Frameworthy Designs

King of my Heart

tara forth4 Comments

Last year, around the beginning of Advent, I was asked to design the weekly wallpaper for Blessed is She. My wallpaper would "launch" on December 24, Christmas Eve. The image below is what I designed (with some serious help from the Holy Spirit). It's still available for free download on the Blessed is She site, if you'd like to grab your own copy. And if you continue reading, you'll see that I'm now taking pre-orders for 8x10 prints AND hardcover journals.

I was excited by the challenge of this project, and I took the nativity story to prayer before I began. When the illustration was finished, I knew I had received some divine help, and when the wallpaper went live, women responded quite strongly to it, and wanted to know more about the image. So, I want to tell you a little bit about what was going on in my life this Advent. It's been a season full of ups and downs: a lot of joy, and a lot of pain. And, well, I hope in some way this art and this experience will help your heart (pun intended) in 2018.

 
 

I was pregnant for a short time during Advent. I was pregnant from roughly September 8 (thanks NFP for the quick heads-up!) to December 15. God blessed my husband and me with a son, Jude Gerard, for 16 sweet weeks.

And by sweet, I mean sweet -- and also so, so sick: about 12 weeks of almost constant nausea...followed by 4 weeks of emotional tidal waves: ebbing, flowing; flooding me with joy and pummeling me with sorrow.

At 12 weeks, our son Jude showed physical abnormalities consistent with a condition called Trisomy 18. A condition deemed "incompatible with life" by doctors. A condition that meant I likely wouldn't meet my son alive, and if I did, it would perhaps be just for days, maybe only hours. So, much of my Advent was spent in an intense limbo between accepting suffering and fighting for hope.

As God does, though, He works things for our good, and I found myself thanking Him so often for the gift of pregnancy during Advent. It was the first time I was able to (well, at least begin to) understand the type of anticipation the Church asks us to meditate on during this season. It's a longing I'd never known before.

And it's a battle.

Hope -- being hopeful -- is a knock-down-drag-out battle that just...well, frankly, it sucks. It's just really hard. It's especially hard in the waiting, and Advent is a season of waiting.

We were waiting, and praying, and trying to expect a miracle.

"Lord, heal Jude. Put his insides back on the inside and get our Little Cone Head all fixed up."

We were very particular with our prayer. His insides were, indeed, on the outside of his little body, and although he didn't have a cone head, that became a term of endearment for us -- and it still makes me smile to say it. I love that Little Cone Head. But at our 16-week early-anatomy scan, Jude didn't have a heartbeat. We didn't get to hear that sweet, whoosh-y, gallop-y, beautiful little heartbeat. We didn't get the miracle we'd been praying for.

My heart broke.

But the reality is that my heart had been breaking for months. Breaking wide open, and filling up, and beating strong and hard, and spilling over, and seizing up. You know -- doing heart things. And that's where this piece of art comes in.

God was good to us during this time. Prayers for us and for Jude poured in from friends, family, strangers, nuns (so many nuns), and from a few people who I'm convinced are destined to be saints. That was good. My husband and I drew closer together in prayer and perseverance and grief and courage. That was good. I tapped into a new softness for others' suffering, and was able to truly revel in the JOY that children are. That was good. And God spoke to me through silence, through creativity, through song. That was good.

God is good.

This song, in particular, was on repeat. It's been a favorite of mine since last spring, and it offered so much comfort during this season.

Listen to King of my Heart - featuring Steffany Gretzinger, Jeremy Riddle, & Christine Rhee on YouTube

(Quick note: This version is, like, 17 minutes long, with lots of improvisation and praise, so just prepare to weep. I'm not judging you. Let it out, friend.)

Anyway, it goes like this:

Let the King of my heart
be the wind inside my sails,
the anchor in my waves,
Oh, He is my song.

Let the King of my heart
be the fire inside my veins,
the echo of my days,
Oh, He is my song.

Let the King of my heart
be the mountain where I run,
the fountain I drink from,
Oh, He is my song.

Let the King of my heart
be the shadow where I hide,
the ransom for my life,
Oh, He is my song.

Then it simply repeats:

You are good, good, oh. You are good, good, oh.
You are good, good, oh. You are good, good, oh.

This song, you guys, just gets me. It facilitates a prayerful, healing experience. It allows me to admit my smallness, my weakness, my fear. It allows me to lean into God's greatness, as a fortress and protector. It allows me to work through my heavier emotions, while also reminding me that I’m not in it alone. I'm not alone. You're not alone.

And then, after all that emotion-churning, earnest prayer, it speaks Truth. God is good. This, for me, is everything. Without a reminder of this Truth, I'd be so susceptible to falling into confusion and despair. Ugh, thank you Jesus, for this song.

But after this shower of emotion and Truth, I always go back to the first line, the King of my heart. What does that even mean, you know?

The image I designed represents the Holy Family -- Jesus, Mary, and Joseph -- huddled together,  gazing at each other in love. Their bodies also subtly form an anatomical human heart, and the words "king of my heart" reinforce the theme.

Our King, Jesus, came as a tiny baby who made His home in a woman's body, and relied on her for everything. But this little babe is also God, who made the universe, who knows the hairs on our heads, who gives us everything. He is paradox. All at the same time, He is the one who fills our hearts, breaks open our hearts, animates our hearts, knows our hearts, remains in our hearts, loves our hearts. He is the one who meets us in our suffering, suffers for us, and lifts us out of our suffering. He's in the suffering, but He's not the suffering. He's the hope. He is Love.

It. Just. Doesn't. Make. Sense.

And then I think about Mary contemplating all this. Can you imagine trying to understand how in the world your child, flesh and blood, can also, at the same time -- outside of time -- be KING of the universe?! Holy Schmoly.

But Mary modeled for us another Truth: it's not our job to understand.

Our job is to say, "Yes."

Give Him his throne. Let Him reign. And rejoice...for He is good.

 

There's so much I could say about my time with Jude, and God willing I will say more. But for now, I think this is enough.

In love,

Tara


Click here to pre-order prints.

Each premium art print measures 8x10 inches, is printed on a luxurious 19pt savoy cotton paper, packaged in a clear sleeve, and protected during shipping by a no-bend flat mailer. Each print will be hand signed on the back.

The first round of prints will be ordered mid to late January 2018 and will arrive to you by the end of February 2018

*Orders placed by January 14 should arrive to you by Valentines Day (also Ash Wednesday).*

$14 + shipping (USPS calculated shipping)

Click here to pre-order journals.

Each journal measures 5.75 x 7.5 inches, is hard bound, and includes 112 pages (lined on one side in black ink), with a white grossgrain bookmark ribbon attached. The purple and floral accents extend to the back cover, which also features my Frameworthy Designs logo and website (small).

The first round of journals will be ordered mid to late January 2018 and will arrive to you by the end of February 2018.

*Orders placed by January 14 should arrive to you by Valentines Day (also Ash Wednesday).*

$20 + shipping (USPS calculated shipping)