Captured by Pam

words and images by pam wright

Category: Prayer

Captured: Road Trippin’

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I do this thing… whenever I feel antsy over the job thing, or the heartbreak thing or anything really, I jump in my car and I drive.  I just go. I love it!

I suppose it has to do with the travel bug I’ve had for the past 30 years and now that I’m ‘settled’ in one place, I just miss moving… and it’s the only thing that truly settles me! Now that I think about it, as soon as I got my license, I drove and drove and drove… all over my hometown. My mother would get so angry at the mileage I would accrue on her mustang!

I’ve driven across the United States alone… from coast to coast. I took 3 little girls, under the age of 5 from Indianapolis to New Mexico. I drove all over Europe and Korea… I know, I’m not very ‘green’ and I’m sorry, but it’s just what I do.

Each morning I get up, take my dog to the park and then I drive the beautiful country roads surrounding Lexington… it’s so beautiful this time of year… October, my favorite month… the mist rises from the paddies, the horses’ coats glisten from dew, mighty oak trees are beginning to change color and there are miles and miles of fencing that is typical of this region. I blast K-Love on the radio … and I sing and I praise and I pray… it just does something to my soul.

I am reminded each time I take one of my drives that everything will be alright… that God’s grace and a tank of gas are all I really need to thrive. The joy I experience on those roads makes every worry just disappear and I am grateful that I am able to drive.

hmmm… perhaps I should seek a position as a truck driver!!

Captured: The Death of Fear

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Just 6 months ago, all of my dreams seemed to be coming true. Everything was wonderful. I was engaged to a wonderful man and I believed it was an eternal love, ordained by God. I taught high school English and coached. I had a beautiful home and was soon to move into a new home with my new husband. I had a sufficient income, although it was always a struggle on a private teacher’s salary.

I was really happy. I felt safe. I was excited about the future.

And then, within a matter of weeks…

… No fiancé.

… No job.

… No home.

… No income.

All of the fears that I have harbored for most of my life came to pass all in one fell swoop. I was devastated. Heartbreak, panic, and utter disbelief flooded my whole being with a power that was more frightening than anything I have ever experienced. Honestly, I tear up just thinking about it.

I did the only thing I knew to do… I sought God. Whenever the pain became too great I would scream, begging God to do something.

… and he never failed to do something.

He never fails to do something…

He performs the miraculous in my life. He calms the storm within.  He provides just what I need the exact moment I need it. He has bound up my broken heart. He has filled the spaces occupied by loss and heartbreak and fear, with bounty and hope and joy and confidence.

And guess what? I didn’t crumbled. I didn’t break into a thousand pieces. I didn’t succumbed to depression and despair. I didn’t completely disintegrated. All the things I imagined would happen when I found myself in the midst of this Job-like experience didn’t happen.

I realize today that all of these things that happened, that I thought were going to destroy me, were really only answer to my prayers. In my prayers, I offered every part of my life to God… into His hands so that he could transform me… I prayed and prayed for God to mold and conform me into the woman he created me to be. And he answered my prayer through these losses, these trials.

I know this because I AM being transformed.

… by God’s UNFAILING LOVE!!

Today, my being is utterly consumed with hope instead of despair, with trust instead of panic, and with certainty instead of all the doubts that I knew only weeks ago.

Next weekend I will be moving in with my gracious daughter and son-in-law until I can get back on my feet and I am so very grateful for their love and generosity. Having to move in with my daughter at my age isn’t bothering me in the least. Six months ago, however, I would have been horrified at the thought of having nothing and needing to rely on others for my wellbeing. I’m grateful because God is replacing so much pride that I’ve harbored within me with humility, and His strength is replacing my weaknesses. And because I am ‘jobless’, I am in a position to pursue the gifts that God instilled in me and for which I am passionate … writing about His Glorious Name and revealing the beauty of His creation through photography.

Above all, God has dealt with me directly about my fear. His perfect love has cast that from me… I fear nothing. Honestly, I fear nothing. I lost my fear of death years ago because Heaven awaits me. And yet, I’ve struggled with fear over my time here on Earth. But, you know what? I’ve been through everything here. I’ve lived through the death of loved ones. I’ve been through the hell of addiction. I’ve been through emotional abuse, physical abuse, and sexual assault. I’ve lost the love of a man. I’ve lost my income and my home. And I’ve been through many, many other difficult experiences.

But, I HAVE GOD!!!

… And that’s ALL I need.

Not that long ago I would have been mortified to reveal my circumstances and my ‘failures’ to close friends, let alone to the world, but what matters is not if I’m ‘proud’ of my life or my experiences. NO! I am just SO very, very proud of my God … at what He has done and can do with this little life he gave to me.

It’s not about me!

It’s about God!!

Everything is and should be about God! However, it’s through my experiences and my hurts and my trials that God’s power and unfailing love can be revealed! And I want that!! I want to show him off to anyone who will listen!!

THIS IS MY GOD!!! Check him OUT!!

I no longer question God about the trials I face. I don’t question the trials any of us face. Yes, I need to be compassionate, empathetic and BE the loving arms of Christ to show His love to those who are going through the storms, like so many did for me. However, I don’t pity those in the midst of storms. I don’t pity myself. I know what can come and how God can transform and truly bring roses from ashes. Instead, I ‘consider it pure joy to face trials of many kinds’, as Paul reminded James.

God still has a lot of molding and transforming to do in me and I know that trials will come… but that’s cool! I’ll be all right!! I won’t crumble. I won’t succumb to despair. I won’t disintegrate. God has me under the shelter of his wings, in the arms of His son and in His heart forever… He truly is my eternal love!

So, I say in response:

… Adieu Despair

… Adieu Doubt

… Adieu Fear

Rest in Peace!

Captured: Just Say Jesus

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I pray. I’ve always prayed. In fact, I tend to have a running conversation with God in my head throughout each day, and it has been good.

Sometimes I find that as I pray, words are coming out of my mouth that are for my benefit… words and thoughts that just come of their own accord. And I know these words are of God and they teach me.

However, in recent weeks I have learned something new about prayer… and about my prayer life. There is a new song by 7th Time Down called ‘Just Say Jesus’, that says:

      Life gets tough and times get hard
      And it’s hard to find the truth in all the lies
      If you’re tired of wondering why
      Your heart isn’t healing
      And nothing feels like home
      Cause you’re lost and alone
      Just screaming at the sky

      When you don’t know what to say
      Just say Jesus
      The name of Jesus
      If the words won’t come
      Cause you’re afraid to pray
      Just say Jesus
      Whisper it now or shout it out
      However it comes out
      He hears your cry
      Out of nowhere he will come
      You got to believe in it
      He will rescue you
      Just call out to the way
      The truth, the life

In recent weeks, I have found myself in a place where that’s the only thing that could come out of my mouth… ‘Jesus’ … I would whisper the name, scream the name, repeat the name. And I now understand that God put me in that place because He wanted me to finally, really listen… as if saying, ‘Pammy, would you please just listen to me!! Would you please just be still and KNOW that I am God’. I settled down and today I can see that my prayer life has been a lot of talk and not a lot of listening. It’s one thing to know that, in order to hear God, you really must be still, and yet another one to actually be still and listen. Since I didn’t seem to have what it took to be still… God stilled me himself, through circumstances in my life. All for my good!

I love the quote by John Bunyun, ‘In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart.’ That’s where God took me… to a place where I realized that my blathering words, begging for this or for that, just were not what I needed. I wasn’t going anywhere in my relationship with God… it was becoming stagnant. That’s not to say God did not hear my words or that He doesn’t love to hear my words, it’s just that the communication was a little too one-sided. He wanted me to be quiet, to listen… because only HE knows what is best for me, and where I needed to venture next in our relationship.

And, so, I really began to listen… frankly, because I could do little else…

In the turmoil of fiery fires, I paused to whisper His name… and it never failed… He showed up to help me, to tell me what to do! I sometimes thought I couldn’t take another moment, and He would tell me to take a drive and He’d showed me something beautiful along the way, calming my heart. He’d tell me to get out and exercise, which steps to take in my career, to write a blog, or to spend time with my precious grandson. And the blessings were and are innumerable!!

Soren Kierkegaard said this about prayer, ‘The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.’ I like the sentiment in his words… that I am being and will be changed by prayer. I already see so many changes in my life and how I view life. God has given me strength beyond anything I dreamed I could muster. He has provided ‘a peace that passes all understanding.’ He has healed me of wounds that date back to childhood and He has finally made what I already knew into absolute TRUTH in my heart…

… the truth that He wants the very best for me!!

… even if it’s beyond difficult…

… even if it involves pain and uncertainty.

… even if I’d really rather learn it all in an easier fashion.

Despite the hardships of life … the disappointments … the trials … by listening to the words of God and actually hearing His love pour down over your soul from the heavens and the flutter of angel’s wings around your head… NOTHING is too difficult  … and absolute beauty can be born from the ashes.

The name of Jesus is POWERFUL…

… Just say ‘Jesus’.

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