Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Bearing His Image through Art

When Jackson was born (11 years ago!), and even two years after that when Josh came along, I was completely entrenched in being a Mom. I wore no other hats. Jack had some health problems that required daily therapy at home for an hour or two, maybe longer, along with regular visits to specialists. To enhance what we were working on with him, we took gym classes, music classes, joined a playgroup, went to story time at the library, and no telling what else. Basically, all I did 24/7 was plan, pray, or attend things for Jack. Or at least it felt that way. I have no regrets. God graciously has allowed our son to be healthy and happy, leaving behind the days of therapy and medical issues. But it was all-consuming those first years of parenting, that's for sure.In the mean time, my husband was building his career as an environmental consultant. He was part owner/VP in his company, and those responsibilities coupled with his undying ambition and 1 hour commute each way to work left most, well...all, of the parental responsibilities for me. That's how life was for about four years. Did I mention we were renovating our house on the weekends?It took me a while to realize that God had called me to do more with the next couple of decades of my life than be just Mom and wife. All throughout adulthood I had many friends. But since Jack was born I hadn't many hobbies, service, or even a whole lot of thinking outside of what involved my husband and children. I don't regret or feel guilty about it. Some doctors attribute Jack's recovery to those hundreds of hours I spent researching, planning, and working with him. I feel honored that God chose to use me as a help in Jack's life during those years.How could I regret that? But by the time things slowed down I realized that I had no idea how to spend a day alone with myself. If I had a penny to throw in a fountain I would have no idea what to wish for. I had two healthy boys, what now? It had been a long time since I had the luxury of time and solitude. The year the boys were 4 and 2 was 2004. It was the easiest year I have ever had as a parent. We lived in a new house that was easy to maintain. Andy didn't have to commute to work any more, and he wasn't doing house projects over the weekends. We had many friends at church and in our neighborhood. And everything was convenient to our house. That year was the only year in the past eleven years that I had regular time alone. The boys both went to preschool three mornings a week. After lunch they went down for a nap together and slept for three hours. Without fail. Did I mention that Joshua was THE EASIEST child on earth? Give him cars and trains and you could clean the entire house without a peep from him. And the boys played very, very well together. They remind me of Phineas and Ferb, if you've seen the cartoon. One was the talker/leader/mastermind of ideas and the other could build/engineer. They were both even-tempered and gentle. Our house was relatively quiet and predictable. That was an easy year.That year I began to remember all of the things I loved to do as an individual. I even discovered things I never knew about myself. I experimented with painting, photography, decorating, and other craft projects. I dusted off the sewing machine, began to write, and hosted people in our home on a weekly basis. I began to keep a journal. I began to volunteer with Women's ministry and host studies and prayer groups of women in our home. I discovered I enjoy reading about history and taking road trips. It was a life-changing year for me.
I haven't been the same since that year. There is always a yearning to create, find an adventure away from home, and capture things with words, paint, a camera. All of these pursuits allow me to see God more clearly. It's such a privilege to interact with his world in an intellectual, artistic way. It leads to worship and joy. I am a better Mom and wife when I have these opportunities for artistic expression and solitude. I know some seasons allow more of this type of learning than others. And I am okay with that. I just do not want these experiences to die altogether again. This time is such an enriching part of walking with Christ as an image-bearer. And, I hope it always remains a top priority for me to encourage this type of expression in my children as well.
"The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes. If you foolishly ignore beauty, you will soon find yourself without it. Your life will be impoverished. But if you invest in beauty, it will remain with you all the days of your life."~Frank Lloyd Wright

*Pictured above: Signs of fall around the house. What an inspiring season! These pictures are tiny because I sent them from my Ipad which is still a complete mystery to me!!

1 comment:

Bloom Where You Are Planted said...

This is so beautiful! :)

I feel so honored to be able to know you and call you friend, and excited that your favorite year included the year that we met! :)