Somewhere along the way I develop a picture of what this season of my life, of what my family, should look like by now. Maybe it’s that I expect a certain yield (of myself and of them)—a particular culmination to appear along a linear timeline in filtered perfection. Well, that timeline can appear to unravel and crack loud, bringing about change the way lightning strikes through sky. My breath comes in gasps, knocked out in the storm.
Yet the wind and weather know God’s name. Creation is his masterpiece. So why do I gasp and grasp?
It’s not the first time I have struggled to catch my breath. When I was a little girl, I had buckled my favorite patent leather shoes and put on my smocked dress, delighting in the idea of being as pretty as a picture for a day out. Late that afternoon, I slipped at the top of a whole flight of stairs and slid all the way down on my backside. I found myself at the bottom staring desperately at my beloved shoes. The wind was knocked out of me. I was gasping for air, and my dress lay askew; the shoes I had chosen to shine through my day felt like a mocking mistake. I lay there weak and wondering. How could I have been so foolish? Had I missed a step? Why hadn’t someone caught me? Am I going to make it?
I don’t know how you started your new year, but mine did not start with the kind of flash that brings a perfectly filtered picture. Before even descending the first step, I seemed to have lost my mothering balance. I lay there with a pleading heart asking God why the picture appears askew.
And it all feels painfully familiar. Years ago, I sat with prayers beating at my heart, asking God for help, and fighting the negatives eroding the ground beneath me. And he answered. He brought me a miraculous breath of hope and healing, followed by an abundant provision of faith to pursue the call of family life and motherhood. God brought such beauty in this call to unfathomable love—I could never have begun to picture it.
And now and again, I ache with longings and with prayers, looking out into the vast picture of the sky. It is easy to lose hold of hope and find it slipping away when your heart aches with the pain of the present. It is easy to see only the unraveling and hear only the sound of cracking that fills the sky of the here and now. How “dimly” my eyes do see things (1 Cor 13:12).
I must not fail to remember the ways God has answered my cries and how he has seen to each step and helped after each mis-step. How I have received more than I could have ever dared to envision. Just because the picture looks incomplete and I wonder at the glaring spots and the dark nuances, does not mean God is not faithfully creating a masterpiece. I will surrender the picture I have held tight. I will rest in his powerful hand that has moved through the pain of the past and will now work with the pieces of the present picture. I will press on toward the mark of the high calling in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:14). For in him alone lies the big picture—of the beautiful, resplendent realities of redemption and restoration.