Still and Quiet

Softly flowing White River

I took this photo of the White River with a slow shutter speed to smooth out the flowing water (I didn’t do anything to the color… that why it is called the White River). It reminded me of Psalm 131.

My heart is not proud, O Lord, 

my eyes are not haughty; 

I do not concern myself with great matters 

or things too wonderful for me. 

But I have stilled and quieted my soul; 

like a weaned child is my soul within me. 

like a weaned child with its mother, 

O Israel, put your hope in the Lord 

both now and forevermore. Psalm 131

I think it is apropos for the turmoil of an election in the midst of social unrest and a pandemic. Lay aside all the pride and malice. Still and quiet your soul by reaffirming your hope in God. Remember, it is by the Lord’s strength we will get through this both now and forevermore.

Grace Like Falling Snow

skier sleeping lady

Snow flake upon snow flake bringing winter joy.

For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. John 1:16

Thank you Lord, that Your grace is not a one time gift, for I would have used it up long ago.

Thank you Lord, that Your grace goes beyond the forgiveness of my past sins to include my future.

Thank you Lord, that grace is also about the assurance of Your presence in my life, that You will be with me in all that takes place (O Immanuel).

Thank you Lord, that by Your grace, You want to change me from what I am, to what You want me to be.

I praise You that this miraculous transformation happens by Your strength not mine.

Thank you Lord, that Your grace soaks up what I have spilled, not just in my life, but also in the lives of those I have hurt.

Thank you Lord, that grace will never lose its power with use, or become dull with time.

Grace upon grace springing up eternally from Your fullness to my wholeness.

Quiet Snow

Quiet Falls on the Woods

Quiet Falls on the Woods

“It lacks focus” –I got the news my photo did not win in a photo contest. Simply put it was rejected in favor of “better” photos. I do not deal well with rejection. Often I tumble into the “blues” with the smallest rebuff, carrying the hurt for days. I try telling myself I am being overly sensitive but that does nothing but make me feel guilty about my mental weakness. Even as I reread this paragraph I feel foolish for letting something so small upset me. It does not even come close to life’s major rejections like divorce, or getting fired. Yet there it sits a lump of hurt in the middle of my life.

I am tempted to deal with it by thinking ugly thoughts about those who won: “They knew the judges…It was all rigged against me… People are dumb and cannot recognize how wonderful my pictures are…I’ll teach them, I won’t enter their stupid contest next year.” Such angry thoughts only end up leaving me more isolated and hurt, and do nothing but make me bitter.

The Psalms speak about rejection:

Though my father and mother forsake me, God will receive me. Ps.27:10

Now that is a major rejection — amazingly, God will receive me even when my family can’t stand me.

 The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,

a stronghold in times of trouble.

10 Those who know your name will trust in you,

for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

Psalms 9:9-10

…hmm, God will never forsake me when I seek him. Through these verses Holy Spirit leads me away from bitterness and self-pity to a place where  I can breathe in God’s love and let go of the hurt. The hard part for me is to receive God’s love as the true measure of me … I have to keep rereading these verses until they stick.

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness.  “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul., “therefore I will hope in Him.”  Lamentations  3: 22-24

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”  Matthew 11: 28-30

I am so thankful life is not about people liking my photos, or even liking me. To my relief, life is about God: His love, His faithfulness and learning to abide in Him.