Saturday, September 13, 2008

My New Job Title

A few days ago I got into a conversation with a saleswoman at JC Penney. She was admiring my pretty little girl. That lead into a 10-minute discussion. The question that sparked this random talk: "So what do you do?" I proceeded to tell her about homeschooling and LifeChange. But after we said our goodbyes and I made my way to the car, that question continued to run circles in my mind. For the last few days I have thought a lot about it (I've been doing a lot of deeper thinking recently).

What do I do?

I am a wife. A mother. A daughter and sister. I am a housekeeper and cook. I'm an educator. I'm a missionary...who would'a thunk! I'm a chauffeur. I'm an Awana director. I'm a friend and a babysitter. I'm a writer, a reader, a thinker, and a dreamer. I'm a photographer, a scrapbooker, a life artist.

And then it struck me--I'm a Life Artist. In the past I've loosely used that term in reference to my photos, scrapbooks, and journals. But in reality, my artistry spreads far beyond that. And this is true of any other mom!

What is art anyway? I loved the main part of the definition found on "the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance."

According to this definition, art is not limited to painting, drawing, sculpting, scrapbooking, photography, or other traditional forms of art. According to this definition, Art is the production of something beautiful and extraordinary. When I apply that definition to the things I do, I really am a Life Artist. I spend almost every moment of my life working on the extraordinary. I play a dramatic role in the shaping of my husband. My words, actions, and attitudes are capable of building him into a secure, confident man. On the flipside, I am capable of beating him down, of ruining him. Don't get me wrong--Matt is a wonderful man on his own. But I have seen the way I can affect him, for good and not.

Even more than my husband, my children are my works of art. God has given me the responsibility of loving, training, teaching, and nurturing these precious little ones. The adults they will one day become are largely dependent on what I put into them. Their spiritual development will reflect how wisely or unwisely I used my time and the opportunities I had to pour truth into them and help them apply it in their lives. Their success in their future careers is primarily dependent on the depth knowledge I provide them as a home educator. Their manners, their people skills, their compassion, their generosity, and every character trait I desire for them will have to be taught by me. The end result: a human being who has all the skills necessary to succeed in life, and to be an effective witness for Jesus. If that isn't a work of Art, I don't know what is!

My home is also Art. Every day I have the privilege of creating an atmosphere of peace and beauty for myself, my family, and the others who enter my domain. Sure, cycling laundry and scrubbing toilets may not seem like Art, especially in the process! But to the wearers of the clean clothes, and those who use the bathrooms, those are beautiful.

My ministry with LifeChange is Art. Through the ways I am involved at LifeChange, I play a part in shaping godly families. Definitely Art! My friendships, too, require careful work and attention to detail--perhaps even more attention to detail than I give to my scrapbooks.

If I could go back in time a few days and relive that conversation with the lady in Penney's, my answer would be significantly different. When asked what I do, my answer would be, "I am a Life Artist. I spend my life using the opportunities God gives me to make the world a more beautiful place. This includes building up my husband, molding, shaping, and educating my children, making my home a sanctuary for my family, and looking for ways to encourage other people.

So, my fellow moms, take a fresh look at what you do. Your work, your Life Artistry, is the most significant job in the world. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it as unto the Lord. And to God be the glory for this awesome job He has given us! Rejoice today in your new title.

Totally unrelated and totally funny: Today Matt caught Pepper sticking sunflower seeds up his butt. What. The. Heck!!!


Lori and Gabe said...

I love what you said about our role in building our husbands up. So true, and very encouraging. I need that reminder since I'll soon be cohabitating with mine again!

And about the seeds.... I'm at a loss for words. ;)

My name is Stacie... said...

Great words, Em. Thanks for sharing.