WOW! We are in week ??? I can’t even remember! But definitely past 60 days in quarantine in Upstate NY. School for the academic year is canceled. We are moving into week six of distance learning. The warmth of summer is only just starting and the landscape is morphing into a beautiful, green, and lush scenery.
It has been a hard few weeks.
As a creative, I need to seek out the beauty. Let the LIGHT shine in the darkness all around me! Here is a glimpse into my heart, my work, and my ministry during quarantine.
Black and White Series
During these historical and unforeseen times, my eyes and heart have been drawn to capture the simplistic nature of black and white documentary photography. My desire is to capture the stark contrast of how we are all feeling. The light in the darkness. The darkness could overtake us with the fear and anxiety of not knowing when this pandemic will end. The darkness of losing all sense of our realities – what truly matters in the grand scheme of things? My Job? My health? My family? The vulnerable? Others? Self?
The darkness did not overtake the light. The light of hope. The light that we all should and can cling to in this darkness that this too shall pass. The light that we are doing our part in staying vigilant, disciplined, and obedient to ordinances put in place for the safety of ALL. The light that we have loved ones near and/or they are healthy (if we are lucky enough to still have our spouses and children home) for comfort and joy. The light that we have technology as a tool to unite us. The light of HIS word.
The start of the day without the rush of school dropoffs and packing backpacks has led to slower mornings that allow time to pause and enjoy one another. Allowing us time to enjoy the light of early sunshine. Watching the sunrise while holding a cup of coffee still wearing your pajamas. The kids ease into new routines and there is fewer issues. Fewer meltdowns, tantrums, chaos, and busyness.
I sit here this morning before the kids wake writing about hope while my heart aches for my children because they lost their first pet. Real darkness in their lives right now. Thankfully they will have time to mourn since this quarantine is yet ongoing providing time to pour light into their darkness.
Like many, during the first few weeks of the quarantine, it was a nice escape and relatively easy for us to continue doing activities we enjoyed previously. A challenge to stay active, engaged, and sharp. My goal was to continue reading my Bible daily but soon the hours and days started to mix and those habits are slowly fading away. The depression of being isolated and forced to stay inside coupled with cold weather during the summer months lays heavy on my heart. I am clinging to the truth in Psalms. HE is my stronghold and the refuge I need to run to with fear and anxiety. No matter the circumstances HE is my LIGHT.
At the beginning of March 2020, the idea of being home away from school was inviting – almost like summer vacation! Distance learning started like a game allowing the kids to pick and choose new educational outlets via mobile devices, printed worksheets from the internet, and art activities crafted by parents and YouTube. We were all-embracing to this new “normal” the best we could and expectant for a rapid end. Yet, in May 2020, we are still on a knife’s edge hoping and praying for this distance learning to end-and not become the new normal indefinitely.
Walking the aisles of supermarkets during the quarantine in March 2020. The documentation on doors, stickers on the floors, and new ‘protective’ gear around the essential workers made it very clear we were facing a new world. A world of darkness and fear that could overtake us if we didn’t let the light into our hearts and lives.
The sudden cough or sneeze made you weary or people immediately were apologizing for their allergies! Mothers with children were frantically trying to figure out how to go shopping with children with masks and stay six feet apart.
YET, I saw kindness and patience that wasn’t present before all of this. People were using manners in the aisles and not rushing about to get passed you and on their way. Even vehicles were at a slower pace on the road. Life had slowed down.
Finding the Light
Getting outside in the cold weather is hard for my southern roots. I welcome the warm even sweltering heat of the summer. Along with sunburns and sweat. Yet, here we are bundling ourselves up in coats, gloves, and hats in the month of MAY!
OH MY WORD!
I need the warmth of the sunshine to make this darkness disappear. The seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or winter depression was never something that plagued me. Years of living in south Georgia followed by a small-time in West Africa didn’t lend itself to short days combined with the bitter cold that leads to trapping oneself inside for months at a time. AND NOW, we are forced inside on orders by the government.
We were coming up on week five in the quarantine and my spirit started to deflate. The pressure of managing the home, teaching slash not teaching through distance learning with my children, and staying hopeful was getting to me. My priorities were all over the place!
I am a creative that is super flexible. I am also an obliger and INTJ that morphed into an ENSF – motherhood has a way of changing your heart and attitudes (I love personality tests by the way).
ALL of those traits lead to a person who doesn’t fare well with self-motivation and sticktoitiveness. I thrive in an environment of external motivators! I need deadlines, meetings, and other people to help hold me accountable. So yeah, the darkness was trying to creep in….
So as the weather started to warm up and the sun peeked through the clouds I started to get outside of my head and outside of my house.
- I started running.
- I started working out.
- I started calling my friends.
- I started establishing OUTSIDE communication.
- I started being purposefully in reading my Bible.
I needed the Lord to restore my heart, mind, and soul. We all travel to dark places at times yet do we allow the darkness to overtake us? Do we linger there? Do we stay wallowed up in that place of misery?
I used to. I have struggled with fear, anxiety, and depression.
It is in my past and I have been redeemed by my heavenly Father. It is through going to Him on a daily basis, praying through His Word, and applying the discipline of many of the scriptures into my daily life that has brought joy and peace.
My marriage, my parenting, and my own creativity is dependant on God’s power within and through me provided by the Holy Spirit. His face SHINES on me so that I may be saved.
The second series of documentary photography is in color – bright, cheery, rainbow-tastic colors of hope and joy. Capturing the light pouring into our lives at times we didn’t think was possible. The soaking rays of sunshine pouring into my house casting gorgeous light flares around my children and our lives. His light shining into our darkness.
The joy of spending quality time with my girls during this quarantine is something that I am thankful for.
I am no baker yet the simplistic nature of making a cake – even from a box – was a great way to teach life lessons, use up some time, and make memories with my girls. I remember baking with my mother as a child. I was too afraid of our gas stove!!!! And now, I wouldn’t cook on anything else.
The Light dwells with Me
Like I said before, I used to stay in those deep and hidden places of depression. It was easier to just let my emotions dig deeper into hate and anger vs trying to find hope in any situation. I felt unloved and abandoned….
GOD still dwelled in that dark place. HE was there with me every step of the way! He REVEALED what was truly lying in the darkness. He has been slowly molding me into a new creation with each disciplined step I take into full obedience to HIM. Each step is another step in serving HIM, my husband, my children, and my community.
and the light dwells with me.
As the quarantine comes to an end, hopefully, I want to build my town aka my life on a hill with a light shining so bright that all will see.
A beacon of hope pouring out a message of peace to all who are hurting and suffering.
I am not perfect and make mistakes. God is still revealing the things in the deep dark places of my heart and teaching strength, perseverance, and diligence.
WE ARE THE LIGHT of hope, joy, and eternal peace. Let your light shine!
Finding light in the darkness took much dedication.
FOR ME, as a creative I have turned to my craft of photography and graphic design.
Using this website as a place to express myself through design. I have redesigned this website countless times during isolation. I have picked up my camera almost weekly and used my smartphone camera almost daily.
Every image on this blog post was captured with my PHONE!
In the image above, you see our fourth child. He is small, young, and unafraid. He sits in one of the most beautiful spots of light in our home. As the late afternoon sun dips down it shines through our front door casting a rainbow of colors onto the wall and floor. He has been provided more freedoms as he matures and now that very step where he sits used to be a protective boundary. You can still see the faint line to his right where a gate sat for over a year protecting him from the danger of going up and down the stairs. He was safe and my mind was at ease knowing he couldn’t go up without supervision.
Over time, we got relaxed in our home and his abilities but that didn’t stop him from growing, maturing, and testing boundaries. He seeked out opportunities to test his limits and quickly mastered the stairs with and without our supervision. And eventually, he wasn’t just crawling but walking up and down the stairs using the side rail as a helping hand – not mine!
The gate was removed and he confidently go up and down those stairs unassisted.
Does this mean the danger is gone? NO. Does this mean he will never fall? No. Does this mean I need to still hover and plan his steps? No.
The Lord is our gatekeeper. He is our shepherd. He guides us and nudges us back into the herd when we get out of line. Yet, he gives us room to grow. To have a teachable spirit that learns and matures by knowing His word. Applying His word.
Our son is young still and needs a guiding hand. I look to the Lord to keep nudging my heart through the spirit to stay alert and attentive to his needs. Though he may have mastered the stairs he still needs my guiding hand from time to time to do the most simple thing – walking.
He will do the same with your needs.
Walk in the light
The Lord used this time to reveal many different things to us all.
My spirit needed to be reminded of my responsibilities and how to prioritize my time. To slow down and enjoy my children at this tender age. That we are not meant to rush these years because danger still lies around each corner.
BUT, we are also not to let fear overtake us. Not let the darkness take us down into the deep.
Look to HIM and HIS Word to rescue us. We are safe in His arms.
In this time let HIS light shine into your hearts.
Before you go…
As a sweet reminder of HIS light, I have created three verse art images for you to print and enjoy around your home. They can be downloaded and printed using your home printer on regular 8.5×11 paper.
I hope you enjoyed these documentary photographs during COVID-19 along with the verses about light in the darkness. Drop a comment in the comment section below and tell me, what is the greatest light lesson that have you learned? 🙂 Let’s start a discussion! Or better yet, bring this discussion to the Knitting Our Story Community!
The”Believing the Knitter” community is MORE than just a Christian Facebook group for women. It is a sisterhood of faith lovin’ women who JUST WANT to tear down the technological walls and talk shop – smartphones, cameras, smart home gadgets, bible topics, and parenting aka issues RELEVANT to modern Christian moms, grandmothers, and ministry-driven women today. Join in to participate in the open discussions we hold after a message with me 🙂 This is a place for the Christian woman who wants to be in a group that points them to Jesus — all while learning about their everyday tech (no question is too simple)!