Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Shepherdess Speaks

The Shepherdess at Blair Castle
Photo by Wright Ellinger, Blair Castle, Scotland

Inexpressible Creativity

The Creator of all things, seem and unseen, is Himself…creative, an artesian above anything we can imagine or dream. Who could have imagined, then spoken the universe into existence? All that we see and know is but a tiny speck in the heart of God, the Ultimate Creator. Is it any wonder that we as His children desire to create? This attribute comes from our Heavenly Father, a characteristic of divine origin. In St. John, we read the beautiful passage in verses 1 – 13.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Verse 14.
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Creativity is so uniquely personal. We express ourselves by making something new, something unique, something no one else has created or had the courage to try. Whatever form of art or craft we attempt to create; a book, a painting, an arrangement of flowers, an original recipe, whatever art form we embrace, the creation should be shared with others.

Creating for our own enjoyment is not enough. Joy and inspiration comes when the beauty we create is shared to bless others.  The creative process itself helps us develop our lives as individuals, making it richer, fuller, and more abundant. When we use the talents God has given us, they multiply in other areas of our life. The Bible tells about some who were given talents, used them, and gained more. The person who received talents from the Lord but hid them in the earth, (in himself) lost his gift. (St. Matthew, 25)

Let us use our talents and gifts for the Lord so that others may be blessed and come to know the Ultimate Creator of all things.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Can I wear my own shoes?

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart;
and lean not unto thine own understanding”
 Proverbs 3:5

    I remember that day vividly; the day of “letting go.” After chaperoning a group of teens to a high school musical performance, and our family had returned to the privacy of our own home, I kicked off the shoes that I had borrowed from my daughter. This nearly adult daughter turned to me and said with a crooked smile, “Mom, can I wear my own shoes now?” After a momentary pause, I finally got the drift as the teens say. I understood. It was time.

    With the arrival of each child, I was thrilled, and from the very beginning of my parenting years, I knew that God had entrusted my husband and me with our children’s welfare. I did my best to stay on top of each child’s comings and goings. During their growing up years, I devoted myself to overseeing their education, developing spiritual and moral character, instilling family values, ascribing to all that entailed good parenting, and raising children to become productive adults, citizens who were an honor to God and country.

    Raising a family, as anyone would agree, involves years of hard work and self-sacrifice. This is family, this is our life and we do what must be done, and for the most part, willingly. There are days filled with unforeseen twists and turns, unexpected problems that arise, conflicts to work through. But all too quickly, the children are grown and child-rearing days are history. 

    Now that the hard work is over, am I supposed to simply…let go? Somehow, this relinquishing of the parental role doesn’t seem quite right. How could I ever turn my children over and allow God to control their future? How could I trust my carefully raised children to another human being, to a university, to a job, perhaps another location, or to someone who might undo all my hard work? How could I bite my tongue and not interfere with their decisions, especially if they were unwise decisions? 

    Allowing my children who were arriving at adulthood the freedom to make their own decisions was undoubtedly a reluctant relinquishing of control, one that every parent must face. Letting go is definitely not easy, but in the grand scheme of life, it is always best. Trusting God with my children’s future is preferable to interfering with their dreams and expectations, and perhaps, alienating the relationship. I remember those earnest and heartfelt words, “Can I wear my own shoes?”

    The knowledge that it was time to “let go and let God” arrived at different times and in different ways for each of our children. This “hands off” stage in life was inevitable, a breaking of parental ties. The occasion arrived with the certain knowledge that this was the right time. The Spirit of God went before, leading my husband and me to that place, reluctantly at first, and I must say, I went kicking and screaming, but God pushed me forward, ignoring my excuses and revealing through scripture the natural order of life, His plan.

    For one daughter, this divine revelation came like soft summer rain at the end of day. We had driven her to the airport to return to college. She hesitated as she walked away, and then turned to wave good-bye with a new and independent look written on her face. I knew the time had come and life as her parent would never be the same. It was plain to see that she had chosen her own path. She was wearing her own shoes. I know now that her choice was best. I’m glad that I listened to God, that I learned to let her go, gave her away to another man, and trusted her life to God. Today, her life is very blessed.

    A son announced calmly at dinner that he was moving to a distant state and that the arrangements were complete. The news struck like a lightening bolt, his words like reverberating thunder. No challenge to his plans was presented, and by now, I had wisdom enough to know that this was right; it was time. He smiled knowingly and offered no opportunity to contest his decision. After all, he was an adult, wearing his own shoes. Now, when we visit him, I see how he thrives in his new location and loves his home and job. I know that his choice was best for him. The decision was right.

When my children choose to follow their own path, Lord help me not to get in the way, to allow them to wear their own shoes. Help me to know that whatever may come …they are in your hands…good hands.

©Ruth Carmichael Ellinger