Aiming carefully at my subject, I shot blind. Lifting the camera, I squinted at the LCD screen but could still see nothing; the brightness of the mid afternoon sun rendered it worthless. I tried again, choosing my angle with care, holding perfectly still. When the breeze died down enough for the vibrant, violet bloom to still, I pressed the shutter once more. Shrugging, I walked on, waiting for the next flower or critter or bit of beauty to catch my novice eye.
Later, sitting in my living room and finally able to see the screen on my camera, I scrolled through the day’s offerings. I was pleased to note that the shots of the violet flower were good. Actually, they were rather stunning, the beauty and vividness of the colors captured, crisp and true.
How had these images turned out so well? I had been blind, yes, but I knew what angle I was looking for and what setting would give me the best result. I knew to hold as still as possible and to wait for a break in the wind. Though a positive outcome was not guaranteed, it was much more likely if I simply did what little I knew how to do.
Choosing my favorite, I changed the wallpaper on my phone so I could enjoy it further. I pondered the beauty that had come from such a blind effort and I couldn’t help but compare that to my life. How often do I feel as if I’m flying completely blind, without clarity or vision? How often do I simply muck along and hope for the best?
The truth? Every day.
My mind sifted through all of the ways I feel like a novice, like a blind woman groping her way through the dark, coming out on the other side, blinking in the sunlight, surprised at how good things turned out after all, and my thoughts settled on my son.
Last June, my son graduated from high school. Homeschooled since he was a wee one, we’ve battled learning disabilities and weaknesses, trying all the while to train him up according to his many strengths, to usher him into adulthood with a strong sense of confidence in who our Father created him to be.
From his earliest years I could sense the quiet intelligence hiding behind his language difficulties, the leadership abilities that, when combined with his innate love of people, could become great. Catching glimmers of a young man after God’s own heart, I was sure that if I did this mothering thing right, if I hit the homeschooling from just the right angle, we could weather the winds that frequently threatened to derail the picture I knew was there.
But how often on my journey with him have I felt as if I’m flying completely blind, without clarity or vision? How often did I fail to do this mothering gig right? How often did I simply muck along and hope for the best?
Every. Single. Day.
I feared I would ruin him and, on my hardest days, I begged God to release me from this call to homeschool. In the day to day struggles I couldn’t always see the progress we’d made. Most of the time I felt hopelessly inept, ill-equipped to handle the unique way he learns and thinks.
And yet somehow, he has turned out to be even more than I had envisioned. He is a young man, created wonderfully in the image of a loving God, walking out the gifts and talents he was designed with.
It’s funny, coming out on the other side of raising him. As I step out of the mists of my dim understanding, squinting at the brightness and beauty my Father has brought about, I find myself surprised. I guess all the fears and worries, the despairing moments and momming failures had a tighter grip on me than I care to admit.
Am I now filled with wisdom and clarity as I continue on my mom adventure? Ha! Having two more lovely daughters to see through high school, I still feel like a novice in this parenting gig. But for right now, the worries and fears are held at bay, vapors that don’t have quite the same hold as before.
Fear’s grasp is loosened because now I know that when I angle my vision where I know it should be, when I hold myself still and wait for the whirling winds of thoughts to break, it is then that I am able to hear the voice of my Father. And it’s His voice that puts my feet back on right paths, that enables me to find beauty even as I muck along.
I don’t need to see everything. All I need to do is do what I know to do and trust Him for the outcome.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6, HCSB)