To start over or continue?

Wow. So much had happened and changed in the last year. It's hard to know whether to take the time and write it all down or to just enjoy it and go on from here. I have stopped writing on the Art Chick blog because I feel like I have nothing left to say from that part of me anymore. I'm leaving it up for a bit because there are some posts there that were my way of working through our family struggles and life in general. Our life in Maryland seems like a million miles away now; Liam had yet to be diagnosed, I was still the mother of young children and very confused about who I was and how I was supposed to live my life. It's been a bit more than three years since our move to Ohio and though I miss our friends and miss the East Coast in general, I cannot honestly say I miss that time of my life personally.

Our first year or so here was interesting. At the time I didn't realize it but looking back I can see definite lines God drew in the sand saying, "I dare you to cross. I dare you to be who I made you to be." Those lines weren't big trenches. They were just regular little dragging-the-sand-with-a-stick kind of lines. They weren't major life-changing decisions at the time. But looking behind me each step over has added up to quite a move from who I used to think I was.

I still struggle with telling people I'm an artist. Maybe because I'm not famous, I rarely make money with my art or because the word "art" means so many things to so many people and I may not meet the expectation that any random person will have when they hear the words "art" or "artist." HA! Seriously? "May not" meet the expectation?! Good one. I'm actually able to finally say I won't meet the majority of expectations and that really that's fine with me as long as I'm trying my damnedest to meet God's.

The major turning point for me was when Sam died (my brother-in-law.) I don't know if it was that he was the first person I've known who was taken unexpectedly or because he was someone we'd known for so long? I think it's a part of each of those. But more and more I'm realizing it has a lot to do with the fact that Sam was very honest and settled in his faith and who he was in God and what he felt God created him to be. So when he was suddenly gone, it was personal. Not just because my sister lost her husband and my nieces lost their dad. But because it was personal to God. No one doubts where Sam is now. You can't. The phrase, "Well done, my good and faithful servant" became instantly and scarily real. All those things about the Kingdom and eternity were not just far-off spiritual ideas. They were happening. To someone I knew. Sam is in God's presence.

Since then, everything looks different to me. I'm finding I'm better at not worrying about what other people think about my work or my faith or my life in general. As long as I'm trying my best to live up to what God created me to be as a wife, mother, artist and person in general then the rest is just packing peanuts filling in the gaps. I know I fail a lot of the times and I hope I can see my failures for what they are, apologize to anyone I hurt along the way and learn from my mistakes and move on.

So that's about all I'm going to write regarding the last few years. I had been writing notes on Facebook which kind of fill in the gaps (Facebook is where everyone seemed to connect over the last few years.) Feel free to read your way through my brain if you want. There are updates on our life, Liam, and other randomness.

I'm sure over time certain things will pop up and some details will be filled in. We are now part of Ordinary Community which is a network of house churches. We have been blessed with many friends, old and new, who genuinely care for us as a family, for Liam with his OCD issues, and for me as an artist. I didn't know what we needed until God provided. I don't understand why God has chosen to bless me like he has. And I realize it can be taken at any time. But I am reveling it in. Rolling around in it! And thoroughly enjoying not having so many imaginary rules to worry about as I live and create in this new part of my life!

P.S. This isn't just talk, people! :) I'm running a mail art project for kids this summer and there's still time to let me know if your short people want to play. So far we have about 30 or so kids with a wide range of ages so depending on the final number I may be splitting the age groups a bit. I'd say honestly this fall's first grade on up is the age we're working with on this one. And, all parents and other adults are welcome to play too! We'll start in mid-June when most kids are out of school by then. I'll be sending out an email at the end of April/beginning of May with more details. It's low commitment and lots of fun - your mail carrier will be confused, irritated or highly amused.


EmilyAdele said…
I love this post and I'm honored to have been a part of your journey! Hugs to you!
Well said Stace. You do such a great job at communicating what's going on in your heart.

We're looking forward to the summer project!

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