Wednesday, January 28, 2015

part three; these dreams, goal setting

Spare a little candle, save some light for me.

So I go head first into 2015. Into the next ten years if I have them. Perhaps understanding even more so today than I did back then just how short life is. I think of my parents, 44 and 41, when they died. What if I only have that long? I hate when people say that's not true, we had different lifestyles, they had health issues.... because the fact of the matter is that I don't have to have something wrong before I die. I could get into a car accident, I could develop a rare unknown disease, I could die in a fire. Who knows, but it's not always based on health.

Darkness on the edge, shadows where I stand.

What if I knew I only had 10 years left, just 3650 days left on my calendar? I started to think about this. I started to think about how at the end of one week it's only 3643 left. How after a month goes by it's only 3630. Suddenly the calendar is moving a lot faster than I realize. Is it worth it to sit watching tv? Scrolling on social media? All these things just filling up time. No, it's really not.

I search for the time on a watch with no hands.

I pray I have ten more years. I pray that if I get to be 44 that I can look back and know that I made my mom proud. It hurts like heck to know that at this point my mom has been gone for one-third of my life. It hurts even more to know that this fraction will only grow. I miss her like crazy and there are still days that I want to pick up the phone and call her and tell her something I heard. To hear her laugh one more time or see her smile one more time. These are the moments I want back.

Every moment I’m awake, the further I’m away.

So I want to be more intentional about how I spend my time. Choosing less time on social media and more time developing my skills. Whether I have 1 day left or 40 years, I don't want to waste it. I am ready to chase after my dreams. Chase after the things we always wished we could do and make it happen. I'm hopeful when I do things will start to change. I do it for the glory of God but knowing a part of me is carrying the heart of my mother, I do it for her, too.

Funny how your feet in dreams never touch the earth.
There’s something out there, I can’t resist.

[*lyrics, Heart, These Dreams]

part two; chasing the sun

You said, remember that life is not meant to be wasted. 
We can always be chasing the sun. 
So fill up your lungs and just run.  We can always be chasing the sun.

Lately I've been reflecting a lot. I'm beginning to realize how beautiful these traits are that I've inherited from my mother, these gifts from God that I love so much.

My love of music, despite having the musical knowledge of how to play an instrument. My mom and I always seemed to love the songs with the lyrics that reached into our souls. The songs that spoke volumes into our lives. The ones that seemed to notice us when the rest of the world didn’t. There are songs I love to this day that are simply because they get me. As if the songwriter knew and noticed a girl with a heart like mine. Many nights my mom would play her radio. While it sometimes drove a wedge through our relationship, I understand now why she did it. Because for 4 minutes, someone sang the words of her heart and she felt loved.

The love we shared of word puzzles and reading books. My mother could have won Wheel of Fortune a million times over. And, hello? Nancy Drew? Who doesn’t love a good mystery novel? Collecting recipes but never really making them (and her BEAUTIFUL handwriting that I wish I had half of, & before you disagree let me just say you’ve never seen her handwriting). Finding comfort in the sound of a rain storm or the ocean waves (so many memories).

There’s a history through her. Sent to us as a gift from the future, to show us the proof.
More than that, it’s to dare us to move. And to open our eyes and learn from the sky. 

Chasing the sun for a photograph before it sets for the day. Maybe one of my favorite memories. I wish I knew what photo it was, but I will never forget the day. The sun was setting and it was glorious. My mom drove home as fast as she could to grab her camera and we went down by the water to catch an amazing sunset. Only recently did I realize that I follow her footsteps perfectly when it comes to chasing the glory of the sky. I’ve always been enamored when I look up into the sky, whether during the day or at night. So much beauty that never repeats itself.

And perhaps the biggest of all the traits is my love for art.  My mom was an amazing artist. Like, really amazing. Not too long ago someone in the family told me that my artwork reminded them of my mothers and I just felt so moved by that. If you ask me, I don't come a close second to her. But I try. I don’t have any formal training and art wasn’t a thing when I was going to college like it is now. It was the same for my mother. But it’s always been my desire. It’s always been what gives me the greatest joy.

In all of this I've found a new hope. I've always wanted to be better. Graduate high school. Go to college and graduate there. Have a career. Few things left still, owning a home is one of them. So in a lot of ways I've always wanted to overcome the position in life that I was born into. We never had money, we didn't vacation, my parents didn't go to college, work was always just a way to get by. So in all of this, naturally I want to somehow be better, but that desire and the reasons have changed.

I want to do something with my art. I want to do something that would have made my mom proud. To give her a name for the name she gave me. To do something that she wished she could have done. How I want nothing more than her to be a part of that now. Her and I we could have gone into business. I could have seen her genuinely smile. For me that's what it was always all about. My heart hurt when my mom was having a tough time but oh, how I rejoiced when her spirits were lifted.

Just this week I got to do something I never ever dreamed. A few months back I started really asking God to use my gifts to bring Him glory. I wanted to use my art and my writing and my love to bless others. Then out of the blue I was asked if I would be willing to paint some pictures for a church plant that just opened this past weekend. I said yes, at times unsure if I was in over my head and beyond my skill level. But with a paintbrush and a lot of prayers I saw my art hung in church on Saturday. What a feeling, I can't believe it and I wish I could have shared this moment with my mother oh so much.

And the gift of my heartbeat sounds like a symphony. 

It’s these things. It’s these moments. When I see her artwork I’ve framed hanging on my wall. Knowing if there was a fire and I could only grab one thing, it would be her artwork. Hands down. She had so much talent but didn’t have the means to further that pursuit. If only she were here now. If only Etsy existed back then. If only.

In a lot of ways I don’t think she saw herself the way others saw her. A complication to a dream that held her back.  Gifted and talented. Beautiful. Bursting with life and love. A genuine sweet heart that would give unto others over herself time and time again. In so many ways, I see myself the same way my mother saw herself.

My prayer lately is that I can become the woman that God created me to be. That I could be confident in the way He sees me. That I could overcome the lies and the self-doubt and really just believe that I am capable of reaching so much more. Not to be ashamed to dream but to also put work into those dreams and bring them to life with God’s hand. Not to tear myself down but to let Him build me up.

[*lyrics, Chasing the Sun - Sara Bareilles]

part one; ten years, hope in the grace

January 28, a day I might never forget. Today marks the ten year anniversary since I've lost my mom. Calling it an anniversary sounds so cruel. Hardly a reason for me to celebrate. But that's what it is. A date on the calendar that will forever be marred by what would be the first of many life changing circumstances in 2005.

If you were to ask me what is the hardest part about being a Christian I would say it's this; I live by the bible because that is the truth. Jesus says in order for someone to get into heaven you must believe that He is the son of God and that He died for our sins so we can have eternal salvation. That brings a great deal of comfort when loved ones were saved but for me I struggle with this a lot. My mom didn't know about Jesus. I wish I could say she did so I could be confident that I would see her again.

I've prayed and asked God that He would have saved her anyways. Because of the love that He has for me that it could overflow into the ones that I love, namely my mom. If I think too long about this I just start crying. Because this part- it's not written in the bible. But God. But God who is so gracious. Yet, I know what Jesus said (John 11:25). My heart is torn. Recently someone said to me that Gods grace and mercy is beyond what we can understand. He has a plan for all of us. We cannot know what that plan is and who He chooses to save. But we can find comfort in the fact that He is a gracious God with a plan and a purpose. I pray, let it be so.

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory forever and ever, Amen. – Ephesians 3:20

I know if I could tell my mom now that she would be open to hearing it. One of the beautiful traits I got from my mom was the desire to be connected on a deeper level to something beyond what our eyes can see. Oh, we talked about so many things together. Life after death, the infinite universe, and how your spirit stays when you go. While some of the things we often wondered about were far from Christianity, in a lot of ways we were searching after that One true thing. Gosh, so many questions we would ask have been answered in my bible. I just wish I could tell her.

I know that there is pain
Why do you lock yourself up in these chains?
No one can change your life except for you.
Don’t ever let anyone step all over you.
Just open your heart and your mind
Is it really fair to feel this way inside?
Don’t you know, things can change.
Things’ll go your way.
If you hold on for one more day.
[wilson phillips, hold on.]

*i'll be sharing a few of my moms favorite songs (which means they're also mine) as well as a Sara song that reminds me of my mom each time I hear it. <3