To Stretch a Canvas

I don’t roll out of bed. I slowly morph from one-with-blanket to kind of awake. It takes me a minute or two to realize that I’m not really running from a phantom at the speed of geezer, but was dreaming. I blink the dry from my eyes and stare at the new day – except it looks like an out of focus impressionist painting without my glasses. I have to feel around for them because I’m too blind to see them sitting on my nightstand with the low light. Once I get them on and get dressed, my little guy bursts in.

“Morning, Mommy!”

He’s in his Thor costume and wants to wear his Spiderman flip flops to take Sissy to school because he can’t find his tennis shoes, “So can I wear them, Mommy, please, please, please?” I’m still trying to separate dream from awake and he’s asking me this before I get my daily dose of caffeine and….

“Uh, okay.”

“Yay, thank you, Mommy! Can I go wake up Sissy, can I have oatmeal today, CANIHAVEHOTCHOCOLATE?!!

The stinker knows Mommy is too groggy to say NO.
I grab my pants and pull them over my had-two-babies belly. It’s not that I’ve eaten too much chocolate but my skin is as stretched as thin as I am. You know – how we get our kids ready for school – making lunch and breakfast at the same time while loading the dishwasher and trying to brush teeth while handling a toddler meltdown? Working to pay the bills, and then writing novels—dreaming dreams—well after the sun goes down?

Is there any room in there for a date night?100_2990

We are strrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeetched tissue paper thin and have the tiger stripes to prove it.

There are those moments in between the chaos that shine beautiful, like when my son opens the door for old ladies at the library, or when my daughter picks up her journal and scrawls in her six-year-old script, “I love how the trees point toward Heaven.” This is when I know the life-scars are not ugly – they’re marks from the Great Sculptor Himself.

“Being stretched thin makes you a canvas for God’s glory.”—Ann Voskamp

God doesn’t stuff our plates full to waste our time. He takes the threads from each generation, dips them in His grace, and makes art.


“Uh huh, I know how that is, Pounce.” I give the old tiger striped thing a nod and watch him stare at the sunspot. He snuggled next to it as it shone over the patch of wall and dusty plant, but after all his efforts it wouldn’t move to his spot on the floor. After he pawed it, nudged it with his head, he sauntered to my bed still soaked in morning shade and fell asleep.
I wanted a moment too. Hot tea and uninterrupted silence to wake, pray, and charge up for what the day brings. Like Pounce, I try grabbing for that comfort, but the house erupts early, before I can open my eyes and I find myself without my sunspot. My body jerks to life like a cold car engine and sputters, reeling in the chaos before I’m ready to go.100_2286
After dropping my daughter off at school, I find a cartoon for Noah. I can’t tell you how Sesame Street and Curious George bless me with an hour and a half of time to get a few things done. Of course, every couple minutes brings an interruption, every commercial break brings who knows—a full body tackle from a rowdy little boy, a temper tantrum, a “Mommy, I need…”
I find Pounce asleep on my bed. His aging frame has shrunk, his paws no longer twitch in his sleep from dream adventures – he just stays curled in a fuzzy ball, waiting for his sun.
The light creeps down the wall, finding the floor when Curious George comes on. Pounce doesn’t know it, but the sun is coming, still shining, still doing its job as he sleeps. The moment I wait for is coming too. The Son I crave never sleeps. When I sit down to write, when I scrub the oatmeal off neon bowls, He comes. Sometimes, when He hasn’t given me that moment to sit, He stays at my side shining on my boy that is rowdy, but…healthy. He shines on those dirty dishes that soak in the filth so easily, but hold all the food we need. He illuminates the small things that rob me of rest, but when I take a moment to be where He wants me, I find they’re blessings. And I can rest in the Son that never fades.

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2

What do you do when that thing you want seems unreachable? Tell us in the comments.