Last Challenge Day

Day Thirty-Four

This country.  Our freedoms, our way of life, our immense and wonderful blessings.

We have storms of all kinds.  Yet our roots?  In Christ.

This 34-day photography challenge has attained its goal of showing me God’s love.  As I wrote in the beginning of the challenge, I have had a hard time accepting the fact that God loves me.  It’s easy to accept that He loves others, even those who don’t follow Him – but to think that He is actually interested in me?  that He actually loves me?

He does.  He does through the fall foliage and the journals and the mud-covered dogs.  He does through the sky and the verses and the food and the books.  The people around me and the blessings they radiate.  He does.

I’ve come to the realization that it’s none other than the devil himself who leads me away from accepting God’s love.  No, I’m not worthy of it.  No, I can’t do anything to ever be worthy of it.  But no, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s there–He’s there–and it’s for me.

His love is so deep, so thick, so overwhelming when we really grab onto it and believe it.  It’s incredible, and there’s absolutely nothing that can change it.

I’ve learned more than what I’ve written.  God’s grace is so great.  My innermost prayer is that everyone who reads even part of this blog will see His love; there’s nothing else that matters.  May you be fed to increased appetite with His love.

Wait, What Day Is It?

Today is day 33 of this self-imposed photography challenge.  I started in September, and determined to do it until October 31 – 34 days total.  The challenge may end tomorrow, but its original goal certainly has been accomplished.

 

Day Twenty-Eight

Grandparents were able to drive a few hours to come visit us.

{Bringing, of course, a couple signature items: pillows and L.L. Bean clothes}

Day Twenty-Nine

Watching my “little” brother take interest in something new.

He’s played soccer for years, but only started liking it once they put him in goal (with two games left of his senior year).

He thoroughly enjoyed it, and thoroughly shredded his teammate’s gloves.

Day Thirty

Maybe I thought I’d be more of a blessing to him, but my sponsor child is a great blessing to me.

He shows Jesus’ love in every letter I receive.  (And isn’t he so cute?!)

Day Thirty-One

Scents.  Unfortunately my nose is too sensitive to actually light these candles,

but they do give off an aroma simply by being opened.

Day Thirty-Two

Cameras!  Need I say more?

I wanted to save this one for the last day, but other things came up…

Day Thirty-Three

Storms.  I woke up to a red, orange, and pink sky – absolutely beautiful.

These storms display the power and majesty of God like nothing else.  Wow.

Twenty-One through Twenty-Seven

“…for God is love.”

1 John 4:8

Day Twenty-One

The details.  Creativity.

Day Twenty-Two

Fluffy down comforters – so nice!

{And better: the friend who graciously lets me borrow it.}

Day Twenty-Three

Reminders to praise Him in all things.

Day Twenty-Four

The picture that means so much to my family…

Day Twenty-Five

My grandmother’s gift of decorating.

Everything done orderly, nicely.

Day Twenty-Six

My grandfather’s home-cooked breakfast and cookies on a cold October morning.

{Sorry, the fried-egg sandwiches were gone way before I could get a shot of them.}

Day Twenty-Seven

Letters from friends and relatives.

Fifteen through Twenty

“For God so loved the world

that He gave His only begotten Son,

that whoever believes in Him shall not perish

but have everlasting life.”

John 3:16

Day Fifteen

He gives me the exact amount of money at exactly the time I need it.

Every. single. time.

Day Sixteen

Obstacles are overcome; He gives me the ability to learn and learn quickly.

(And put aside all fears!)

Day Seventeen

Silence.  He has taught me (and still is teaching me) to hold my tongue.

He’s teaching me the value and importance of silence.

Day Eighteen

She came home!  My dear friend was home for a long weekend,

and He blessed us with time together.

Day Nineteen

Gifts from other humans.

{Honduran doll from a pastor, hat from grandparents, magnet from a sweet friend,

necklace from a former Sunday school student}

Day Twenty

Books.  Chances to learn, watch others, grow from others’ experiences and insights.

{A wonderful tool for the body of Christ.}

{Listen: “Savior King” by Hillsong United}

Revolutionary Love {and days Twelve through Fourteen}

“Love bears up under anything and everything that comes,

is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless

under all circumstances and it endures everything [without weakening].

Love never fails–never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes

to an end.”  (1 Corinthians 13:7-8, The Amplified Bible)

Love never fails.  Nothing works without it, and there can be no failure with it.  When you live by love, you cannot fail.

It takes faith to believe that love’s way will not fail.  The natural mind cannot understand that because the natural man and his world are ruled by selfishness.

But when you practice love by faith and refuse to seek your own, you put the Father into action on your behalf.  As long as you stay in love, God the Father seeks your own.  He sees to it that you succeed.  Walking in love is to your great advantage!

Agape love is a new kind of power.  It makes you master of every situation.  No weapon that is formed against you will prosper.  No one even has the power to hurt your feelings because you are not ruled by feelings but by God’s love.  You are loving as He loves.

This love is revolutionary.  If we fully understood the great return from living God’s love, we’d probably be competing with each other, each of us trying to love the other more.  And without a doubt, everyone would emerge from that competition a winner!  For love is truly the only sure secret to our success.

**Read: Romans 12:9-21**

Taken from “From Faith to Faith” by Kenneth and Gloria Copeland.

Day Twelve

Fresh produce, from Mom’s garden.

Day Thirteen

The verses and challenges from Scripture He’s given me.

They stay on my laptop keyboard as a reminder every time I open it.

Day Fourteen

This brilliant blue sky!  His colors are wonderful.

Nine Through Eleven

“for the Father Himself loves you,

because you have loved Me,

and have believed that I came forth from God.”

John 16:27

Day Nine

My little princess… the first picture is blurry, but it captures her personality.

She’s a spunky sweetie.

Day Ten

The doors He opens, the doors He closes…

…all the ones He asks me to walk through (or away from) by faith.

Day Eleven

Fresh-baked banana muffins: He gave someone out there the brilliant idea,

and gave me the ability to replicate them.

{Listen: “How Great is Your Love” by MercyMe}

Five Through Eight

Day Five

These journals that prove,

over and over again,

that He is faithful and good, and has forgiven my past.

Day Six

Music!  A powerful, wonderful means of giving back to

Him for all that He’s given me.

Day Seven

The three trips to Belize He gave me.

Every single time He has provided every single thing necessary,

materially and emotionally and spiritually.

Day Eight

These two.

Partners in crime, stand-up (sit down?) comedians.  Way too cute.

These photos are visible reminders of what I am grateful for.  They are gifts that the Lord has given me, showing me His everlasting love.    As I take the photos and write snippets about them, I am seeing how blessed I am…

He is so good.  All love.

How He Loves

I don’t always love others, so He can’t love me.

Lie.

I over-exaggerate, and isn’t that lying?  So He will hold that against me.

Lie.

The other girls always look so much better than me.  I know I shouldn’t think about that–it’s not right and He made me this way on purpose–He’ll give me what I deserve for not being satisfied.

Lie.

I sometimes get angry when children don’t obey me.  Since He’s perfect, how much more anger must He have for me when I don’t obey!

Lie.

There’s a promise in the Bible, and I want to cling to it but He wouldn’t come through on that for me.

Lie.

God wants a deep relationship with ME.  Why?  Because He loves me.

Truth.

~~~

I have a hard time accepting God’s love.  It doesn’t make sense to me; I am so faulty and so inadequate and so downright terrible.  Why–How can He love me?  And me individually, as in the girl with this name and hair and eyes and street address and interests and passions.  How can He be so specific?

There are so many lies that Satan feeds me, and I can so easily buy into them.  The truths of the Bible are always in my head, but sometimes it takes a while before they make it to my heart.  I know God loves me, deeply and beyond comprehension.  I’ve experienced it, and I see it.  But I want to fully understand it.  And in an effort to do so, I have given myself a project.

Starting four days ago, I have been using photography to make note of visual proofs that God is interested in me.  Proofs that He loves me, this individual.

Day One

His Love Letter, written to the world and with me in mind.

Day Two

My daily walks with the gorgeous fall foliage and other little surprises.

Day Three

Four mornings in a row beginning with rain, rain, and more rain.

He knows how much I like rain.

Day Four

The beautiful plants He’s given me through various means.

He knows that I thoroughly enjoy them.

{Listen:  “How He Loves” by Kim Walker or David Crowder Band}