Today I am excited to share this space with my blog-friend, Jean Wise. Jean and I have been connected through our blogs for several years. She always has wonderful ideas and thoughts to share, and is a prolific writer.
When she asked me if I’d be interested in swapping blog posts, of course I said ‘Yes!’ This is the first time I’ve ever done anything like this, but I think you’re going to like what you read. Say hello to Jean!
I took an online class last year on creativity. One assignment was relatively simple. Find a photo of yourself when you were young, for the purpose of rediscovering our childlike sense of wonder and creativity. We were to ponder that child and answer the questions: What do you see when you look at her? What creativity inside of her made her shine?
I never expected to experience a deep transformation from such an easy project.
As I dug through the musty box of old photographs, I stumbled upon two black and white pictures of my dad and me. I sat back in the chair with my shaking hands gently holding these forgotten memories like fragile treasure. My heart overflowed with tears.
In the first one, we are laughing, check to check. I could almost hear the giggles and delight of just being together.
The second photograph, Dad cradles me as a baby. Our eyes only gazing on the other as if no one else existed. His protective hands holding me. A sacred moment captured on grainy film.
As I pondered those photos, I experienced such a tremendous sense of being deeply loved. The power of that moment overwhelmed, yet healed me. I was no longer the one holding the picture; I was the one being held.
Anthony DeMello wrote, “Look at God, looking at you…and smiling.”
I experienced God’s smile that day.
We have this wonderful God who sees us. Whose eyes never leave us. Who continually watches over us in love and delight. God wants to be with us and have a relationship with us. He wants to hold us in his arms. God behold us as we behold him.
To behold is to look at something deeply. This word mean to “hold” it carefully and deliberately in our attention. It involves stopping, being still, really taking the time to see something as it is.
God sees us as we are and loves us all the more.
I struggle with the idea that God delights in me and loves me unconditionally; after all who am I, but a mere flawed human and he is God.
Beholding slowly transforms us. Our inner mirror is cleansed to reflect God. We become what we gaze upon.
After being pulled into that photograph and drenched in loving memories, I know I am a beloved child of God. That day God’s heart touched mine and my misconception of not being good enough, not worthy of his love, faded.
Behold and Beloved. That old photograph revealed a glimpse of heaven. I beheld his smile, his love, his presence. I rested in God’s behold and become beloved.
I gazed at God and felt his loving gaze in return. And I was changed.
May you experience the awesome love of God and be held in His gaze.
Jean Wise is a writer and speaker at retreats, gatherings, and seminars. She has been a spiritual director since 2006 and works as a Deacon for her church. She is an RN, who retired from the health department after 26 years to concentrate on a speaking and writing ministry. Since then she has written numerous books which are available on amazon (healthyspirituality.org/amazon) and writes on her blog at healthyspirituality.org. She lives in northwest Ohio with her husband, enjoying their empty nest.
Surrounded by the Spirit on Facebook