"A new beginning! We must learn to live each day, each hour, yes, each minute as a new beginning, as a unique opportunity to make everything new. Imagine that we could live each moment as a moment pregnant with new life. Imagine that we could live each day as a day full of promises. Imagine that we could walk through the new year always listening to a voice saying to us: 'i have a gift for you and can't wait for you to see it! Imagine!'" - henri nouwen that is exactly how my word has been so far this year. gift, and the opening of my eyes to gift.
every morning, hot cup in hand, its first warm sip making its way down my throat, i draw a word from the bowl. it is a bowl full of one-word(ish) prompts from The Art Journaler community. i take this moment as opportunity to receive spirit-whispers of intention for my day. it is always rich. but this month? this beginning of my year of RESTORE? it has had an added depth.
because each time i draw my word, consider it, glue it down, i pair it with my one word. and it becomes a prayer.
i draw a charm bearing the words "i am tenacious", and my prayer is "restore + tenacity. make me who i am. open my eyes to who i am."
it says "loved" and my heart cries "restore + loved. remind me i am deeply loved - restore the sense of freedom from fear i have in those moments of knowing i am loved perfectly (and imperfectly)."
the day i drew the one that i had written myself: "my colorful, brave, messy, authentic, TRUE SELF", i knew it was time to paint an image that has made its home in my soul these last few weeks.
at the end of december, in a group spiritual direction call (led by the lovely tara owens), i confessed that i was terrified to look back at the year, in the practice of "examen". i was so scared to even consider 2013 as a whole, because it was a year that i made many unfamiliar choices, and they often came with a sense of shame, especially when met with misunderstanding or outright condemnation. there were a number of things reflected to me in those minutes that felt very deeply comforting and true. but the one i want to describe here is this:
she said she saw an image of me as a little girl sitting in a puddle of paint. i was messy and colorful and covered with life. and God was loving it. she said some people are "tidy people", but me? god made me to be messy, and he delights in it. he even stands protective, fierce against anyone who would try to get me to "clean up".
oh, how this spoke deep.
i had been hoping, on this 28th of december, for another confirmation of what my word for this year would be, and as she was describing this scene, i thought, "that was never me. i never got to be that messy, delighted little artist-girl" and immediately "whoa. God wants to restore me to more than just 'who i once was.' he wants to go even deeper, more essential, to the one i was meant to be, in all the fulness of my design."
so. here is to restoration.
and childlike wonder.
and unselfconscious expression.
because, hey - that's me. and i like it.