Category Archives: stories and values

Hidden Treasures: Peace for My Chaotic Heart

Peace is something that we all strive for. It’s the feeling of calm and tranquility that we all want to experience. But sometimes, it can be hard to find peace in our lives. There are so many things that can cause us stress and anxiety, from the news channels to our personal lives. But there are also many things that we can do to find peace, even in the midst of chaos.

Peace is not something that we can find overnight. It takes time, effort, and practice. But it is something that is worth striving for. Peace can make our lives more fulfilling and enjoyable. It can also help us to better deal with the challenges that life throws our way.

As a Christian life coach, I’ve learned that a peaceful mindset is biblical but not always easy to achieve. It takes commitment. It also requires us to be willing to let go of things that are not serving us well. But it is worth it. Peace of mind is one of the most precious gifts that God has promised to those that belong to Him. It allows us to live our lives with joy, purpose, and meaning.

As I thought about God’s  promise of perfect peace, a prior coaching session I had with a client, Carla (not her real name), came to mind. 

Carla was sitting in the small sofa chair near me, and her hands nervously fidgeting with her purse strap. I could sense that her heart was filled with many years of building anxiety. The enemy had been convincingly hard at work.

Carla had been a Christian for many years, but she had never really experienced the peace that the Bible promises. She had always felt like she was fighting an uphill battle against anxiety and worry. But she was determined to find peace, and she was willing to do whatever it took to get it.

“Would you like to find out what God says about worry and anxiety?”

“Yes, I would,” said Carla, her small voice filled with a sound of hope and determination.

“Good,” I replied confidently, remembering the time when worry and anxiety loomed like dark threatening clouds around me. I had faced the loss of everything that had held meaning in my life. I lost it all in one afternoon. I thought about that moment when my heart felt completely shattered and beyond repair. I worried about my future and how I would make it through financially and emotionally. I felt empty, abandoned, and alone. Then God stepped in and His comfort gave me the strength to move forward. I wondered: Could God work the same miracle for Carla as He had for me? The Holy Spirit gently replied: yes.

And so we continued. I started by coaching Carla through the process of identifying then listing the sources of her anxiety. She realized that a lot of her anxiety was coming from her fear of the future. She was worried about her job, her finances, and family. The list went on.

But Carla also realized that she was also anxious about the past. She was dwelling on mistakes that she had made, and she was regretting things that she had said and done.

Once Carla had identified the sources of her anxiety, I coached her on ways to work through them one at a time. We talked about how to live in the presence of God, and how to focus on the things that she could control. We also talked about how to forgive herself for her mistakes, and how to move on from the past.

It was a meaningful spiritual journey both for Carla and myself. And Carla eventually found the peace of heart that she so desperately wanted. She learned to live in God’s presence, and she learned to let go of things that were not serving her well. She also learned to forgive herself, and she learned to move on from the past.

If you are looking for peace in your life, there are a few things that you can do. First, it begins with prayer and a willing heart to experience the transformation that God wants for you. As a child of God, identify the sources of stress in your life. Once you know what is causing you stress, you can roll the care of it away and leave it at the feet of Jesus. Second, look for activities that make you feel peaceful. The Book of Psalms is a perfect place to start. And take the time every day to talk with Jesus. 

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. There is a difference between coaching and counseling. And there are many people who can offer you the right type of support, guidance, or coaching as you work to find peace in your life.

Here are some practical tips that may also help you walk in the God-kind of peace:

  • Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the present moment without judgment. There are many different ways to practice mindfulness, such as meditation, stretching, prayer or simply taking a few deep breaths. Envision the Spirit of God surrounding you like a cloak with His perfect peace.
  • Spend time in nature. Spending time in nature has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. Go for a walk in the park, take a hike in the woods, or just sit in your backyard and listen to the birds. Ask yourself, what does nature reveal about God’s love for me?
  • Connect with others. Spending time with loved ones can help you to feel supported and loved. Make an effort to connect with friends, family and church on a regular basis.
  • Help others. Helping others can help you to feel good about yourself and make a difference in the world. Volunteer your time, donate to a charity, or simply do something nice for someone else. Jesus said that we find out who we really are when we give of our time and gifting to others.
  • Take care of yourself. Eating healthy, exercising, and getting enough sleep are all important for your physical and mental health. Remember, the Word of God says that you are the temple of God; take care of His temple, you are precious in His eyes.

Mary Buck, PhD / Christian Life Coach /

As God gets bigger in our lives–we get stronger!

MLBuck©2023 with the assistance of:

“”, 2023,

“BARD.”, 25 March. 2023,


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The Larger Life in Christ

For just a moment, imagine that you are at the entrance of a circus tent. Your curiosity grows. The colorful tent and surrounding signs bring a smile to your face. You hear excited children running past and smell the hay on the ground around you. You feel the pull of the big tent and the impending thrill of seeing tight-rope walkers, dancing elephants, and lion-tamers. Very exciting, right?

And in many ways, creating an art journaling page based on a circus design layout relies on creating visual excitement using enlarged images, bright bold colors, and big text elements. I like that it is called a circus layout because the whole point of the design is to make the art journaling page fun and delightful! It differs in distinct ways from the lined and blocked layout of a Mondrian design (of previous Unit 2) as the circus layout allows greater freedom in how and where you place your lines, text, and images.

In this unit, I will share with you the secrets of a circus design layout.  We will examine the visual elements involved and then use the circus design to create your art journal entry based on a verse from the Old Testament.

The moment I called out, You (God) stepped in; You made my life large with strength.

Psalm 138:3 (The Message)

There is no doubt about it, living a life of social distancing, face coverings, and stay at home mandates requires a special type of inner strength. I think most will agree that, at times, living life at a distance can be very challenging and sometimes lonely.

The psalmist tells us, however, that you are not alone! And how you decide to work through the frustrations does not have to remain a mystery. You see, as a new creature in Christ, that strength or resolve to work through feelings of being alone is promised to you. In fact, one key to your spiritual growth, among others, is not only acknowledging the source of this inward strength but going the next step and relying on it for every situation you face. Let’s take a closer look at the verse from Psalm 138, King David writes: The moment I called out, You (God) stepped in; You made my life large with strength. (The Message)

Take your time. Think about it. As you read the verse, which of the words or phrases seem to “pop off” the page or catch your attention:

  • You calling out to God?
  • God stepping in?
  • Realizing that you are never alone?
  • God making your life larger with a stronger inner resolve?
  • Living a meaning and purpose despite the face coverings, distancing and social mandates?

Once you recognize what is important or meaningful to you in that verse, ask yourself: Did any images or words flash through your mind? What images and words will you include on your art journaling page? Write them down.

Now, let’s get going…

An art journaling page that uses a circus layout is all about large! Large text. Large images. Large blots of color. These elements connect on your art journal page to visually express your inner awareness of life. That is, once you put all the pieces together, you will be able to step back and see clearly the concrete and unique connection to God’s Spirit in your life. Although many struggle with expressing that connection, there is an easy way using 5 steps to accomplish this feat.

First, fill the whole page with either a circus tent shape or a happy bright sun with rays theme. Here’s one hand drawn example with steps 1 – 3:

Don’t worry if it the lines are not perfect. You will use each space to fill with images, color, and text.

Adding big bold color spaces in Step 4.

Step 4. Select a space and fill it in with a word, image, or color that you previously wrote down during your time of meditation. For example, I imagined that, like the Lord, I want my inner man to be strong: a heavy weightlifter lifting barbells. So, I’ll begin by filling in my backdrop with strong bright colors and large text (strength and courage) then place a large image of a heavy weightlifter in the foreground in front of the sunburst. Pretty easy and cool, right?

The colors I chose are the colors of the fictional Wonder Woman character. Her outfit uses ruby, blue, and gold. The colors suggest a brighter and braver world. I’ll use ruby and gold for the sunburst and blue for the weightlifter.

How ‘bout you? What are your three favorite colors? If you’d like to find out more about colors in the Bible, Jacob Olesen’s website will give you a good  starting point for your research.

Adding large type text in Step 4.

Before adding the figure in the foreground, I placed the words courage and strength in large capital letters to fill the space above the ball shape of the sun. I placed them at an angle to each other to suggest movement and excitement. I chose white as the text color as if the letters had been “etched out” of the background.

The secret to the circus layout is: big and bold.

Step 5. Add your selected image to the foreground. You can draw in a figure with pen, crayon, or acrylic paint. You can also choose to find an image from a magazine and then paste it in. In this step, I found a clipart silhouette from online creative commons and then resized it to fit the image frame.

Try a different visual theme with Psalm 138:3 “The moment I called out, You (God) stepped in; You made my life large with strength,” and see what new surprising results you can achieve.

Change the colors and see what happens. Does it make you feel happy? Does it give a deeper insight into the type of large connected life God wants for you?

The circus layout allows a freedom of expression especially when art journaling. Add this along with the Mondrian inspired page design to your art journaling toolbox and you have two very powerful visual art communication tools at your fingertips. Use them this week to start your daily journaling time. Find out what God has in store for you!

Looking forward to Unit 4 and trying out the Multipanel page design for your next art journaling page!

Dr. Buck / Visual Communication Artist-at-hand / Christian Life Coach / As God gets bigger in our lives–we get stronger!

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