One of the artists I admire the most recently shared perspective on what she has been drawn to as she creates.
"I used to be drawn to the brightest light I could stand to look at. Now, I prefer to wait quietly for the luminosity to emerge from the shadows."
This year, as every year does, had its shadows. It's trials, its tears, its hardships, its mistakes. And, yet, such redemption, such goodness emerges when I take time to reflect. And this is what we, with humble gratitude, in gracious mercy, hold fast to.
"Therefore, my brethren, those things that are true, those that are honorable, those that are righteous, those things that are pure, those things that are precious, those things that are praiseworthy, deeds of glory and of praise, meditate on these things." Philipians 4:8
So, for year four of my little online space tradition, here are my musings from 2014, my favorite fourteen personal images with links to their stories below them.
I washed the sheets and folded the laundry when I returned, longing just as equally as I had complained, so fully ready to meet you, to hold your surrender weight, to trace, to memorize your face. You were worth it all, my Joy.
There’s the complete beauty in childbirth, holding the warmth in my arms that I’ve held in my heart for so very long, but then, there’s watching each one of my children, and the curiosity and confusion and wonder and frustration and excitement of embracing a new sibling.
Through the journey, because of the journey, through the painful frustrations, because of the long days, He’s directed my path, and I’ve come to the realization in my few beginning years of being mommy that the meaning of motherhood has little to do with where our daily footsteps land, because little feet follow our heart. And regardless of our stay-at-home, work-at-home, work-from-home or full-time, part-time, all-time identity, we are loved by a God who works all things for good and is the Establisher of all lasting meaning.
Because whether a thief or a kiss, time’s unstoppable magnitude is inarguable. And when it comes down to it, not one of us knows the number of moments we have left, the remaining opportunities we’ll be given to embrace warmth over weariness, tenderness over tiredness, to refuse to let familiarity fatigue.
The melody of childhood squealing and singing and ringing and carrying over todos and concerns and flashing screens of the extraordinary, trumped by the brilliance of the ordinary.
I share, I sing, because my Jesus, well, He is. In the deprivation, he is the provision. In the suffocation, He is the breath of life. My Jesus, He is all.
What if I could with conviction dwell more on the beauty of my children’s spirits and speak to who they’ve been fashioned, hand-created, called to be? What if I could with vision speak to the great things they’ve done and how much more they will do? What if I filled my heart with only wonder of His creation, these tender, beautiful souls, and thus let it bubble over so vivaciously? I have to pause, let this settle in. How powerful this would be.
Sometimes it creeps in, sometimes it storms in, but a dark, unrelenting sense of rejection is so quickly ushered in, when our greatest hopes, our most earnest reaching, our deepest longings are misplaced on the temporary and thus unrealized, unmet, by another fallible being, by a fallible world. It’s the most stripped down, rawness of human nature, this desire for approval, for belonging. And yet, while its natural, for we were created to be loved, it is vicious. The yearning, the desire, the hope to be fully understood, to have our heart fully known, totally approved and completely accepted.
The sweetest fruit of motherhood will blossom in my children’s lives when I seek out the tough stuff, embrace the the hard things of parenting, when I dig in deep to nurture the roots, to invest in the lasting. The blooming is provided for when I mindfully consider the words, the phrases, the melodies, the influences that will find home in their hearts. The blossoming comes when I slow the pace, minimize the busyness in order to leave space for the careful tending. How much greater the reward of seeking to cherish the roots, carefully investing in the foundation of my children’s character.
Just another simple way we’re trying to simplify the asking, lessen the expectation for receiving, in order to prioritize the consideration and sharpen the generosity.
Here’s to a new set of twinkly eyes, or others more excited as they now know what it means to count down. Here’s to the special moments in between the normal moments. Here’s to realizing whether the moments are full of lessons and whines or stories and squeals, they’re all special.
Photo credit above: Briana Gray
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