As a sahm and especially a homeschool mom, I know for me personally, there are times I don't feel beautiful anymore. I think of women who have to get ready for their professional career and polish up everyday or women my age who are not yet mothers and take great care of themselves with great shoes, clothes, regularly maintained and colored hair and the best makeup and nail polish! Or especially other mothers who seem to do it ALL while looking fantastic. Then I look down and there is pretty much ALWAYS something on my shirt, chipped uneven nails, just a little but of nail polish left on my big toes that's been wearing off for over a month, a year of highlights grown out, tired dull skin and eyes, and pretty much just feeling plain jane. When your day starts with caring for a baby, toddler, sick or scared child who kept you up all night, rather than jump out of bed and get beautified for work and friends, it's a zombie walk to the kitchen for coffee first! Then more kids appear, need breakfast, help, attention, direction...pets also start meowing or whimpering for a need as well. Your day gets going and before you know it, it's well into the day, you finally catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror when you managed to get a bathroom break and it can be startling to see the tired, disheveled, unkempt, starting to age, worn out person in the mirror and feel like all traces of whatever former beauty have been lost.
I can also feel this way about creativity and art. I wanted to be a couple things when I was in my youth...number one...I always wanted to be a mom but other dreams included being a fine artist, spending time in Italy as an apprentice to gain and polish professional skills, compose music for movie soundtracks and maybe a few other grand dreams. When I glance in the mirror on those days and see an uglier version of myself, I sometimes feel that way about my creative and artistic abilities...lost in the wash...probably gone to the same place of no return that all those socks go to....which is why my kids wear mismatched socks a lot of the time!
BUT...as depressing and pitiful as that all sounds, thankfully those days are a small minority of the time because I am reminded that BEAUTY isn't merely a state of being and neither is art. Both are an expression. Both can be expressed and enjoyed in many non-tangible, non-capturable ways, all throughout our day...every day!
Motherhood and homemaking are sources of insurmountable joy and satisfaction yet at the same time very exhaustive, stressful and humbling. Motherhood BREAKS you. But, if approached with intention, unselfishness, humbleness, a willingness to learn from our children and pray over everything and seek out the Holy Spirit's inspiration as our main go to parenting resource that we can tap into anytime....from or brokenness, a new beautiful creature arises from within. TRUE BEAUTY. Expressed in our love for our children, how we teach them, treat them and give our unconditional enduring love, being teacher and students of our children. Learning who they are, embracing who they are, cultivating their personality traits to work for their good so they can serve as strengths more than weakness...which is ultimately done through constant prayer and seeking of guidance. This new beautiful strong creature is shed of some of her former self...and usually a lot for the better...shed of shallowness, selfishness, impatience and pride just to name a few.
Art and creativity are also expressed in child raising and homemaking on a daily basis. Living simply, unhurried and connected with our surroundings, creating quality time, being up to enjoy and go with the flow to enjoy the spontaneous and the planned moments together, exploring and discovering the world together, creating things together, creating an environment to cultivate their little hearts, minds and spirits....there is just so much that happens everyday that is an expression of art and creativity.
My family and home are my canvas and God is the medium-blended into every color, coated on every brush and layered onto every part of the canvas that I work on everyday. It all goes on smoother, blends better and has a better overall finish when He is a part of it.
Often when thoughts of not fulfilling or cultivating my gifts and passions, I'm reminded that right now, in this season, my family and my home are my canvas and my various paintbrushes are prayer, unscheduled time, nature, living books, beautiful homeschool resources, nature journaling, character development, devotional/hymn/poetry study, teachable moments, the right extra curricular activities for us, a handful of sweet friends, extended family, Holy Spirit inspiration and God is the paint medium, blended into every color, coated on every brush and layered onto every part of the canvas that I am working everyday. It all goes on smoother, blends better and has a better finish when He is a part of it.
Aside from drawing in our nature notebooks or doing art with my kids, using my rusty art skills, I am OK...no actually I am MORE than OK to wait until a season when more tangible art projects will be a part if my life...but for now...living art is what it is and finding the beauty and joy in the messy and mundane moments. (Have you ever walked into an painting studio? It's messy and simple and bare...but then, in the midst of the unglamorous setting, stands a beautiful work of art in progress with someone spending hours upon hours, diligently working on it....that is just like life!)
Taking in the simple yet complex beauty of the world as we discover it again in new and profound ways alongside our children, our beauty is expressed through our simple joy and contentment, love of nature, love for each other and ultimately love of our creator.
My personal beauty is not exactly expressed as it was in more youthful years through youthful glowing skin, flat ironed-still naturally blond hair, push up bras and citizen jeans that fit just so...but it IS expressed through creating a peaceful, loving home and a sanctuary for my children and husband to come home to. I cannot do that so well on my own strength alone-but through Adonai-a loving, understanding and creative Father and Savior who knows me and loves me just the way I am.
This is the season I'm in and it is full of art and beauty and when I look at it this way I am in no hurry for this season to end, sometimes I with it would never have to end. I am content.