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Friday, August 14, 2015
Light and Shadows
I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your presence!
... I could ask the darkness to hide me
and the light around me to become night—
but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
Darkness and light are the same to you.
Psalm 139:7-12 (NLT)
Art class was always traumatic for me. When we had work to finish at home, the cat always ate my homework. I just couldn’t get my fingers to transmit the lovely still life onto the page. My younger 2 kids, by contrast, are artists. As I watch them work, listen to them talk, I have to admit, they look at the world in completely different ways, figuring out how to capture it. Critical to representing an image, they tell me, are the shadows.
“Did you every notice,” my daughter’s friend commented to her in a philosophical moment, “that the leaves on the tree over there would be boring without their shady side? I mean, we couldn’t even really see the leaves properly if all of them were lit up in the sun. The shadows are important.” They were talking about life and it hit me: without shadows (and the ability to represent them with incredible amounts of shading), images won’t look like themselves. The shadows bring definition and provide boundaries, creating contrasts and edges, showing off reflections to an advantage. What would we do without them?
I’ve had some ‘shadowy’ moments… many in my parenting journey with Jaedon, but very many in other parts of my life journey. From my point to view, sitting inside the shadow, not even knowing where the light is, I feel like I’m in an interminable darkness. When will I ever sleep soundly though the night again? Will my kids ever be able to have friends over to our home? Will my husband and I ever be able to energetically engage our relationship with each other? The view from inside the shadow can be very grim. “Why did you bring us out here to kill us?” (Ex. 14:11) Faith can die in the shadows.
The perspective of the artist is from the outside, looking at the complete picture.
That must be how God sees things.
Mommy, can I sleep in your bed? Even the children know that the shadows aren’t so scary with Mommy and Daddy. Our Heavenly Father is lovingly present with us in those shadowy times (Psalm 139:12; Psalm 23:4). This has to be my internal self-talk, standing in the thick darkness. He is here.
I can become poetic and say how much the shadows define us and make us stronger and help us to grow. I’ll do that next time. For today, I acknowledge that the shadows feel hard and long and can take all the resources I have. So today, I lean into the promise, that He’s here, He’s the Source, He gives me the ability to just take another breath and keep going, or to stay here for a while and depend on His grace, huddled in the Everlasting Arms.
Father, Today is another gift from You. Thank You that You are here with me, and have already seen everything that the day will offer. Help me to remember this today, in every moment. I want to see with Your eyes and respond with Your heart, in spite of how dark it may look to me. Sometimes dealing with the shadows takes all my energy, but I want to engage today with Your energy (Col. 1:29). Sometimes the shadows whisper ‘be afraid’. Help me to live in the power of Your Holy Spirit, and revive Your love, power and self-control in me (2 Tim. 1:7). Flood my heart with Your peace, as I embrace today for You and with You. Amen.