Category Archives: Nature Photography

Don’t Wait For Death To Celebrate Lives

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1 Corinthians 15:55

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

Yesterday marked the passing of my friend’s father.  He was a wonderful man, generous of heart . Ken Harrell not only loved his own family, but any human that needed a hand. He was that kind of man. I have been friends with his daughter for almost 30 years, and there was a time in my youth where he stepped in to fill a gap for me. All through my adult life when I went home to visit, he would eagerly round me in for a hug when our paths crossed.

I am heavy-hearted today, 2,066 miles away from my home roots. Unable to help my friend with the new reality of her grief. Unable to even attend the funeral. But I will pray, not for Ken…for he knew where he was going. I will pray for his family, left behind in the wake of his absence. That they will grow closer to the only true source of comfort in this life. Ken has sailed on, his path was set for Jesus.

I tell you this story to urge you not to wait to show people you love them.

The irony of death, to me, is the gathering of the departed’s loved ones.

Why, I muse with sorrow, do we often wait until death to celebrate someone’s life?

I would rather be together with my loved ones now, while I am alive to rejoice at our relationship. Come now, while I can hold you in my arms and laugh with you.

Life doesn’t always work out like we hope. Today, on a very serious note, I urge you to make that call. Book that ticket if you are at all able. Write that note. Celebrate life with the living, too often we postpone that joy. Looking at the impossibilities that seemingly block the way.

Love, as a verb, an action word. Not smooshed under the guise of good intention.

A Simple Doxology

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Do you know what a doxology is? It is popularly sung as an old hymn, you might recognize the lyrics.

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow Praise Him all creatures here below Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost

The Bible says a doxology is simply a prayer of praise to God.  There are days when I want to praise but my mental acuity is flatlining. Days where I try again and again to stop, focus, and praise him.

And it just doesn’t work.

Not that anything is wrong, per se. We all have these days, where we just keep starting to sit down for some quiet time. And realize we are staring out the window. We read one line of our devotional, and then “put peas on the grocery list” pops into our head. The invasive nature of our surrounding life appears to trump our ability to be still. To focus on praise.

Isn’t it amazing that we don’t have to come up with clever hymns? That God isn’t impressed just with our intense prayer sessions, but is, according to His very nature, pleased with our meager attempts? Because sometimes meager is the best we can do. If you, like me, are stuck humbly (and let’s admit it, somewhat ashamed?) of offering the leanest of praise times…don’t stop trying.

My doxology today is simply, “God, thank you. Please keep calling me.”

It doesn’t feel like enough. Too good to be true. Maybe that is part of the lesson, that we do not have to be enough. Give enough. Focus enough. We just have to come.

Psalm 27:8 (NLT)

My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”     And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”

When The Heart Rain Comes- Psalm 41:4

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Psalm 41:4

I said, “God, be gracious!

Put me back together again—my sins have torn me to pieces.”

You know those days when your smiles are hollow? When emotional rain feels heavy, it does not refresh. My actions this week have been inconsistent with my words. I demand respect, but don’t give it. I angle for the best for myself, while teaching generosity. My moods are edgy and easy to inflame, as I teach my teens to be peaceful.   Of course my actions teach far more than my words do. And, those close to me see it too well.

The good news is that God IS gracious. I reached out and asked for prayer today. Tonight I will carve a private place alone with God. No distractions. Because, for me? Those distractions lead to sin. Want to know what is funny about this? I used to be one of those who claimed I didn’t need a “savior”, I was a good person. Not a sinner. Once your eyes are opened, they stay that way. And for this, I am thankful. For on this training ground, my spirit has groaned, laughed, learned.

God hears me. He hears you. He is in the business of putting people back  together, molding them into something purer…more beautiful. I gladly embrace the cracks that he will bind so that a light that shines beautiful mosaic patterns into the darkness. Into that light I trust He will bring those whose cracks are similar, but wider perhaps. That His light in me may shine brighter to them. That is my hope. My trust. My assurance.