Saturday, May 11, 2013

A Forgotten Love

When I was a kid, I loved art. I loved painting and drawing and anything that had to do with art. My grandma was an artist until a few years ago, when Alzheimer's got the best of her, and she instilled a love for all things artsy in me from as early as I can remember. When I would go visit her and my grandpa in NC during the summer, we would spend lots of time oil painting (her forte) and going to art museums. When she came to visit us in MT, she would bring her paints and set up her easel outside and paint the mountains and I would join her with my little easel. I watched that art show on PBS, you know the one with they guy with crazy curly hair who painted these 30 minute masterpieces? I painted with him (I forget his name!) I won't say I was ever the best artist, but I wasn't the worst :)

When I went to college, a lot of things about me died--or at least went dormant for a long long time.
I hesitate in how much to share, since the point of this isn't to give my whole testimony. I just want to share something that's coming back to life after being gone for years--forever I thought. I moved into the dorms on my 18th birthday, goody two shoes and WWJD bracelet-wearer, determined and a bit prideful about what I would and would not do in college. On my 'not-to-do' list included the party scene. This resolve lasted approximately...5 hours. Yes, I made it only hours alone in the dorm on my birthday, not knowing anyone and still an insecure young woman, before making the decision to go to my first college house party. Long story short, I ended up spending the better part of many years heavy in that life. I won't go into detail right here, but it was some crazy years of which I'm not proud, although the Lord uses my testimony in amazing ways now, ten years later.

I got so hung up in my awesome life (I thought it and I were pretty awesome at the time) that I let go of some of the things that were once so important to me. I let go of God, as well as some of the gifts/talents, abilities, and loves that He had given me. Well, God took me back, the prodigal daughter, just as I was: a mess. He loved me unconditionally and I slowly and steadily grew in rebuilding my relationship with Him. Life has been busy all these years since coming back to the Lord. I moved across the country and got a job where I worked 50 hours a week and spent lots of time with family. I went back to school, met my husband and got married, graduated college, had a baby, moved back across the country and had another baby! It's been a whirlwind. And as in love with life as I am, as happy and fulfilled and thankful to God as I am...there are still small pieces missing. I never put myself fully back together.

This might be shocking to people who know me as fitness enthusiast, health nut, former personal trainer/fitness instructor/boot camp leader, etc...I like those things, but they developed in a weird, unhealthy way. I had a mild case of an eating disorder on and off during college and was always concerned and unhappy with my body. I became addicted to the gym. I changed my major to Health and Human Performance and got certified as a personal trainer. Anyway, as I've gotten less and less concerned with having a six pack and super model legs and more concerned with just being healthy, I've become totally uninterested in ever having any sort of career in that field. I love nutrition and healthy food, I love running and getting a good, hard workout, but Anatomy, Physiology, Biomechanics, Motor Control and Learning, and Kinesiology....never again! That's just not who I am. It's who I became in the midst of a disastrous time of life for me.

The artist in me has slowly been coming back out of hibernation over the past few years. This week, as MT has transitioned from winter to summer (we skip spring here in this state), I've been noticing beauty in the most simple things. The pictures in this post are mostly just little pieces of everything coming alive again after a long winter. Everything catches my eye. I've slowed down and taken it in piece by piece and soaked it all up. I realize that even though I have no room nor time to get out my oil paints and canvases, I don't have to paint to use my gift or to enjoy a love that God instilled in me. It can come out through cooking and baking...a passion that's grown over the past few years. It can come through pictures I take, and even though I don't have a fancy camera, photoshop and Instagram on my phone do okay for now:) Little crafts at home, decorating and creating new cupcakes as I start my little business, and simply noticing beauty all around me, beauty in the small things as well as the big obvious things...all of this counts! Maybe someday when my girls are a little older I will get out my oils again. And I can't wait to have art time with them, to get out the crayons, colored pencils, water colors, construction paper and glue and scissors and chalk and glitter (I love glitter. My husband hates this about me.) and just watch and encourage the creativity in them.

As I write this, the sun is just coming up behind me, the sky is painted so magnificently, as it is every morning in MT. It's a painting that can't be recreated. A painting a thousand words can't describe. Painted by the most famous, greatest, most awesome artist in the world. Good morning, God! Thank you another day to enjoy your creation. And thank you for taking the snow away! :)

Have a fabulous weekend, and Happy Mother's Day to all the Mamas out there!

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