Among the thorns

I have walked into a time of my life that is busier than any I have known before. 24 hours doesn’t seem to be enough to get everything done that needs doing. Plates are spinning high above my head on the imaginary poles I balance. And not well, mind you. The sound of china shattering happens more often than I’d like, but for the most part, I keep up the insidious act of holding it all together.

Recently I found myself asking, “Who am I…really?” “What will unfold over the next several months as I plunge into uncharted territory?” (For those of you wondering what I’m talking about, I will be leaving my current job position that I have become extremely comfortable in and exploring other opportunities at the end of December. It’s terrifying and exciting all at the same time.) What will I do, you ask. Well…I’m figuring that out.

I’m a writer.
A lover of words.
A poet at heart.
A romantic in the deepest sense of the word.
I love change.
I have fallen in love with photography.
I no longer see the world the way I once saw it.
I feel closer to God…looking at life through my lens.
The details that I never noticed now become impossible to miss.
And I will never see, even the smallest insect the same way again.

There is one place I love to go when I am stressed. This past weekend I didn’t even know I wanted to, but Chris knew I needed to go. It had been two very long work days and I was exhausted, but still eager to walk into my sanctuary of nature.

I had my camera, but didn’t plan on taking any pictures as I had been strategically photographing for several hours before I arrived. And then I stepped into one of the green houses.
Beams of sunlight streamed in across the plants and brick flooring.
The mist of humidity made it seem like you could hold the light in your hands.

It was magical and serene. It was beautiful and fragile.
It was an opportunity to be in the moment. To see God in all things. To inhale deeply and freely.

Nothing empty’s a life of the beauty of the moment faster than hurry. Call it what you will, but I believe it was God’s way of not only telling me, but showing me that his light will penetrate through absolutely anything. There’s no stopping it. There’s no hiding it. It will be made known, exposing not only the dirt and dust, but the beauty and luster of creation.

As I turned another corner, there it was again. Only in a different way. The light that pushes its way through that which tries to contain it. God knows that many times for me things have to be made blatantly obvious before I will recognize them for what they are. Before I will acknowledge the gift and the Giver.

The tension across my shoulders loosened and the stress melted away. I wasn’t anywhere else in the world. I was exactly where my feet were. In that moment. In the streams of sunlight accentuating the different shades of green on the leaves. The long slender vines stood out in a way they never had.
Okay, God, you have my attention.

From that point on, as I walked through the place I have been a dozen times before, it was as if I had never seen the surroundings. I would get lost in the detail of an orchid or the ripples of water in the copper basin. I allowed the scents of flowers in their last season of bloom to fill my nostrils and relax my mind.

As I walked 10 more steps or so, the most beautiful sight came into view.
My boys were drenched in sunlight. I watched as they moved their hands back and forth through the beams, laughing and squinting their eyes while looking up for the source of light. The tops of their heads appeared to be glowing. I couldn’t help but laugh. God, I am so undeserving of such beauty and blessings. The fact that you would give a wretch like me a day like this one proves that you are a God of mercy and grace. Thank you…Father…Thank you.

There is something God whispered to me continually through every petal, leaf, blade of grass and beam of sunlight. It was this…You are mine. Treasured. Sacred. Adored. Heir to the throne of grace. Child of the King. This life that you toil so to figure out has already been decided. This time that you say is not enough is in fact fleeting. These moments of little boys with faces full of wonder is just that, a moment. Rest. Listen. Breathe. All will be well.

I truly believe that it will.

Here are some of the beautiful captures of the day. I would encourage you to take a moment as you look through these pictures to remind yourself of how valuable you are to the Creator of all things. Blessings to you on this journey, my friend.

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6 thoughts on “Among the thorns

  1. Joy,

    I think the question you pose “Who am I…really?” is a question I ask often. While we know the most important “who am I” is that we belong to the “I am” I think we want to know am I doing that which I should be doing and does it matter? We long to matter. I know the answer to “who am I” is constantly changing because we are. Hopefully we are being refined through the fires of life and our image through the lens of life moves toward that of God.

    I do know this Joy. You are a great writer and you move people with your words and the images you paint with your camera are awesome. Your images allow a moment in time to be appreciated in a way it is not when one moment bleeds into the next nonstop. I also know from reading deep into your blog that you have been refined through the rough waters of your life. I do not know what your job change is but since it is you doing it I know you will be successful.

    I wish you well.

  2. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! Can’t decide which is better—your pictures or your words. I like the image made by “the light that pushes its way through that which tries to contain it.” When we are truly filled with God’s light—the real deal—there is no way to hide it! It “will out.”Great post!

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