Life Changes

My thoughtful husband recently purchased a digital tutorial of how HJ-Story, one of my/our favorite web art, is created from the HJ-Story website (see: here).  From this helpful tutorial, I was able to try a few techniques in Photoshop to draw the following illustration (with much encouragement from B through the whole learning process):

birdcage

While far from professional looking, it is substantially better than what I have been able to draw in Photoshop before and I actually enjoyed the process.  Prior to this tutorial, I was so attached to and resolved to sticking with my good ol’ pencil and sketchpad that I really didn’t have much hope that I could ever draw anything worthwhile on the computer.  Thank you B for guiding me to try new things and to not give up.

Now about the illustration itself…This holiday season was one of the hardest that I have ever experienced.  The combination of being far from my family and close friends, stuck indoors due to inclement weather, and ending work to enter parenthood, was almost more than I could bear.  Again, my dear husband walked with me through the turbulent emotions that were probably exacerbated by my pregnancy hormones.

What troubled me most was the uncertainty of the future.  I like to know what is about to come and how I can prepare for it.  Being a parent for the first time leaves me highly unprepared and I have no internal compass to guide me.  Originally, I was delighted by the thought of ending work for a period of time and relished the idea of pursuing long lost interests such as painting, sewing, and getting lost in creating with my hands.  I even dared to dream of starting a business from home so that I could stay with my future kids to nurture them as they grow.  However, those dreams quickly turned to nightmares and I was crushed by the fear of failing before I even started.  Dreaming was dangerous and the freedom from answering to the expectations and demands in a formal workplace was no longer desirable.  Before me, I have the opportunity to do what my heart has long since craved to do.  To use the expression of Eric Liddell, God made me creative.  And when I do art, I feel His pleasure.  Why then the deviation from this inclination?

I fear.  I fear failure, disappointment, obstacles, and more.  My fear dictates me and imprisons me even when doors are opened.  I forget God’s faithfulness and I let my trust in His steadfast love and goodness crumble to nothing.  Despite my shortcomings and shortsightedness, His mercies are new every morning and He reminds me that He is a God bigger than myself with plans for me greater than myself.  In writing this post, Psalm 27 is brought to mind.  I once memorized this Psalm in college to combat the very same fears I still experience today.  Thankfully, God is a patient teacher and has me repeat my lessons through different experiences.  Thankfully, He does not give up even when I have.

Psalm 27

1 The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?

2 When evildoers assail me
to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes,
it is they who stumble and fall.

3 Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
yet I will be confident.

4 One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple.

5 For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will lift me high upon a rock.

6 And now my head shall be lifted up
above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud;
be gracious to me and answer me!
8 You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you,
“Your face, Lord, do I seek.”
9     Hide not your face from me.
Turn not your servant away in anger,
O you who have been my help.
Cast me not off; forsake me not,
O God of my salvation!
10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
but the Lord will take me in.

11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
and lead me on a level path
because of my enemies.
12 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
for false witnesses have risen against me,
and they breathe out violence.

13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living!
14 Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!

 

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Fall-ing in Love

Fall is my favorite timeFalling Leaves of year.  The cooler winds and changing foliage brings with it loads of harvest foods and gusts of tantalizing baking spices.  Since my 6th month of pregnancy, I have been walking instead of running in the mornings to keep myself and baby healthy.  I have learned to enjoy the slower pace and to soak in the beauty of this season.

One day while strolling down the trail path at the nearby park, the breeze gently broke off leaf stems from nearby trees.  As the multi-colored leaves dropped to the floor, I thought about how much grace was present in their last descent.  One by one, the aged leaves danced their last dance while twirling and sashaying peacefully to the floor.  They served their purpose well this year and it was time for them to rest.  This reminded me of the verse from Ecclesiastes 3:1 (ESV):

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.

When I walk, B reminds meleaves on the floor to always look at the ground and to keep my toes up so that I avoid falling on my face.  His concerns are not entirely unwarranted given that I tripped over my own feet two months ago and had to be led hobbling home with two sorry knees.  In the fall, the trail path is carpeted with the leaves of nearby trees.  The vibrant colors that decorate the floor reminded me of confetti.  It was as if the trees decided to throw a big party in celebration of a year well done.  The remnants of their festivities made me smile.  Plus, I get to make crunchy noises while I walk through the forest.

At the moment, my life path is leading me towards a junction with divergent crossroads.  I am still learning to be a wife and to be a teacher.  Both these roles and callings are new for me (having practiced for about 1.5 years now).  I am just starting to learn how to be a daughter-in-law and will soon be learning how to be a mother.  For many weeks, the combination (or collision) of these roles have been daunting to me.  Can I fulfill them all?  Do I continue to pursue them all?  Some are without options as to whether I will persevere in them, but my career direction is one that may be redirected.  But this is the season that the Lord has provided and I pray that I rejoice in the matters that He wisely gives.