Not long after I surrendered my life to Christ, I received a hope chest. It wasn’t anything fancy; just a small wooden bench that was meant to store special things for my wedding, future home, etc. But for all its simplicity, that hope chest turned out to be one of the best gifts I ever received. Right around the time that I began to experience true intimacy with Christ, life took on a brand new sparkle and freshness. For the first time, I began to notice and cherish sacred things.
While I had been living for selfish pleasure and falling prey to pop culture attractions, the word “sacred” hadn’t really been part of my vocabulary. Centering my life around popularity, pleasure and the approval of the opposite sex had reduced everything in my existence to something worldly, sensual and base. But now that Christ had become the center of my life, He began to train me in the art of sacred living. I began to place a high value on special and meaningful things. My hope chest became a storehouse of sacred treasures. In it, I kept journals that chronicled my intimate journey with Christ, poems and songs that had flowed out of my times of private worship, letters to my future husband, promises I felt God had given me, and special notes or sentimental gifts from my family members. Frequently, I would look through my chest, cherishing all the things that had become sacred in my life – my intimate fellowship with Jesus, my commitment to my future husband, my relationship with my parents and siblings. Once I began to value and cherish sacred things, life was full of beauty and richness like never before. Soon, I began to adorn my bed, walls, dresser, and even the dashboard of my car with precious reminders of the Truth that had forever changed my life.
Christ cautions us in Revelation 2:4 against forsaking our “first love.” One of the best ways to keep our love story with our heavenly Prince fresh and alive is to remember and cherish His fingerprints upon our life story and to place important memorials of His work in places where we will see them often.
Whether you choose to frame a poem or song, paint a masterpiece, or do something else that is unique to you, taking the time to “decorate” your life with Truth will add sparkle and romance to your spiritual journey – and keep your First Love fresh and alive.
Consider some ways that you can begin to cherish the sacred moments in your walk with Christ by adorning your daily life with beautiful reminders of His nature and His Word. Even if they are only small things that no one else would appreciate, remember that this is something special between you and the Lover of your soul. Begin asking yourself how you can create meaningful ways to remember the truths that have most impacted you spiritually. A friend of mine often makes an artistic collage to memorialize God’s work in her life. Another friend takes beautiful black and white photos and frames them – sometimes with an important Bible verse scripted over the picture.
To make this concept practical, I asked two of our writers, Tessa and Amy, to share how they are currently applying this principle to their lives, and also to glean some additional ideas from the members of our setapartgirl team.
Here are some of their insights:
In one of his final exhortations to the Israelites before they cross into the Promised Land, Moses charges them to surround themselves with the words of the Lord: “Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes…And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates” (Deut. 11:18, 20 KJV).
It wasn’t enough for the Israelites to simply appreciate or esteem the words of the Lord – they had to get their tools out and get carving. An environment bedecked with Truth doesn’t just happen, but requires decided action (and a little creativity). It’s likely you already have plenty of things to get started “adorning your life,” and it surely won’t take as much time as carving words into a door post. Take a good look around your living space – is it a clear reflection of the values of your life and the priorities of your heart? If not, set aside some time to plan specific ways you could add Truth, and thusly create a place in which you, and others, will constantly be pointed to Him who is Truth.
In our little basement home, we (Tessa and Amy) have tried to create a warm and lovely space by working with what we have instead of spending loads of money and time shopping at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. We had a book of Impressionism paintings that we found at a used bookstore and tore out the pages to create an artsy backdrop for some of our most-loved quotes and verses. By connecting several different images and pasting on complimentary card stock, the quotes stand out well and it gives the pieces more texture and vibrancy. Besides art books, you could use old hymnals from your grandma’s attic or outdated magazines or calendars to design unique collages that reflect the things most important to you.
Amelia printed out one of her very favorite Elisabeth Elliot quotes on a piece of patterned paper and put it in a simple black picture frame. She keeps it on her desk. Every day, as she works on all the little details that come with her role as the setapartgirl Conference Coordinator, this serves as a daily encouragement and reminds her of who she is truly working for. There are a lot of ways you could turn a frame you already have into an inspiring display of Truth by artistically scripting the lyrics to a significant worship song or creating a photo collage with quotes or scriptures that spur you on in your walk with Jesus.
When you walk into Marlene’s room, it’s obvious what she is seeking to focus on. With its impeccable neatness and calm simplicity, it reflects the quiet and undistracted heart of its occupant. Beside her bed, she has hung up a homemade ribbon banner with verses and quotes that hold special significance in her life. To make the promises her own, she personalized the verses with her name, adding even more beauty and meaning to her romance with Jesus. But even without Marlene’s amazing computer design skills, it is possible to put together this type of wall art with your own distinct flavor and personality by using a calligraphy pen or fine-tip markers.
As a talented photographer, Lauren has an eye for beauty and her dorm room shows it. While her space is filled with many beautiful things, they all work together to create a atmosphere that is warm and inviting to the presence of God – and any visitors who may pop in. One example of the many eye-catching visuals is a piece of black and white patterned paper on which Lauren has written a phrase that encourages her afresh each day to continue carrying her cross with a glad and willing heart: Remember surrender. It’s quite a simple idea, but the way she took the time to artistically script the lettering makes it so much more inspiring than if she would have just scribbled it out on a sticky note. If Lauren had chosen to only display photos on her wall, she wouldn’t have that daily reminder pressing her on down the narrow path she has chosen.
I’ll never forget reading the story of Betsy ten Boom, when she and her sister Corrie were first put into prison for hiding Jews in their home during the Nazi invasion. The prison was filthy, dark, rancid and overcrowded with despairing, sick, miserable women. Corrie and Betsy were separated into different cells, and Corrie spent many days wondering how Betsy – who loved beauty, flowers, and sunshine – was fairing in such a destitute, ugly place. Betsy had always had a gift for making things beautiful – for creating beauty all around her, no matter where she was, even on a meager income. But how could a dank prison cell be made into a haven?
One day, Corrie got the chance to walk by Betsy’s cell and took a quick glimpse inside. To her amazement, she saw that somehow the bleak chamber had been transformed into a sacred sanctuary. “Unbelievably, against all logic, the cell was charming,” Corrie wrote. She continued,
The straw pallets were rolled instead of piled in a heap, standing like little pillars among the walls, each with a lady’s hat atop it. A headscarf had somehow been hung on the wall. The contents of several food packages were arranged on a small shelf. Even the coats hanging on their hooks were part of the welcome of that room, each sleeve draped over the shoulder of the coat next to it like a row of dancing children.
The sacred beautiful environment Betsy had miraculously created was simply a reflection of the beauty and sacredness in Betsy’s inner life. Even a dismal prison cell could not crush Betsy’s radiance and joy – because her inward beauty came from Jesus Christ. And that Heavenly beauty could not help but spill over into her environment, no matter where she was.
When Truth adorns our inner life, our outward environment reflects Heaven’s beauty – no matter what our physical circumstances might be. Our God delights in order, beauty and cherishing what is sacred. As set-apart girls, we have a wonderful opportunity to adorn our surroundings with simple touches that reflect His glory and point our focus continually back to Him – the Author of beauty and Truth.*