ice sculpting

Note from our Chief Executive Officer: Once again, I'm grateful that our Executive Assistant,
Jo Phillips, is able to share some thoughts, which I'm sure you will enjoy!

I think it would be safe to guess that at least some of you are in a season like mine right now! I'm feeling weary, too busy, and the need to rely upon God's grace to get me through my days and weeks. Of course, I am always totally reliant upon His grace for everything; but when strained, I become even more aware of this. My tiredness reminds me to return to and drink from the never-ending fountain of God's love and provision, so that I may have something good to offer as I bustle about! After all, "unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain" (Psalm 127:1 ESV).

I am reminded of a time when my Heavenly Father spoke into a season of weariness earlier in my life. It was when raising small children and babies at home. But if this is not an experience you can share with me, then it can just as easily apply to any time of draining service for others who may rarely, if ever, be actively grateful for your selfless devotion.

I was making lunch for one of my children as he sat in his high chair. It was just a sandwich, with some fruit and vegetables, arranged into the shape of a smiling face and presented on a plate to the waiting child. My typically very adorable youngster promptly threw it onto the floor with a screech. I burst into tears, wondering why I even bothered! In that kitchen, within those four walls alone with my small children, I felt our Heavenly Father speak encouragingly to His daughter -- me! The Lord told me that He saw what was done within those walls and, what was more consoling, He also saw the heart motives in which the things were carried out. A phrase occurred in my mind at that very moment -- I felt it was the Lord's encouragement for me -- "You have been ice-sculpting!"

In this wonderful country where we live, there is much experience of this activity. It is likely that you have yourself visited an ice festival -- perhaps in Ottawa, Quebec City, Banff or another location across the nation. Much time, creativity, effort and skill are poured into the shaping of sculptures that will not last! As surely as the seasons turn and the sun rises, these masterpieces will eventually melt away into water with no outward sign that they were once a thing of beauty. Depending on the extent of the projects and purposes, the tools used for sculpting vary from chainsaws, handsaws; to fine razor-sharp chisels, hairdryers and cloths. Likewise, methods vary according to environment. The ideal carving ice is made from pure clean water which is kept in circulation as the freezing occurs. During this process, cloudiness can occur, usually due to trapped air molecules which tend to bind to impurities while freezing.

The point is that the Lord smiles upon our good deeds, especially if they are carried out when nobody else notices. Three times within the "Sermon on the Mount," as recorded in Matthew's Gospel, Jesus repeats... "And your Father who sees in secret will reward you" (Matthew 6:4,6,18).

When we are serving the Lord's disciples, He tells us that we will by no means lose our reward (10:42). And those who make sacrifices "for (His) name's sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life" (19:29). We also know that "whoever loses his life for (the Lord's) sake will find it" (10:39).

Not only does the Lord smile upon good deeds done in costly ways and in unseen places, but in order to "ice-sculpt" in my giving, I must carry out the services with all my heart -- in cheerfulness and with love -- using my God-given gifts of creativity and skill to the best of my ability. I am called to do this even if I receive no thanks. (At least, I am to expect and desire none.) For a vain-hearted, needy individual such as myself, this can only be done sustainably when I know I am loved and appreciated by someone! And how blessed I am to know that I have such an audience!

The Lord of heaven and earth who made me, and all that is, always sees what I do! He cares about the smallest, most menial acts I make, and promises due reward for them. I tremble, as I should, before the "King of kings" and before His Word! So often my acts of service are no sculptures of beauty, and He sees that too. I pray for His mercy... for help to serve as I should... and for the ability to love and do good....

One of my favourite Scriptures is Galatians 6:9-10: "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith."

I share this to encourage you, as I seek to encourage myself, to continue serving -- for it is not in vain -- and to remind myself that our Heavenly Father sees. We not only have the opportunity to serve those around us physically, but also to serve our family in Christ around the world. Through your prayers you have taken such opportunity. On behalf of our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ, we thank you for your devotion to their cause.


jo sig

Jo (Joanne) Phillips
Executive Assistant
The Voice of the Martyrs Canada

ice sculpting hall