Perhaps We Need More Paint

Yesterday, I spent the day painting the walls and ceiling in my house. I have little to no affection whatsoever for the art of house painting; however, once resolved to attack the task at hand, I find a solace in the process, and the finished effect always earns my admiration of the new, clean look and feel to the room. The walls are ready to sustain another round of life. Like me, over time the walls begin to show the signs of life’s little battles. They really have no defense against my sons’ flying Nerf gun bullets, their overfilled gym duffels, their sudden need to drag the futon mattress from room to room for movie/slumber party night, or their general overall horseplay, which results in unintentional abuse to the walls. Like me, the walls begin to bear the scars of a life being lived to its capacity. But then I come along with my brush, and the walls are like new again…

That is exactly what God’s love does for my identity. As a single mom, I sometimes feel like that wall, absorbing the daily battles without a defense to avoid the unavoidable marks left by life. The fear that I’m going to mess up somehow in this process of raising children, the guilt felt from that needed- yet absolutely blissful at the moment- hour spent away from the house doing nothing more than enjoying quiet time, the irritation felt at returning home just in time to referee an argument, the pain that accompanies the sudden surge of resentment or hurt when I am hit with an old memory without warning in the middle of my day. These are only a few of the flying “Nerf bullets” bouncing off the walls of my heart. I say only a few because the single mom knows that she not only carries her own worries, but she carries the cares of her children, as well. The very fact that we parent alone adds to life’s load. Though unbidden, we still worry that doing it alone just won’t add up to enough at the end of the day, and our children are getting shorted in some way.

It’s during those particularly low moments that I feel a slight nudge from God reminding me of his promise that “you will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). Funny, how I can get wrapped up in my aloneness and still have to be reminded that he is always there. Without God, all of us are ultimately alone, whether or not we have a companion to share this life with here on earth. With God, I am never really alone. It is this knowledge that allows me to kiss my kids goodnight and end my day with a prayer for God to make me new in the new day to come. And there I find him, waiting patiently, paintbrush in hand, ready to make the walls of my heart bright again.

About Shannon Altom  

I am a Christian, mom, sister, friend, daughter, teacher, runner, and writer. I love learning more about the grace God has given to my life through writing. In sharing my stories and faith, I hope it will help someone else find their own way too. Too much of my life has been devoted to hiding my emotions out of fear or intimidation, and I refuse to do that anymore. So, my heart is out there on my sleeve, and I just embrace it as my style.