Captured by Pam

words and images by pam wright

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

Captured: Athena

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No… that’s not Athena in the photo … that is me… a few years ago…

Yea I know…

it’s kind of something I kept quiet… scared of feeling lame, and pathetic and stupid… But, you know… it happened… it did… why hide it, why pretend… ????

The reason I share this is because I thought of this picture as I caressed my kitty, Athena, tonight as I settled in to fall asleep…

I got hurt a while ago, but I seriously think my cat was hurt worse than I … she was hit by a golf club, thrown against the wall, and so brutalized that she retreated under the bathroom cabinet… never leaving… not even to go to the bathroom… that poor cat was traumatized…

Yea… I was too… I remember one night in a hotel… just my kitty and me… scared to death of being found… scared of not living another day… it was a bad time…

But, that is now in the past…

I watch my sweet kitty, Athena, today… she has responded to love… to my caresses…. to good treatment and straight up love… I hate what happened to her… even more than I hate what happened to me… But, like Athena, I have been loved on too… I’ve been caressed and loved back to healing… not only from the people in my life who love me,  but from a greater love… my defender and the lover of my soul… ah, by Jesus!!! He has loved on me…

I KNOW that God is the greatest healer of all… I know that Athena and I were surrounded by angels on those days of despair, and pain, and unimaginable fear in California…

And, ah, my sweet, defenseless kitty… I know how I felt for my cat on those days… and I can only imagine how my savior felt for me on those same days…

Athena and I are good today and we forgive the one who hurt and scared us so…

Why???

Because he was hurt and scared, too … never, ever think that people who lash out in anger and violence are without hurt and fear themselves! I’ve prayed for this man… I forgive this man… I relate to him and empathize… and I hope that my Jesus is so loving on him!!!

Going to sleep now… remembering and thanking God for love and mercy… I share this not to garner attention to myself, but to share how GREAT is my God!!! He is AMAZING!!  And I love him so much… he who can save not only me, and my cat, but those who hurt us, as well!!!

PRAISE GOD!!

BTW, isn’t this the sweetest song ever?

Listening to it as I fall asleep…

You know, we all get hurt… and yet we all have the ability to heal by the love and grace of our savior … I’m grateful my kitty is alright today, despite what she went through…

… yea… I’m grateful I am too…

Thank you Jesus!

Here they are … Athena, and my puppy, Cosi! Happy at last… we are an AWESOME trio!! =)

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Nighty Nite…

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!

Captured: What if… Then Maybe

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I am SO human… so predictable and I don’t ever seem to get past this one…

I recently had an interview for a job that I’m still waiting to hear about. I would love to get this job and I honestly feel like it’s a perfect fit. But, through the process, I have become really annoyed with myself because I find myself doing the ‘What if… then maybe game’… hoping to get something out of my behavior.

You know what I mean…

What if I love everyone, to the point of exhaustion, ignoring my own needs and well-being… then maybe I will be loved in return.

What if I work incessantly at pleasing people… then maybe I will be loved in return.

What if I am the perfect Christian… following all of the rules to a tee… then maybe God will love me in return.

What if I give all my money to help others… then maybe I will be blessed and loved in return.

What if I do all of the above… then maybe I’ll get that job!

I remember the very first time I did something that garnered praise and love… I must have been 4 and I took it upon myself to clean up the bookshelves that housed my brother’s and my toys. The reaction I received from my father over that little clean-up changed me forever.  I loved his reaction! I loved how grown-up and worthy I felt. He was proud of me!!! It would dictate how I began to work in order garner praise and love for the rest of my life…! People-pleasing…

I still seek that from others … and, wrongly, I still seek that reaction from God. I continually hope that my behavior will make him proud of me. If I behave in a certain way… then maybe He will come through for me.

I limit God by placing human expectations on Him… I think many of us do.

The only things that God is asking of me is to trust him and to wait on him… with patience. I don’t need to do anything or behave in a certain way. I just need to chill… and love and trust my Heavenly Father…

What If I let him have control of my life? What if I trust him with that life? What if I just wait on Him??

Then maybe I won’t have to try so hard and I can appreciate the true expression of love … God’s unfailing love.

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: Welcome home

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Her name was June Temple. She died today…

As quickly as I posted about being a grandmother… and about new life… a life was extinguished… another amazing grandmother left this world, heading ‘home’.

She was a woman who loved God. She gave her life to her family and to missions. Her stories are remarkable and I admire her. I want to live like she lived.

Today has been one of those days… where this world meets the next.

I remember another day much like this…

We were in the Philippines… on a Habitat for Humanity trip, and several students were suffering from food poisoning. One girl was particularly sick, so my friend, Wyatt, and I had to spend the night with her in a small, medical clinic in Manila.

That night, we faced the miracle and the reality of life and death…

Within a span of 12 hours we experienced the birth of a little baby being born just feet from us, and we listened as another man’s life came to an end. We heard fighting outside, and life inside. It was an amazing experience… one that I treasure. We held hands, not out of any romantic attachment, but out of the shared human experience.

Today, I am reminded once again, that life and death hold hands… my little girl felt her baby move for the first time on the same day that my son-in-love lost his grandmother…

Life is never stagnant. It continually moves forward… as should we!

I am grateful for each loss, each renewal, and friends with whom I can hold hands and share life.

Today, June is dancing and singing with the angels. Jesus met her and said, ‘I am pleased… You did well, my beautiful bride…

… welcome home.’

Captured: Movin’ On

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Today I packed up my apartment. Everything is packed except this mug I kept out… my favorite mug! It reminds me of several things… to be courageous in difficult circumstances… to be courageous when life seems to be more than one can bear… and just because I love the cowardly lion! I actually played the part of the cowardly lion in a faculty play many years ago.

I love the lyrics from the ‘Wizard of Oz’ for the cowardly lion:

‘Yeah, it’s sad, believe me Missy
When you’re born to be a sissy
Without the vim and verve
But I could show my prowess
Be a lion, not a mowess
If I only had the nerve

I’m afraid there’s no denyin’
I’m just a dandylion
A fate I don’t deserve
I’d be brave as a blizzard

(Tin Man)
I’d be gentle as a lizard

(Scarecrow)
I’d be clever as a gizzard

(Dorothy)
If the Wizard is a wizard who will serve

(Scarecrow)
Then I’m sure to get a brain

(Tin Man)
A heart

(Dorothy)
A home

(Cowardly Lion)
The nerve

We all can relate to the desires of this quartet heading to see the ‘Wizard’. And we KNOW the author of these desires… the ONE who placed these desires in our hearts from time immortal… Our Heavenly Father, who graces us with knowledge, heart, courage and the dream of one day arriving ‘home’, in Heaven, where we belong!!

I am sad to have to move in with my daughter. I feel weak, and lame and needy. But, that’s OK… God asks us to be humbled… to seek him for our strength. I didn’t expect this, but I will face this with my mug in hand… the one that reminds me to be courageous, relying on God’s strength to get me through, coming out on the other side stronger than I ever imagined.

I will just follow the yellow brick road that God has set before me…. one step at a time… brick by brick… with a ‘lamp unto my feet’.

I’m excited where it will lead me… it can only be wonderful and magical, because I have more that a ‘wizard’ to follow… I have a savior… a lover of my soul… who will never abandon me, nor forsake me…

I’m movin’ on down the road… with courage… with confidence… because I am loved… and because there is something amazing waiting, just a little bit farther down the road…

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: 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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