Inspiration has been hard to come by these days. If I’m honest, it’s been hard to come by for the last few years.
Well, the easy answer would be that it’s been hard to even try to survive these last seven months, let alone the last week because I’m now the mama of an spritely, observant, impatient, but absolutely adorable baby girl. Daydreaming is a luxury.
But I think there might be more layers to that onion.
I think it’s significant that these wisps of inspiration are coming in the middle of one of the most disorienting lifestyle transitions I’ve had to make so far. My entrance into motherhood has been a constant battle of dying to myself. And to make it harder, I haven’t been dying to myself without a fight. And to make it worse, I haven’t really realized how stubborn I’ve been about needing to die to myself until recently.
Last month I led a retreat for my students and participated in one of the listening prayer exercises with them. It was based on Ezekiel 37, and one of the prayer prompts was to see if you knew what the dry bones in the valley we were picturing ourselves in represented. At first I thought the dry bones I saw were the remains of my concerted efforts; my mistakes in life. But then I sensed they were something a little more specific – they were my concerted efforts to make myself comfortable. Things that I held on to so tightly that they died. They were bones that represented all of the ways I was putting my trust in things other than God.
So I think God is stirring something anew and breathing new life into these dry bones – not for the sake of my own comfort, but for the sake of bringing glory to His name.
During the holidays Nathan, Isabel, and I were making our way back north to our families from a visit to the south. At all of our stops, we basically walked around historic neighborhoods, ate yummy food, and went to hipster coffee places (side note: Just to be clear, I don’t claim to be a real coffee drinker because I basically only like it if it’s got lots of sugar in it, but I often look forward to seeing what kind of yummy fare and space they have instead). On our way out of Baltimore, Maryland, we stopped at Artifact Coffee.
And that’s when it happened.
When we walked in and looked around, I was absolutely in awe. The space was one that I wished was my own to share with others – it was rustic, but classy, a bit hipster but also homey. I felt welcomed and excited to be there.
I have been so entrenched in a state of feeling unmotivated to pursue anything with much effort for some time now that in that very moment I realized I was without a doubt inspired. I simultaneously couldn’t remember the last time I felt that way.
Maybe it sounds really dumb or commonplace to you, but for me, it was invigorating. Of course, every day is still hard and even though I recognize my stubbornness to die to myself more and more, I still struggle with it in the moment – especially when my 7-month-old is crying simply because she’s on her tummy and doesn’t want to be anymore.
But that moment of inspiration was enough to give me a little space to dream about things that could be. Maybe it was a moment the size of a mustard seed, but we know what God can do with little mustard seeds 🙂