Make a Masterpiece of Your Life - A Letter from Mary Williams
(Click on the letters to enlarge)
Every single day we are gifted with beginnings… fresh eyes to seek God, new opportunities to fulfill our vocations, and plentiful chances to be Love to those around us. And yet, how many of us are afraid of just starting right where we are? Beginning something, whether it is climbing out bed in the morning or making a big lifestyle change, can make us feel vulnerable, uncomfortable, and fearful. A transformation of the heart is never easy but sometimes just what God asks of us.
It felt as if it had been too long. I hadn't picked up a paintbrush since I was a child. It felt awkward, uncomfortable, scary. What could I possibly create? Why should I bother? Who even wants to see what I make?
And yet, I felt God calling me to my palette. "Fear not."
This past spring, I began painting. I painted every single day for 100 days as part of a personal creative challenge. None of my creations were masterpieces, but rather they represented the feeble attempts of a beginner seeking her own way by following Love.
The art I made was a new beginning in my life... a new opportunity to know God, a new chance at living the creative life I had always desired, a new way in my heart to minister to and love the world. I discovered that my creativity is a tremendously beautiful place of prayer for me. I began to realize that perhaps God could use me in ways I had never before imagined.
"The art I made was a new beginning in my life... a new opportunity to know God, a new chance at living the creative life I had always desired."
I would never have arrived at this place of deep joy had I not been open to God's new beginning for my life.
We can never forget that our God is a God of new beginnings. His mercies are new every morning. His grace is always with us. His love is everlasting.
"See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? In wilderness, I make a way, into the wasteland, rivers." Isaiah 43:19
God is always forming us, shaping us, molding into the women he needs us to be in the world. It is never too late hear and to listen to that small still voice of God inside of us. Who we are never is never finalized during our earthly life. Each day we arise with the choice to Love God more and better by being His hands, His feet, His eyes, His body in this world. We are each so very beautiful and so very necessary. We are imperative to the Kingdom.
Pope John Paul II wrote in his Letter to Artists, "...all…women are entrusted with the task of crafting their own life: in a certain sense, they are to make of it a work of art, a masterpiece."
No matter what your new beginning looks like...a new relationship, a new job, a new place to call home...you have the choice to make it your own in Him, through Him, and with Him. You are to make your life a work of art, a masterpiece. Let the dawn of your new day shine for all of us to see!
I'm praying for you!
Get to know Mary
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
My name is Mary Williams and I’m a 35 year old stay-at-home mama to my two little ones (4 and 2 years old), wife to a high school physics teacher, and creative being through and through.
How does your Catholic faith affect the way you live your day-to-day life?
My Catholic faith is the light by which the rest of my life is illuminated. My faith has gifted me tangible examples, tools, and inspiration for living out my human vocation. The beautiful spiritual traditions from various saints and religious orders both challenge and encourage me to continually seek God creatively in my every day life.
From one Catholic woman to another, how have you discovered your sense of belonging in the Church?
I grew up in a devout Catholic family, attended Catholic school my entire life, and was always very involved in our parish. I graduated from a Catholic college, spent two years doing full-time volunteer work with a Catholic organization, and then attended a Catholic graduate school to study ministry. I worked as a high school and college Catholic campus minister for 5 years before staying home with my children. I feel blessed to say I’ve always felt a sense of at-homeness in the Church, but my sense of belonging has been much more deeply rooted in how much of myself I am sharing with the Church. The more I use my God-given gifts to participate in and contribute to my Church family, the closer I feel with the Church. The seasons in which I have chosen genuine interaction with my Catholic community have made me feel so much more connected to the Church!
What’s the most empowering piece of advice you’ve been given as a Catholic woman?
“God delights in you.” I will never forget the moment that my spiritual director said this to me. I was 25, trying to figure out what I should be doing with my life, and it felt like my soul came fully alive. I never need to be anyone other than who God already created me to be. In a society that often glorifies the consequences of extreme self-criticism, my identity as a woman, as a daughter of Christ, is enough.
"I never need to be anyone other than who God already created me to be. In a society that often glorifies the consequences of extreme self-criticism, my identity as a woman, as a daughter of Christ, is enough."
Tell us about a woman who inspires you. What lessons have you learned from her? How has she influenced your life?
My mother is by far my greatest example of what it means to live a God- centered life. Her selfless devotion to others and her grounded prayer life have left a tremendous imprint on my heart. It is her servant heart and her beautiful ability to know God more deeply through the extraordinary events of ordinary days that have encouraged me to strive to have a relationship with God and an understanding of Catholicism that is honest and heartfelt.
How is Jesus challenging you to greater love in your current place in life?
I’ve really been feeling Jesus nudging my heart toward more fully living a life committed to social justice. I want to have a heart and a spirituality that breathes justice. I don’t want just talk about it or write a check, I want to live it every day in my words and actions. I want to love other people in the way that Jesus does. I want to offer my hands and my heart as Jesus’ own in this world.
What virtue do you find yourself valuing most right now?
I pray for patience daily. I think I might be the most impatient person in the world. I’m always hankering for what comes next instead of savoring the present moment. I long for a patient heart, one that rejoices in the beautiful slowness of this season of life instead of preparing for the ever-elusive next best thing.
What's the best smell in the world to you?
My favorite smells are a brand new box of crayons, the outside after a warm summer afternoon storm, and the hints of last night’s campfire on my fleece jacket.
Fill in the blank
A typical day in my life looks like…
5:30am wake-up snuggles from my children, the happy chaotic sounds of breakfast, a trip to the park that usually ends with everyone covered in mud, snacks and snacks and more snacks, afternoon naps and cuddling up for story time, conversing with God in my Examen Journal in the quiet of the evening, painting in my sketchbook, relaxing with my husband after our kids are asleep, and heading to bed with a prayer of gratitude for the day.
My favorite quote is...
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” (Mary Oliver)
I feel most inspired when...
I’m doing something creative, especially painting. Painting outside in the freshness of the day? Dreams coming true here.
The Catholic Church is...
beauty, community, and mystery. It is home.