The Weekly Photo Challenge is “Rule of Thirds”. As I looked through my photos, I realized that I follow this rule quite a bit. A great majority of the photos I take don’t have an image front and center. I guess I kind of like things “off-center” at times! Although I like order, I am often drawn to non-symmetrical views of things, for sure.
Maybe that’s because the older I get, the more I realize that life is so incredibly “non-symmetrical”. Our days aren’t all pre-packaged as perfect little experiences. They can be full of imbalance, full of things that aren’t planned, full of things that we never saw coming.
Maybe my world is a bit more skewed than most. I mean with six kids and a husband that, let’s just say order is not his “bent”,…, well, we’ve had lots of imbalanced, off-focused, not front and center symmetrical kind of days. Actually, we’ve had years when it was difficult to focus on one thing front and center. I love how with the rule of thirds in photography, there are often objects, space, colors, to balance the weight of the off-center object. And you know? I think it is often the same way in life. Sometimes when something comes in that takes all the focus off center, and weighs us down, it’s amazing how other things lighten up. Or our perspective of them lightens up and we realize they aren’t quite as front and center important as we had thought.
I think God gives grace in amazing ways. In big things, and in little things. I think when we have something come crashing into our lives taking the focus to a whole different place, that God often steps in and rearranges our view, so to speak, and helps us see what we need to focus on, and what just needs to fade into the background.
A few years ago, my dear friend was facing her second bout with cancer. I remember her sharing that she was dreading how her life would just be consumed with doctor’s visits, treatments, sickness. She had been through this before, and she had an idea of what was coming. The normal, everyday tasks and joys would change as her world took a whole new focus of fighting the cancer and dealing with the remnants of the disease for her and for her friends and family. I remember a specific moment sitting there with her and wondering, “how do you do that?” I marveled at her ability to go with the flow and the grace with which she fought hard and accepted at the same time.
A few short months later, my family had a “photo-bomb” of sorts….a situation which came in a took our world and made us focus on something that we would have never imagined. My 13-year old son, previously healthy, had a cardiac arrest. He stopped breathing for five minutes, was revived and then put into a medically induced coma because once they revived him and got his heart beating, the seizures were relentless and just wouldn’t stop. And do you know what I realized during that time? When it has to, everything stops. The world keeps turning, people keep doing their thing, and we can step off for a bit without the world crashing down. God fills in the gaps with people, with circumstance, and with grace in ways that fill the off-balance spaces of our lives when we have a weight to bear.
I love that about the Lord. So many people say “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” I beg to differ. I think He will. I think in His grace, He can allow things to come in our lives that totally help us see how our focus may not be what He wants for us. We in our own sufficiency cannot tackle all that we need to tackle. But God? God’s grace is sufficient for us. That’s what the Bible says. We need Him, and if we think we can “handle” everything on our own, we’re missing the big picture.
During the time when our son was in the hospital, I was amazed at how people stepped in, prayers were answered, and my daily routine of urgent, oh-so-important to do list kind of things faded away in light of the tasks at hand. The weight of the our son’s condition became the focal point, but not the only view. So much beauty from friends and family filled in the gaps to balance the weight of the crisis. And my friend with cancer? That photo bomb of cancer was a reality. But she didn’t let the reality of that change the beauty of her world and who she was and how she trusted God in the midst of it all.She was a blessing where she was and lived in the moments she lived with joy and resolve whether at the doctor’s office, or hospital, or her own living room. People stepped in, and there was a lot of beauty. No, the picture wasn’t what we wouldn’t planned. But it was beautiful. She passed away, but her legacy lives on and there are very few days that pass without me thinking of her and just being thankful for her Her Celebration of Life service was a picture of How God is so with us through trials, through it all.
Yes, life is full of things that take the focus from where we would choose. It is full of unexpected tragedies, unexpected joys, unplanned twists and turns. But if we seek God first, it just changes the “picture” altogether. There’s a verse that says
“I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me.”
:Those who diligently seek me will find me….” Remember those “Where’s Waldo” books? Each page was full of lots and lots of details, but somewhere on each page, the reader or “looker” could find Waldo. Sometimes it took a lot of searching. Sometimes, he was easy to see. Children work painstakingly to find the little guy hidden in the scene. And he was always there, no matter how difficult to see. Forgive the example for we cannot compare the Creator of the Universe with little Waldo. But, what if we were to take the same approach of seeking diligently to find God’s fingerprints in the ‘snapshots’ of our lives. We can ask God to show Himself to us in the midst of very dark and difficult circumstance. We can ask Him to help us see the beauty when the ‘photograph of our world’ looks so off balance and not like we would have imagined. And His Presence in the scene…when He is in the Picture? That is the Component that changes the view for sure.
So, whether we are talking about the ‘rule of thirds’ in photography, or the ‘rule of thirds’ in life…there’s hope for those of us who don’t have everything all posed and packaged and on -center. There’s hope. God can take the most dire of circumstances and change them in an instant with His Presence. There’s Hope when He is in the Picture. It’s as though we can see things through a totally different lens if we know that He is there in it with us. As children, we learned to search diligently for Waldo in our picture books. May we seek and search diligently for our Lord’s direction and Presence in our lives. He promises that we indeed will find Him. Amen to that. “Those who diligently seek me will find me…” And that? That changes everything.
Blessings (from a long-winded blogger who wasn’t even going to write about the photos but then, started rambling…)