I actually really dislike typing in WORD, which I am doing now. It has such a technical feel. I am a designer you see. I have been a designer for as long as I can remember. I wanted nothing better, when I was a child, to be able to paint beautiful colours, and draw exceptional, detailed graphic illustrations. My granddad was an opera singer and artist. His ‘Alley’s Room’ – named such after a great big, shaggy Alsatian we had as a child, that a neighbour eventually had to shoot, when Alley was too blind and weak to move anymore – I remember my father’s tears as Alley’s body lay under a green sheet, spread out on the lawn, on the front garden, outside our farm house. Granddad's Alley’s room was filled with paintings, work’s in progress, illustrations, pots of brushes, pastels, oil paints and the like. Another room held the pottery and clay, and if I am not mistaken, there may have been a kiln, but that is really too far in the past now for me to remember. I was so little you see. We were surrounded by art, dance & singing, that I really could not imagine doing anything else with my life, other and create beautiful things. It’s a funny thing though, as out of all the cousins and family members, I must be the least talented of everyone. I have always looked at my cousins in awe of their abilities, and my brother, who can paint a detailed ship at sea, from memory.
However, this is not why I am writing. I am writing as I cant help it. I am compelled to write, even though, I am aware, that this too, is something I struggle with. So if you are looking for prose and poetry, correct spelling and grammar, this is not the place for you. But if you want a story about faith, hope, life, struggle, deep waters, defeat and a determination to trust and hold onto something I cant see, but need every day, then maybe we can read together. Maybe something will speak to you. Maybe He will speak to you. Maybe somehow, in the story, of on-going struggle, determination & hope there is strength for you and me?
I am a single mommy now. It’s been at least 30 years since Alley’s room and our beautiful farm, with the green lucerne fields and massive mulberry trees, where my brother and I spent the first few years of our childhood. All of that is gone now. Now it’s just me, and my 3 little children. The oldest 2 are adopted, you must know. My ex-husband and I could not have kids, and I could not imagine my life without children. And then, Rosie was born. From nothing she appeared and I have been gifted with the most incredible children anyone could ask for. They are the air I breathe. Now it’s just us. And, then there is God. He is stepping up you see. There is no-one else to help me look after this family – so he is everything right now, infused in everything I do. He sustains me everyday, as I stumble through the challenges of this world.
You would think though, as I have seen His provision again and again, and as I announce Him to everyone as the best husband ever, as I have dedicated my days to listening and hearing and giving what I can to be more like Him, that I would stand stronger. That I would know better. But I don’t. The thing is, it’s not God that will let us down in the challenges of life – its us. He is faithful in all he does. It’s the fear that I will let the team down. That I wont hear correctly, that I wont follow His guidance, that my fears and selfishness will steal away the promises He has for me. And I think, that this is something many believers struggle with. Not that God is going to let us down, but that I am going to bring about self destruction.
And so, each day starts in a panic. Which is strange don’t you think? I did not go to bed in a panic. In fact, most evenings I am up late, working, trying, building, coping. Then the morning comes, and a dark fear grips my heart – what if I wont make it. What If I cant look after us? What if I let the children down. What if … it brings such doubt and silent hysteria to my mind and incredibly, returns every morning to taunt me. These demons of self-pity and doubt. It takes a good 20-30min of prayer and strong coffee to get me going and my prayers feel distracted, lost and unclear. I yearn for encouragement from His word, like the desert needs water. I cling to Psalms and stories of God’s favour and victories for His people. I try and memorise scriptures to be ready for the day’s battle – reminding me all day of his promises to protect, love, provide – a hope and a future, plans to prosper and not to harm, for His spirit to be poured out of my descendants, that in this world, the one gift I could leave my children, is the gift of faith, beyond anything else. And here I am, in tears, in front of my computer. Self doubt clawing at my ankles and whispering in my ears. Have I let the team down today? Will He come through despite all my weaknesses and failings? Please Lord, work despite me.
Lately, to help get the kids out of bed early, we take an early morning walk just down the road, to feed Bella. Bella is a donkey, living in the middle of an abandoned prickly pear field. The kids ride their bicycles, while I try and jog next to them, holding a bag with apples. When Bella notices us on the way, she bellows and bleats and trots determinately to the old barbed wire fencing, pushing her great big head through the fence to fetch her juicy apples, that the kids delight in feeding her. She always allows us to rub her neck and pat her about her long, pointy soft ears until it’s time to go. So far, this has been the most effective way to get the kids up early. I feel much better too afterwards. The fresh morning air, the time spent with my children and the pretty sunrise, always seem to bring a new kind of hope. This is day the Lord has made, after all – it is a gift.