I sometimes just crave the opportunity to shoot whatever I can. So I go out in I try to document the world around me. However, lately I just really want to create images from my mind too. That being said, I had no motivation just ideas and concepts rolling around and fluttering through my brain as I ventured into the bitter cold of this winter. I came back from my hour in the ice and wind with this, not much considering how long it took to warm up after any length of time out in temperatures ranging from 6 to -30 degrees. When I removed myself from in front of the fireplace, dry but still stinging from the cold to sit down at the computer and edit, I was sure I had nothing. Most of my shots looked dull and lifeless because I found the cold made it so hard for me to think, much less focus on what I was doing. So when I was scrolling through images and saw this, my mind was admittedly drawn to God. What would he say about this experience? How did I get a shot of two hearts in the snow from this?
There are so many things that I could take from this, so many meaningful things I could say. But here is what came to me. Are these two hearts bleeding? Are they freezing? Are they broken? Are they whole? Are they beautiful? Are they quite and peaceful? More importantly how did I manage to photograph them in those conditions. Bleeding, cold and broken is how we are found due to bitterness and yet forgiveness can make us whole, beautiful, and bring peace into us no matter how bitter the winter maybe.
In the coldest time of the year, we still have blood flowing through our veins, we still have breathe in our lungs, we still have an opportunity to find peace. The same way I was unable to focus and it was hard to even move around in the thick snow, we become trapped and confused by bitterness yet there are opportunities all around us. Opportunities for forgiveness, for us to change our situation through love and peace.
Let me take this a step further, these flowers were once bright and lush, but now I found a plant that is brown and heavy with snow. I went to them because I could reach them, not because I found them pretty. They were within my grasp considering the snow was coming down hard and I was already almost knee deep. I thought, I would document the ice that is falling on them, caged between the seed pods.You see, they were within reach, the same way we all have a capacity to forgive even though it isn’t always easy.
Also, I had to add the red to the seed pods and stems so you could see what I saw more clearly. Did you get that? I had to add the red? I had to be the one to change the world around me. Don’t get me wrong here, we are not capable of any of this without God, but because of Him we can be free. We can have life and live it to the fullest, we can learn how to forgive and because we too have been forgiven. We hear this all the time, “Forgiveness isn’t for them, it is for us.” Meaning it is what happens to us through the act of forgiving that is of most importance.
This may challenge many of you but it is truth, read Matthew 18:23-35. Jesus doesn’t play around about this, if you don’t forgive, you yourself wont be forgiven. We all individually have been forgiven a debt we can never repay, and therefore must learn to forgive others regardless of the situation or deed. It can be painful, it can be humbling, and it can seem to break us apart, but we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Phil. 4:13). Forgive and allow the Holy Spirit to warm you from the inside out melting the ice caging your heart. You will see the world in a new way, like the return of the sun to this plant, bringing warmth, melting the ice that will give it water, allowing the seeds to open spring forth with a fragrance and beauty .
Our hearts are just this way, God says, “above all else to guard your heart for out of it flows the springs of life.” You may have a family member you need to forgive, it maybe a friend, it may be a co-worker, or maybe it is someone in our government, or your church, or maybe it is yourself?
God is with you, and He loves you! Don’t make excuses be willing to love! I hope this is an encouraging word for you, I hope that these words will help bring peace to you.
With all my heart, Rebecca
P.S. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, remember to show the people God has put in your life that you appreciate them. Maybe a phone call, maybe a note, be inspired by God even to do something special for them. As the body of Christ we should support and edify one another. You could even just pray Ephesians over them. Love you all!