A few months ago, My husband and I started trying to live a healthier life. We felt that the Lord was bringing to light all the unhealthy things we put into our bodies. We started by raising chicken, rabbits and quail. We also planted a garden and adopted a milk goat. Very soon after, I became absolutely overwhelmed with taking care of all the animals, being a mom to Andi, doing regular house chores, and trying to work and paint every day.
I told my husband I wasn’t sure if I could handle doing all these things everyday, and we considered just stopping and going back to how we were.
A little later, I saw a post by @thegospelcoalition about some verses to pray when you don’t enjoy motherhood.
“God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8
“In all things at all times” really resonated with me. It reminded me that God is with me throughout the entire day and that I can find joy in those everyday chores and responsibilities.
As I am trying to get that verse in my heart, I go to the doctor for a check-up, and they see that my thyroid is larger than usual. They schedule an ultrasound and some other tests. My mind immediately goes to the worst. I am already overwhelmed with just doing everyday things, and this news (even though there is no reason at all to worry at this point) just sent me over the edge. I’m upset and frustrated, but I want to do everything I can to help this situation. My mom and I start to look into what I can do naturally to help. Turns out there were so many simple changes I could make to my diet and personal care products that could do just that. .
So here my husband and I have been looking into the food we put into our bodies and now we are looking into what we use on our body—body wash, shampoo, make-up, deodorant, etc. Even though my health news wasn’t what we wanted to hear, it was as though God had already paved the way for us to lead us to even more healthy changes. But He wasn’t finished with us yet.
Every afternoon my husband takes Andi and goes to milk our goat. I hadn’t been going with them for the past few weeks, but I wanted to go this afternoon. My husband laid out a blanket in the field and told me to just lie down and relax. As I lay on the blanket in the tall green grass watching my husband and daughter run and play, Psalm 23 came to mind.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures.He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.”
My husband has been memorizing scriptures, and this is one that he has been reciting to me, so it’s no surprise that it came to mind, but in that moment, those verses were my prayer and I felt complete peace and joy.
A week later in a similar situation, I stayed home instead of going with them. I planned to clean or cook or read, but instead I was scrolling on my phone. A short video of a sermon by Jonathan Pokluda popped up. In summary, his sermon was about us getting so full on things of this world that we don’t have any more room for Jesus. We have lost our desperation, our need for God. This sermon just hit home with me. There I was not even a week before, experiencing such joy and peace, and now here I am alone, feeling anxious and filling my soul with nothing. The truth is more times than not, when I’m scrolling, I find myself wanting or comparing my life, my job, my home, myself.
I have been so worried about the physical things I’m putting in my body, but what about the spiritual things I’m filling up on? What am I reading, what am I watching, what am I speaking, what am I hearing? Are these things, things that are going to grow my appetite for Him or the world? The answer for me is the world.
This collection was painted all throughout the story I shared above. At times, this collection frustrated me so much, I was ready to quit and move on to something new, but I kept on painting. The collection is symbolic in so many ways of the battles that I was/am still battling in my life. The frustration, wanting to quit, wanting things to be easy.
A couple Sundays ago our pastor was preaching on shaking things off that keep us from the Lord, and he said this, “God’s got a plan. It’s probably not going to look how you thought it would look. It rarely ever does. But in the midst of all of that God is working and bringing fruit.”
Now that I’m on the other side of these hard past few months, I can see God was right there beside me in the entire time. He has been with my family and I every step of the way. Paving the way for us, changing our hearts and our minds one step at a time.
I am not where I want to be on this journey to healing my physical body or my spiritual body. I am not where I want to be as an artist. But I know that God is here with me for the journey. This collection will always remind me of that.
“The Lord directs the steps of the godly, He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.”
Psalm 37: 23-24
This collection will be available to shop Friday, May 12th on shelbyleighdesigns.com.