capturing amazing…with limited tools

June 11, 2013 | encouragement, relationship with God | 4 comments

Bruce and I took the most incredible trip to southern California last weekend. As we boarded the airplane (without checking strollers at the gate or lugging over-flowing diaper bags or getting “those” glares from the other passengers) we were trying to remember the last time we had flown together alone without kids...

2009.

Four years ago.

Before I move on with the rest of this post I want to encourage you…don’t let 4 years go by before you get away with your husband, even for just a weekend.

I know you are thinking, “But Heather we just don’t have the money. Heather, who’s going to watch our kids? We have too many responsibilities and commitments."

I’ve used those excuses and I’m telling you, all of them have holes. Make this weekend away with your husband the priority. Seriously. Learn from our mistakes.

Okay?

Our first 24 hours we spent in a secluded beach community and it was exactly what we needed. We stayed with some of Bruce’s family. They basically nursed us back to health. Like finding a baby bird fallen out of it’s nest…they warmly welcomed us, fed us (body and soul) and breathed life into our worn out selves.

bruceandilaguna

Saturday morning Bruce joined his cousin on the beach for a workout (which Bruce said was an incredible experience, btw, if you ever get the chance…take it). While they buffed up, his cousin’s wife and I strolled the beach then walked up a cliff to get a beautiful view of the coast.

Each step of the walk I wanted to stop and take a picture, but at the same time I didn’t want to interrupt the flow of conversation, so I held back the urge. On our return trip I did pull out the ole iPhone to snag a couple shots.

lagunabeach

You know what? I just couldn’t capture it. I’d look at the real thing then I’d look at the picture and they didn’t even compare. 

Because as cool as this picture is, you don't have all the sensational elements to go with it...the fresh, salty air, the waves crashing against the show, the wind against your face, sand between toes.

So the picture falls incredibly short of communicating the "amazing" I experienced on my walk. 

Have you ever had a spiritual experience? An incredible time in the Word or worship (whether it’s art journaling or a walk on the beach) and you try to share your experience with a friend?

Isn’t it hard to put words to it? The more you try to capture it with words the less spiritual the experience feels?

This summer I’m reading through the book of John. I’ve found it interesting to read Jesus words about his crucifixion and future events and then read the reactions of those at the time (who didn’t have the information 21st century readers have).

They were confused. How can one be “born again”? Did he mean a full-grown man would re-enter his mother’s womb? How can one “eat His flesh & drink His blood”? Isn’t that a little cannibalistic?

Jesus responds:

“The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.” John 6:6

When you try to share a spiritual experience with your words, the flesh muddles it up. Like Isaiah who stood the presence of the Lord and couldn’t adequately describe the experience and became immediately aware of his flesh…his unclean lips. He squeaked out...

“Holy, holy, holy”

Trying to share a “set-apart” (definition of “holy”) experience with a filthy tongue and lips is challenging.

lagunafoliage

Do not be discouraged when you have a moment with God and yet can’t adequately share the experience in a Facebook status update or an Instagram pic.

You and I do the best we can with our limited flesh to share the glory of God. Like a picture of the ocean can never fully communicate it’s beauty and power, how can we assume we can use words to fully communicate an intimate moment we experience in God’s presence?

Back to the book of John…in the moment after Jesus talks about eating his flesh & drinking his blood and he loses followers (no big deal, btw, he already knew they weren’t sticking around).

Jesus directly asks the Twelve, “You do not want to leave too, do you?”

I believe Peter’s response is beyond his earthly ability and his words come from the Spirit (which I will explain in a minute). He says,

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

The Holy One of God.

Did you know that title (“Holy One of God”) had only been used up to that point by the demons? These spiritual beings recognized Jesus as “set apart” from God.

This is the title Peter used…a term only used by the spiritual realm to describe the Messiah, the Son of God and Man.

Do not understatement the power of the Holy Spirit in your life. Do not worry if your experience sounds silly when you try to share it with a friend. God will give you words beyond your understanding. He can minister to the hearts of the listener.

You job is to continue to seek Him and use the tools you have to share spiritual things in a fleshly world.

“The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit.” John 3:31-34

4 Comments

  1. Nancy Fowler

    Heather, I so appreciated your comments re: our inadequacy to portray those intimate moments we experience in God’s Presence. I want to share them, but wonder if I ever get it across the way I experienced it. So, thank you for that encouragement!!

    • Heather MacFadyen

      Thanks Nancy for your encouragement! So great to see you the other day at the Presidential museum…such a great position for you. Your warm smile and kind manner…perfect!

  2. emily

    Did y’all go to Laguna Beach? Pretty sure I recognize the coastline in your pics. Reid and I lived there for a year after we got married – just two blocks inland from the main beach area. We go back every July and I just love it there. So glad y’all were able to get a chance to get away – such a special time together – and to a special place 🙂 Good for you!

    • Heather MacFadyen

      Fun to see you the other day and hear about your Laguna adventure. Your hubby is one smart cookie to get you out of Dallas for a year. Annnnddd SUCH a wonderful place to live. gorgeous. I definitely want to go back soon!

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