Beheld and Beloved

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.

 

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61 thoughts on “Beheld and Beloved

  1. Beautiful post from your friend, Ceil. What. Blessing the WWW can be when we use it with wisdom. Thank you for sharing this great writer with us!
    Blessings !

    • Hi Lulu! She is such a good writer, isn’t she? I’m so glad you liked the post, and of course you’re absolutely right. The web is a wonderful place to meet people of faith and wisdom too.

      Happy Monday!
      Ceil

  2. What an absolutely beautiful post written by Jean. Yes, it is very hard for me to look at myself through God’s eyes quite often. I see all of my failings and wonder “How in the world….?” But he doesn’t see me as the world sees me and that’s the answer to that question!

    • Hi Debby! That photo of Jean as an infant and her father is such a tender one. It really brings home the love the Lord has for each one of us. No matter what!

      Blessings to you my friend,
      Ceil

    • HI Debby, Yes it took me a long time to realize how deeply God loves each of us and it is a lesson I still need reminding of. Through his eyes helps me remember and see others with more compassion. Thanks for your kinds words!

  3. Oh, Jean, what a delightful surprise to find you here at Ceil’s place!
    I adored this reflection here – that we are beheld and beloved by God in such an intimate way, and we can love Him the same way in return. And the photos were so touching!
    Thanks so much for the inspiration!
    Blessings!

    • Hi Martha! Thank you so much for visiting today, you have been on my mind. How are you and Danny doing? He is still on my prayer list, and you are too.

      I’m so glad that you were inspired by Jean’s words. She always inspires me too.
      Blessings,
      Ceil

  4. Just beautiful! I am going to search through my old photographs. Thank you so very much Jean and Ceil. May God Bless you and your creativity, for through your sharing we are lifted.

    • Hi Michelle! How fun to see your name pop up today!

      This post is a great reminder of the memories and reminders of love we have in our history, and in our old photos. I hope you find one that reminds you of that deep, joyful love the Father has for you.

      Blessings!
      Ceil

    • Hi Michelle I pray you find a special photo too. Like I wrote I didn’t even remember this photo and it sure took me to a deep place and I left changed. God is so good to help me see just the right picture at just the right time. Blessings

  5. CEil: I enjoyed Jean’s blog post. It made me feel akin to her. We have times of looking at out past as times of warmth and joy when we have God at our side guiding those thoughts. Blessings and peace to you both,

    • Hi Cecelia! Great thought, it is like the feelings we get looking back at the times we know God was with us. And knowing that he is directing our thoughts to him only makes it more precious.

      Peace to you too my friend,
      Ceil

    • Hi Cecelia, you are a great post. I agree so often we see God in our rearview mirrors and fail to recognize his presence until we look back. Richard Rohr called that “seeing God in the afterness.”

    • Hi Cindy! They are so precious aren’t they? I bet you have some of your own too, how much we are loved by our earthly families, and heavenly Father too!

      Happy Monday, and hugs right back to you!
      Ceil

    • Cindy your comment made me smile! I love these photo and have them seared in my heart and mind forever now. Great reminders of God’s love for each of us.

  6. What a beautiful post!

    I love this part, “God sees us as we are and loves us all the more.”

    How amazing that is! How encouraging. God loves me. He loves us all.

    I’m so thankful that as I draw close to Him, He changes me to become more like Him.
    He is so beautiful. Worthy of our time, attention, focus, and loyalty.

    Thank you for sharing this.

    • Hi TC! I’m so glad you came over and could visit today. Jean’s post really is a great reflection of how God sees us. He does love us all with a depth of love we’ll never understand. How great is that?

      Blessings,
      Ceil

    • TC, you gave us a great summary and reminded all of us to draw close to him. Yes he IS worthy of our time, attention, focus and loyalty and always our love. All reflections from him first.

    • Thanks Jeanette, I know not everyone has positive memories of their fathers. The fact is my dad died when I was a teen so I only have limited amount of interactions with him and none as an adult. I think that is one reason for the impact of these photos on the Father I interact with now. He loves each of us so much.

  7. Hi Ceil – thanks for sharing your friends post here. Jean, it’s great to meet you! I was truly blessed by this post. I love the photos and the reminder of our Fathers love for us!

    • Hi Mari! I’m so glad you could meet Jean, and so touched that you were blessed by the post. It’s always great to meet new writers, especially ones as talented as Jean is!

      Have a peaceful night,
      Ceil

  8. Hi Ceil,
    yes Jean’s post took me back to when I was a child and my dad, who sadly died when I was eleven, and the love that he gave me in those eleven years remains in my heart even now. He loved God too, and his words ‘Let’s see what the Lord says’, often spoken to me and my siblings by him when we asked certain questions, also remains in my heart and mind when searching for God’s truth.
    God bless both you and your friend Jean for sharing.

    • Hi Brenda! What wonderful memories you have of your dad. I’m so sorry that you lost him so early in your life, that must have been a very hard time for you.

      “Let’s see what the Lord says” is such a beautiful legacy to him. I think I’ll remember that for a long time. Thank you for sharing that precious memory.

      Have a blessed Tuesday,
      Ceil

  9. What a blessing that you have those photos, Jean. They truly do, as God showed you, point to the wondrous love of our Father in heaven. I love the thought that He “beholds” us. Thank you for this beautiful reminder of God’s deep love towards us! Love and hugs to you both, Ceil and Jean!

    • Hi Trudy! Thank you for visiting today, and leaving such a positive comment. Those photos really do point out the love of God for us, how much he really cherishes his children!

      Hugs right back to you my friend,
      Ceil

  10. This is a lovely photo and a great reminder of how God loves us and delights in us. Nice to “meet” you, Jean, and thanks for sharing this post, Ceil. I hope all is well with your new grandson!

    • Hi Lesley! It was my pleasure to share Jean’s thoughts here. She always makes me think about ways to deepen my faith.

      Thank you for asking about my grandson! He is doing just great. He was diagnosed with a heart murmur, but the doctors feel it will resolve in a few months. God is good! My daughter is tired, but getting stronger day by day.

      Have a wonderful Wednesday,
      Ceil

  11. Jean, this is a very healing exercise! I loved it that you were the one being held and not just holding the picture anymore! You shared a good word with us and may we all take it and let God, our Father, loves us! I’m in.

  12. Hi Ceil and Jean! It was a delight to read Jean’s words reflecting on being so very loved by God. Honestly, I do need those reminders that I’m God’s beloved daughter.

    Blessings!

    Kim

    • Hi Kim! You aren’t the only one my friend. We all need to be reassured that God loves us, and I think that’s why this is such a powerful post. To be loved just for being us, that’s an incredible feeling.

      Blessings to you too!
      Ceil

  13. OH, what a joy to meet you, Jean! I tell you, I teared up when I read your words and saw those precious photos of you and your Dad. It just touched me so deep inside…I struggle greatly to really accept that God loves me. I focus on my discrepancies and weaknesses, and even though I never find it hard to believe that He loves everyone else, somehow that doesn’t seem to apply as much to me. Thank you for this gentle encouragement…I needed it and appreciate it so much! I am a native buckeye, too!! From the Dayton area. So happy to make your acquaintance, and to dear Ceil, I am so thankful you opened your space to Jean! Sending much love to both of you today!!

    • Hi Cheryl! I’m so glad you could meet Jean today, and be inspired by her words. (I think I told you my daughter went to the University of Dayton? I am very familiar with that area!)

      May God show you in many ways how much he loves you today,
      Ceil

    • wonderful to meet a fellow Buckeye! I am about three hours north of Dayton in the rural nw corner of the state. I too struggle with fully embracing God’s love and these photos opened up my heart in a new way for me. I pray you too can grasp how deeply God love you, Cheryl!

  14. Nice to see Jean here. You are such a lovely hostess, Ceil! Jean – this exercise sounds interesting; I’ll have to give it a try sometime. Appreciate you sharing your heart about this. 🙂

    • Hi Karen! Well, maybe I learned how to be a hostess from your example! You were a wonderful hostess to me too.

      Happy Mother’s Day to you, and I hope you have a wonderful day,
      Ceil

  15. Ah… this was such a beautiful story and perspective to share, Jean. It warmed my heart and made me think of how loved I am too. It’s amazing the power of a memory and photo, isn’t it? Thank you for sharing your heart here. <3

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