Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Artist in Residence

I began this new year with a lot of fear. Fear that the everyday would trample me like wild horses as long as my kids still live here. Each day started under the rubble of laundry, dishes, meals, and lesson plans and I was defeated before I could even get out of bed.

Inspiring, isn't it?

Many of us probably have a tendency to condense a week, a month, years(?) into a single day of worry and tasking and then wonder why we stumble through life with anxiety, simply surviving, instead of really living.

Well, I was tired of simply surviving and I was tired of hauling around the mother lode of fear, discouragement and confusion.

So I brought it to the Lord and told Him how miserable I was and how I didn't feel up to any of the tasks set before me. I told Him I wanted more time to be creative and contemplative instead of walking around spinning plates and sweeping up shards of mess all day. I told Him that my heart wanted to keep homeschooling but that my body and spirit were at war with the ideals of my heart.

I quit looking for solutions and remedies and perfect and I just dumped it at all at the feet of Jesus...and waited.

And do you know what He did?

He took my junk and replaced it with joy.

And yes, I do realize that the previous statement may be met with eye-rolling and skepticism. You may think I'm one of those who looks at the rain and just knows that a rainbow is right around the bend. Actually, I am the opposite of that person...which is why the joy is all the more miraculous.

He is teaching me to live in this day and not in the next, opening my eyes wide to the beauty and possibility of moments lived with wild enthusiasm and fresh perspective.

And all of this started to unfold about the same time that Emily began writing about art. {Here and here and here are some of my favorite posts.} And God also started showing me, through real-life situations and brave people who wear joy like a sparkly cloak, that art is just waiting to be lived out. Every single day.

And so the divine invitation came. And with real and true inspiration I said, Yes. I'll do it.

It's all in how I see the day. Is it a list of tasks and to-do's or is it a tableau of grace and beauty? I hold the brush and the Spirit guides it. What will we create together? And while the same stuff has to get done each and every day, it's no longer driven so much by controlling measures to subdue the chaos. Opportunities unfold now that I'd never see otherwise. And as I've said before, the kids teach me a lot if I'll let them.

Without realizing it, I'd seen myself as an "Artist in Waiting" instead of an "Artist in Residence." And frustrated waiting becomes a breeding ground for resentment. No wonder I felt cranky and overwhelmed and trampled.

If beauty comes out of mess, then surely I'll have an endless well from which to create. Life is messy, kids are messy, and I as type this, my kitchen is terribly messy.

It's not easy. I'm still neurotic when it comes to noise and my strong-willed 3-year-old is a full-time job who drives us all to the brink of crazy. On this cold and rainy day, I've already battled bad attitudes and broken up fights. Every moment is not a party.

But last night as I mopped up Blondie's tears and held her tight, as we talked and prayed about the hard stuff and her very real 9-year-old girl pain, her broken heart split my own to pieces and I sensed Him saying, Know that this is one of those moments. She needs you like never before and this is the pain and the beauty of being her mom.

In the last three days I have built trains, said yes to a living room dance party, delivered an impromptu lecture / Q & A session about the Industrial Revolution {while driving the kids around in the van,} scraped dried peanut butter and neon stickers off the kitchen table, read to the older ones while the little one has watched entirely too much Dora, and of course, wiped away plenty of tears. Theirs and mine.

And I'm seeing, sometimes through the tears, that it is all beautiful...if I choose to see it that way.

And how I see it makes all the difference in how I live it.


  1. Beee-U-teee-ful!!!!

    I always look forward to your posts because you express what all of us feel and you do it with true artistry.

  2. I will read and re-read this one . . . because of its "truth to the quick" content and because I will never, ever tire of witnessing what our endlessly-loving Father is doing in one of my endlessly-loved daughters.


  3. Thank you for sharing this....I needed to hear it today. Miss you!

  4. I love this. You echo my heart.
    So glad I found your blog.

  5. I teared up at this post. I want to bookmark this and reread when my everyday gets crazy. Thanks for this.

  6. i needed this today! you don't know how much. it brought me to tears and i know what you mean in every sentence. i need to be reminded to lay it at HIS feet. - thank you for that reminder. love to you all!

  7. you make me smile. thank you for being honest. If made me reflect on how I acted today and I was humbled...I did not see beauty or splendor in my daily tasks and I thank you for sharing that conviction. Laying burdens and struggles where they are supposed to be seems so simple, and yet it is done only when at the brink breaking.

  8. Hey sweetie. Hope you had a good week. Mine was up and down again (as you know). It's Saturday and I'm thinking maybe you are getting some rest. Wanted to see if you would mind changing my web address under your friends and family section to
    Love you

  9. This here is a declaration for all Mamas - every one!

  10. "Know that this is one of those moments." oh, He has opened my eyes to see as well...your words just said it so beautifully. loving every word...

  11. Bounced over from Chatting at the Sky.

    Emily's posts on art really touched me too. And you are right, it really all is beautiful.

  12. This post spoke to my heart. I'm learning to let go and have eyes to see the beauty that God has placed before me, instead of just a bunch of junk I have to do before I can let my head hit the pillow and start again. I'm with you!

  13. So beautiful. So humble. So convicting!


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