The older I am, the easier it seems for me to step back and look piece by piece at my life mosaic; everything strung together by invisible strands, colors blending into each other, choices made. And it begins to make sense in a way that I previously couldn’t see…couldn’t decipher.
In nearly every way, we walk through life blind. Every morning peaks with fresh, new choices, new thoughts, new ideas and it isn’t until later that we know the actual effect of each decision that we make. It’s a masterpiece really and we don’t know where we will end up, but we know that we can paint with whatever color we want. Our canvas might start white or it might start with dark, heavy strokes but after we’re here…after we’re strong enough to hold the brush, it’s our turn to make the strokes and we can take control of the colors.
I have been in a season of processing. It feels like it’s been an incredibly long season and honestly, it’s not my favorite. I have been trying to figure out past decisions made by me or for me and how all of those fit into who I am now. I’m going to go ahead and make this clear, that way there isn’t any confusion. I am GRATEFUL for where I am now. I am in love with my husband and my three incredible babies. I have been on a journey that has cultivated me into someone that I really like and the experiences that have manifested because of choices that Gabe and I have made are irreplaceable. I would never change where I am now, even though I often wish I could alter my past. And maybe that’s the price we pay…we lose some and we win some but thank God we have the ability to reach for change.
I was fresh out of hell when I found myself engaged to Gabe. After years of addiction and self-loathing, I felt alive and safe for the first time. And I felt like I had a plan. It was simple: get married and have babies. Ugh. I cringe reading that. Somehow I missed the whole “get to know yourself” stage. I had spent the last ten years learning how to hide my thoughts, my smile, my emotions, my needs, and instead I stayed in survival mode, like a wild animal. I didn’t know who I wanted to be; I didn’t know anything about anything. I spent all of those years in a bubble that had barely enough room to breathe, let alone stretch out and dream.
I have been a mother for seven years…nearly eight if you count those first nine months of pregnancy. And in those years, I lost the few things that I did know about myself. I stopped writing, I stopped exploring, and I stopped believing that I had a purpose outside of raising littles. Now, don’t get me wrong. Some of the most beautiful strokes of my life painting include the vibrant colors of motherhood. In fact, motherhood may just be the best decision I have ever made (outside of choosing Gabe…that was a stroke of pure genius). But, I have always known there must be more; I had just stopped believing.
But I’m starting to believe again. I’m starting to see that God has given me talents and abilities and that I alone get to decide if I stay settled here in my safety net away from risks and possible failure, or…I can stand up and find out what happens when I step into the water. I’ve been judging my abilities against people who have different abilities. I have been looking at my life through someone else’s lense. I thought because I couldn’t climb as well as those around me, there must be something wrong with me, when, in fact, I wasn’t born to climb trees. I was made to swim.