Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Did I Bring Beauty Into the Lives of My Family Today?

 "The sharing of beauty can never begin too early, and the child who from his baby years has been helped to see beauty "will love all that is beautiful, and hate all that is ugly, long before he knows the reason why."  -Annis Duff

I came across this quote in my reading recently, and it has rested in me. I have thought about it intentionally, and also let the truthfulness of it linger and take root in my subconscious. I love it, because I think it is true. In my short career of motherhood, I have seen the recognition of true beauty in all three of my children from infancy on up, and I want to harness that and encourage it. I want them to see and feel real beauty, because I believe that when children are rooted in that real, true beauty, that those memories and feelings will draw them back like a lighthouse and anchor their souls to God and family and what is right and good in this world. 

This beauty is manifested in love, and goodness, and inspiration, and deep connectedness. It is evident in nature and friendship and life. It is felt in a good book and heard in classical music. This is the kind of beauty I want to expose my children to. I love that I have this opportunity as a mother. In my home I get to set the tone of my little universe, and every day I want it to be beautiful.

A mother that I know and love has taught her children to see this meaningful beauty. She has taught them to love music, and a good homemade meal. She has shown them that learning and growth and effort are deeply rewarding in and of themselves. She has shared good books, games, and the value of an impromptu dance party. She has taught them about style and decor, and how to use your own mind and hands to create things. These are the kind of things I want to show my children. I want them to see what is truly good in life. Things like: a good meal together at home, sunlight coming through the windows, the ocean, poetry, deep belly laughing, morning and evening walks, things made by hand, time with friends, classic movies, nature, holidays and special occasions. I want our home to be the backdrop of all of these things. 

Since having Oliver I've struggled with these deep desires that I have, and the inability to execute all of it. For months I've carried the weight of wanting to create beauty here in my home, and the brutal reality that there is just so much I can't get to right now with my three young children. Through prayer and God's grace I'm slowly learning to say, "we'll get to that" or "let it go" or "that can wait" and actually being OK with myself when I say them. 

I've been praying for help to manage my time, for help to know what things are actually important, and I told the Lord that I want to bring beauty into the lives of my family each day. A couple mornings ago I sat in my bed alone and I felt a quiet voice whisper to me that a smiling face and kind, gentle words are beautiful every single day. In fact, this was the single-most beautiful thing I could give to my children.

I then saw myself in my mind's eye smiling at my children and reaching out to them. I saw myself really looking at them when they spoke and showing them in my actions what treasures they are. I saw myself laughing with children at my feet. I saw us in our home that was lived in and loved, with little messes around us. In my mind's eye, we were really alive. We were living, and with a smiling face and a gentle, attentive heart, the feelings of beauty were there regardless of the backdrop.

I can create beauty for my children and husband every day. 

Yes, I will still want to set the table with fresh flowers. Yes, I will use my hands to beautify my surroundings and make special occasions out of every day events, but now I know that the truest, strongest beauty will be felt and seen in the way I treat them, in the way I look at them, and in the way I live.