I recently heard a message comparing Saul and David. One key point in this message was “God is looking for hearts that are all in.” Of course my first reaction was guilt. It’s just who I am, how I think. I want so badly to give my whole heart to God, serve him fully. But before you start thinking I’m holier than thou, realize the reason I sent myself on a guilt trip is because I started running passed all the things that were keeping me from 100% “all in” service to God. I realized all these stops on my little guilt trip were associated with fear. I willingly serve fear, when fear is so contrary to everything for which I claim to stand. God says step out on faith and do this thing for me. I am afraid my needs won’t be met as they currently are, so I drag my feet or just don’t take that step at all. Who am I serving if it is not God? If fear is the opposite of faith? Yeah, ouch.
But there is hope. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18) There is hope in remembering God loves me. Yes, I will screw up but God never wants me to stop there. Imagine a perfect father turning his back on his child the first time they make a mistake. No, he turns the mistake into a lesson, hoping the child realizes their wrong and makes the necessary changes. These changes are necessary to build character, to improve both the child and the community.
Though it’s never to late to turn, to repent, to give your heart, there is one warning. Be certain you are ready to give it all. I don’t say this to be legalistic or demanding, but because this is the only way to experience God. If you only give a part of your heart, man, you’re missing out! When fear and guilt creeps in remember the angel’s first words to the shepherds on Christmas night: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” Luke 2:10b This good news is the gift of God’s grace. Yes, we can expect God’s discipline when we mess up. But we do not have to fear God’s wrath. Jesus took that for us. It is beyond my comprehension, but He allows us to receive the rewards. So make that leap! Go heart first, ALL IN!
Camera: Nikon D200 Lens: Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 ISO: 100 Aperature: 1.8 Shutter: 1/2000
Digital Development: PSE8, RadLab
Date Taken: Oct. 7, 2011
This field is basically the extension of my parent’s backyard. I know this tree line like I know the back of my own hand. This was another challenge for my creativity. How do I shoot this scene to capture the colors, but do so in an extraordinary way? That’s when I noticed the angle of the sun. Backlighting is one of those fantastically subtle details that can be easy to overlook. When done well, it adds so much drama to a photo. It’s probably my favorite type of lighting.
The first photo for my 365 project is a quick self portrait shot into a mirror! This is my new AWESOME hat! Normally I don’t do anything that will draw attention to me. But, you know what? I really like this hat. Why should I let the thoughts of others keep me from wearing an article of clothing that might make some people smile. It certainly brings me joy when I look in the mirror, which is exactly what I tried to capture in this photo!
So far this project hasn’t started out real strong. I realized it was October 2nd, and I had not taken any photos yet. So, I came home after all the necessary running around today and snapped this photo for the 1st, and another one for today (to be posted later). Perhaps this project will also be an exercise in giving myself grace. Ah, well, this is also something I need to work on anyway.
Have a blessed week,
I spent the last weekend in Indianapolis with 9,999 other women at the Women of Faith Conference in Indianapolis. When you put that many women in one room, God better show up, or you’re asking for at least five cat-fights, Christ-followers or not! For this woman, God certainly showed himself. Of course, it couldn’t have come at a better time. I suppose I should expect nothing less, He is God, Creator, Director, and Producer of the Universe, after all. What I didn’t expect? The means of communication and the content communicated.
Let me back up for just a moment. You may need a little context. See I’ve been wandering lately. Or perhaps that should be wondering. I don’t know, maybe a lot of both. I took a job right out of college to pay the bills and hopefully be responsible enough to save up for what I really wanted to do: Photography. Over the passed six years (has it really been that long?) I have discovered many things about myself, about God, and about the fact that what I thought I wanted to do may not in fact be what I want, or what God has planned for me. And I, in the words of Savage Garden, truly, madly, deeply want what He wants for me. I have all these things I love to do. These creative, imaginative gifts and dreams I have been given all seem to be pretty much unrelated and it’s maddening. What do I do with this? What’s the point of these dreams when the job that pays the bills utilizes none of them? That brings me to now, and my current condition of Now What?
Then my husband and I went to a concert in Farmland, IN to see Disciple. During this concert, the lead vocalist, Kevin Young said something that really struck me as profound. He said you love others and give of yourself. You may wonder, well what about me? If I’m always giving and loving others, who’s going to worry about me? God will take care of you! Don’t you believe that God loves you, and if he loves you, he will take better care of you than you can take care of yourself?
Well of course! Duh! I purposely committed this concept to memory. Love others. Let God take care of you. He can do a better job of it anyway.
A month or so later, six other ladies and I bought tickets and climbed into the church van for two days of amazing speaking and fantastic singing with other women of faith. Let me tell you, I met God. To all the questions I had been asking, His only reply seemed to be: “I love you. There is not a moment in your life that I have not loved you without condition, no strings attached.” This is the message I heard from every speaker. This was the harmony threaded through all the songs we sang. “I got you. I know where to find you. I know where you are, and I have been there too. So take my hand, let me love you. We’ll walk together.” Every time I even began to pray, “Ok, but what about…” God cut me off with the reply, “I love you.” I suppose the most powerful being in the universe has all rights to interrupt me, especially with such a profound answer as this. Through this entire season of my life, I’ve been feeling a lot like Moses. This is just another time where I can draw a parallel. I’m reminded of the burning bush when Moses keeps coming up with excuses and God’s reply is, “I am.” Different reply, but I needed to learn a different lesson. Growing up in the church, I’ve heard all the Bible stories, I know all the illustrations. When a speaker starts an illustration, I pretty much can guess where they’re going before they get there. So I’ve always KNOWN (intellectually) God loves me. But on the weekend of August 19-20, 2011 at the Conseco Fieldhouse, perhaps for the first time ever, I EXPERIENCED the love of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit deep down to the core of my being. It is a beautiful thing full of peace and joy. I still have questions. I still have no idea where my life is going. But I know with the kind of knowledge that no one can shake that because God loves me this way, he knows what is best for me. He will take care of me. I know that I can trust him to guide my path, even though I can’t see farther than the next step. My job is not to know the future. God owns that. My purpose is to love God and love others. So that’s what I’m committed to do for now. We’ll see what comes from that.
From this moment on, when the Spirit convicts and I feel moved to turn that entire span of time from this moment until some vague unspecified time in the future we label “My Life,” or “My Future,” over to God, I will stop. Yes, stop. Reread that first sentence a few times if you must. See I think we have become somewhat lazy here. We are convicted that something needs to change, that we need to give something over or something up to God. Instead of changing or surrendering that one aspect by surrendering it moment by moment, we say “Here’s my entire life,” or “Here’s my entire future.” What is our life and future but the sum of present moments, and the choices made in those moments strung together until it builds a future that is a life. C.S. Lewis said something to the effect that the present moment is when we are the closest to touching eternity. The idea being that we are no closer to God than in the present. So from this moment on I will not say, “God here is my life, here is my future. Take it and do whatever you want with it.” That seems so passive anyway. Instead I will ask a more active question with this change or conviction in mind: God what do you want me to do with this moment? or What do WE do with this moment? Quite a difference huh? Try it the next time you feel God prompting you to make a change. It will be more difficult, but eternally more rewarding. You wait and see.
So…here it is. My blog. Now What? It’s very much like staring at a blank page. I have an idea of what I want to do, but am not sure exactly where to start.
So I suppose I’ll share my new project idea. Our new house is devoid of personality. To infuse personality, I have created names for each room. But I’m taking it one step further. Each letter will be made up of a photo to create that letter. For example, our bird bath has a wrought iron curl that resembles a “P.” So I will shoot and crop it in the name of our guest bedroom: “SPARE OOM.” (Chronicles of Narnia and/or C.S. Lewis fans may recognize the name) I also have some rules as a creative challenge.
- No photos of printed letters from signs or elsewhere.
- Each letter for each sign must come from a different photo.
- Only one letter for each sign can come from a tree.
- As much as possible, the letters should have subjects that correspond to the purpose or decorative theme for that room (i.e. photos of bathroom-related objects for the bathroom)
- As much as possible, take photos of subjects as they are without staging them.
I’m also hoping these rules will make the finished projects more interesting and unified.