Saturday, October 31, 2009

nitty gritty.

time to get down and dirty.  talk trash with you, so to speak.  get gut-level honest about life and how it really is (sometimes.) 

my goal in blogging is to write life the way Papa wants me to see it.  to glimpse my day-to-days through His lens and in so doing, prayerfully, encourage someone else to wander with me down the paths of discovery of how He lives in our every-day lives.  it's easy to gloss over the hard stuff and i think, sometimes, to miss what light He wants to speak into the sometimes-darkness.

and it's dark right now in my world.  despite five beautiful children, a husband who loves me and is faithful to provide for us, i am tired, and grumpy, and frankly, feel they'd all be better off without me.

He's given me a gift of being able to use photography to build a business within the last couple years.  i've taken to it and run with it, more enamored than with any art form i've pursued.  a passionate person by nature, the desire to capture beauty in others' lives and to bring out all its richness through artistic editing has consumed me.  to the point, it's become so consuming that i've taken every job offered, overcommitted, and am now in a hole so deep i wonder if there's a way out... trying to catch up on committments and keep clients happy.

i considered a field, like the proverbs 31 woman i so aspire to be.  i planted and i watered and i went without sleep and i let it become my god.  oh and here's the thing, i've been so long and so often "in the field," that the little home i am queen of has gone neglected.  those five (well, six, counting my man) favorite subjects of mine have been often fending for themselves as i "did this for them."

the term "managing" has been brought to me twice this week through the wisdom of two women whose advice i trust and respect.  the concept of good management of resources is rich in God's love letter to us.  there are stories of fields and coins riches and provisions, where sometimes people invested wisely, and often, they squandered.  i am not a good manager, and i have justified myself, thinking it was okay to be "artsy," and yet undisciplined.  i've let my house, and my physical dwelling (my body, girls), go downhill.  i've let my desire for affirmation lead me to take on more and more "outside" work, and i'm not keeping up with any of it.

why in the world am i sharing all this for any joe schmo to read?  maybe, just maybe, in vulnerability, i will be able to encourage someone else.  the world, and feminism, and the Body, and other sources, would like us to believe we can do it all.  even in the microcosm of "homeschool mom," there's this notion that we can do everything, and we can do it well.  i'm pretty sure, though, that we can't.  yep, the proverbs 31 woman had home-based business(es).  she also most likely had her in-laws living with her.  she had servant girls.  she didn't have target and a minivan and internet to divide her interests.  she rose before dawn, but she most likely didn't stay up till 11 watching top chef.  or 3 am editing photos.  or till who-knows-when blogging.

these blessings are all well and good.  but if i am to enjoy them, i've got to manage them well.  and i've got to first pay attention to my love affair with the God of my soul.  and then the people He's given me responsibility for.  if i am going to be an "artist," i've gotta learn to manage the resources  at home first.  somehow, i've got to discipline myself to ask only for His approval, and not need it from my friends, my in-laws, my clients, or even my husband.

i've got a lot of digging to do, but i think know Papa's here in the hole with me.  because even though i wander far from His heart, He's never let me go.  He's promised to never leave me nor forsake me.  and while i long to dance free in His fields of grace, i want to be swept up in His arms the whole time.

my precious friends have stepped in and are loving on me through the mess i've created.  they're loving on and helping me teach my children for a few days.  they're sneaking in and cleaning up messes in my house.  (oh how i cringe to share this info.)  and they're so sweetly speaking truth to me over my own loud cries of failure.  one spoke to me yesterday gentle reminder that i need to "plant my face in His word.  even if in spite, read every day and night."  so finally, prodigal daughter i've been, i sat last night and asked Papa to speak to me.  here's what he had to say through the heart of my old brother in the faith, the passionate and often-undisciplined "man-after-His-heart."

"O Lord, I beseech The, save my life!"
Gracious is the Lord, and righteous.  Yes, our God is compassionate.
The Lord preserves the simple;
I was brought low, and He saved me.
Return to your rest, O my soul.
For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.
For Thou hast rescued my soul
from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling...

From my distress I called upon the Lord;
The Lord answered me
and set me in a large place...
The Lord is for me among those
who help me...

It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in (myself) man.

The Lord has disciplined me severely,
but He has not given me over to death.

Open to me the gates of righteousness;
I shall enter through them,
I shall give thanks to the Lord...

Thou hast become my salvation.
(from Psalm 116 & 118)

oh, help me, Papa!  thank you that you are helping me,  even in the hole i've dug.


Kerry Giles said...

Oh my dear friend Angie. I know and understand your struggle so well. Not only do I work full time, but I decided a few years ago to take on some marketing consulting on the side. I never had time for anything! And I hated making my clients frustrated with my inability to meet deadlines. Then it occurred to me - I can set deadlines that fit in my schedule. And you know what - they were willing to wait. Everyone wants things NOW, but that doesn't mean they can't wait a few weeks if that is the best time you can do it. I'm sure people are seeking out your photography b/c they want YOU behind the camera - so be tough and set timetables that work for you, not necessarily always for them. If not, you will not be happy and will feel so rushed all the time. I found my clients got a much better product when I had time to be creative and balanced in my life. Some clients I put off for 6 months b/c my current work load was too full. I couldn't believe they would wait for me! Give yourself some credit. You are in demand which means you get to set the rules! I love you Angie and will be praying for balance in your life. I believe you can handle all these things in your world, you just need to find balance. ILY!

Amy said...

Thank you, Ang, for sharing the honest truth. It IS hard. I have been struggling, wrestling with myself, my sin, with "managing" anything well. As a mom,homeschool visionary and photographer I am haunted with being divided all the time, with being Saul (with a divided heart), not David. It's messy and beautiful, convicting and stressful, exhilarating and suffocating all in one. I will pray for you. Pray for me. Love you!

Shelby said...

Our lives run parallel sometimes, friend....Stan and I just had this conversation (strongly worded conversation, I should admit) - this little "home remedy consulting" is taking up too many hours in the day and I am struggling with the balance! I totally understand the struggle you are going through, especially the comment "they would all be better off..." I have said it, thought it, journaled it...You are in my prayers and I know that our loving Father will help you and Brian find the balance you need. (And don't stress on the pictures for me -- THIS client is extremely HAPPY with you!) Love you much!!

dianne - bunny trails said...

What a wonderful and encouraging post. It is so easy to allow the periphery of life to consume us. Even the good things. Even the gifts and blessings from our Heavenly Father. I know that for me it is ever the challenge to keep my priorities in order and my eyes focused through His lens. I know the Lord will bless you as you seek to follow His leading and honor Him. :D