my creation – literally dripping clay ooze from her fingers she carried my hard work to the side and left it there. “Grab another cube girl!” So I grabbed another block of clay and vowed to myself that I wouldn’t over water it… like I do with all of my plants… anyways… do you know what happened? It dried out. I came back the next day and my half done clay creation literally had cracks the Sahara Desert would find impressive! I sucked at this pottery thing… Recently, my failure in pottery made me think about how God works in our own life. We have to be mud and mold-able. Not too wet where we think we have all the answers and can do everything for ourselves but also not to dry where we don’t want God’s help and want to run our lives our own way. We need to have a balance of wet and dry. Wet enough for God to mold and thick enough that we can hold the form that God makes us.

Buggy 1This past month has been a bit of a wake up call for me to see how much molding God has done in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I have totally been too wet and too dry at different times in my life – I won’t tell you that I’m perfect and have it all together. But when God was telling me the other day, to look and see how far He has brought me, it made me smile. Guys there is SO much in our life that goes unnoticed. All those little things the Lord lines up for us, the things He protects us from, I could go on and on – but I think it is so important to look back and be able to say, “Wow God. I used to be there.” Que Drake: Started from the bottom now we’re here… ♩ ♪ ♫  As I went into my design exam that morning; after God showing me that He has fully equipped me with the abilities to crush this exam I had so much joy and an indescribable peace. It was unreal. Recently I’ve been hooked on listening to the Inception soundtrack song: Time. It’s beautiful and there’s a ten hour loop of the song on YouTube – I won’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to the full ten hour loop, because it’s a little embarrassing. Anyways – I listened to this fabulous ten hour loop for my entire exam and it was so cool to listen how God used it. When the song is quiet and it’s mainly the strings playing or very soft piano God spoke to me and gave me inspiration. When the piano kicks up and the horns are in the background God steadied my hand and gave me speed to draft, draw and dimension. It was crazy. If you’ve ever seen the movie, I felt like Cobb at the end when they are getting off the plane and he’s looking around and everyone feels so boss and awesome. Throughout the exam God seemed to work with the music and motivated me. But the entire time I was working I can honestly tell you that I was not nervous. I was not stressed. In the moments where I was drawing blank, I shot up a quick prayer asking the Lord to guide me and then the music kicked up and He guided me. I’m actually listening to the loop right now and it’s incredible. Gah. All in all, the three hours ended and I can honestly tell you that I don’t know how I finished as much as I did, to the detail I did, in that time. When I would practice I always ran out of time, forgot simple things or wasn’t completely satisfied with my work when the timer went off. This one time – when it actually mattered; I finished, I was confident in my work and I was satisfied knowing that I did not complete that task on my own.

Buggy 2Guys, I don’t know what you’re going through right now. Maybe you are struggling to finish school. Look how far God has brought you. You are on the home stretch with finals! Go hard. Trust Him and finish strong! Maybe you are struggling at a job wondering if you’re in the right career? Look how far God has brought you. You are being challenged with something that a lot of other people right now WISHED they could be challenged with. Trust Him and power through! Maybe you are struggling in a relationship. Look how far God has brought you. There are so many things you can learn in a relationship with another person, but know that challenges in a relationship are not always a bad thing – sure they are not easy in the moment but they cause you and the person you’re with to come together and work it out and in doing so you become closer and stronger than you were before! Don’t back away from something difficult – because something great is on the other side. Maybe you are struggling because you are not in a relationship and wanting to be. Look haw far God has brought you. Just like there are many things you learn in a relationship, there are just as many – if not more things that a person learns by being single. Hold out for something great and believe that the Lord has someone in store for you! And while you are waiting, focus on being the person you are trying to find and develop yourself in areas you need to be strengthened. Maybe you are in pain physically. I don’t know what kind of pain you could be facing right now and I won’t tell you to suck it up but I will tell you that you are a Child of our God and He does not like to see you in pain either. Maybe the pain is from an accident where you could have died, or it could be the result of someone else – sometimes, looking back at how far God has brought us already can courage us to look forward and realize how much further our Father wants to bring us. Power on. Because He is most definitely with each and everyone of us.

 

 

 

– Stay Satisfied

 

I don’t know if it’s right – but it doesn’t feel wrong…

VW Bus BackSitting alone with God is such a wonderful thing. Actually taking those cliche moments to listen to the winds blowing through trees, to watch the colours in the sky change as the sun set or like last night; I was about to crash and noticed a bright green flicker from my bedroom window. I love the northern lights. It was actually on my bucket list to see them at one point. I may live in a classic, cute little down – but the view or the northern lights makes it unreal. I remember the most extraordinary time I saw the northern lights here; it was almost exactly a year ago – my friend and I decided we’d drive out of town into a random farmers field and sit in her car drinking coffee and watch this fantastic natural light show. It was one of the most surreal moments I’ve ever had in my life. Breathtaking. They were so bright; literally casting shadows beneath us when we stood outside the car. Everywhere we looked was glowing green. The lights were directly above us in that field – I could see the beams overhead; shooting straight up and I could see each time they flickered and moved. They were so close I felt as if they were swirling around us at one point. I just remember not having words to say; pure amazement. I don’t know if it’s wrong to think this, but in those moments I believe God is displaying His beauty and creativity for me alone. I believe that while I was watching the northern lights from my window last night – God telling me that He loves me. He took the moment I couldn’t sleep to show me His simple greatness and beauty. I like those small gestures like a written note or a thinking of you text, or whatever – those little things that say hey “I enjoy you”. When I’m driving and God gives me a crazy awesome pink sunset, I like to think He made it specially for me. When I’m anxious and He lights up the sky with phenomenal moving lights, I like to think He’s giving me a moment to refocus on Him instead of what’s stressing me out. I hope you have moments like that too.

VW Bus SideIt’s so encouraging when you realize that God’s you Father and He wants to brighten your day simply because He can! My Dad has always done those little things to show our family he loves us whether it’s washing my car or watching cartoons with us, buying cellphone car gadgets and extra chargers cause he knows we lose them and break them. The next time you see something and it makes you look twice,  stop and enjoy it and believe that God did that specifically for you and you alone to enjoy in that moment. Maybe listening to birds sing together on a walk or that short cool breeze at the end of your run or that cloud to block the sun while you drive with the sunroof open. He cares about you because you are His and He wants to show you through the little things that He cares for you – not always just the big things that we continually pray for. I’ve been thinking a lot about graduating school and moving back to Saskatchewan; not gunna lie it’s a huge bitter sweet deal. There are several things that I am excited about and equally as many things that I am dreading. However, moments where God gives me peace in the simple things; I know that I purely need to trust in Him and know that if He cares enough about me to give me a sunset or northern lights; He most definitely cares even more about the bigger things going on. Whatever you’ve got on your mind right now, know that it’s ok to relax and allow your Father to take care of it. Rest in Him and take it one step at a time taking joy in the little things that He sends your way.

 

 

– Stay Satisfied

Jumping into darkness…

Red Rock StandI have no idea where I will be in my life in six months. I can’t decide whether or not I should love this feeling or dread it. I am a person that has always had a rough idea; a plan A and a backup plan B. For years I have always had a hunch on what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go and how I wanted to go about doing something. I knew that when I finished high school I would go to Bible school on an island in BC. I knew that when I finished Bible school, my boss had a job for me to jump back into and I would work for a year. I knew after my gap year I would move away and go to school where I would study Interior Design. I know that when I finish school I am to go on a missions trip with my church to Brazil that God told me I would go on four years ago. As of now, I have less than two months left of school and there are 152 days until I fly to Brazil to share the gospel with the people there. So in roughly 175 days I’m clueless. Mmmmk I know I’m being dramatic about this – but still. After a student graduates, they are supposed to be grown up and ready to join the rest of the world and be responsible. That scares me.

I know I’m not the only one that feels this way in life. I know there are millions of people that have been in this situation too at some point in their life. Actually, at church the other day a friend of mine was speaking. She was a full time missionary to Africa; after living there for 39 years, the Lord called her to retire because He has new work for her here in Canada. Anyways, she was sharing about her experience in Africa and leaving for good, “You know those trapeze people in a circus? They are super high up on a small platform, they jump out into the darkness where they know a bar will swing just in time for them to grab onto and take them to the next platform. I feel like one of those people right now.  I feel like I have just jumped off my platform where I knew it was safe and what I was doing. Now I am flying in midair hoping for that bar to come my way. I have no idea what the bar looks like and I have no idea where it will take me. But I know it’s coming – and like the trapeze artist; I have to be ready and watching for it.” She took the words and feeling out of my body – that’s exactly how I feel right now. I feel like I’m bracing myself to jump into the darkness.

Red RockI’ve obviously been thinking about this for a little while now. I know this because God gave me a “Stop panicking letter” Seriously. He did. It was in my mailbox at church. A small note that read, “Psalm 32:8, ‘I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.'” Two minutes before I read His note, I was literally venting to a friend at church about my “problem”. I also had to laugh because I felt this note was God’s way of telling me to shut up. My devotional book the other day said something similar, “KEEP YOUR EYES ON ME! As your circumstances consume more and more of your attention, you are losing sight of Me. Yet I am with you always, holding you by your right hand. I am fully aware of your situation. Your gravest danger is worrying about tomorrow. If you try to carry tomorrow’s burdens today, you will stagger under the load and eventually fall flat! You must discipline yourself to live within the boundaries of today. It is in the present moment that I walk close to you; helping you carry your burdens.Keep your focus on My Presence in the present. Let the future unfold and worry about itself.”

“Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.”    – Psalm 73:23

Guys, I have not figured out what will happen in a couple months… but I’m getting the feeling that God is wanting me to simply lean back and ride the river. I want to encourage you to do the same. School is coming to an end and maybe you’re in the same place as I am. Or things at work could be completely changing, or maybe you have to move and you have no idea who you will even be able to call “friends”. God says that He knows each and every one of our situations and He cares. He knows how they will pan out. Don’t stress. I’m going to try my best to let go and see what happens. Quite often, God has something much better planned than anything we could work up.

Red Rock Edge

 

– Stay Satisfied

Spurs: The College Bar

Last week I completed probably the biggest assignment I’ve been given all year. It was a group project *Thank Goodness* My school had approached our interior design class to redesign the college bar: Spurs. They explained that Spurs was in need of a major redesign because they were losing money and the space wasn’t being used by the students as they hoped it would be. I was excited; here was a real design problem that I would get to work on – and hopefully solve! Long story short: the college bar was built a couple years ago to replace the old bar. It was supposed to be a fabulous new activity center for the students to enjoy and a place where they could relax, forget school, and chill out. However, their new building was a bust and the students began going other places to hang out; hence asking our class to redesign the space, giving the students the chance to get what they wanted. My friends and I quickly assembled our group and began brainstorming.

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Half Past

It’s official: I love computer graphics. I love seeing people get excited about my designs. However, one of the only ways most people understand my designs is through computer graphics and digital 3D models. Most people can’t read technical drawings when they first see them – which makes sense, because most people do not know how to read them with out explanations. Anyways, in school we have been learning a program that allows us to draw our designs, concepts, and ideas in 3D formations therefore making it easier to show others what we are thinking. So, to put our 3D graphic skills to the test, my teacher told us to come up with a design for a small airport kiosk no bigger than 200 square feet. I had a couple ideas come to mind, but the design I got the most excited about was about watches.

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