STRAINING FORWARD

Written by Nichole Miller

IT WOULD BE EASIER not to go. It would be easier to stay in our comfortable home, not to stress our daughter and our puppy. Not to stress our family who is helping while we go away.

It would be easier not to try new things and stay in our comfort zone. It would be easier to stay put rather than strain forward.

But then, what would I be left with? A quiet yearning that would only grow bigger. A yearning for more. A yearning for the things of God placed quietly in my heart.

A few months ago, when Still Waters began their posts on Calling, God started stirring some dormant yearnings in my heart. I resonated with the idea that my relationship with God was wrapped up in His calling of my heart. And I currently wasn’t living in all aspects of my calling, mostly because I was doing the other things God has called me to: wife, mother, and counselor.

But I have always known I have been called to other things as well: traveler, artist, and seeker of beauty. If I’m honest, I know I would be a better mother, wife, counselor, and friend if I was living more fully in the other aspects of my calling as well.

Then I came across a quote from Lara Casey: “You know all those things you’ve always wanted to do? You should do them.”

I imagine most of us struggle with balancing the practical things in life along with our big, beautiful, and yet sometimes scary yearnings. So, for the first time in years, I’m off on an adventure. And I get to take my husband along!

For two years I have been eyeing the Art and Faith Creative Retreats. My heart was burning in my chest and I took a chance to email, just in case they had a spot left this summer. I expected the answer to be, “No.”  When I approached my husband about this, I expected the same response. And again, when they indeed had space, I expected a negative response from my daughter since we wouldn’t be taking her along. But instead, the answers were, “Yes. Yes. Yes, you should go!”

And all of a sudden we were booking a trip to Lake Como, Italy! Half of my family is Italian American and I’ve often felt drawn to the land of pasta, wine, family, art and beauty. I can’t imagine anything better than to be taking art classes, tours, and to have time with my husband in this beautiful location.

And yet, this is not without struggle. I’ve been fighting my sense of Mom guilt in a fierce new way. I struggle with feeling selfish for going away. I used to travel the world before I was married and a mom. But now I’m learning to do things in a new way with these new roles.

“Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13b-14 ESV

So I’m straining forward. I’m working on saying no to mom guilt. I want to show my daughter the important things in life. I want to show her that life is more than staying comfortable and shying away from our fears.

I want to show her that reaching for your calling isn’t only when you’re young, but that it happens in the thick of life as well.

Here I am, straining forward to God’s call on my life in new ways. Straining and fighting the messages of shame and guilt. Straining and fighting for new adventures rather than comfort. Straining and fighting to be a better wife and mom by pursuing the callings of my heart.

Photo ©2017 Nichole Miller. All rights reserved.

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NICHOLE MILLER is a wife, mom, therapist, artist, and traveler when life allows. She is proud to be a third generation Colorado native, a graduate of Denver Seminary, and owner of Art & Soul Care, LLC. She works as a private practice counselor and with families in the foster care system. She hopes to offer more Art & Soul Care retreats and workshops and wishes to someday retire as a travel photographer.


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Want to see more like this? Read Nichole’s post from our “Calling” series: A QUIET CALLING.

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One thought on “STRAINING FORWARD

  1. Love that Nichole Miller challenged herself in the midst of her busy life full of responsibilities. Excited for God to be seen in her photography and art as it enriches those who follow her active call!

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