Captured by Pam

words and images by pam wright

Category: God’s Unfailing Love (page 1 of 2)

Captured: Encountering a Dream Angel

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I have had encounters with angels. Several times. This is the story of one of those encounters.

Many years ago, I was just coming out of several years of heavy drinking that very nearly killed me. I was so very fragile emotionally, physically and spiritually. I started going to a 12-step program in Seoul, South Korea, where we were living at the time, and there I met a fellow alcoholic with more than 25 years of sobriety, who would have a great impact on my own recovery.

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Captured: Seeking (the Other) Mary at Christmas

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Be honest. How many of you, man or woman, found yourselves running around trying to finish last-minute preparations for Christmas, looking a whole lot more like Martha than Mary?

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Captured: Discovering the Naomi Within

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There was a time not so long ago when I might have said the same heartbreaking words that Naomi utters in the Book of Ruth after losing her husband and sons in battle, which forced her to return to her homeland with her tail between her legs and her Moabite daughter-in-law Ruth along for the sad trip home.

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Captured: A Miraculous September Morn

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There is a day in my life that I will never forget.

I love South Korea very much. In a certain sense, it is my birth country because I left that county a very different person from the one who arrived. That time almost seems like a dream, a nightmare really.

When my family moved to Seoul in 1999, I was suffering from the final stages of alcoholism. My doctor later told me that had I continued drinking, I would have been dead within three months.

For many years, I was self-medicating to alleviate emotional pain, feelings of loneliness, despair and to forget some painful experiences that were no fault of my own.

That day in Korea started like so many before — waking in my my bed, bile rising in my throat, trembling from withdrawal, and trying desperately to get more alcohol into my system so I could me feel normal again.

That morning turned out to be very different, however.

I lay there watching the sparkly dust fairies in the sunlight streaming across my bed, mesmerized by the glow of the dust in the sunlight and the dance of each individual piece of sparkling dust.

Without warning, I heard the voice of God rise within me, telling me to move. It literally felt physical as I experienced a sudden revelation and conviction rise in my soul. I suddenly knew that if I didn’t do something immediately, I would die.

Fear gripped my heart as I got out of bed and dressed. I somehow managed to grab some money, get myself down the hill from our house, into a taxi and ask for a hospital.

It took an hour to get to the hospital and I thought I would die at any moment all the way there.

A few hours later, I found myself locked up in the mental ward of Samsung Hospital in Seoul. They didn’t know what to do with me. At the time, there was no such thing as a cushy rehab center for alcoholics in Korea, and the treatment of alcoholism and other addictions was still in the infancy stage.

I didn’t speak any Korean and none of the doctors seemed to speak much English. I was so scared. And let me tell you, withdrawal is as awful as you might imagine. It feels like you have bugs crawling under your skin, like you might die of fright, you can’t stop trembling. It’s just impossible to describe.

I was so sick and the pleasures of drinking had now turned on me. It wasn’t fun anymore. It never made me feel good, or cute or funny or anything but horrible. It was hell on earth. I think I understand a little bit of what hell is — what it feels like to be completely separated from God.

It is desolation.

They took everything from me and just locked me up. I had nothing but an IV in my arm and a gown on my back. I was terrified and I was completely alone. No friends. No family. My husband took my little boys to his family’s home in France and my three daughters were left home alone with the “adjumonie.”

The guilt and pain and fear was unbearable. I couldn’t stand the thought that my kids would have to tell their friends their mother had died an alcoholic, and I knew that’s exactly what would happen, and soon, if I didn’t do something. I thought I would die right there. And I sort of wanted to die right there.

My soul felt empty and my life worthless. I have never felt so powerless and lost and there were no more excuses. No where else to turn. No one to reach out to.

It was just me and God in that room. He held his hand out to me …

I fell off my bed right there in Samsung hospital, literally onto the cold floor, and gave it all to him. I gave up the fight of trying to control my life and my pain, and I surrendered. I begged him for help. I begged, begged and begged some more. It was the most heart-felt prayer I had ever offered. I was a broken, broken woman. And, although I have never felt more alone in the world, locked up in a Korean mental ward, I know Jesus was in that room holding out his hand to me, begging me to just hold out my own.

And I did. I held out my hand.

In answer to my pleading, God sent an angel in the face of a young, Korean man. Just a few moments after begging God to save my life so I could be the mother I longed to be for my children, the man walked into my room. He didn’t seem much older than a teen.

He walked in, placed a bible in my hands without saying a single word, bowed low, and and then walked out the door. I didn’t know who he was and I never saw him again.

There I was in a Korean mental ward with nothing but an IV in my arm, a hospital gown on my back — and now a Korean-English Bible in my hand. Needless to say, it was a powerful moment — a tender, precious moment.

I eventually came to believe he was the answer to my prayer. I believe the young, Korean man was an angel sent to answer my prayer.

That’s how grace and love resurrected my life and, eventually, that of my family. All I had to do was ask. Over the course of the next few months and years of healing, God comforted me, he held me and I never want to let go of his hand again.

I see my life in two halves — before God stepped into my life in a mental ward and after that memorable day. Life is really no easier now, and it can sometimes knock me upside the head. But, it’s an entirely different way of living.

I know that God is with me, even in the loneliest of times and through the greatest difficulties and moments of grief.

Before that September morning, when I awoke to the vision of dancing dust fairies in the streaming sunlight and the voice of God, I felt entirely left on my own. Since that day, I know I am never alone and I never have to feel that way again. I rely on that truth.

The resurrected life has far-reaching consequences of its own.

Ever since that day in Seoul, I’ve prayed relentlessly to see a change in my family’s legacy of dysfunction and addiction. I prayed for years that my children would learn about a different life than the one I knew before that day in Seoul — a resurrected life, a life for God.

I am seeing those prayers being answered each and every day, and I watch my children — and their children — live out their lives centered in Christ.

It’s miraculous.

Captured: Gazing Into Eternal Eyes

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A photo recently taken of my 17-month-old grandson, Riley, and his paternal great-grandfather moved me from the moment I first saw it.

There are just some photos that say so much, that convey a thousand words and elicit deep, deep thought.

The moment captured between the two in the photo is even more poignant today because Riley’s “PopPop,” John Loux, died last week, a little more than a month after the photo was taken.

I can stare at the photo for hours, pondering the gaze between the little boy just beginning his journey here on earth and that of the old man, who was about to walk through the door from this life into eternity.

What are they saying to each other in that gaze? What wisdom is PopPop wanting to impart to his grandson? What questions does Riley have for the man who had lived in this world for nearly a century?

Riley seems so intent on his great-grandfather’s face in the photo. Perhaps it’s John’s striking Colonel Sanders beard that attracts the young lad or perhaps it’s just seeing an aging gentleman. After all, Riley doesn’t come across many people of that age as he goes about his day-to-day existence of being a toddler.

I don’t think that’s it, though.

I think Riley sees something powerful and intriguing about the man with the weathered face, hinting at a life that knew joy and heartbreak, fear and pain; a life marked by his love for God, his servant’s heart and his absolute devotion to family.

Perhaps Riley could somehow grasp that this man had something important to share with him through that gaze.

Perhaps he longed to know the secrets of his PopPop’s long life.

John’s own gaze into the eyes of his grandson is just as precious, and I can only imagine what he was thinking in that moment.

Riley’s grandmother and John’s daughter, Bonnie Temple, was the one who snapped the photo and later told me that John was not doing well that morning.

John had been living with the Temples for several months after the death of his wife.

That morning, John had slept in very late and woke to the sounds of Riley playing in the living room. As John emerged from his bedroom, little Riley toddled towards his PopPop, arms raised for him to be picked up. Bonnie said her father reached down to gingerly pick up Riley and sit him down with him on his favorite chair.

Bonnie was concerned that her father, whose health was fast deteriorating, wasn’t strong enough to lift Riley, but was touched to see a sudden burst of energy empower her father enough for that moment with his grandson.

I think God wanted Riley and John to share that moment together, knowing that he would very soon be calling John home.

My musings take me to the words exchanged through that gaze.

“PopPop, tell me,” says Riley through his eyes. “What can I expect of this life? What should I do? What will it be like?”

“My little Riley — first of all, know that you are beloved,” John responds. “Life is a magnificent journey full of adventure, difficulties and uncertainty. Life will be replete with challenges, of that you can be certain. Sometimes you will be unable to make heads or tails of which way to turn, what decision to make and how to navigate the ups and downs of life.

“But, if there’s one thing I can tell you, it is this …

“Cling to God.

“Cling to him through the good, through the hard … no matter what comes your way, cling to him and you will live a wonderful, abundant life. You may not have a dime to your name at times, you may be ill, you may have concerns and experience the unfathomable pain of loss and heartbreak, but through it all, you will have an abundant life and you will know joy.

“Never forget, my boy, what was done on your behalf and take this knowledge into account in every decision you ever make, especially when it comes to people. Love like you have been loved, and take care of the people God brings into your life.

“Be kind. Be generous. Love well.

“And don’t worry. I can tell you — from this vantage point of having lived a long time and through so much change — that all will be well. God will remain faithful to you and yours, and there is nothing that you won’t be able to conquer with God in your heart and mind.

“I’ll be going soon, beloved boy, but Jesus and I will be waiting for you. You didn’t get to hear all of the memories I’ve made and cherished, but when we meet again, I’ll tell you all about this wonderful life I’ve had. I’ll be watching over you, little one. Be good. Listen to your mommy, daddy, nana and papa … they will teach to you what I taught to them. I love you, buddy.”

Bonnie told me that John grew up in a home that did not allow dancing because of their religious beliefs. She said the first time she ever saw him dance was at her wedding.

Perhaps that is why John’s eyes lit up every time Riley danced about with abandon and pure joy.

Today, John is dancing and singing with the angels, surely with his own complete abandon and purest joy.

I believe he was greeted by Jesus and the people he loved who had gone before. I know Jesus said, “I am pleased, John. You did well, my wonderful son … welcome home.”

And I imagine John took a bit of time to share with all of them the memories he had made and cherished. I imagine, too, that he thanked Jesus for his love and protection, and for precious moments he was able to enjoy with his family here on earth.

I’d bet John’s eyes lit up at encountering the sights of heaven in the same way they lit up when he looked at Riley performing his toddler antics.

And I marvel at what John must have felt at that instant when he gazed into true eternal eyes — into the absolute, unimaginable love found in his savior’s eyes.

I’d bet he thought of Riley and about the moment he shared with his great-grandson not long before his death — that captured moment when the old man and the little boy, separated by nearly a century, gazed — for just a brief, everlasting instant — into eternity.

Captured: To My Loves and Supporters

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Dear Ones…

In my last post, I wrote that I just really wanted to see the face of God. To feel him hug me.

Well, I realize that I have been hugged by God and I’ve seen his eyes in the eyes of my family, in my beautiful, precious grandson… and through all my loved ones and friends who have been praying and supporting me these past few months.

I want to thank you!

It has definitely been one of the most, if not THE most, difficult times of my life… losing my love, mistakenly relinquishing my job, having to move out of my home… and being adrift for weeks at a time has been more than I could take at times. The stress and uncertainty blinded me, so that all I could see was the pain. Yes, there were definitely moments when I could see the light and I had moments of joy and happiness… that’s a God-thing!

I know that underlying the pain was my faith that it would get better because I trusted God… it kept me going…

… as did your prayers and support.

And it did get better… and far better than I expected a few months ago…. A new life began for me this weekend.

A whole new way of living.

I began writing for WebProNew.com this weekend and I start my new job as a reporter for the Danville Advocate Messenger tomorrow. I am returning to my roots as a journalist and I find that it really excites me. The two publications are very different… for WebProNews, which is a freelance gig, I will cover everything under the sun … it’s more global. And I actually create the post, add the media, etc … it doesn’t go through an editor (that could be bad!! lol!). For the Danville Messenger, I will cover local news… an old-school, traditional newspaper gig. I love that I will have the opportunity to write very differently with these two publications.

This weekend, as I began writing for WebProNews, I realized how lost I can get in writing… time flies. I am engaged! So, I’m thrilled with this new direction in life. And I know each day will be new and exciting covering small-town political news, fires, crimes. I will be able to use my photography and layout skills as well, so that’s just wonderful. I remember my mom, who was a journalist, always had interesting stories to tell when she came home from the job. I look forward to having stories to tell of the people and events for my newspaper, and for my family and friends.

And I’m excited to move down to Danville… a small, beautiful, historic town about 40 minutes south of Lexington. (Voted the 4th best small town to retire to in the US… another bonus!) I’m excited to be a part of a community, once again, returning to my small-town roots.

My favorite Shakespeare quote from Romeo and Juliet (which I taught for years) is ‘But, He that hath the steerage of my course, direct my sail’. Being adrift these past months left me no other alternative but to allow God to have the steerage of my course…. I had to relinquish control. I didn’t know where I would land… and honestly, I never would have guessed this outcome. I’m moving to Danville!! And I know God has amazing things in store for me there. He always does … I’m actually truly amazed at all the experiences and life changes that I’ve had… I never know where I’ll be next!

For those who have asked me if you can follow my writing… here are the links to my publications.

http://webpronews.com/author/pam-wright

Http://www.centralkynews.com/amnews/

Oh, I am blessed.

God has been faithful.

And my friends and loved ones are beautiful.

Captured: Make You Feel My Love

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There are lots of reasons why Lea Michele’s cover of one of my absolute favorite songs by Bob Dylan, Make You Feel My Love, is touching me tonight…

The show, Glee, was a big part of my life for a long time… I grew up singing… I was in a Glee Choir much like the ‘kids’ on the show… in Ohio, as coincidence would have it… and I loved the show the minute it came on. When they sang the Journey song, Don’t Stop Believing, at the end of the first episode, I was hooked!! In fact, I wish I could find the link that my kids did for me of the song for Mother’s Day… it was hilarious and showed just how much I loved the show and song…

While living in Korea, I had a ‘Glee’ party every week and other American friends would come to my apartment, we’d fix some kind of snack and we would watch… singing along and laughing at the antics of the characters … It brought me home… to my roots in music and my roots in America… yep, everything I loved.

And then when I learned of the death of Cory Monteith this summer due to an overdose of heroin and alcohol… I was deeply saddened…

I know both sides of addiction… and the pain it causes….

I understand because I have suffered from addiction to alcohol myself and can understand Cory’s pain, but because I watched someone, and cared for someone who I thought would die night after night because of his own addictions, I understand what it is to love and care from someone addicted.

My friend was addicted to so many things, including heroin and ‘benzos’, and I would stay up night after night and count his breaths… knowing that the combination of the drugs and alcohol just basically made someone stop breathing in their sleep… I knew if it got below 7 breaths per minute, I needed to call someone… I became an expert on addiction… I was on the internet constantly, researching… just wanting to know how to help, but no matter how hard I tried, he wouldn’t seek help…

… I was scared for my friend.

Scared of this world.

… and that’s what happened to Cory Monteith. He was alone in a hotel room with no one to count his breaths… I listen to Lea Michele’s cover of ‘Make You Feel My Love’ and I KNOW there are so many who wish they could make those they love who are addicted KNOW how much they are loved. I’m sure she wishes she could have been there to count his breaths. It doesn’t matter that they were celebrities… they are no different than the rest of us….

So, I hurt for her as well… and I hurt for my kids and other loved ones who wanted me to be well…

However, in the throws of addiction, none of us can ever hear how much we are loved… we can only hear the siren call of comfort found in a bottle, or a pill, or food, or porn, or… whatever it is…

And I KNOW God feels the same for his addicted children … oh, how his heart must break!! He screams that he could ‘make us feel his love’… it’s hard though to hear that still, small voice in the midst of hurt and distractions and the disappointments of this world.

It’s hard!

… there was nothing I could do about the man I cared for. There was nothing my family could do for me… I had to make the decision to stop… He had to make the decision to stop…

I still don’t know if my friend has stopped using … I tried to help and share what I know of God’s love. And I pray for him…

My heart bleeds for those who suffer from addiction and those who love those addicted. It is the work of the devil. It is vile, it is rampant… our whole world suffers from addiction.. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, successful or failing… addiction touches us all… one way or another…

…and there is only one defense… God! He’s the only cure…

Tonight, I will watch the tribute to Cory Monteith on the Glee episode, thinking of the millions of others who suffer from the addictions of this world and those who love the addicted …

in this messed up world that is so perilous to our souls!

And I will be praying…

… praying for the day when Jesus returns and all this can be put behind us… the day when there will be no more pain, no more tears…

… only love… and joy…

… and singing!

Captured: Sea Glass

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As a child, I loved to collect sea glass. We owned a cottage up at Lakeside, OH on Lake Erie, where I would spend hours upon hours collecting sea glass, organizing it into the various shades of blue and green and brown, marveling at how the water could make the edges so smooth… I continually ran my fingers along the edges, feeling the contours and textures.

Somewhere along the way I forgot about my childhood collection of sea glass…

A couple of years ago, while walking along a beach in S. Korea, I came across a piece of sea glass in the sand. Tears filled my eyes as I was wrenched immediately back to that time of my youth. I remembered that not only was sea glass a part of those endless summer days many years ago, it was also a time when I was formulating dreams for my life… dreaming of the prince charming who would be by my side for ever.

In contrast, as I came across that piece of glass on the smooth sand of Taejon Beach many years later, I realized that so many of those dreams had been shattered just like the piece of glass in my hand. I was going through a very difficult time in my life and that little piece of glass just reminded me of the pain of those shattered dreams.

But, then, just as suddenly, another voice inside reminded me that I no longer need to cling to those old shattered dreams, but rather, I could begin formulating new dreams for myself, dreams based on what God wants FOR me. I put that piece of sea glass in my pocket and I’ve been collecting sea glass again ever since… all the while dreaming.

A student of mine, an apparent angel in disguise, who heard my sea glass story in class, took it upon himself to create a piece of art with my name written in the sea glass that he had collected on vacation in his home country of Greece. He presented that art piece on the day I was forced to announce to the students and faculty at my school that I needed to change my name back to my maiden name after divorce … a very difficult thing for me to do. I was so distraught at having to change my name. But my student walked into my classroom that morning, before the opening assembly on the first day of the new school year, and presented me with his artwork. Having no clue that I was about to publicly announce my name change, I was startled to see that he, instead of spelling out Ms. Arzel in sea glass as I was known in class, had written…

‘Pam’

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God spoke to me through the sea glass, through the gift given to me by my student, reminding me that no matter my name, no matter my dreams, crushed or formulating, I am loved, hope remains, and I am treasured.

Just like my new treasure of sea glass.

When each of my daughters married the man of their dreams… the men I fervently prayed for them to find … they each carried a piece of sea glass with them… God has blessed them so wonderfully with the men He brought into their lives… and in many ways, He fulfilled many of my own dreams by blessing them so …

I have often offered a piece of my sea glass collection to a loved one as they venture into something new… the most recent was when I offered a treasured piece of blue sea glass (I only had 2 blue pieces) to my fiancé as he left me… I like that… offerings of love and forgiveness are all we can offer … right? We are called to offer something treasured… especially when it involves love and hope… I gave my heart to this man and I loved him… all I could do is offer a gesture of hope that his dreams come true, despite my own pain at losing him.

It gives me some peace…

Today, I have never believed more in the beauty of sea glass… and how God speaks to me through small pieces of broken glass…

God can take our broken dreams… our rough edges… and He, and He alone can smooth them over with His unfailing love, grace and redemption…

and He can provide new dreams….

… even when the dreams we clinged to so fervently just…

evaporate…

I find hope in sea glass!!!

reposted and updated from http://www.tumblr.com/blog/pamwright24

Captured: Threads of an Old Life

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I love Tolkien’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’. I just love it. I love the book and I love the movie trilogy.

There is a quote that says: ‘How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on, when in your heart, you begin to understand, there is no going back? There are some things that time cannot mend. Some hurts that go too deep… that have taken hold’

Listen to Frodo speak those words in ‘The Return of the King’.

His speech resonates deeply within me… it bring me to tears. And, often, I believe them. I do.

But, we are told otherwise. We are told that God binds up the brokenhearted, turns ashes into beauty and that He turns mourning into dancing.

We all have hurts… some so very deep that we think we’ll never get past the pain. But, God promises otherwise and that is where Faith comes in. I have a friend who has suffered one of the worst losses imaginable this year… the death of his little girl. But, he said something to me recently that really made me think about faith… he believed that faith is just getting up and taking that next step… one foot in front of the other, even when breathing hurts. Even when the truth about God binding up the broken-hearted seems unfathomable. I’ve kept those words in my heart… I know it was God speaking to me through him.

Reminds me of the end of ‘Lord of the Rings’ when Frodo and Sam take those last exhausted steps in completing their part in defeating the evil plaguing Middle Earth. Sam had to carry Frodo those last steps much like Jesus has to carry us at times of hurt and loss.

Yes, we all hurt, and wounds can run deep, and surely, the scars will remain. But, with each scar left over by hurt, there is an opportunity to garner strength, courage, resilience and hope. And truly the hurts may run too deep… they may have lasting affects, but the hope lies in what’s to come for all who speak the name of Jesus.

The happily ever after is yet to come. Until then, we journey on… much like Frodo and Sam… carrying each other at times, loving each other and never, ever giving up hope… because joy WILL come in the morning.

I have faith…

I have hope…

I don’t want the threads of an old life… I prefer to head towards the completion of God’s beautiful tapestry of restoration. And I’m grateful for my part in that story… for my thread… even if it hurts sometimes.

Captured: And they lived happily EVER AFTER!!

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Truly… and I say this with all sincerity… there is nothing else like God’s love… I promise, I swear…

Been there, done that… I’ve fallen in love… I had beautiful children that fulfilled me… I have loved. Oh… and HOW I have loved…

I’ve been through everything…

And I promise you… NOTHING compares to what God can offer… to the peace and joy and comfort that comes with loving him!! I promise!! Nothing… Just watch this…

http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=0F21EFNU

It moves me…

I’ve lived overseas for most of my life… the world is vast… the world is bleeding… the prince of this world is having his way… FOR NOW…

But the PRINCE of PEACE… my savior, my love, my GOD… will prevail… He will crush the one who hurts us all so much here on Earth…

How Great is our God???

Unimaginably GREAT!!

… And they lived happily EVER AFTER!!

I LOVE that… but until that day… I join my brothers and sisters who fight to end, and to champion the things that break hearts…

… ‘break our hearts for what breaks yours, Jesus!’

Hugs to the ones who want to make it better… who want to give their lives for a purpose…

They are heroes!

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