Adriana is what we call our “artist in residence” on the Collide team. It has been so fun to dream with her about what it look like to tell the gospel story in ways other than using words at our events and gatherings. The way that she connects with Jesus and thinks about inviting others into that same connection is so refreshing and unique and needed. Here she shares some of her very deepest hope and pain and it’s that kind of beautiful courage that I most admire about her. I hope you will gain courage for your own lives to hope and hold onto faith by reading her piece here.- Willow
I was captivated by this photo of a mama and her two children. I look at mothers with wonder, ache, longing and curiosity. What does it feel like to have her arms full? Will my dream to be a mother ever be realized?
“Three Serious Women” by Chad Estes of Starry Night Media, Boise Idaho, All Rights Reserved
One child is older and looks alert as she looks at something intently. I immediately see myself in this child. I see the maturity and the extra set of responsibilities older siblings seem to carry. My parents journeyed through some trauma in my early years that thrust me into maturity and independence before I was ready. The other child in the photo is younger with wild hair and is adorably scrappy. She is clinging closer to her mama, pulling at her mama’s shirt. As I’m looking at the mother with the ache of my unfulfilled dream, my attention shifts to the younger child and I feel an invitation from God to be the younger child and not the mother. I feel an invitation to let myself explore the child I didn’t always have the opportunity to be. “Let me be the Mama right now,” I feel God tenderly speak into my longing.
Believing in God’s abundance and trusting Him with my dreams is frightening because it’s not a guarantee to get what I want. Faith is full of unknowns and uncertainties, but I believe God can give far more than this world offers. In this world our lives are full of limits. My childbearing years are limited and my dream of a family has not yet been realized. I am honest with the reality that it might not happen for me, but I’m trying not to edit my longing just because my circumstances seem limiting. I’m putting my faith in a God who promises abundance and whose resources exceed the capacity of this world. The way He chooses to give me a family may not arrive the way I expect. I have a daily invitation to step into this uncertainty and live a life that depends on His abundant and unlimited resources.
As we experience the limitations and scarcity of this world and all the pain and suffering it brings, we are invited to not be afraid and to trust He has infinite provision. As long as I believe in the abundance He claims to have, I will continue to hold out my longing in front of Him with open expectant arms. I will hold out my arms until my heart breaks and then I will hold out my both my longing and broken heart. When my broken heart turns to anger, I will bring him my longing, broken heart and anger. The moment I quiet or edit my longing to accommodate my seemingly bleak circumstances, is the moment I believe his resources are limited. The moment I get cynical about my dreams, is the moment I believe his resources are scarce.
I would have never anticipated this profound invitation from God to be the child instead of the mother I long to be, but it’s consistent with the poetry and rhythms he creates. Before I can give something I must receive it. Our God, the Divine Mother, has called me to be Her child and restore places in my story that need nurturing and healing. God is offering me a chance to be perfectly loved and mothered in a way no human could provide. My participation in this means I receive restoration. I also receive a gift that I’ve always longed to give.
This experience was born out of a prayer practice called visio divina. It is inspired by an Orthodox tradition where visual art is used to cultivate prayer with God through our visual senses. You are invited to join me as I lead visio divina at the next Collide event: “Remain” on March 7th.
Chad Estes generously donated his stunning portrait, “Three Serious Women,” for this blog post. His work has so much life and energy that you can feel it breathe. Check out the beautiful work of Chad Estes of Starry Night Media, located in Boise, Idaho.