I have been working on a big art project for some time now — or at least trying to work on it, should be working on it. But I’m learning to be okay with how it’s coming together.
This project is a collection of art paired with love and encouragement from many different women. I have set my own deadlines just to see them come and go without much progress. When I was first putting together my ideas and plans for this project, I never would have expected it to take so long and still be such a work in progress at this point. That’s, of course, because I couldn’t have anticipated this difficult season in my life.
First, I had mono. That virus many people have in their teens — I got to suffer through as an adult. I had no idea adult mono was a thing. I had a bulging disk in my back, which after months of physical therapy several times a week decided to rupture. It has been a very long and painful recovery because I wanted to avoid surgery. Then, I spent endless months trying to figure out why I wasn’t feeling back to normal and why I had so much pain and fatigue. Never-ending doctor visits, blood tests, and medications, treating one thing at a time to rule out each possibility and trying to get all sorts of levels to normal eventually led to the diagnosis of an autoimmune connective tissue disease. I went through all of that while also being diabetic.
It took a good amount of time to realize this, but I can honestly say now that I have been learning so much in this season that I would’ve never chosen for myself.
At first, I tried to keep up with my art, my business, and my social media for said art business. I worked hard at being present, but I quickly learned I just couldn’t keep up. There were more days than I could count when the art business was the last thing on my mind. I would apologize to to those involved in the project for the changes in my timeline, and I’d give all the reasons why I couldn’t work as usual, why I wasn’t posting on social media, why I didn’t have any new art out, why I couldn’t respond to people. It was exhausting and frustrating, and none of the stress was helping me.
I came to understand that I needed to change the way I thought about all of it. I could keep apologizing for things not going as I had hoped and planned, but could I keep doing so if it was God’s timing or His plan for my life right now?
I decided I’d no longer be apologizing for the season I was in. I had very little control over what was happening. I certainly didn’t ask for all these awful things to interrupt my plans, and I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I shouldn’t feel bad for taking care of myself, and I needed to accept that God had me in this season for a reason. I needed to slow down everything else, focus on my health and well-being, and be open to what I could learn from it all.
Life adjustments take time, and when I finally accepted that, I found such a sense of peace.
Now when I’m asked questions I’m not able to answer, I say it will all come in God’s timing. It’s the truth. I’m learning to let go of the urgent need to get this project done as fast as possible and just let it come to be when it is time. I knew pushing ahead even when my heart wasn’t in it wouldn’t produce my best work nor would I be letting His light shine through me the best way I could. I’m learning to give myself grace along the way, and it has been the most beautiful of gifts.
I have to believe His timing is best. I don’t know how long this season will last, but I know what comes out of it will be wonderful and meaningful, and that is nothing to apologize about.
This is my journey. I want my art and this particular project to encourage others in difficult times, and I am learning through my own struggles that God has His reasons even if I can’t see what they are. This season will not go to waste.