Captured by Pam

words and images by pam wright

Tag: Unfailing Love

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: 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!

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