We are moving this month.
Life is unfolding before my eyes, in the most brilliant and exciting way and I am being bombarded with understanding and clarity of what these past three years have been for me and for my family.
Three years ago, this month, we left the charming state of Tennessee and drove north to Minnesota. We lived in my brother’s basement for three months, in a less than desirable neighborhood. We survived long enough to get work and move to what some around here call, “a yuppie lake town.” We enjoyed that zero people got shot on our street on a daily basis and the lake was 1200 feet from our apartment door. Matt worked two jobs, we had another baby, who cried for four months, didn’t like anyone for nine months, didn’t sleep through the night for a year and today is a wildfire of joy, love, and charm.
With two kids, two jobs, one car, and our creative interests, we learned the importance of protecting our family time, preserving hours for quiet, sanity, and inspiration, and generally decided we liked spending our time together more than anything else. We casually attended a church, but realized we weren’t looking for a church to fill our calendars, so we made our family a priority and strangely enough, as we grew slightly disconnected from the church world, we grew in our own relationships with each other and with God. This is not a statement laced with negative feelings or opinions, it is simply part of our story.
I’m beginning to see that these three years have been a gift, an intensive study in marriage, motherhood, and artistry. I have learned who I am and I have let go of who I am not. It has been amazing. It has also been lonely and disconnected from everything outside of my home and family. I have met only a handful of friends and truthfully, only one has become a true kindred spirit, a sweet breath of fresh air and support. We can laugh in our broken frustrations, delight in small joys, and encourage in our exhaustion-laden hope. It has been abundant and rich in a season of social drought and introspection.
I have discovered that art is not simply something I enjoy, but it is the way I see the world, it’s the way I understand God and the way that God reveals himself to me. I have learned that it is so essential to me, that I want to encourage others, to help them see that a gift lives within them, a story to be told, an adventure to be lived…. something great that brings meaning to this existence, something that compels us onward, leaving behind a wake of beauty, truth, and hope.
In these last years, my world has been small, home. Yet, I have screamed dreams, big world-changing dreams into the pages of journals, blog posts, and through paint. They have brewed inside of me, growing like an unborn child until there is simply no room, until I felt that I couldn’t manage the weight any longer. And in the slow gestation of these ideas, I began to doubt that these God-given dreams would ever be possible, and I wondered if it might be easier to let them go. And they grew and grew and tossed and turned, until one night in my impatient and hopeful soul, I crumbled. I wondered if we would ever leave this place that never felt like home, if we’d ever find community, a place to belong, and if we’d ever begin to see the fruition of these tormenting and beautiful dreams. I felt like I would explode.
And you know, perhaps, that is just the right timing, when you cannot continue as you are, because your dream has become so interwoven with who you are, and together you have outgrown your current fishbowl.
End of part one.