Captured by Pam

words and images by pam wright

Category: God’s Presence (page 2 of 2)

Captured: When you feel like a burden

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Queen’s Anne Lace… isn’t this photo beautiful?? So delicate… so intricate… so like God to give us a glimpse of absolute perfection that can only be found in HIS creation… He brings it, when we just don’t have a clue!!

I am in a position that I never expected for myself. I am living with my daughter, her husband and her new, 5-month-old (TOMORROW!!!) baby boy!

I hate this! I hate being a burden to anyone… and I know my girl… she would hate to hear me say this… a sweeter, more loving daughter could not be had… she is my jewel… one of 3 beautiful daughters who love me and take good care of me… any one of them would do the same … as would my sons… a greater blessing than my 5 children could not be had…

… but I hate this none-the-less! I hate it so much…

Being humble… admitting we can’t do life on our own sometimes…

I won’t lie… there are moments I wish I wasn’t here… that I wasn’t a burden… I do… tonight is hard…

But, I trust God. I trust that being humbled and humiliated a bit is OK…

It’s OK…. sad as I am… I know it’s OK…

There are seasons in life that are unexpected… that make us look up to heaven and say, ‘Why??? Why, Lord??’ But, I can do nothing but trust and love my God for what he is ultimately doing for me… and in me… and through me….

It will be so good… it will! I know this to be true! I KNOW it! Just, please Lord, get me through this….

Oh my beautiful Father in Heaven that makes such beautiful things like Queen’s Anne Lace… let me learn from being a burden!! Let this time bring GLORY to your name!!

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!

Captured: Permission to Grieve

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I give myself permission to grieve…

I’m going through a ‘season’ of life where everything is in flux! I just turned in my keys to my apartment and I watched someone move into the apartment that my fiancé vacated just over a month ago…

… the apartment that was supposed to be our new home.

I have no job and I had to move in with my daughter this weekend … all because of recent developments…

you know what… I’ve been quiet about this… I kept it to myself… why??? Why should I protect the one who abandoned me… after a promise, with a ring….

My fiancé talked me into quitting my job as a HS English teacher… He said I could pursue my dreams… He said I need never work another day in my life… that he would take care of me and then…

then came the words…

‘I need you to follow me in missions’… ‘I Need you’… So I followed… after all… he ‘needed me’…. and, so, I quit my job…. I would have done anything for the man of my home… the one I said ‘YES’ to…

He needed me… psssshhhhhh!

And so here I find myself today… alone, jobless, and hurting…

Yes, my heart is broken. I have tried to be brave and to accept the inevitable… but if truth be told … this hurts…

This hurts so much…

I loved this man. I trusted this man… I feel like I guarded my heart… until I gave it to him… I was cautious… Oh my, I was cautious…

Is it ever enough… how cautious can we ever be with our heart?????

He stopped loving me after assuring me time and again that he would love me no matter what… We had a pastor friend who was going to marry us that gave us a Dr. Seuss book as part of our ‘pre-marital’ counseling … the classic, Horton Hatches an Egg… with the phrase… ‘I said what I meant and I meant what I said, an elephant’s loyal one-hundred percent’… that was our thing and my fiance would repeat it all the time…

Until, he didn’t feel that way anymore…

He left…

It’s not his fault and I still love and admire him… He followed his heart… it just wasn’t after my heart…

I try to be brave and to say the Christian lines… ‘It’s God’s Will”… etc… but I can say all the right things that I want…

But….

Ultimately, this hurts…

Yes, it hurts…. Oh my, it HURTS… but in this ‘season’ of grieving here’s what has comforted me beyond measure…. beyond understanding, really…

… my eternal love, Jesus, knows how much I hurt… He knows… and He keeps telling me…

‘Pammy, it’s OK… you can grieve… You’ve been hurt… But, please know, my sweet girl, that I LOVE YOU!!! I know the pain of hurt, betrayal and disappointment… I know!!! I am right here beside you… and I will NEVER leave!!

Never, never, never… (a line from the movie, Somewhere In Time) 

JESUS SAYS:

I said what I meant and I meant what I said…

I…

the great I AM, the WORD, the LOVER of your soul…

I am loyal…

100%!”

I hear him and I know that….

Tomorrow will be better… whatever tomorrow may bring…

Grieving is a part of life… and acknowledging that it hurts is healthy and good…. After all…

Jesus wept.

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’.

Captured: Hidden Treasures

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One of my new favorite places to shop is Trader Joe’s, a whole foods type of store (but more in line with my budget), which I discovered out in Texas earlier this year. The first time I went in to the store, I noticed a stuffed armadillo hanging from a sign. Being a curious Georgette, I asked my friend what that was all about and was told that they hide the armadillo in different places in the store and if a child finds it, they get to ring the bell in the front of the store and receive a treat. AWESOME!!!!

Of course, the next time I went in there, being the big kid that I am, I had to find that armadillo. Well, I found it! And when a clerk realized what I was doing, he even offered me the opportunity to ring the bell and receive a treat. That was funny.

It turns out that every Trader Joe’s has its own stuffed animal indicative to the area… and they hide it in a different place each day. Here in Lexington, it’s a stuffed racehorse! Every time I go in there, I search for that racehorse. I love it!!

While in Trader Joe’s yesterday, getting groceries and searching for that stuffed racehorse (it was in the produce section), I was reminded of the hidden treasures that God places before us as we go through our day. Oftentimes, we ignore them, but I KNOW they are always there. I often lift up a prayer at the beginning of the day, asking God to show me His presence.

Lately, he has been showing up everywhere I turn. A few days ago, I went out for a run… now, God often shows his presence to me through nature, in particular, birds. I love hawks and eagles, cardinals and robins. I think it’s because birds always remind me of Isaiah 40… ‘those who hope in the Lord… will soar on wings like eagles’… I love that verse.

While out on my run, I suddenly noticed a male cardinal sitting in front of me. He had the oddest color, not bright red, but pinkish in tone. I’ve never seen a cardinal of that color. Because I know how God speaks to me (‘those who have ears, let them hear… those who have eyes…), I immediately knew that God was letting me know that He was near! But, it continued… that stinkin’ bird followed me all along my route. I’d look up, and there he was… over and over again. And I knew… God was running right there along side of me.

I felt like I was ringing the bell and receiving a treat… not from Trader Joe’s, but from my Heavenly Father who loves me beyond measure.

For those who hope in the Lord, there are hidden treasures from God that are special and unique to each of us… they are there, waiting to be found as we travel through this time here on the planet Earth.

Praise Be to God!!!

Captured: Sweet Rain of Forgiveness

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I love how God speaks into my life, not only through his Word, but through other artistic mediums as well, especially music. There is a song written by Sting that I first heard at his concert in Seoul years ago, ‘Dead Man’s Rope’. It really got to me at the time and it gets to me every time I hear it because it is my story, including ‘the hand of an angel reaching down above my bed’. I was reminded of it again this morning…

‘Dead Man’s Rope’ by Sting  (Click on the link)

A million footsteps, this left foot drags behind my right
But I keep walking, from daybreak til the falling night
And as days turn into weeks and years
And years turn into lifetimes
I just keep walking, like I’ve been walking for a thousand years

Walk away in emptiness, walk away in sorrow,
Walk away from yesterday, walk away tomorrow,

If you’re walking to escape, to escape from your affliction
You’d be walking in a great circle, a circle of addiction
Did you ever wonder what you’d been carrying since the world was black?
You see yourself in a looking glass with a tombstone on your back

Walk away in emptiness, walk away in sorrow,
Walk away from yesterday, walk away tomorrow,
Walk away in anger, walk away in pain
Walk away from life itself, walk into the rain

All this wandering has led me to this place
Inside the well of my memory, sweet rain of forgiveness
I’m just hanging here in space

Now I’m suspended between my darkest fears and dearest hope
Yes I’ve been walking, now I’m hanging from a dead man’s rope
With Hell below me, and Heaven in the sky above
I’ve been walking, I’ve been walking away from Jesus’ love

Walk away in emptiness, walk away in sorrow,
Walk away from yesterday, walk away tomorrow,
Walk away in anger, walk away in pain
Walk away from life itself, walk into the rain

All this wandering has led me to this place
Inside the well of my memory, sweet rain of forgiveness
I’m just hanging here in space

The shadows fall
Around my bed
When the hand of an angel,
The hand of an angel is reaching down above my head

All this wandering has led me to this place
Inside the well of my memory, sweet rain of forgiveness
Now I’m walking in his grace
I’m walking in his footsteps
Walking in his footsteps,
Walking in his footsteps

All the days of my life I will walk with you
All the days of my life I will talk with you
All the days of my life I will share with you
All the days of my life I will bear with you

Walk away from emptiness, walk away from sorrow,
Walk away from yesterday, walk away tomorrow,
Walk away from anger, walk away from pain
Walk away from anguish, walk into the rain.

I have a choice to make every day… whether I walk into emptiness, sorrow, pain, anger, and from life itself … or into the abundant life Jesus offers… walking away from emptiness, sorrow, pain, anger, and into life itself, through his sweet rain of forgiveness.

I was reminded this morning of the wonderful verses in Psalm 139:5-6 … ‘I look behind me and you’re there, 
then up ahead, and you’re there, too…Your reassuring presence, coming and going. 
This is too much, too wonderful…I can’t take it all in!’ (The Message).

And it came to me that as I ‘walk in His footsteps’ into the future that He has already prepared for me, He is also behind me, brushing away, with his hand, the footprints left behind that are dirty and polluted… much like a mother cleans up her child’s muddy tracks from the kitchen floor after a time outside … the addictions, the sin, the filth of my life … things that have nothing to do with how He created me to be, but are, instead, just ‘filler’ for the one truth for which my soul truly longs. And that even now, in this present moment, He is cleaning the years of accumulated dirt off my feet. (‘You hem me in and behind, and you lay your hand upon me.’ … NIV)

Ah, SWEET rain of forgiveness…

I love the picture above that I took during a rainstorm on a recent trip to Guatemala. I love how the raindrop forms a sort of chalice… there’s a certain irony that I enjoy… it looks as if we could fill that very chalice of water with water… I think of how Jesus offers himself to us as ‘living water’, to fill our very souls with the things of eternal value. But, because we are broken vessels, the things of this world, our ‘circles of addiction’ that we think will fill our lives, fill our chalice … yes, they may fill us for a moment, but ultimately, they just seep through the cracks of our broken lives, leaving us even emptier, wanting even more … more food, more drink, more gadgets, more internet, more television, more noise, more clothes, more ‘love’… more, more… MORE!

In this crazy world which batters us with messages that more stuff, more experiences, more everything will satisfy, I know, with absolute certainty, that as Sting put it in his song… in the ‘well of my memory’ … the ‘memory’ that God placed in me when he ‘knit me in my mother’s womb’, and which, at times seems so difficult to tap, there is ‘living water’ that… through connection, through prayer, and through surrender and reliance on Him, will always fill my soul… will satisfy my thirst like nothing else ever could. I KNOW this!!

…. ‘Ah, too wonderful for me to take in!!’

‘Search me, God, and know my heart; 
test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me,
 and lead me in the way everlasting.’ (Psalm 139:23, 24) … as I walk into Your footsteps lain before me… away from sorrow, away from pain, away from emptiness, away from anger, away from endless ‘circles of addiction’ and need…

… into Your sweet rain of forgiveness.

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