A beautiful prayerful reminder from Elizabeth about the Light of God’s Presence within us. May it stir your heart to mindful awareness – via Light Within
Month: February 2018
beauty: we’re all made beautiful by God’s grace
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. No two people admiring a piece of art, lovely landscape, or a person, will see exactly the same features that are attractive to them. We all have our own viewpoint about what we define as beautiful.
Although we may not measure up to contemporary or classical definitions of physical beauty, we can be comforted by knowing that the inner beauty of our soul and character are the most enduring qualities to treasure.
Like many women before me, right from girlhood I have mourned my perceived lack of attractiveness. Society sets impossible standards for us to reach. As does advertising with its emphasis on outward perfection.
So it’s a huge relief to know—especially the older I get and the more invisible I feel— that God looks at us with eyes of unconditional love. He sees beauty in everyone. God gives us beauty for ashes and paints us with His loveliness.
Broken into beauty
I had beauty once but I didn’t even
know it, so I lived like one impoverished
sitting in dust, when I was really rich
I ached for difference, because
I couldn’t match the face I met
in the mirror with my preference
Instead, I honed in on the flaws
and saw plenty enough to keep me
occupied. Several imperfections
cried out loud and I bowed down
to their name, holding it all inside
where my real self sits, and I
could barely stretch to fit the skin
I was in, never mind making room
for all those needful improvements
And now? These days my gaze rests and reflects
on a God-given inner vision, more than
having derision for a fading outer face
I can see life’s manifold brokenness and pain
but beyond it all what shouts out most to me
is how God is breaking us into beauty again
**I’m grateful for God-given inspiration, as I join fellow wordsmiths in sharing my five-minute-friday thoughts for this week’s prompt of “beauty”. You’re welcome to join us here and read the great posts being shared. 🙂
photography: a contemplative way of seeing life differently
Every picture (or photograph) tells a story. But what if we were to simply make one up in response to what we see? I actually do that all the time to some extent, when writing poetry to go with a photograph I have taken.
When using photographs contemplatively, the image itself acts as a prompt to stir contemplation and creativity. Words follow soon after. It’s a kind of contemplative seeing via a camera lens.
And an art I am slowly learning with every photo I take. It’s very satisfying to see more than the image presents itself as. To use our imagination and be able to trace God’s hand at work in what is before our eyes. It requires me to still my soul and focus on the object before me, while I take several snaps from different angles to gain a fresh perspective.
Today I am venturing back into the Twittering Tales creative exercise which my blogging friend, Kat Myrman shares on her site, among her eclectic and delightful offerings! I have written three responses, telling a consecutive story.
God inhabits our life story and seemingly ordinary days, making them sacred by His Presence. Our intentional holy-ordinary seeing helps pave the way for growing awareness of His grace in our lives.
Almost obscured by leaves
this sign breathes renewed
hope into her sad soul
signalling a new beginning
where joy and optimism
She squirms higher in her seat because, at age 5, she can barely read. But she sees “hop we” as indicator of her family being happier here.
Secrets lurk within
Hedged in by dense
by dusty driveway
a house stands proud
looks inviting but is
far from it, for deep
secrets lurk within
This week’s photo prompt is based on the image at the top of my post, courtesy of Leigh Heasley at Pexels.com If you would like to participate in Twittering Tales, you can find the rules and link up advice here.
**Are you interested in discovering more about the practice of contemplative photography? Here’s a helpful book by Christine Valters Paintner that’s on my wish list! My friend, Kate Kennington Steer has a great contemplative eye. Her Instagram feed is well worth following** 🙂
shine: how we can shine like water to the thirsty
When we read about the way Jesus was crushed for our sin, made weak for our sake, bled freely from myriad wounds, suffered a thorn-pierced brow and died an agonising death nailed to a cross, do you ever wonder just what that has to do with you and me? My answer is: Everything.
Because the incarnation of Christ reveals just how much God identifies with all of us in our broken human condition. Jesus’ sacrificial death holds huge significance for mankind. While taking human flesh and living like one of us, He was, is and ever more shall be the One and only Son of God.
Death could not hold Him captive. He arose from the grave in resurrection glory. Made heroes out of fearful disciples. Our history shifted to become His Story. During this season of Lent, God’s Holy Light can seem shielded at first, dimmed by the dark stain of our sin, not quite ready to shine in full wattage until we reach the end of the Easter story and Christ’s glorious resurrection to come.
But for those of us who live in the here and now reality of the resurrection with our faith rooted in Jesus and our lives as living testimony, whether we’re aware of it or not, a constant glow of grace lights up our hearts and floods our thirsty souls like the ever-flowing Living Water it actually is.
Shine like water
The Rock must be crushed
and spring red life, like rust
beneath an enormous forest
Let it blow cool purple
and light of I AM will
shine like water in us all
Jesus shines on in our hearts, radiating out of our broken cracks and crevices, leaking His love to the world at large. The fruit of Christ’s sacrifice is eternal life, hope, joy and peace, as grace gifts given to us when Holy Spirit takes up residence in our hearts. They are gifts we get to savour here and now and enjoy to the full in the life to come.
Our intuition has grown
fertile-fresh, sweet and greener
from the fruit of happy peace
breathing sanctuary to nature
through quiet night murmurs
of secret breeze rustle song, as
long and deep as seed would be
privilege: the wonder of surrendering our lives to Jesus
My husband often jokes that I have a hot-line to heaven, the privilege of seeing my prayers answered more than he does. Maybe it’s because I see no limitations in what I pray about, including minor things, such as obtaining parking spaces and finding lost objects – yes, really!
I didn’t grow up in a privileged way or with any sense of entitlement. On the contrary, my background prepared me for the school of hard knocks I’ve been in for the majority of my life. Yet threaded through it all, often in intangible ways, God’s goodness and grace have been the backbone of everything I have experienced.
Although it might have taken me years to really appreciate it, I am discovering that time and hindsight are uncovering the enormous privilege it is to be a beloved child of God and a woman of faith who, despite her obvious weaknesses and glaring inadequacies, has been given the privilege of living and witnessing for Him.
I have the privilege
I have the privilege of being a writer and poet
who God works through to minister to others
while I pour out my heart, witness to his work deep
within and seek to encourage them to trust in him
I have the privilege of being a child of God
who is wrapped round tight with his infinite
love, made safe and secure by his mercy and
held closer than I am aware of or can see
I have the privilege of being a woman of faith
with God’s holy grace filling and flooding my
days, and his forgiveness readily available
for every sin I might commit, and those
I don’t even know about yet
I have the privilege of being able to pray
minute by minute throughout the day, as I
yield and surrender my heart and soul to my
burden-bearing Lord, and watch how wonderfully
he lifts my cares and pain, while restoring me
gently back to wholeness again
**I also have the privilege of a 5 minute poem arising in response to this week’s #FMF prompt of ‘privilege’. You are very welcome to come join us here and read the wide variety of posts being shared.** 🙂