Wednesday, December 31, 2008

the end of the 14or40 year...

first... thanks to ALL who tuned in, once, twice or ALMOST every stinkin' day to look and guess! you made it so much fun...

i will say that for me taking these photos have changed the way i take pictures and the way i look at the world. i look for beautiful things in the most unlikely places. i look for the small things, the things i might usually overlook. my kids even yell out, "hey come look at this for 14or40." 

and it is so easy to find beauty EVERYwhere, even in the most unlikely places if you just open your eyes (and look through that camera lens). 

one of my favorite quotes from the book "the color purple" is when shug says that she thinks it makes God mad when you walk my the color purple in a field and don't notice it. well, i don't know scripturally if that makes God mad... but i do think it does make us honor Him and be more grateful to Him when we notice beauty in EVERYthing, when we look for the small ways that He is saying, "I love you. I created this world.  I know beauty and I put it EVERYwhere, and especially like to hide it in the middle of ugliness, of pain, of hard times. I put beautiful things there to let you know that I am right there in the middle. I have already been there ahead of you and i am there now."

my favorite hymn is "come thou fount of every blessing" and my favorite verse is the last verse.... those lines of "oh to grace how great a debtor" and "prone to wander" those were written with me in mind...

but that middle verse is the strange one... "here i raise my ebenezer; hither by Thy help i'm come". for a long time i had NO idea what an ebenezer was (beside that guy on scrooge), but when i figured it out it all made sense. it is a combination of two hebrew words "even haazer" and means "stone of help". it was a stone that samuel set up after the israelites defeated the philistines and it was set up to remind the people of God's Real, Holy Presence and Divine Help. it was to remind them that the only come to Him or come to any victory by His help.

these photos have been my ebenezer this year. a visual reminder that God is good, this world is beautiful, and He is in the middle of it (even when we think He might be taking a vacation). His Presence has been so real in the darkest moments. 

so that is what 14or40 has meant to me this year... a time of raising my ebenezer daily, knowing that it is only by His help that i am able to continue to come, and by His good pleasure to one day arrive at the Home of Eternal beauty. it has been amazing seeing His Hand in everything, in dark places, in tiny places, and not only through my eyes... but jordan's as well. 

she is an incredible girl and i thank God for letting me get to know her this year through her photos. i hope that she has raised some ebenezers of her own this year. ones that will stand the rest of her life...

deut 4:9 only be careful, and watch yourself closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. teach them to your children and to their children after them.

Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing - Robert Robinson, 1757

Come Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
Mount of God's unchanging love.

Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Hither by Thy help I'm come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let that grace now like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

1 comment:

SouthAsiaRocks said...

I remember the first time as a youth that I realized that the hymn said "ebenezer"... I was cracking up (cutting up, making a scene...) during the Hymn and Preston Odom was watching me during the service. He called me later that day and told me what it meant and it was really cool to me! I've always love that verse in the song since then :)