|So, I know that this is a lens distortion due to shooting a photo into the sun...but the Lord used it to remind me of His presence with my precious daughter and grandchildren.|
We get in trouble when we confuse a symbol with the reality itself. That's when we develop a hunger for stories about angelic presences and the afterlife. We risk an unwitting flirtation with the occult when we seek spiritual thrills rather than rest on the Bible's promises of truths yet unseen. If we are to mature in our Christian walk at all, we have to accept that God in His wisdom has chosen to be invisible, perhaps so that we are required as a result to walk by faith and not by sight. And yet He is so gracious. Sometimes He allows a tangible reassurance of His intimate involvement in every detail of our lives.
An ongoing grief in my life has been that I've not been able to be as supportive of my adult children as they need me to be. My daughter is a busy homeschooling Mom of three young boys, and her husband works long hours to support his family during these challenging, child-raising years. My son works long hours himself and is a housekeeping and child-rearing partner to my daughter-in-law, who is a compassionate, hard-working veterinarian. But for the past 12 years my responsibilities to my Alzheimer's mom, along with my own health glitches, have robbed me of the time and the physical strength that would have enabled me to be a more active and supportive presence in my children's lives. On good days I feel only a constant, guilt-tinged sorrow, and on bad days I have to struggle against a crushing sense of inadequacy that too easily flares to active, irrational, resentment toward God for making me the way I am and toward my kids for having needs I can't meet.
Yesterday we made a quick trip to visit our youngest granddaughter and her sweet mom (the vet). They live about an hour away, and on the way home we stopped to visit Mom at the nursing home. These activities, along with my rosacea--which keeps me from sitting in the sun watching kids' sports events as in days of yore--had kept me from riding along with my daughter to her oldest son's soccer practice as I'd like to have done. As we drove home from our visits, I had my husband stop the car along our country highway so I could take some photos. I was standing in the middle of the road when a vehicle appeared at the crest of a hill about a mile away. It was my daughter and her three boys, on the way to soccer practice!
They zoomed by, the boys shouting their greetings through windows hastily opened, "HI GRAMMY!"
My heart overbrimmed with love and regret that I wasn't able to be with them.
It wasn't until I got home and uploaded the days' photos that I saw those star-shaped bursts of light and received the reassurance that the Lord is present with my loved ones when I am not. He is with my mother during long nights at the nursing home when I am no longer able to hear her if she calls my name. And He is with my precious children to preserve, protect and provide for their needs in ways I, not even on one of my best days, ever could.
We miss our loved ones when we are parted from them, but we don't need to add inadequacy-sparked feelings of guilt to the grief of separation. It is such a comfort to know that prayer is powerful, God's presence is abiding, and heart connections through the Holy Spirit can't be broken by time, distance, or even death. God is so good.