Removing Heart Idols To Make Room For God

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Marcia Carole teaching on removing idols of our hearts, Central Asia
Let’s look at the idols of our hearts.

One of the teachings I really enjoy presenting is all on the idols of our hearts. This activity has helped me greatly. I invite women to look at areas of their hearts that may be “cordoned off” from God. That is to say, a wall or stronghold is in place, and no one, not even God, is allowed into that area of our lives, our stories. We are still “God” in those areas. We have firmly planted a DO NOT ENTER sign in that area of our hearts. As I pull different items from a heart shaped “pillow,” we examine unforgiveness, despair, addictions, generational darknesses(sin), ancestor worship, sin against womanhood, making idols out of spouses or other people, and combining faith in Jesus with other faiths or synchronism.

The participants are invited to bring idols of their hearts, through art-making, to Jesus.

Then, my team and I supply materials for workshop participants to bring idols they can identify at this time to the cross of Jesus. We then pray for each woman as she shares this part of her story, and try to help her carry burdens, unforgiveness, and unmet desires to Jesus. This prayer time is a time of transparency, vulnerability and connection, woman to woman.

John Calvin has said, something to the effect that “our hearts are idol-making factories.” However, as followers of Jesus, we have the Holy Spirit within us, so “the beauty of living in the New Covenant is that we have the Spirit of God dwelling within us, empowering us to obey and cleansing us from our idols. Are we still tempted to worship things other than God? Sure. That’s why John tells his readers to keep themselves from idols (1 John 5:21). But the fundamental disposition of our hearts has changed. Our hearts are not primarily bent toward idol worship, they are bent toward obeying God. When we do sin, the Spirit convicts us of sin and draws us back to himself.” (Quote from

Bringing our idols to the cross of Jesus. Marcia Carole

This is an activity I must continue to do throughout the rest of my journey in this life. Holding onto idols, false gods of security and significance, can lead to paralysis, fear, life becoming smaller and smaller, coupled with a lack of mental, spiritual and even physical health. It is worth it to have Jesus as God in taking all areas of my heart, no matter the hard work involved.

“If your god never disagrees with you, you might just be worshiping an idealized version of yourself.”
Timothy Keller

The LORD is my strength, my stronghold and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. Psalm 28:7

 Removing Idols Of Our Hearts Part Two Is Here.

Christmas Cards Are Here For Donation

Glad you made it to Art Engaging Story! Please see my mehndi style Christmas Cards below. These were made using my original art. They are 5 inches by 7 inches, and they come in sets of 10. So, order 10 cards for a donation of $20, etc. You can donate here: to support the work I do with women and children in extremely difficult and crisis situations. You will receive a year-end giving statement from CoLink, and your donations are tax-deductable.

To place your order, submit your order here:, after you have made your donation, let me know how many cards you would like and where to mail them. Just submit your order once – it will go through if you hit the submit button after filling in all the boxes. Be creative – you may send them to a friend! Maybe pass them on to an cross-cultural friend.

Details: You may have all of the same design, or a mix of two or three. Just let me know in the “SUBMIT YOUR ORDER” area found on my website (See above) how many you want and which sort of mixture. Remember, they are 5 x 7, so they will not be squares when you receive them.The bulk of the art is in the 5 x 7 card; squares would have cost much more for you to send. Please remember, I am just a solo artist, so this isn’t a fancy spot to order with all the bells and whistles. However, it is easy to go to my website, click on the links above and donate and order:-) Thanks so much for your understanding!

Design #1


Design #2


Design #3








back of card



back of card

Thank you in advance for taking the time to order art from an full time artist! I pray blessings on you as you celebrate during the month of December! Merry Christmas!


Christmas Cards For Financial Supporters

I have placed a small order with my printer for Christmas cards, as thank you’s, for all my financial supporters for the work I do globally and locally. I have not offered these cards for sale, however, if you’d really like a set of ten or so, let me know. I’ll have a few leftover.

My Christmas card for financial supporters – 2014
Inside Wording
Detailed description of drawing on the back of the card.

If you would like to give a year end donation to the work I do, you can donate with the non-profit that cares for me here:

Thank you to all who have purchased my art and supported me financially this year!!!




Thanksgiving 2014 – Looking Back Three Years

I am filled with thankfulness as I think back to this time three years ago. At that time, my doctor was trying to save my life with poison (chemo). Strange, but I am still on planet earth three years later. With my stage four breast cancer, one might get up to five years after diagnosis and treatment. That’s what they say. We’ll see. I’m thankful this year I am with lots of family and three grandsons!

Here is a post on my old blog from that time…..I added a few pictures.

The Annunciation, Marcia Carole, Painted Papers, Collage

Pushing through chemo lethargy and killer headaches, I’ve been preparing painted papers for my next piece, The Annunciation, these past two days. I use watercolor paper and paint with acrylic paints. Additionally, using found objects, I add layers of texture to these painted papers. One “found object” I use is something called “sequin waste.” Seen above as the aqua strip with cut out stars, it is the waste after star sequins are cut and collected for sale. Thus, it gets its catchy name – sequin waste.


As I pull the sequin waste away, I blend different blues and whites into the star pattern left behind so that the paper looks more painterly. I am hoping to use it for the sky in the annunciation piece, so I am thinking, painting, changing my mind, adding more stars with the sequin waste, blending them away, etc. The sequin waste goes on and off the painted paper throughout this whole process.


With a name like “sequin waste”, while lying in bed ignoring the chemo headache, I think over the word “waste.” The chemo headache is a waste of my time, cancer is a total waste, loosing my hair is a waste, lying in bed for hours on end seems a waste. You get my train of thought. My train of thought seems a waste, and then I decide to redeem it…kind of like the sequin waste. I suppose the Holy Spirit should be credited with this change in direction.

My collaged book on the woman at the well.

I think about two New Testament people who seemed to have “wasted” lives. First, I think of the woman at the well, the one who had had five husbands and was living with a sixth man, who encountered Jesus while filling up her jar of water. He knew all about her, didn’t think she was a waste at all. He so reached into her heart with love and acceptance within the knowing of her wasted years, she was motivated to run to her community and lead her village to Jesus.

Then, there is Matthew, a really unpopular tax collector who bilked, cheated his own people, for the financial gain of their oppressors and himself. His life was an irritating waste in the eyes of his community, and yet, Jesus saw Matthew differently. Jesus invited him into a relationship of love and forgiveness, worth and value. Jesus modeled for Matthew’s community the act of moving in closer to their enemies, the wasted people in their minds, and into transformation.

Then, having plenty of time on my hands these days, my mind moved onto Jesus, His life, and then when He was on the cross. Looking at Him, nailed and bleeding beyond recognition, must have looked like an overwhelming, horrendous waste. Is it? That’s the question everyone needs to answer, as they encounter Jesus – just like the woman at the well or Matthew. I believe, right there, on the cross, Jesus is taking God’s wrath, just anger, for our sins, wrongs, darkness of our hearts, whatever you want to call what you know you have, in His own person. Then, He gives us His perfection in the most profound exchange ever given throughout all eternity, and says, “It is finished.”

Later, after His death and burial, the stone is rolled away from Jesus’ tomb, more importantly, but similar to my pulling away the sequin waste with my painted papers, and we all see the beauty of His resurrection, conquering death for each of us. I guess sequin waste isn’t a waste after all. It’s actually shown me a great deal today.

He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. Isaiah 53:2

Mehndi Christmas Cards To Tell The Story

The Angel Visits Mary, Marcia Carole, Watercolor, mehndi pen and ink

During my first visit to India, I had the pleasure of learning the mehndi(henna) art form. I practiced at night during my stay with my amazing host family. Additionally, the women in my host family and I ran over to the mall to get mehndi on our hands. There, I saw men working quickly to make beautiful designs with ink.

Only took five to ten minutes!
All Decked Out!

Eventually, we all practiced on a wall in my bedroom, which was one of the highlights of my visit. Then, I took my new-found skill to an entryway of an English language school.

At the school, I sketched out a large mural in the entry area. Then, as I painted, I invited students and another excellent artist living there, to take a turn at painting on the mural. I learned a lot! I love collaboration, so this part was great fun for me.


I eventually came home and created a painting called The Tree Of Life, in response to my experiences in India. This painting tells God’s story found in the Bible. In the painting, I connected our stories to God’s story. You can see more on this HERE. (You can see all the posts on this painting in “September 2013 on my website.)


Then, as Christmas was approaching, I decided to try to create Christmas cards to tell the story of the coming of Jesus. I began making watercolor painted squares, and then I drew the annunciation, the nativity, and the visitation of the shepherds by the angels – the basic story of Jesus’ arrival among us. I had quite a bit of preparation in drawing in the mehndi style before making the cards, but I am still not as fast and agile as those artists in the mall!

Rejoice! Emmanuel Has Come, Marcia Carole, watercolor, pen and ink
The Angels Visit The Shepherds, Marcia Carole, watercolor, pen and ink

I’ve got the Christmas cards ordered, and I will post, when they arrive, on how you can order them. Check back soon! Thank you!


Our Redemption

Our Redemption, Marcia Carole, graphite on paper

This is my drawing I continue to layer with graphite(pencil) year after year around Christmas. (As an artist, I am usually working on something for Christmas by Thanksgiving.) I’ve thought of making Christmas cards from the original, however, a bit of Biblical understanding is needed to appreciate the piece. May I give you a tour of my drawing?

According to Jewish law, Mary would have been required to bring a sin offering, after forty days, because of Jesus’ birth. You see, the command in Leviticus 12, in the Torah, is that a woman who bears a son must wait 40 days before she is considered pure. Then she can go to the temple and offer a sacrifice for sin. In Luke 2:24, we read that she offered a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” This indicates they are a poor family, because the best possible sin offering was a lamb without spot or blemish.


Even if you don’t know the Jewish laws, you can find clues to their situation in the drawing. I drew the turtledoves, ready to be offered, and I suggested their poverty by the holes in their clothing.


Also in the drawing, we see Joseph with five shekels of silver. God, in the Torah, had said first-born sons belonged to Him – to serve Him. Then, at a later point in history, one tribe (Levites) of Israelites became priests to serve God in the temple, so the system of “buying” back the first-born son was instituted.

The parents of the firstborn males would come to the temple, and pay five shekels of silver to the Levites for their son, in a sense, buying their firstborn son back from the temple service. And the Levites would take this money and buy the things they needed to live and serve in the temple.


What is most important to me is this: Joseph and Mary had the items, turtledoves, coins, they needed to redeem Jesus and cover their sin. However, they were actually holding their eternal redemption, and yours and mine, as they held Jesus. Do you see the irony? Jesus had to be redeemed, yet, Jesus has come to redeem the world. Our Redemption!

Luke 2:22-23 Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”)