Thinking Out of the Box

” Wherever something beautiful and big is happening in this world, someone is praying.  It is not that prayer itself is powerful… it is when we join in with what’s on God’s heart that we give Him release to move in wonder!”

~ Charles Price

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“Oh… we don’t really carry those,” the Hobby Lobby clerk shakes her head, after taking me to a small, boring selection of office supplies.  She waves off in a direction across the parking lot — “Have you tried Office Max, over there?”

I shrug my shoulders.  “No, I just thought you might have something…        you know…              with more… character.”

Glancing at me with that Huh? What a fool, no such thing look, she turns away with a slight takes all kinds smile.  I could read it all over her face.  Nut! She wants a sales receipt book – with what?

Mmm… yeah.  I’d almost said, with  panache

Because, driving over, I’d suddenly thought – Why am I thinking Corporate Communications and looking for ordinary lined paper with fill in the blank boxes for my pen & ink portrait sales?  I mean, regular invoices and business sheets are good for sales to say, a real estate broker.  But when doing pieces commissioned directly by individuals for their own personal gifting, why not be a bit more… stylish?  Think out of the box

So often these days, those words are skittering around the periphery of my thoughts.  How when life sets out a Robert Frost two roads diverged in a wood sort of choice, it can be so reflexive to take the easy rut, more known path.  I’m tired of just going along the expected route.  More and more I am stopping myself to slip into conversation with My Best Friend.  Give me YOUR ideas, Lord

Which is another way of saying… show me more of Your Heart.  Your creative, opening windows, lighting the path, ashes into beauty Heart.  

This morning I hear someone on radio telling of God’s extraordinary that begins with people thinking outside the box, catching His longing and plan in prayer. How a group in England with a deep care for students in a local high school began to meet early every morning for three months, praying for a way to have someone come and share true faith with the students.  They knew the Vice Principal and that he was a man who would probably roadblock them all along the way.  At first, they just ask God to make him conciliatory.  Then… the Holy Spirit leads them to His out of the box prayer.  Don’t just think of him as a barrier.  See him as I do.  The one I would leave all to find. 

And so their prayers transformed to God’s Heart agenda.  Soften his heart to yearn more for You, Lord.  Put such a longing in him that he will want to invite someone to speak of You…

And out of those prayers, releasing God to do what He purposes to do in all of us, came amazing Divine appointments.  This minister was invited to speak – not for the usual allotted 10 minute guest appearance, but for 40 minutes.  Not just to one class, but to an entire student assembly.  Afterward, the Vice Principal begged him to go class to class and finish what he began.

“But, isn’t it against your law for me to lead them in prayer?” the minister questioned.

“I will take responsibility,” the V.P. assured.   And, listening in on those classroom discussions, this school authority thought to be a roadblock later prayed one on one with the minister for a deepening walk with the Lord.  A sweep of the Holy Spirit moved then, stirring hearts of another teacher and students all over the school.   Because of out of the box prayer that covered the ground long before any word was spoken.

The minister then relates other such stories that have touched his own life.  Of a great Welsh revival in 1904 – a time when the entire community was wondrously, “suddenly” falling deeply in love with the Lord.  Everywhere you looked, people were turning back to God with true life changing fervor.  His own great grandfather, an alcoholic, was mocking them all one night in a pub when suddenly – no one knows just how — the Lord transformed his heart and forever changed  generations of their family, on to today.   “It was years of prayer that covered Wales,” the minister says now , “prayer joined to God’s longing for them, releasing God to do His mighty work…”

I wipe my eyes, listening to these beautiful stories… thinking back to some pretty incredible things I’ve seen come out of such prayer in my own life.  Divine appointments like that minister being in the England school at just that moment.  Moves of the Holy Spirit touching a heart, like his great grandfather’s, just when you think it could never happen.

Praying out of the box.  My Ways are Higher than Yours.  Looking to Him…in the big and in the small…

    Back at Hobby Lobby, I’m thinking of all the rows upon rows of creative paper aisles.  Maybe they don’t have an actual printed receipt book… but surely they might have something… fun… innovative…clever… that I could adapt as one?  Show me, God, what this inkling of an idea is…

Searching, I find textured scrapbook pages and card making materials and word pieces that even relate to all the ideas behind my pen & ink portraits.  Like the idea of Home being where your story starts…  Still, nothing quite, workable.

Then, I find these pretty little tags.  Many designs.  I choose the softly floral, two of each color pattern in a packet.  Hmm...  I think.  Why couldn’t I...What if…?

I suddenly imagine how easily this might work as a receipt.  One copy for the customer, one for me.  Perfect 

At the checkout, I chuckle to myself, wondering what that clerk might think if she saw what I ended up with…  Not the usual, that’s for sure.

Out of the box.   In the case of the English students and their Vice Principal, wondrous.  In my new receipts… just pure fun.  Yet, in them both, I’m loving, how God writes CREATE (after His own Heart) on the binding of our stories into His Book.  And calls us to invite Him in… so He can take us to places we might never dream alone.

To eagle wing heights and divine appointments.

And…  🙂 … other times, in the ordinary,  to something quirky that just makes us smile.

©   Pam Depoyan

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Sharing with:

       Scattering the Stones  Faithful Friday Blog Hop Party: 4 blogs - 1 party

photos:  http://www.fotosearch.com

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About Pam@Writing...Apples of Gold

I love to hear your thoughts, even chat back and forth amongst comments.Won't you join the conversation? :) ..................................................................................................................... May my stories refresh you, like a whisper from our Father's Heart !
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29 Responses to Thinking Out of the Box

  1. Mary Lehman says:

    Pam , I knew I loved you! I was already thinking about using that creativity on a ministry-geared resume I need to make! “My Heavenly Father, thank you for that confirmation, and especially bless Hobby Lobby on the stand they have taken for you!”
    So happy I found this “Apples of Gold” blog! God bless you, Pam!

    • Thank you, Mary! You make me smile. I just wondered if this one sounded too off the wall… mixing such a beautiful story of prayer with a silly one…then went ahead and clicked it hoping it would minister. 🙂 I’m glad you are here too…

      • Mary says:

        No, Pam, it was NOT “too off the wall.” That’s exactly what makes it “out of the box.” It’s like God’s Word. It challenges us to BELIEVE and DO the radical thing for Jesus! I’M IN with this idea, my friend!

  2. lolita says:

    Indeed those are refreshingly out-of-the-box product of creativity, Pam. I love it when you are delightfully candid as this one. It shows you heart, child-like heart after the Father.

    And praying for something wich is really desired for by God is already spoken and delivered, only in waiting for those who shall be His eyes, mouths and legs. And if we think less and less of ourselves, we can focus on the works for the Kingdom.

    Bless your big heart, Pam. And continue to bless more and more. I love what Mary says about you above. She has found Apples of Gold just like many of us following you.

  3. Lynn Morrissey says:

    Pam, it’s so obvious to me that your creativity springs from your intimate relationship with the Lord, the Creator of the universe! You asked Him to show you and He did! I LOVE the name of your art biz and the darling receipt. It’s truly out of the ordinary (like you–like all whom He created). We’re not duplicable, and so there is no reason why your receipt should look pedestrian. It’s unique, like you! Just love it–so sweet.
    I cont. to pray that God will be glorified through your art–through the frontispieces of your creativity.
    Love
    Lynn

  4. Lynn Morrissey says:

    HI Mary, that’s so sweet of you. Don’t you just love all Pam does here?? She is sooooo talented, creative, AND CARING (the most important part). She always gives her guests such personal care. So nice to meet you across the cybyermiles!
    Blessigns,
    Lynn

    • Thank you, Lynn! Frontispiece is a word we readers know well, isn’t it? I prayed for something unique for a name and that word came to mind, I think because the kind of pen and ink I do reminds me of those old etched drawings I have always loved in the first page of books. (Even in old Nancy Drew books!) And of England too!

      • Lynn Morrissey says:

        I love the old-fashioned nature of the word. so perfect for you and your biz! Oh and I liked the art analogy exceptionally!

    • Mary says:

      Nice to meet you too, Lynn. Your name sounds so familiar to me. Should I know you, or is it that you are my sweet sister in Christ and my spirit knows you?!?

      • Lynn Morrissey says:

        OH very sweet. Surely His Spirit does united us! Can you tell me your last name for starters? Then it might ring a bell! =]

      • Mary says:

        Mary Lehman – I’ve lived in Dallas and Tulsa and currently live in Northwest Arkansas.

  5. Lynn Morrissey says:

    Hi Mary, No i’m sorry, your last name is not ringing a bell. Are you an author? Perhaps you’ve simply noticed by name as a commenter on various blogs. Whatever the case, I’m so glad we have connected, and thank Pam for her gracious hosting, which always knits hearts!

  6. Laurie Adams says:

    Awesome post! Thank you for sharing with us over at TT this week! Blessings to you. 🙂

  7. Lynn Morrissey says:

    Yes, I am in CS…….maybe CS for the Christian Soul. Can’t recall. Beyond my 3 books, my stories are in a # of compilations.

  8. Lynn Morrissey says:

    Hi Mary…..well, it feels a little funny to mention this on Pam’s blog, but I don’t think she would mind, since you asked: I’ve written a solo book called Love Letters to God: Deeper Intimacy through Written Prayer (an inspirational, yet substantive book on how God transformed my life through prayer-journaling), two devotionals (Seasons of a Woman’s Heart and Treasures of a Woman’s Heart), and publication in a number of compilations and chapters occasionally in other authors’ books. Now, arncha glad you asked?! Ha!

    • Mary says:

      Lynn, I believe I have seen your name on Amazon or at Lifeway! I am going to go online and get that book: “Love Letters to God . . . .” I don’t think Pam would mind a bit that you answered my question on her site! It’s all about getting the good news of grace out to others, isn’t it!
      Thank you so much, Lynn, and God bless you, Pam!
      P.S. I am writing my first book, “Not Afraid To Say I Love You: Facing the Giants of Grief, Depression, Emotional Dependency, Idolatry, and the Effects of Legalism.
      http://notafraidtosayiloveyou.tumblr.com

      • Lynn Morrissey says:

        Pam is one of the authors I have met with an incredibly generous heart…..even she brought up my book. THat’s so sweet, Pam. And, in the end, it’s not my book or my message, but one laid on my heart by the Lord. I regularly pray for a Christian journaling revolution, because I know personally how God transformed me through this gift of written prayer, and as I teach journaling classes, I witness women’s hearts transform before me. It’s nothing short of miraculous. So, Mary, if you do read Love Letters to God, my prayer is that the words that God gave me will inspire you to begin your own written journey of intimacy, straight to the Father’s heart! I can guarantee you that your life will NEVER be the same!
        I have explored your lovely website, and you, yourself, are a very gifted and deep writer. *Idolatry!* You and I share that in common. I read a book about one’s “shadow mission” (our default when we are not living true to purpose), and while I have a number of shadows that haunt me, I realized that (sadly!) idolatry was the one insidious thing that they all had in common. So I admit to you that my shadow mission is idolatry (wtih perfectionism a close second, though perfectionists *are* idolaters)!
        Mary, I wish you the best with your new book. I love the title, and I’m sure that the Lord will use it in a powerful way!
        Love
        Lynn

  9. No, I don’t mind at all… 🙂 Writers sharing with writers, one of the things I’m all about!

    • Lynn Morrissey says:

      You certainly are! You are such a generous sweetheart, Pam. Bless you for your incredible heart of kindness and giving!
      Love
      Lynn

      • Mary says:

        Lynn, could you please write me at gmlhmn@sbcglobal.net, so I can write you on your email. Perhaps then, we will be able to stop using Pam’s beautiful blog platform and website for a personal conversation. God bless you and I hope to hear from you soon.
        Mary

  10. Hi Pam,

    I loved reading your wonderfully inspiring post, prayer is something very dear to my heart – faith through prayer moves mountains 🙂 It’s all about communication and intimacy isn’t it, how as we rely, trust in God, He opens the doors to many blessings. Yes, we all need to think outside the box, and have an expectant heart for what God wants to do in us and through us.
    Blessings

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