This is a guest post from my friend, Debbie Richardson.
Debbie is an avid photographer and often accompanies her photos with her thoughts of the moment. More often than not, it seems these thoughts of the moment are true God Glimpses. Thank you Debbie, for your continued inspiration!
At first, I was really disappointed in my inability to capture the whole picture in this shot… I got the reflection but not what is being reflected. Then an idea came to me… What if in life, some people can’t handle the whole picture of God but if they can see His reflection in us, then they can see a glimpse of His beauty? Maybe just enough to wrap their minds and hearts around until they can lift their heads and see it all? I’ve been there myself… Sometimes you need just enough of a peek to get the courage to see what else might be there. Thoughts? Is part of the picture enough to draw us in sometimes? Or maybe all we can handle? Just my ramblings on a lazy Saturday morning in a beautiful place I call home. ~
May we all strive to reflect Him undistorted. And may we all have the courage to really see Him and the amazing life we can have if we truly trust.
You’ve all tried these machines ~ or worse yet, had the lovely experience of watching your child come to grips with the odds of winning a prize out of these rigged monsters of greed.
Relying on God’s promises isn’t a crap-shoot ~ it’s faith.
There is no risk involved in faith. It feels that way ~ it’s a scary thing letting go of our own self-reliance and trusting God.
“Stepping out in faith” feels like it carries the same odds as playing one of these games (invented by the devil himself, I’m quite sure.)
Here’s what’s at the heart of faith ~ faith is the opposite of trusting in ourselves. The reason the world at large has such a huge problem with faith is that faith is the crucial issue of our existence. Are we going to trust in a being we can’t see to have all the answers to the problems that are bigger than we? There is too much we can’t solve, too many unanswered questions, too much everything.
And yet, we all–believers and unbelievers, innately turn first to self-reliance. While all along there are answers and promises and instructions for all aspects of life the second we let go of self-reliance and simply refuse to play the losing game.
“Yesterday when I was reeling in the initial shock of things I went to the beach to feel God’s grace wash over me. He showed me the roots on these trees.
See them? All dug up and exposed?
Then I looked up to see wide beautiful branches heavy with new growth and greenery. God showed me that a tree can still thrive in conditions that pound the soil away from the roots. Exposed roots, while a little ugly, still function.
I’m going to thrive with my gnarly old roots because they are working just fine. It may not be pretty, but the tree holds fast and continues to flourish.
How’s that for a little lesson at the beach? God always meets me where I am. . . .”
~ I do believe my friend Debbie has learned one valuable lesson; that regardless of what others may think, she truly is on her way to perfection.
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” ~ 1 John 4:18
I was. I was this close to this alligator. Oh, I realize he wasn’t a really big alligator, but I was still this close. I took this picture with my iPhone, no telephoto lens involved.
He could’ve reached out and chomped off my arm in a heartbeat. But he didn’t.
In fact, he didn’t even flinch. He blinked a few times, but he kept staring at me with those reptilian eyes. Maybe it had something to do with the thick glass between us at the aquarium.
Yeah, I’m sure that was it. Because he did look like he would like to chomp off my arm.
Don’t we sometimes tempt temptation like we had aquarium glass between us and it? Na-na-na-na-na! You can’t get me!
He’s waiting to get you.
Don’t give in. Put out your hand and feel the glass. God’s got you.
No matter what the question, if the answer is a number, my dad will say, “forty-four.”
It started when he was about to turn forty-five. He’d aged enough, and didn’t see any point in getting older. Forty-four was old enough. As long as he could stay forty-four, he would still be young enough to . . . whatever.
Don’t tell my dad, but he’s added forty years to that number. You’d never know it. He still works twelve hour days, just not five in a row. He still thinks young and looks terrific for his age, even if he’s not working forty-four hours a week any longer.
Days like today I wonder how he does it ~ days when I wake up feeling one hundred. Seriously? It gets worse? I don’t even want to think about it.
So, instead, I choose to think about this:
Isaiah 40:28-31 KJV ~ “Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
So, like Dad, I get out of bed every morning, and have a talk with my heavenly Dad. It might take a while of waiting on the Lord, but soon I’m feeling forty-four again.
Waiting and Patience ~ as much as I don’t like those words, they keep coming up again and again. I have to keep forgiving myself and forgiving others and learn all over again that no matter how many times we fail, He never does. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. I’m slowly learning to enjoy these times of weakness, just to see what God will do above and beyond my best efforts.
This was the only apple left on my little espallied apple tree. The squirrels, deer and herbivores of all sizes got all the rest. The worst part is, this apple tree is exactly four feet from my back porch. Unfortunately, I can’t stand watch all day at my back porch waiting for marauders.
Life is full, and busy. Things and people fall through the cracks in my scheduling resolve. I let people down, and I feel guilty. I feel alone. No one but me can be the me I need to be . . . and that one me isn’t enough.
I’m not enough.
When I think these thoughts I remember that not being enough is actually a good thing. Jesus CHOOSES the weak things of the world, the despised, the rejected, so that there won’t be any confusion about who is doing his good work.
Okay, so what if I’m a loser? I’d rather be a loser who knows how to apologize and point people to the one who can take their failures and make something beautiful, than to have everything under control.
Really. I would.
Okay, I’d rather have everything under control in my own selfish way. But somehow, someway, God’s got even this under control; and though my failures are painful to me, and to others, there is a peace in knowing that he knows–and wants–to use me in spite of myself.
Do you love design? I know I do. No mid-century modern for me. No thanks! Oh, I know those of you who love those sleek lines will claim that is what makes it design.
To me that’s like saying a single note is the equivalent of a symphony.
Give me ornate carvings, layered paintings, embellished quilts. Oh, yes, I agree that the eye needs a place to rest. I understand that, and plan for that. Even my walls have blank expanses, and I’m an artist.
The point of sensory overload is different for everyone.
At this moment, I’m so overwhelmed I’m not capable of much more than running screaming into the sunset. When I’m overwhelmed, I’m incapable of making good decisions, incapable of true creativity, incapable of being the person I want people to see, or hear. I seek a hole to hide in until the input stops. And that doesn’t work all that well, because I take me in there. Never mind all the outside influences, I’m too complex.
I’m so grateful that the God who created everything–in layers, with ornate design, with embellishments that serve no purpose but to delight the eye–is not overwhelmed, does not suffer from sensory overload.
“Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. An indecisive man is unstable in all his ways. ” James 1:5-8
These are perhaps the most complex verses in the Bible. An intertwining mass of circular reasoning to those who don’t get it. Most of us don’t get it. I don’t get it. Too often.
The verses before make it clear that the topic is the testing of our faith through trials, and that testing leads to endurance, maturity, completeness. I suppose it’s no wonder that God doesn’t make that wisdom we’re asking for clear every time. Would it be a test of faith if we knew the answer for sure?
So the test is this–can we believe that he’s given us wisdom–have the guts to act on what we think is the answer? Sometimes that still, small voice is teeny. Sometimes we know we’re hearing God say, “You know what to do” but we doubt ourselves and our ability to hear God, because we’ve ignored him too often, hidden in our holes too easily, delayed the inevitable.
So we don’t trust ourselves, and we float on the sea of indecision, in a boat named “Unanswered Prayers.”
I don’t know about you, but I suffer from motion-sickness.
What is this architect thinking? Can you see the odd-shaped hole in the roof, and the cut-out down through the three floors? And what’s with that missing corner of the roof on the back side?
God Glimpse! God is my architect. Those are his plans, his blocks and stones, his mortar, his shingles. It’s not my place to wonder why there’s a hole in my roof letting in the rain. It’s my job to stand in place, trust him, and prepare myself to shelter those who come to see what God has done with me.
How many of you hate it when the book cover is all wrong? Two pages into the book and the main character is described as freckled with brown hair. You flip back to the cover and she’s blonde, What’s with that?
The children’s lesson today was on Lazarus. You know, the guy Jesus raised from the dead by shouting–from outside the tomb. And Lazarus came out. He was bound hand and feet, wrapped in grave clothes and had a napkin over his face. Says it right there in the Bible.
Could I find one correct picture out of hundreds that artists have painted over the centuries? Noooooo. Apparently, they all thought that the comedic thought of Lazarus doing the bunny hop out of that tomb was a tad too lighthearted for their serious talent.
I dunno, I suppose the correct cartoon versions were thrown in the trash by overzealous moms.
So, what’s a teacher to do? We played “What’s wrong with this picture” after reading the story. The kids got it right.
Those of us old enough to know better keep wanting to change God’s story, to make it meld with our sensibilities. We don’t want to think about the maggots in the grave clothes. We don’t want to let the Word stand on its own.