faith · grace · life

face to face.

Singer-songwriter Ellie Holcomb recommended the book, Abide in Christ on Jamie Ivey’s podcast last week. Her clear affections had me ordering it on Amazon before the podcast was finished. Two days later *thank you Prime, I love you, it arrives and the next morning I dig in…

I get to page 31 and read: Fix your eyes on Christ. Gaze on the love that beams in those eyes and that asks whether or not you can trust Him…

So there I was…sitting in my choice spot…the corner of the couch under my favorite cozy throw…hot coffee nearby…prepared to read for the next 30 minutes and walk away feeling like I’ve at least tried to know God better, when I found myself wrecked with this sentence…“gaze on the love that beams in those eyes”.  I wanted to keep reading but this one sentence would not let me move on.

I’m no stranger to fixing my eyes…I’ve heard about, proclaimed and preached Hebrews 12:1-2 “…and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith…”  I’ve stewarded the importance of keeping my eyes up and not looking around at situations…comparing…contrasting…or worrying about the temporary. Sometimes I’ll even take my hands and place them on each side of my face like blades to serve as blinders for my peripheral vision…it’s my kinetic response to something that diverts my attention with an antagonistic approach.

Go. Away. Not. Welcome. Here.

So I’m all about it. Let’s do this. After the past couple of weeks of discernible attacks and less than favorable situations, I’m saddled up and ready to blaze a trail that will redirect my vision and teach me the art of abiding. It’s time to refocus and get back in the race!

So. Turns Out. Not as easy as it might sound…

I look up at the white ceiling above me and try and picture God. If I’m going to “gaze in your eyes” I need a vision. I need to know what I’m looking at…into… I’ve heard of You my entire life. The All Knowing, All Seeing, Omnipresent Father, Creator, I Am. I’ve seen images of Jesus I can draw from…the apple couldn’t have fallen too far from the tree. I’ll start there.

JesusJesus was the one in the painting in my Sunday School classroom…He’s knocking on a door in a white robe…He’s the bearded good looking Jewish man in his early 30’s…He’s also Jim Caviezel. In the Catholic churches I’ve attended, he’s the one on the cross that looks like he spent most of his time in a gym and was somehow able to be whipped and beaten and hung on a cross with little to no abrasions on his well-cut body draped in nothing but a loincloth. This one always confuses me…and I’ve talked with my Catholic raised husband about it…and I mean no disrespect. He’s just so pretty and glossy up there.

So…it’s been a good 15 minutes and I still can’t make a face to go with The Name…it’s just me on a couch, staring at a white ceiling trying to mask God.

I’m a self proclaimed pro with characterization when I read books. There is a slight possibility that your face has at one time or another been commandeered for one of my book characters. But I’m struggling here…In an effort to put a face on God I work from personal infrastructures and manifest a man…he’s got rugged, yet clear tan skin, around 50 or so, sitting comfortably on a really large and regal throne…sandals, wearing a robe, strong features, shoulder length hair, beard, I don’t know the color of His eyes yet…you know…the ones I’m going to gaze into because I’m still busy trying to figure out his posture.  Are His hands folded together in his lap? Feet crossed at the ankles, or is that too relaxed? No…He is going to sit up straight with His arms outstretched to summon me into them. Wait. How about no throne and just Him standing before me? So He stands but then I have to decide how tall He is…How far do I have to look up to see His face? Can I see Him at all? Perhaps He is just a glowing silhouette? Blazing and colossal and if I didn’t know it was God I’d be afraid…

As I’m sure you’ve gathered, the image of God matters to me and I want a point of reference…I finally decide to just sit without really knowing…and gaze at the ceiling…and abide…and guess what I realized?…

It is not necessary for me to give God a face so I can face Him.

That blank ceiling along with my blank stare was time well spent. My devotion. My faith. My seeking. My longing to know. All of this matters.

There are days I sit inside this house and feel useless and unworthy to take up space…then I get alone with God and I’m reminded that this is just the strength and conditioning portion of my race. I haven’t even started running. Not ready yet. I want and hope to be prepared and equipped for the day I’m called to the starting block…then I plan to finish well and finish strong.

love gina

 

 

 

 

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