|"Self Portrait" Photography courtesy of Tyler Adams, Edited by Melissa Adams|
I'm not really sure why, but for some reason lately I've really been struggling with my self-image as it pertains to my art, and as it pertains to my role as a mother, a wife, a friend, a daughter, and of course as a child of God. You've probably noticed the physical proof of this in the form of me being rather absent from my blog of late, for which I am really and truly sorry. I've been healing up quite nicely these last few weeks since we last talked, and this week for the first time in months I was able to watch both boys for a whole day, which is huge for me, albeit pretty sad if you think about it. I feel like I'm waking up from a dream. A wretchedly horrible dream filled with pain and self pity, agony of heart, soul and body, and I am overwhelmed with a feeling of disbelief that these last few months really happened. It's shocking to me how bad things got. How I was so incapable of taking care of myself that my husband had to bathe me. That his dad had to carry me upstairs to put me to bed at night. That my children couldn't touch me without causing me to gasp and cry out in pain. That I was basically on bed-rest for months, and my only escape from the house was to go to the doctors or go to my pain class. It's just so surreal.
But coming out of all this, it's just as strange. I'm having a hard time grasping reality. And having a hard time with my new role as a mother again, though I am head over heals in love with my boys and overjoyed at the prospect of being able to have them home with me once more. I'm taking it slow, so very, very slow, but on Tuesday I was able to take care of them all on my own and it was amazing. Simply and wonderfully amazing!
What's strange to me now is that when I was so terribly sick with my fibro that I felt absolutely no guilt in spending time painting. I knew for a fact that it was for my own health and benefit, since God used it as a form of therapy for me to get through the most trying moments of my life. But now that I'm starting to regain strength and the ability to walk and lift my boys, and hold them without too much pain, I feel so guilty wanting to spend time in painting that I've come to a veritable stand-still with it. I just can't get myself to jump this hurdle and get back on the horse. And what's weird is that we all know how good painting is for me. But even with that knowledge, I feel like if I spend time working on art now, that I'm a failure. It doesn't make sense, but that's how I feel. Granted, most of these last few days I haven't made it past 9pm without collapsing in a heap of exhaustion on the couch or the bed, but even during naps, or free time, I just can't get myself to pick up a brush. It's so frustrating!
But then I got an email from a woman I deeply admire, who's art has always inspired me from the moment I saw it. Her name is Suzanne Berry, and her work is astoundingly beautiful. Click here to visit her blog - I assure you that you won't be disappointed! Well, to my utter shock and sheer delight this woman who I've looked up to for so very long was actually kind enough to write to me and encourage me to look past these feelings that are holding me back and just get to work. I just about peed my pants when I saw her letter in my inbox, and to see a second one had me running to my husband in delight just so I could show him it. =) So today I am determined to break through this block and to run with it. To look deep inside myself and find the lies that my mind is feeding me, and to work past them so I can get back to work myself. I don't understand why I'm having such a hard time with this, other than the obvious fact that I have massive mommy guilt, but I really don't want to give in and let these thoughts control me. After all, the boys are away today at their God-mothers house and I have the time to ease up on myself and get back to my easel without feeling guilt, and yet something is still holding me back. Is it fear of failure? Fear that I'm just not that good? Fear that nobody cares about my art and that I'm just wasting my time? Well, I suppose it's all of those combined, plus some, and yet I know that in the end, even if there is truth to those words, I don't have to let them be my reality or stop me from dreaming big. I can do this. I need to do this. Not only for me, but for my family as well. I am an artist, and to create is a passion God put in me for a purpose. He gave me these talents, and when the end comes and I am standing at His feet, I don't want to stand there empty handed, with Him disappointed at me for not putting to work the gifts He gave me. I want to be able to lay an abundance at His feet, and thank Him for giving me such beautiful gifts so that I could use them as an investment for Him, and so that someday I can present Him with ten-fold the amount He gave unto me.
So my hope for today or perhaps even tomorrow is that I'll be able to post a new creation of mine, even if it only gets partially done, because I really want to break free from the bondage of fear that is holding me back and keeping me from pursuing the dreams and desires that God has sewn into my heart. I am sure you all have dealt with this at some point in time as well, and I would love to hear from you what you did to overcome such vicious thoughts and be victorious over your fears. Perhaps on days like these it's good to be like a child, to look inside ourselves and discover what is holding us back from being the vibrant, beautiful, and worthy creation that God has intended for us to be. Because I don't want to hold myself back - I have enough people trying to do that for me already, that I don't need to add to it. I want to shine for my God, to do good works for Him and be a light for Him. And I want to do that through my art. How about you? Are you holding back on your dreams out of fear? Will you trust in God with me, and look deep into your heart to find His peace that overcomes all fear, so that when you look in the mirror, you can do so with all the joy and wonder and possibilities that a child has within their own precious little souls.
I still struggle with the ability to have the faith of a child. Even though I know that God wants me to paint, that He gave me this gift for a reason, I still sit in fear, paralyzed from doing exactly what God wants me to do. Oh how I pray that some day, I will be just like a little child to God, never fearing, always trusting, and always letting Him lead the way. For He has said, "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3-4) Oh how I wish to have such complete faith and trust in the Lord that I would be able to grasp His hand and let Him lead me wherever He wants me to go, without a worry or care in the world, and without fear that I just can't do it. After all, if it's God's will for me, then He will carry me if I only let Him. I pray for those of you reading this that you too would have such trust and faith in God that you would reach out your hand in the dark, and let Him direct your path, as I am trying to do the same in my own walk with Him. May you find courage and strength in our Lord today in all that you do, and may God bless you abundantly for that!
And happy painting everyone! =)
|"Looking Deep Within" Child Photography by Melissa Adams|