Most of us know her- our creative friend. She is the one who takes beautiful pictures, writes poetry, sews her own curtains and her children’s clothes (or sews their clothes out of the curtains!). She is the creative type, we tell ourselves, and look around at our own drapes bought at Target, and we sigh and wish we could be more like her. Crafty. Inspired. Creative.
Yet Motherhood itself is a craft. We wake each morning with the opportunity to form and fashion our day. We can sketch out a schedule, add a splash of color here and there with a fun read aloud and then stand back and survey if we are pleased with the composition before we rise to paint again the following day. We may be the type of artist who colors inside the lines or we may scribble around but the form and expression are ours to control for we are the mother and our days have the opportunity to be great masterpieces if we apply the time and artistry in requires to fashion a lovely one. Maybe you have become stuck in a routine you are not happy with. Has your motivation and inspiration run dry? Have you read the latest book on missional motherhood and still feel you come up short? It may be time to jerk the wheel and begin to cast your nets on the other side of the boat. In other words, do something different…or at least begin to think differently about this craft we call Motherhood.
The years our children are at home with us are days for cultivating wonder. In a day where ipods have replaced Lincoln Logs and Kindle has won its coup over library visits, we must be intentional in introducing our children to the wonders of creation beyond a screen. These are the days for picnics outside, walking trails, sleeping under the stars and studying beauty. The Bible tells us in Psalm 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the works of His hands.” Nature holds for us a story book just waiting to be read aloud.
When we stay in Guatemala to conduct classes for the Bible School there I love being without a television. The evening descends on us with great peace and the skies become primetime viewing. The other day while exploring outside here my boys discovered a Bacillus Lizard running around. He’s also known as the Jesus lizard because of his ability to walk on water. They chased him around through low tropical bushes in a game of hide and seek, trying to catch another glimpse of this unique member of God’s creation. For at least an hour, kindles and ipods were forgotten about as wonder won the moment and they were captivated by creation.
There is no denying we live in an age of television and internet where very little has NOT been seen and much of our ability to wonder has been lost. We must be very intentional to slow down time and step out of our climate controlled cells to smell the roses and experience the great outdoors. When was the last evening we forsook staring at the latest Netflix release in exchange for tramping outside to watch the constellations parade across the sky from Virgo to Leo and watch our kids wonder as they discover that the heavens truly do declare the glory of God?
As a mother, I see myself as chief wonder arouser. I have found this to be challenging at times because typically, as adults, our ability to wonder fades and we are lost. We have to stir ourselves up once again to glory in creation more than we get inspired by the latest post on someone’s Pinterest account. This means we have to feed ourselves on wonder and awaken our sleeping imaginations. Reading children’s literature seems to help- Laughing over the nonsense of Hillaire Belloc and Edward Lear forces reason to take a backseat sometimes. Judy Bloom’s immortal Ramona Quimby makes us laugh with her antics and remember what it was like to imagine and take risks. I myself don’t have to be wonderful or even make wonderful things, I only have to recognize the wonder and facilitate it. In making disciples of my children, I point them to the Creation. Once that stirs their souls, I introduce them to the Creator Himself- the One behind it all. I organize the library trip, I point out the new blossoms in the spring. I plan the going outside and I go with them! I start the conversation about the stars, I recite Hopkin’s Pied Beauty, I help load the mentos into the 2-liter coke (even when I would rather be inside watching The Great British Baking Show). I need only point my young (and this includes teenage, too!) disciples toward the wonder and be a part of opening their eyes and souls. Let it be my craft to recognize and relate the pied beauty all around and fill my days at home with intentional wonder. Let us, as mothers, engage the senses and awaken imaginations to a beckoning creation which has its own sermon to preach. Let us read and recite, remember and relate. In short, let us learn to wonder and then lead those following us along the same dappled path. For I think Tolkien, if he could, might even venture to pen a slightly different idea and agree that all who WONDER are far from lost.
Pied Beauty by Gerard Manly Hopkins
Glory be to God for dappled things –
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; dazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: