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Painting, Releasing Arrows, and New Seasons

I’m painting again. Not beautiful portraits or landscapes, but rather walls, furniture, porch swings, and fences. It seems to be a path toward acceptance for me . . . .this painting thing. I did this when my first daughter graduated from high school. It soothes, somehow. Now, another season is ending. My youngest daughter is graduating from high school. My middle daughter is eyeing Tennessee. They youngest babies are flapping their wings. Soon they will be leaving the nest. A new season is beginning.

While painting the fence recently, I breathed in the scent of lilacs, listened to the call of birds, and felt the breath of God in the wind against my cheek . . . imagine the very breath of God . . . He is that near.

All is well: God reigns.

And I find painting not only soothing but also symbolic.

The swing that I repainted for the third time was bought when Taylor was a baby. Premie Tatie . . . barely five pounds when we brought her home . . . which was three pounds heavier than her birth weight. I would rock her in this swing. It was new then . . . polished wood, shining metal. Her eyelids would flutter as she gazed into my face . . . open, shut, open, shut. Her tiny hand would curl around my finger as she sensed security and love. Just before sleep settled in . . . a deep breath of complete relaxation would escape her baby lips. And I would stay there . . . rocking . . . rocking . . . staring at this perfect creature.

Last week the swing was peeling paint . . . chipped . . . aged . . . weather worn. It has been 18 years. Impossible, truly!

So I scraped, sanded, and painted the swing. Pondering. Remembering. Wondering. A new era is beginning.

And as I paint, I place my heart in God’s hands. .He understands the grieving even when I don’t say a word . . . even when all I do is paint. As I once rocked Taylor, he rocks my soul. Gently, soothingly, and I breathe deeply of his presence just before I feel the peace.

These painting moments with God allow me to rejoice in the celebrations. So when Taylor walked the aisle to receive a major award this week, I smiled, clapped, and hooted and hollered. Pure celebration. Moist eyes were tears of joy.

And God reminds me who I am. I am not just a mother. I am a child. Even in the lonely places God whispers to me: Breathe. You are mine. This is not the end; it is a new beginning. Watch. Wait. It’s a celebration!

This once tiny premie . . . this precious gift of life that first weighed in at one pound and thirteen ounces . . . she is the last arrow in my quiver, and she is about ready to be launched. By God’s grace, my bow is steady. I pull back the string. The arrow is perfectly placed. And when God says release . . . I pray that I will do it unfalteringly. And as it flies; you will find me painting.

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