Let me be honest. In November I pretty much had reached my limit. I’m a homeschool mom with 5 kids, 2 with learning challenges and special needs, I was going through my fifth miscarriage in 2 years, had made several life-altering adjustments, had endured one of the most devastating trials of my life during the summer, and then was struck with the horrible effects of topical steroid withdrawal. I was at my lowest point when the Lord rescued me by giving me grace, hope, and a renewed desire for life with much prayer and support from dear friends and family. During this time, I didn’t realize that I had allowed the stress to strain every aspect of our family life. I was just surviving with a lot of checklists and schedules but little grace, much prodding and pushing without gentleness, deadlines and results without beauty. Awakening from my pain-filled stupor, I craved to bring order, beauty, and restoration back to my family.
Thanksgiving was around the corner and it was the perfect opportunity to reflect upon the blessings rather than continue to dwell on the difficult. We spent hours brainstorming about our dreams and desires. We made plans for travel, for read-alouds, for activities, for goals. I knew we would forget the sweetness of these slowed-down days and eager chatter. I wanted us to continually be reminded of God’s goodness to us through our struggles and hardship and to mark the wonders and joy of the life He gave us. I wanted it to be beautiful.
I came up with a mural covering a large wall in our foyer. The kids all contributed their talent to the work. After 100+ hours and a lot of paint, our Experience Life wall was done. Our unfinished bucket list lines the stripes and our completed experiences are scattered in the leaves throughout. What a delight to walk by it or fill in another leaf!
Oh, how cliché but through it all, I was reminded that every detail, every stroke, every colorful event – whether it represents bright happy times, or the darkest, blackest shadow – has the Master’s touch. What tremendous hope it is to know that He who started a work in us will see it to completion! Firmly believing in the truth of Romans 8:28, I find courage to face these challenges because of Christ and His unfailing love for me. I want to share this truth with my children and teach them to draw strength from Him who is able. I want them to know that everything in their life isn’t just random meaninglessness rather it is beauty in progress.
(Inspired by artists Karla Gerard and Chrissie Grace. Thank you.)