A New Way of Seeing

It’s funny how blinding vision can be.  I sometimes think that our ability to see with our eyes can inhibit our ability to see with our souls.  I have really poor eyesight.  Without the help of my contacts, I have no more than 6 inches of vision (and that may be pushing it).   Bad eyesight makes you appreciate good eyesight so much.  My husband can wake up at any time of the night and read the clock. It’s something he never thought of as a privilege until our marriage.  I find it absolutely amazing.  I recently took a shower while wearing my contacts (it’s my normal routine not to wear them).  In my many months of showering before this day, I enjoyed the bliss of a very clean shower.  In fact, I never once gave its cleanliness a thought.  So for whatever reason my routine was broken and I wore my “eyes” that day…and I was horrified. Our shower was far from clean.  There was all sorts of mold growing in there.   The difference between what I thought my shower was like and what it was really like was vast.

My first thought, after the initial disgust, was… am I like this with sin in my life?  Do I think I’m all sparkly clean when really I’m overtaken with slimy, spreading nastiness?  The answer is yes.  The only thing that is sparkly clean about me is Christ’s righteousness given to me by a merciful God.  I am far nastier than I can comprehend and God is far cleaner than I can even imagine.  My next thought was, things can be so different than they seem.  I started looking at all of life as if I had just put in “spiritual contacts”.  I began looking at people and asking, Who is the soul inside the person?  There are many things that can prevent me from seeing past an outward impression .  Maybe it’s that the person offends me, or they look entirely different, or they subscribe to political views that oppose mine. The list could go on and on (…perhaps each of us should evaluate the things that are on our “list”). At the end of the day, everything on my list is really just an excuse, justifying the invisible wall I’ve built between me and them.   The more I learn about God, the more I realize that He consistently deals with all of us on a soul level. As a masterful Potter, He shapes our experiences for our souls, not our behaviors.  Eventually, Christ -shaped souls will yield Christ-like behaviors.

“For the love of Christ controls us; because we have concluded this: that One has died for all…From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh.” (2 Corinthians 5:14a, 16)  Regard no one according to the flesh.  My, how that changes things. Each interaction with a person is a possible influence on a soul.  The stranger who I pass in the grocery store is a soul.  The physically sick and dying man is a soul closer to life than ever before.  The children borne to us are spongy souls, soaking in their entire environment.  It’s a new way of seeing.  It’s a new way of loving and investing.  It’s a new way of relating, and thinking of every interaction as something that urges a soul toward God or away from Him.  It’s a new appreciation of grace.  God does not regard His people according to our sin-soaked flesh.  He regards us as souls, hidden away in Christ, and destined for eternal fellowship with him.

Lord, give me your grace as I interact with the souls you place in my path.  Thank you for cleansing me, teaching me, and mercifully moving my soul closer to You.  Amen

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Be Thou My Vision

Yesterday was kind of a strange day.  It was C’s 3 year birthday, which was lots of fun.  We stayed up the night before decorating the house with D, who got really into it.  In the morning, we made our birthday boy his favorite wheat chocolate chip pancakes and opened presents.  Daddy came home for lunch and we all got to spend time together.  We went to the dollar store and C got to spend all his quarters at the gumball machine. We colored pictures together in the afternoon.  Then we headed to our favorite donut shop, Gibson’s, for a birthday treat.  (Unfortunately, C fell asleep on the way there and could not be roused at all!  So we grabbed his Texas-size birthday donut and headed back home. Ha!)  All of that was great fun.  I love birthdays and I especially love to celebrate the kiddos that God has loaned to me.  The strange part of the day was how older brother D just could not handle the fact that yesterday was designed around another person, not himself.  His attitude grew increasingly worse throughout the day, and honestly so did mine.  My sweet mother assures me that this his behavior is normal 4-year-old behavior, that he will eventually learn otherwise and I sure hope she’s right! But yesterday, it felt anything but normal.

When my husband got home yesterday, he found the boys playing, the baby laying on our bed, and me in our closet nose to the carpet, begging God for wisdom and perspective.  The funny thing is that God had really answered that prayer even before I prayed it.  This weekend in church, we sang a favorite hymn, “Be Thou My Vision” by Byrne.  I really love that hymn and have several different recollections of how God has worked in my heart through the lyrics.  This time I sang it, for the hundredth time, and a new thought came to my mind.  It does not say, “Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my eyes.”  It says, “Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart.”  The vision this hymn is talking about has nothing to do with actually being able to see.  I don’t even think it’s talking about circumstantial clarity.  I think it’s talking about being able to see with spiritual eyes, and spiritual eyes alone.  So I sang the entire hymn with my eyes intentionally shut tight and God’s light flooded my soul.  It was invigorating to think of being blind to things seen, losing the ability to judge a situation on what my eyes observe and learning to live by how God steers my soul.

How I need that perspective, His perspective, in parenting (and all over my life)!  God sees the souls of my kids and the finished story of their lives.  I can see neither.  He knows what is going on in their little heads and hearts.  I can only guess.  In fact, my physical vision may often mislead me as I make conclusions about them based on what I see.  Spiritual vision, granted by God and through constant communication with Him is my only hope in being able to truly parent.  How many things in life are designed to bring us back to Him!  “Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my Light.”

 

Now you try it… Close those eyes and sing,

“Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart, naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.  Thou my best thought by day or by night, waking or sleeping, Thy presence my Light.

Be Thou my wisdom, and Thou my true word.  I ever with Thee and Thou with me Lord.  Thou my great Father, I thy True son.  Thou in me dwelling and I with Thee one.

Riches I heed not, or man’s empty praise, Thou mine inheritance, now and always.   Thou and Thou only, first in my heart.  High King of heaven, my treasure Thou art.

High King of heaven, my victory won! May I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s Sun!  Heart of my own heart, whatever befall, still be my vision, O Ruler of all.”