Saturday, September 20, 2014

Dear Eliana (On Your 10th Birthday)

Sweet Eliana - 

Is a mother made in a decade's time?
That's how long it's been since you traded amniotic fluid for oxygen.
Ten years since I first saw your face above a green medical sheet 
that acted as a barrier during my emergency c-section.
Ten years since I walked hazy over our threshold for the first time as mommy.

I was so proud of the pink-striped nursery we prepared for you.
Did I ever tell you the first two colors I chose looked like a circus tent dripping in pepto bismol?
Did I ever tell you that your Daddy loves me a ton? I have proof.
See those lovely shades of pink? Those are not pepto bismol. 
He repainted. For me.
I hope you know your Daddy will go the same lengths for you.
He will work hard to help you realize your dreams 
and if there's a time when you realize you messed up, he won't rub it in.
He will go to Sherwin Williams and get more paint (metaphorically speaking).

Transitioning into motherhood was hard for me.
Not completely natural.
I was a foreigner learning a new language; a new way of life.
Nothing really seemed native in the land of motherhood.
Not at first.
But days of adjustments and months of acclimating paid off.
I found I was more at home with myself. And with you.
I still had questions. Lots of them.
Actually, I continue to have lots of questions.
About motherhood. and life. and myself. and faith.
I hope you celebrate your questions. 
Embrace them. Relish them. Carry them well.
Sometimes Jesus is seen most clearly in the uncertainty.

Eventually, life reoriented itself to a normal.
I got more comfortable with imperfection. Mistakes make for good company.
And somewhere along the way I realized God doesn't expect perfection.
I hope you are patient with yourself as you grow.
If you are, you offer yourself an invaluable gift
and God's love is easier to identify.

Baby Einstein turned to Curious George turned to My Little Pony.
Sandra Boynton ushered in Mo Willems ushered in Cul-de-Sac Kids.
Little People were replaced by Bitty Baby were replaced by Lego Friends.
Years passed. You grew. So did our family.
You became big sister. Two times over.
I watched you mother your younger brother and sister.
You've been teacher to them even when you didn't realize you were.
I hope, no matter how old you are, you will show honor to your siblings. 
You were blessed with a great responsibility as eldest. Wield it well.

Because of your care, constant and tender,
Levi and Moriah look up to you.
They stand in the shadow of their big sister with wide eyes and open ears.
And they are protective of you. Not wishing harm to come to you.
I have proof.
Here they are unable to watch as you faced your fear and got your ears pierced yesterday.
Your stress became theirs.
Lives connected by blood but hearts connected by love.
I hope your life will continue to be marked by true friendship
when one feels both the pain and joy of another as if it is their own. 
You experienced this first with your family.

Is a mother made in a decade's time?
Only in part for it seems that motherhood is more a mosaic.
A conglomeration of being made from moments of my undoing.
Undone in the face of indescribable joy, fierce protectiveness, bubbling frustration.
Undone as I mix moments of overwhelming failure and unsaid bliss.
Yet, I still stand incomplete.
Motherhood has not matured in me.
Not yet.
Maybe not ever.
But I am being made.
With every moment. Every memory.
I hope you know the joy of becoming.
Perhaps that is what we were made for.
The becoming.
Christ in you - the hope of glory.
Becoming mine. 
Becoming His.
Becoming you.

Happy 10th Birthday, Eliana!
I love you!


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Soul Famine

I should have seen it coming.
This need to write, to emote, to express.
I've been here before.
Where creative famine dwells.
Where I am soul thirsty for the kind of life given in the process of creation.
Yes, I should have seen it coming.

My schedule has burst at the seams.
My calendar filled with responsibilities and the needs of others.
Family. Children. Church. Home Education. Sermons.
So full, but not fulfilling.
At least not for the part of me made for creating.
Sure, there is a creative process in what I do in my marriage or in parenting.
There is creative energy expended in leading others into the presence of Jesus.
Creative juices must flow to craft words to preach week in and week out.

But life's duties have a way of absorbing the joy.
The joy offered when we create simply for the sake of creating.
It is that joy, the creation simply for creation's sake, that I have missed.

And when my soul is starved of creation - 
the process that birthed me and into which I was birthed,
the process that connects me to the heart of the One who formed me from dust,
when I find my soul malnourished,
it's then that I fight hardest for peace
because I have failed to be all I was created for.
I feel small and insignificant.
You see, I was created to create.
To join in a divine process.
And I need it.
Like air.
Or water.

I need time and space and places meant for me to color a canvas
but with the paint of words.
I need time and space and places meant for me to offer my art
for no other reason than it feeds me.
No matter what another might say.
No matter if another is touched or moved.

I need time and space and places I can stare at a blank screen of white 
and delight to string words together in Helvetica font
because it moves me 
it nourishes me, 
it oxygenates me,
it inspires me.

And so, that is one of the reasons I began this blog.
To set aside a place to create.
But I have been busy.
And I have been left wanting.

And with gratitude, I've returned to this place.
Not to garner accolades
but so that my soul might live again.
Deep soul breaths.
For my sake.

Whoever you are. Wherever you are. 
I pray you, too, will find time and space and places to create. 
Whatever that might look like.
For your sake.