If I were to poll my readers and ask you what you think is the most meaningful piece of artwork in our house, I would imagine that most of you would choose the “watercolor” that hangs in our hallway.
That is one of my favorite photos from our wedding day that my mom turned into a “watercolor” using Photoshop. I do love that picture, and I love how it looks in our hallway. But as far as being the most meaningful and impactful artwork, I’d have to give that slot to another piece (or set) of artwork.
That honor actually goes to the colorful cut glass glitter word art that I made to go in our breakfast room. And I’m generally not a “word art” kind of person. It’s just not really my cup of tea. But I do love these that hang in our breakfast room. They’re words from a favorite passage of Scripture set on a background of colorful stripes and covered with two coats of cut glass glitter that sparkle like crazy in person (but is nearly impossible to capture in photos).
I went back recently and read my post about that project because I was curious to know exactly what information I shared with you about why I made those. I told you that I was inspired by a favorite artist (fact check: true), and that I wanted to make something similar for our house (fact check: true), and that instead of copying her outright, I decided to choose a passage from the Bible that had more meaning to me (fact check: true).
Yes, all of that was true. I didn’t share anything that was false. But my goodness, I really glossed over what was really going on in my life at that time to inspire me to make those at that particular time. The truth of the matter is that I was in a season of funk in my life, and it was affecting my attitude towards everything and everyone, including Matt.
All of my regular readers know our situation, but if you’re new around here, let me get you up to speed. Matt is my husband of 21 years. Two years after we got married, he was diagnosed with M.S. For the first few years, he could still manage life as usual — school, work, etc. And he did that until he couldn’t. So for the last ten years (at least), he has been in a wheelchair, he’s had periods of time when he’s been bedridden, he suffers from extreme exhaustion and weakness all day every day. So for those 10+ years, I’ve been his full-time caretaker.
Well, back in 2021, I had hit a wall. Mentally, emotionally, physically, and in every other way, I had hit a wall. I just wanted to kind of fade away and be left alone to do what I wanted to do without the responsibility of taking full-time care of another adult human. And my attitude was starting to affect how I was interacting with Matt.
Honestly, I don’t know if he even noticed. There have been times in our marriage when I’ve had a horrible attitude towards him, and have gone back later and said, “I’m sorry for my attitude earlier,” only for him to respond, “What are you talking about?” 😀 So he’s not the most perceptive when it comes to those things. 😀 He doesn’t always pick up what I’m laying down.
But during this particular season in life, whether or not Matt picked up on my attitude, it was starting to affect me tremendously. If he called me when I was working, and I picked up my phone to see that it was him, I would sigh and roll my eyes before answering. If he asked me for more water, I’d sigh and roll my eyes. If I needed to transfer him from his chair to the bed, I’d make sure my attitude conveyed what an inconvenience it was for me (even though, again, he probably didn’t even notice).
But even when he didn’t notice, my attitude was going from bad to worse, and was having a terrible impact on me. I’d get frustrated so easily. I’d start to feel bitterness and resentment at the fact that I had been at this caretaker thing for a decade and saw no end in sight.
Anyway, you get the point. It was a rough season, and I knew something inside me needed to change. I was so hyper focused on how things were impacting me, how things were inconveniencing me, how unfair things were for me. I was all about me, me, me. And these were the thoughts I was literally meditating on throughout the day.
Well, when those are the types of thoughts that you focus on throughout the day — the types of thoughts that are constantly filling your head — nothing is going to change. Nothing is going to get better. Meditating on those types of thoughts will not change a person’s attitude. They’ll only make things worse.
So one day, I decided I had had enough. I couldn’t keep going with that attitude. So I decided that I needed to change my focus. I needed to change the constant refrains that were going through my head all day long. And I needed to change my attitude towards Matt. I needed something to kick me out of my constant focus on myself, and to remind me that I LOVE Matt, he’s NOT an inconvenience to me, and I’ll do anything for him because I love him and made a commitment to him.
And that’s when I decided to make that artwork. I pass through the breakfast room many times a day, so that seemed like the perfect spot for it. And that passage from the Bible seemed like the perfect passage to read, meditate upon, memorize, and replace the constant negative and me-centered thoughts that were going through my head all day long.
And you know what? After hanging those up, I did notice a difference. It wasn’t an immediate, overnight change. It was gradual, but it was noticeable. Every time I would start to have a “poor me” thought, I’d make a point of replacing that “me” thought with, “I need to have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” I’d remind myself constantly that these are the attitudes I need to have towards Matt. These are the attitudes that I need to have towards our situation in life. These are the attitudes I need to have in general.
After a while, those “poor me” thoughts really did go away, and they were replaced completely. That’s not to say that I’m now perfect. I’m far from it! 😀 But the “me” thoughts no longer control my mind. They may pop up every now and then, but they don’t take up permanent residence in my head like they did during that season of life back in 2021.
So why am I telling you this? Well, mainly because I would never want anyone to think that I’m not human, and I don’t have struggles, and that I’m just always perfectly content with our situation. I am human, I do have struggles, and I do have those times when I ask, “Why me?” or “Why Matt?” or “Why us?” And that does affect my attitude at times. And I don’t like that social media brings out the urge in people to only share the good, polished, perfect aspects of life, and to hide those ugly, real areas that make our lives seem imperfect.
As someone who has been a full-time caretaker of a disabled spouse for over a decade now, I’d never want anyone to think that ours has always been a perfect journey, and that we haven’t experienced bumps in the road. Our journey has definitely been imperfect, and there have been many bumps and potholes along the way. It is only by the grace of God that Matt and I have made it this far, and it will only be by His grace that we can continue on for however long He has us on this journey together.
Addicted 2 Decorating is where I share my DIY and decorating journey as I remodel and decorate the 1948 fixer upper that my husband, Matt, and I bought in 2013. Matt has M.S. and is unable to do physical work, so I do the majority of the work on the house by myself. You can learn more about me here.