The little girl that I was:
When I was little, I stayed with my grandparents in Jacksonport during the summer. Grandma took me with her, walking along the shore of Lake Michigan, to her cottage cleaning jobs. While she cleaned, I played in the sand along the shore with nothing except my imagination.
Tender memories of this escape from hurt are framed in gold in my heart, just as this painting is framed in gold. I felt safe being alone by the water. I would pretend nothing bad had ever happened to me. I imagined feeling loved and no longer having to hide inside of myself.
As I gaze at this work of art, it comes to life just like the painting in one of the Narnia books by C. S. Lewis. I can hear the soothing waves that comforted my fears. I feel the warm sunshine glowing on my face. I laugh as the cool water washes over my bare feet and swirls away some of the sand as it flows back down. With each ebb and flow my feet sink deeper into the wet sand.
Lost in my daydreams, I would look to the horizon and wonder what was on the other side of the lake.
Years later, in my forties:
Despite many shattered dreams through my teen and adult years, something inside of me wouldn’t let me give up hope that God was going to take what had been bad and use it for good. In times of discouragement, a trip to be near the water and hike in the woods in Door County would renew my spirit and give me the strength to persevere and keep moving into the unknown.
That little girl inside of me never lost the desire to know what was on that faraway horizon across the lake from Door County. It took courage, when the opportunity came to travel to Michigan for a friend’s wedding, to go adventuring with the two youngest of my seven children, ages 10 and 11. It was thrilling to discover mile high Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes and Petosky stones (fossilized coral).
What a picture of my life story that was. Facing my fears and spreading my wings to experience the transformation that was working to set me free from my lifelong need to protect myself.
Now, in my seventieth year:
I’m still following my dreams, even though they get obscured by the fog of confusion that rolls in with life’s difficulties. I had no idea that I would still be in the process of transformation after all these years. I’ve waited in expectation for God to make all things clear as I longed for answers, for the truth to be revealed, and for dreams to be fulfilled.
Instead, my life is like this painting – muted colors without clear lines defining the water, trees, and sky. I’m asked to use my imagination, to trust my perception, and to believe that God is guiding me to fulfill the plan He has for my life. I finally understand that if I saw clearly, I wouldn’t be walking by faith.
Is that gentle breeze stirring inside of my soul the Holy Spirit encouraging me to continue on the journey toward freedom to speak the truth from my heart? I am still afraid, but I’m choosing to not let that fear stop me from stepping into my life-giving dream of painting pictures with words.
The soothing waves, the sunshine on my face as I look toward the horizon, and the beauty of Door County continue to be the inspiration that opens my heart to writing my story.
Even if writing it is only for my own continued healing, as Steven Curtis Chapman sings in Glorious Unfolding, this isn’t the end of my story – there’s so much of the story that’s still yet to unfold