rest and survival

she sat on my bed, musing about the state of her own heart, after a hard talk with a brother about life choices and tender hearts and fighting rebellion within oneself.  “how do I get past being obedient just so I can get something?” she asked.  “how do I accept a guideline for what it truly is, for protection, rather than because you say so, so i will get the freedom i want?”

there comes a time when melting into the necessary is necessary for survival. when the only alternative is possibly death. when the very livelihood of our souls depends on Shabbat, despite our innate thing to do, and go, and make things our way.

i’m no runner in my physical body (although I’ve made attempts, and I’m in a new stretching stage toward a daring goal).  but I’ve birthed babies, and I believe that may have given me a taste for both the agony and the ecstasy.  (or it may be that a deeply committed runner has had a taste of that joy of participating in the act of creation; that’s a thought…)

i do know, in my creative heart though, what it feels like to be certain that i can. not. take.  a single step further.

a year ago I finally looked straight at my dying creative heart and realized it was being lost to the busyness of keeping it busy.  do you know the feeling?  when you do what you think you should with your love – create a business perhaps – and the busyness takes over until the shine of the art has been lost?  i envy those who can balance it all seemingly with ease, but for me, a combination of fear and pride ate up all my joy as i kicked into survival mode.

so I begged my Papa and through a myriad of circumstances He brought me to a period of “enforced sabbath,” as I’ve called it.  i’ve been moved into a place where i’m not known and “loved” for my outwardly shiny, smiling self but rather have curled up and tucked in and sought Him for my deeper self – the one who created for love of Him and for love of creating and for love of people.

 

artistic sabbatical a

 

there are days when i haven’t left my flannel flamingo jammies or my ikea-clad-king-mattress, my books and my journals and my student-children-loves close by, candles flickering and hot tea warming hands newly adapting to winter air.  some of those days i let guilt and doubt creep in, and others i let the strains of instrumental folk music swirl through my heart and remind me of Joy and Freedom.  i began to taste anew what Beauty is, and i began to long again to be a maker and a server.

rest is vital to our survival, and if need be, our gentle Father will help us get it, whether by strong arm or tender hand.  He loves us just that much, and He created us, in His image, to reflect His glorious freedom.

so now as i prepare to enter a new season to run, to dance, to live a bigger kind of free, i prepare to trust Him to help me go deeper; to find, as my girl seeks, the joy in obeying just for love of Him; to take, thrown in, any freedoms He longs to give.  to trust Him for the good of my soul, for the life of my Heart, for the joy of the dance, because I am His and the music is calling.

 

dancing signature divider web

 

plan ahead {five minute friday}

i’ve got a pinterest board called “plan ahead to be a happy girl.”  it’s chock full of tips and printables, links to calendars and cleaning/organizing/superwoman helpful hints.  every time i grab a link from some wondrous site on the internet, i feel as though i’ve made some kind of accomplishment.  whether i ever actually do accomplish all those things is another story entirely.

 

my Papa knows.  it’s no surprise to Him that i’ve got big dreams, and i want to do all the things.  i want to climb mountains and sing arias.  i’m gonna write a book and produce a play.  i’ve got more people to photograph and women to speak to and children to raise and a marriage to exult in.  and He whispers to me yet again,

 

wait.

 

i’m learning.  slowly (sure, amidst countless uncontrollable circumstances that force my hand), ever-so-slowly, the thing of planning is being relegated to its proper place in line behind the waiting.

 

i read again recently how Nehemiah of old saw the destruction of his city and danger of his people and went to his king and asked for passage to go and right the situation.  his king, mind you, who was of opposing political, personal, and religious beliefs.  his king, you see, who immediately gave Nehemiah everything he asked for and more, offering safe travel and a good word upon arrival and even extra help and protection for the journey.

 

Print

 

but you know what?  before setting out on this ever-so-worthy cause and journey, the man prayed for four months.  just to make sure he was on the right track.  that God was indeed spurring Him in this direction. and when he arrived at the end of his journey, he kept his lips sealed, headed out in the dead of night, and did some serious research about the true nature of the situation at hand before he ever did a thing to help his city and his people.

 

it makes me think that when i see an urgent, a worthy cause, that must be addressed immediately (and let’s be honest, in our current world, there are a few), i might have a bigger perspective.  i might seek the word of the One who made me and the great big world.  for as long as needed.  because planning ahead means having an intimate acquaintance with the Planner.  He already knows what truly must happen.  and if i’m so fortunate, He’s inviting me to be a part of it all.

 

much love -

dancing signature divider web

 

this post was shared with the beautiful community of on-the-spot writers at five minute friday.  come see what they’ve got to say!

winter wonder.

we headed out to share a favorite spot with friends, still early in the day, before the others were up and about. i was shivery and didn’t want to stay long; nor did our friends. we did a quick tour, and they headed out, on the road for their next destination.

 

long beach island family portraits legacy seven studios b

 

the little boys begged to stay, and we weren’t layered enough, but for once i remembered to stop, to listen, to be in the moment.

 

lbi family portraits legacy seven a

 

they tumbled and rolled, leaped and climbed over the dunes, their laughter ringing through branches and across icy sand.  one found a nest, long deserted for warmer times, and climbed to inspect its innards.  they’d dressed themselves, and for once i didn’t worry about look, but used my camera to capture reality, in all its beauty, and appreciated it without reserve.

 

long beach island family portraits legacy seven studios a

 

the quiet loomed large, with no one else to brave the frigid air, and it was a gift we shared in thankfulness when, their energy expended, they trudged through paths alongside my curious self.   no other brothers or sister to compete for words, just the freedom to wander and explore and have me to themselves, not knowing the greater gift was mine, by far.

 

i’m reading stacks of books just now, and one this week challenges me to stop, to still myself, and to absorb the detail in the moment.  i do this here, with the fine art of my own children as my object of study.  i watch, and i make mental note of the wonder.

 

long beach island photographer legacy seven studios a

 

i’m never lacking appreciation for the gift of their smiles (in some seasons with others down the road, i wonder if the hormonal gloom of adolescence will ever give way to sunshine again)… though often i’m ashamed to admit, i don’t enough appreciate their very presence.

 

lbi family portraits legacy seven b

 

so today, i soak them in.  i watch and i listen and i hold mittened hands.  we run for the car, and crank the heat for all we can.  i smell their joy, and i know thankful.

 

loveladies photographer legacy seven studios a

 

do you have moments of “keeping and pondering in your heart?”  i’d love to be privy to your sharing below.

 

dancing signature divider web