The Inheritance

I’m an artist.” I made known that identity when a woman called my hair dynamic. I get that a lot.
It’s also crazy curly and glows a bit honey in the sun. It’s thick – a boy in junior high used to call it the jungle. When I wash it, out comes a bunch of brown, blonde, and a few random streaks of black and red. From a distance, it’s dusty mush, but up close it’s the equivalent of my ancestry knitted into my scalp. I’m my Scottish, Irish, Native American, Dutch (etc.) heritage.

My days are born into family chaos that drip restless streams into most nights. The whites of eyes peep open, closed, big, and squinting all the way from bouts of laughter only to pop from terrors of the night. It’s love and anguish, joy and sheer exhaustion. I’m blessed.

I’m tired.

I can trace the colonels, the sergeants, the soldiers that marched all over the world and feel pride for this blessed soil that was nourished with the blood of freedom, and honor. I descend from these and take pride in their sacrifice for a blessed land. So…I’m a patriot.

Whether I’m dipping into a palette of paint or chalking up a tree, I’m happy to let loose when the words don’t come, but…the words….it’s the words, at the end of the day, that flutter onto the screen when the house pauses in a hush, where God has led me through this door for a season that I hope will extend a lifetime.

I’m a writer.

To weave the family (and hey – who’s family doesn’t include a few skeletons?) – then and now, the art, the words, and even the dynamic hair takes time where there isn’t, and energy so quickly, too quickly spent. Some days, caffeine is a tool and sometimes it’s just a word among many, mushed into the day. Sew in some wisdom, learn some more, kiss the boo-boos, paint some passion, and write some truth. I flit from thought to thought, sending my thanks on a breath only to be interrupted by the next flight.

I’m scattered.

What then, do I write on my dog tags? I can never be separated from Mother, will 100_2990always love creating art and I’m sure I will never hear the end about the hair I inherited.

God has sewn a story into each of us, but He is not about our past or the deeds of our ancestors. True, we are in a sense, a quilt of their making, an extension of their talents, passions and motivations and even failures.

But the minute we stop following the world and its desire to label us into structured categories according to our religious affiliation, political party or who and what we descend from, and follow the song God sings us, we become new.

A new creation.

And that’s what propels us past the boundary lines, past the limitations of man.

Into the arms of a perfect inheritance.

What words would you write on your dog tag? What influence you the most? Tell us in the comments.

Queen Esther vs. The Disney Princess

Her white lace dress floats on the swirls of her princess dance. Blue eyes catch emulations of Snow White in a mirror with a hand to her face and a soft voice to sing along to her play.

They’re sweet these moments and if I can capture them on camera, I will. With a click and a wink of year 5, another day goes by where my daughter thinks the 100_2653world will be a smooth walk in her princess shoes.

No one wants to deal with the ugly stepsister, but Chloe will need a little fire in her step when it’s time to face her.

I like to teach her about the real heroes – the ones in sandals and hearts for justice. Those who were set apart from the other girls, not the ones set on joining the myriad castle clicks.
Will her goal be to stand out to the young princes swarming the halls of high school or will she stand up for the King of glory?

I like to tell Chloe about Queen Esther (an edited version, of course). When King Xerxes’ wife, Vashti, refused to appear naked in front of a party (to show off her beauty), Xerxes, on advice from his counsel, decided it was time for a new, more obedient wife.
Many local women were kidnapped and forced to live in a Harem for one year to receive beauty treatments. At the end of the year they all appeared before the King where he would choose his favorite. Esther, the most beautiful, was chosen as the new Queen.
What Xerxes didn’t know was that she was not Persian like she allowed everyone to believe (on advice from her guardian Mordecai), but a Jewish woman named Hadassah.
When Haman, Xerxes’ right hand man, decided that he wanted to annihilate the Jews, Mordecai said this to Esther:

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14

By law Esther could not appear before Xerxes without his summons. This could cause her to loose her life. But to save the Jewish people, she did anyway. Because she was different –  set apart by God to do this very thing, and succeeded.

Not bad for a harem chick. Beauty became a tool, not her identity.

Chloe’s eyelashes flutter down, sweeping my glance to her painted toes.

She is beautiful and charming. But underneath all the layers, she is no Snow White.

She is a girl who loves to run and play in the mud. She is a protector of her baby brother when the big kids get a little rough and she is quick to learn when an injustice has been done.

My prayer is that she and her generation will grow to recognize that beauty is not in the mask, but in the way that God has set them apart.

How do you think our culture has had an impact on image vs. calling? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.