‘Tis the season to ask this question…
‘Tis the season to ask this question…
‘Tis the season to ask this question…
Each Friday Sara Rosso posts the WordPress weekly photo challenges; here is what she said about this week’s challenge:
“Through. Often framing your photo’s composition through something else is the best thing you could do to it. It gives the viewer even more context into what your eye saw in that moment in time. Sometimes it modifies the entire tone or meaning of the photo.”
I’ve been thinking about the concept of through quite a bit lately in terms of this phase of my life. I’m currently going through a battle with cancer, and that can modify the entire tone or meaning of how I view things. Sometimes my view is through the frame of pain, other times it’s through the frustration of treatments, or through exhaustion from losing sleep, or through just being tired of dealing with all the cancer-related issues, day in and day out.
When I look through something to take a photo, I’m only capturing that scene from one angle, and if I shift my focus even a little to the right or left the scene will change. I’ve learned that it’s the same way with going through the battle with cancer. If I shift my focus from the pain, frustration, exhaustion, or day-to-day issues of dealing with cancer to a different subject, I can see my life from another angle.
I’m going through a battle with cancer, but I must choose not to focus only on the view from the battlefield, as one who has no hope. I choose to put my hope in Jesus Christ, and to believe that He will bring me through the cancer battle, and even bless me along the way. Every day I have to choose to frame my view through His word:
Philippians 4:13 tells us, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Psalm 41:1-3 says, “Blessed is he who considers the poor; The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. The Lord will preserve him and keep him alive, And he will be blessed on the earth; You will not deliver him to the will of his enemies. The Lord will strengthen him on his bed of illness; You will sustain him on his sickbed.”
Psalm 34:7-9 reminds us, “The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him.”
This week’s photo challenge took me through my thoughts and feelings about dealing with cancer. As others faced with cancer have said, cancer is something that happened to me, it’s not who I am. Photography is one of the ways I take my mind off of the ugliness of cancer, by focusing on the beauty of God’s creation, amusing subjects, or unusual sights and scenes.
One of my favorite ways to take photographs is by looking through something to capture a view, or to better focus on my subject or scene. I realized just how often I do that when I browsed through my albums to choose photos for this week’s challenge of through.
The first three photos are different views from a lookout point on top of a steep hill. This view shows a valley of trees from through the window openings on one side, and the view of part of the hilltop from through the back doorway.
The next view is looking out through the back doorway, showing the narrow, flat hilltop, and the trees beyond it.
The third view is from the bottom of the steep hill, with the blue sky showing through the openings of the lookout building.
There is light at the end of the tunnel! You can see through the darkness of the tunnel to the sun shining on a hillside strewn with fall leaves. I love the analogy of this one, especially in relation to my battle with cancer.
The weathered tree in this photo is dead, and actually looks like a piece of driftwood growing out of the ground. But it’s shape reminds me of a sewing machine needle with an “eye” at the top. A close up shot enabled me to capture some of the grass and weeds showing through the eye hole.
This spider was busy repairing his web when I snapped this photo of him through the web as he worked on the underside of it on a foggy morning.
The view through this sunny window has made this photo, taken by my husband, one of our favorites.
“Nobody worries about Christ as long as He can be kept shut up in churches. He is quite safe inside. But there is always trouble if you try and let Him out.” ~ Geoffrey A. Studdert-Kennedy
It’s the first day of the first month of a brand new year.
I don’t know what lies ahead in the days, weeks, and months to come.
I can’t see around the bend to know if there are bumps in the road, detours, or even roadblocks.
But I know the One who does know, and I trust Him to lead me. Because I know that His plans for me are good, regardless of what lies ahead.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
May your new year be filled with blessings as you follow Christ in 2012.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17Follow @learning2hear
I have always loved snow. If I had a favorite season, winter could be it because of Christmas and snow. But I like all the seasons and can’t choose one over the other as an overall favorite. Today I’m thinking about winter, snow, and Christmas. Not only the “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” kind of thoughts, although I do hope we have a white Christmas. It won’t make Christmas any better to have snow, it will just make it look prettier outside. Like the picture below, where everything is covered in beautiful white snow. The brown of bare trees and shrubs dressed in a blanket of glistening white transforms the landscape from drab to sparkling.
There are a few bad things about snow, not the least of which is how dangerous it is to drive in or on it, especially if you aren’t used to it. If there’s several inches of snow, it can get blown into drifts that bury the sidewalk, steps, and anything left outside. Also, when it melts it can be a slushy mess that mixes with the road salt and coats your car.
So even though a snowfall makes everything look pretty, and adds a festive touch to Christmas, it has negative effects as well.
The snow-covered Nativity scene below is a good example. A late night snowfall piled up until it completely covered Baby Jesus in this picture:
Before I took this picture I started to brush off the snow from Baby Jesus first. As I considered the scene though, I realized that it has a story of its own just the way it is.
Every year it seems like the Christmas shopping season starts earlier, and the promise of Black Friday sales pushes Thanksgiving aside as shoppers are encouraged to start lining up outside the stores. I’m all for getting bargains, but the frenzy created by some of the sales promotions is making it a dangerous way to try to save a few dollars. And that frenzy officially kicks off the Christmas season.
The time of the year when Christmas cards are sent proclaiming “Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men“, and we sing “O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie…”, “Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright…”, “O hush the noise…” from “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear”, and other Christmas hymns and carols about the birth of Christ.
The celebration of that Holy Night when our Savior was born begins with a frenzy of pushing and jostling crowds, as shoppers try to be the first to get to the advertised items.
Even if you stay home on Black Friday, Christmas can easily become a burden with lists of things to buy, things to bake, decorating the tree and the house, cards to send, gifts to wrap, and traditions to maintain. Plus keeping up with all the special parties, events, and programs. All of which are wonderful, and add their own touches to make Christmas special for our family and friends, and hopefully for us, if we aren’t too exhausted to enjoy them!
Like snow for a white Christmas, all the decorations, festive paper, and colorful treats make it look prettier. But it would still be Christmas without all that, or with less of it. Because Christmas is really about Jesus.
So where is Jesus in all the frenzy? Is He buried under a blanket of lists, expectations, and busyness? Has the wonder of Jesus’ birth been smothered by the rush of just getting everything done by December 25th?
This Christmas, hush the noise and hear the angels sing. And remember, Immanuel is God with us. Take time to really see Jesus, and ponder that Holy Night when our Savior was born.
I’m linked up with Jennifer’s blog for God-bumps and God-incidence posts, you can visit her here:Follow @learning2hear
I don’t know how God will do it, but somehow, while you are in your dark and lonely place, God will come to where you are and confirm His faithfulness and His promises to you! God will use your dark, lonely place of despair as a banner to write His love over your life!
Elijah had his ravens; Moses had his burning bush; Jesus had His empty tomb. God has a way of showing us that it will be all right. He has promised never to leave us or forsake us, and He never will. — John Patterson
Those are encouraging words – hope for those waiting for an answer to prayer, a lifeline for those who are intimately acquainted with despair. God always comes through, one way or another, and usually not in the way we expect.
Elijah’s story in 1 Kings chapter 17 about God sending ravens to feed him, and God using a burning bush in Exodus 3 to call Moses into service, are just two examples of the unique, unexpected ways God provides for our needs and comes to us where we are. When Mary Magdalene found the empty tomb in John chapter 20, it was evidence of Jesus fulfilling a promise that He would rise again. Although Jesus knew there would be an empty tomb, the cross was a dark, lonely place of despair as He hung there waiting to die.
Those who watched as He was crucified and died were in their own dark, lonely places of despair. The time between the cross and the empty tomb must have seemed endless to them, especially to Mary, Jesus’ mother. As a mother myself, I cannot imagine the dark despair she endured as her son was beaten, crucified, and hanging on a cross waiting to die, then placed inside a cold, dark tomb.
But that was not the end of the story! God used that dark, lonely place of despair as a banner to write His love over their life, and ours. Jesus went from a cold, dark tomb to sitting at the right hand of God, fulfilling many long-awaited promises. Promises that we can count on, because God is faithful.
“and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.” Ephesians 1:19-21
No matter how dark, lonely, or despairing our circumstances are, He is always with us, and His promises are always true. God has a way of showing us that it will be alright, and He will confirm His faithfulness to us.
Hebrews 13:5 reminds us of His promise, “He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
When I first stopped to take this picture, I was focusing on the leaves floating in a pool of water beneath a small waterfall that could barely qualify as a waterfall now. The waterfall had become only a steady drip because of weeks without much rainfall, and the pool of water it dripped into seemed to be stagnant. But as I looked closer, I could see the water had a gentle current moving under the layer of leaves, just enough to keep it from stagnating. There was a very tiny stream of water meandering down the slope above the waterfall to drip off the rock shelf, and colorful leaves accumulated in it and in this pool, as if to soak in a last drink of water before dying.
While studying the variety of leaf shapes and colors in the water, I realized that wasn’t the only thing I could see. If I shifted my focus off the leaves and onto the surface of water surrounding them I could see a reflection. It doesn’t show up as well in the picture, but you can see some of the reflection of blue sky and trees that are reflected in the pool of water.
The same picture that has fallen leaves – a sign of changing seasons, dying foliage, and evidence of drought – also has blue sky, green pine trees, and a gentle undercurrent of water – all signs of life and hope. Sometimes all it takes is to shift our focus to see things from a different perspective. And sometimes all it takes is a little hope to give us a better perspective.
We can have hope in our times of despair, because God is faithful. God keeps His promises. And He never leaves us. Never.Follow @learning2hear