Sunday, May 12, 2013

...a letter to my mom

Dear Mom,

Today is mother’s day.  I am 3 plus hours away.  I do not get to see you today.  But that doesn't mean I’m not thinking about you.  I think about you and my heart hurts a bit.  You mean a lot to me. 

The day God decided to place me in your womb that’s when you became my mother.  That was over 31 years ago.  I know it wasn't easy for you having one baby after the next. (being as I was baby number three.)  I know you and Dad didn't have a lot.  You and dad decided to have me in a trailer. It’s such a great story! 

You told me recently that you had the verse “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” as your verse when you were giving birth to me.  That’s such a great verse for me too.  The verse that brought me into the world is the verse the can get me through this life. 

I was the first girl! You and Dad were so excited!  You were your mother’s first girl and I was your first girl.  In many ways I am like you.  I think you’ve passed some of your weaknesses like stubbornness and being too conscientious on to me ;) but also your strengths like stubbornness (hehe) and being a prayer warrior on to me.  I’ve been told that I’m a lot like you.  You are a strong woman mom, a strong woman of God and a strong family woman.

I know for years I've struggled with my relationship with you.  I know you and Dad did your best in raising us, your kids.  I know you've been sorry for ways where I was hurt growing up.  Your regret and even tears over that is pretty special.  Many parents aren't soft and open like that.  Thank you for wishing that you’d loved me more.  I know in some ways you've tried to make it up to me.  Thank you for that. I remember those moments, those moments of deliberately doing something to show me that you love me.  Like little gifts just to show me that you love me. 

Last year in January you were diagnosed with stage 3 cancer.  Boy did that suck! I had just started orientation in college.  I was under it emotionally and a little depressed. I was under a cloud.  I was passive and stuck in my attitude toward the diagnoses. It was hard to deal with having my mom diagnosed with cancer.  I was afraid of that diagnoses.  A friend said something about it that made me mad but it kicked me in the butt emotionally to get some of my fight back.
Your faith and your fight through the diagnoses is awesome to see.  You are dealing with such a serious medical problem but you still take time and energy for your kids and your husband.  So many times I’ve called you for a listening ear and encouragement about my personal issues (and you’re the one fighting cancer, not me).  Cancer doesn't take away the fact that you are still one of my number one go to people, that you are still my mom.  You understand my weaknesses, you don’t judge me for them and you have ministered to me many many times.  You have spoken verses to me with conviction and strength and also prayed so many times for me.

Having you diagnosed with cancer has made you feel more valuable to me.  Sometimes I think about you and I know in that moment what you are dealing with and it makes me feel like crying.  You are a beautiful person. Physically you have a lovely face.  Your inner person is one of spiritual steel but also gentle in love toward me.

Thank you for your love over the years. Thank you for your faithfulness to your family and to Dad and to your faith.  Even though we have definitely bumped heads, and we are very different in many ways, and very similar in others, I want to be like you in your faithfulness and and love for your family. I want to also be strong in faith like you.  You are tenacious in your faith in speaking positive while fighting this battle.  I tell many people that I don’t worry much about you because of the way you and dad are dealing with it.  That is a tribute to the strength and faith you have in God and the way you are handling it as individuals.
I love you a lot mom.  I know I haven’t always shown it but I do.  You mean a lot to me.  You are special to me and I’m thankful for the strength you are to me!

Your oldest girl,
Marie Angeline

Thursday, May 02, 2013

His workmanship

Here is the second installment of art I've created on a touch screen computer.  I've never been much for really abstract types of art but creating on a computer, my fingers touching the smooth glass of the touch screen, it's a different story.  Its actually soothing to create on this computer.

I'm reminded that our life is a like a work of art.  Kind of cliché right?  But it really is.  In Ephesians God is the creator of us, "His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works."  As an artist, the word "workmanship" really speaks to me.  I am his "Art work"  that He created and is molding and shaping even now.    And as something that He created he wants me to also create. Through a synergistic relationship with Him, MY creator, he wants his creative energy to flow through me. 

I'm reminded of Jim Elliot who said that he felt God's pleasure when he ran.  He said this statement when his sister was trying to persuade him to go to the mission field right away.  She did not see the "spiritual"  value of him running in the Olympics.  Jim knew he was good at running and he knew God created him to run.  Therefore when he ran he experienced his creator's pleasure.

When we do what Jesus created us to do,  He is pleased.  We may feel His pleasure. 

Another real part of creating a piece of art is mistakes.  Many people when drawing, painting or just doing life feel like they totally messed up when they make a mistake.  I have told art students and told peers that mistakes in art are opportunities.  An artist that lives in a state of grace while creating knows that a "mistake" is not the end of the piece but an opportunity to add something a little different then what they expected. The mistake may add another layer of texture of a detail that makes the art even better. 

I feel like that is how we should look at life.  Look at your mistakes, your so-called failures or inability to "measure-up" as opportunities for THE Artist to create something different and beautiful in your life. 

Some of the most beautiful art has very light colors and very dark colors.  There is a lot of contrast.  And so maybe it is with us,  we have BRIGHT times of great joy and victory and dark times of struggle and self doubt.  Maybe it's all a part of the great masterpiece God is creating from your life.  The dark times are not mistakes but the backdrop to the bright days of greater beauty God wants to display in your life. 
Remember YOU ARE HIS WORKMANSHIP! You are his piece of Art work, his greatest masterpiece.  He promises to make beauty from ashes and to work all things together for our good.  To take our mistakes and failures and make them "work" into the canvas of our lives.

p.s. Click on the pictures to see them larger!