~ A walk in the park ~
I love this particular park, so I tend to frequent it often. Familiarity probably should've produced boredom by now, yet, even when attending it on my own - as I usually do - I find great peace there. This morning, however, I took great peace with me, and allowed it to lead my footsteps.
I'm at a great place in my life at the moment. God has encouraged me to step into a greater measure of faith, confidence and peace. With it, He has helped me find peace with being me. For the first time in my life I can say "I LOVE MY LIFE!" and "I'm so happy to be me!"
If you knew how insecure I once was, if you knew how greatly I despised myself while growing up - and way into my adult years, you would understand how big of a deal it is for me to claim "I LOVE BEING ME!" I mean, even in my early 40s I would stand before the mirror and declare hatred for myself. But not anymore. Now I have to stand in the mirror and face the physical mess my old insecure self left behind, but that's another story, and I'm ok with that, too, now! :)
It's not because I'm great that I can declare I'm happy to be me and I love my life. Rather, I can say this now because I KNOW GOD IS GREAT! I think that, more than anything - seeing just how great God is and being able to have a relationship with Him, as I do, and knowing now, without doubt, that no matter what comes my way, He'll be there to help me through it and overcome it - is what has caused this JOY to rise up within me! Faith in God is SO freeing. I mean, as in really trusting Him! I have come to learn that the fear is in the "not trusting" - the joy and peace and love and freedom and REJOICING comes in the trusting. AH! This is such a great place to live in - and it's INSIDE ME! :)
Anyway: Being in that place IN ME enables me to carry peace with me wherever I go and in the face of whatever comes before me... So, with this peace I was/am carrying, I wandered about the park as I do, looking for backdrops for the photos I often add Scripture to, but this time, as I've never done by myself before, I laid down on my stomach to get the shots I wanted - one of which is atop of this page.
Normally, I'd be too timid to lay down out in the open like that on my own, but today timidity was safely locked away and not permitted to lead me along its path. And that added to my peace, joy and sense of freedom, and I took as many shots as my heart desired.
Then I moved on to another spot and laid down once more...
It was just after I got up and walked a few feet down the path when, in wanting to get this shot -
I would've screamed, but as shock and horror punched me in the gut I didn't have enough breath to do so!! lol
He was scary! I've never seen a snake this close in the wild!! Oh, I can't tell you how grateful I was that he was facing the other way. HOWEVER, the area in which I was laying on my stomach happily snapping away is the area he's facing. I had walked along the pathway a few feet, to the left of this guy, and remembered I wanted to get a picture of the barbedwire with a blurred background and so moved towards the fence to get the shot, when something moved out of the corner of my eye - and there he was! EEK!
Had I remained laying on my tummy, he would've headed directly towards me. Had I remembered a little earlier that I wanted a barbedwire shot I would've walked straight into him. Had I not remembered the shot I wanted - which I missed, because of trembling hands, lol - I wouldn't have even known he was there.
My instant reaction was, "GULP!" my very next thought was, "DON'T MISS THE SHOT!" lol! So I aimed my camera and shot, praising God the snake was facing, and now moving away from me.
I'm a strong believer in using the talents we're gifted with. I firmly believe that in our natural giftings/abilities/talents, which we usually turn into hobbies and shelf while 'real life' happens, we have a private door into the presence of God, where we can meet with Him in a very intimate way. Whether I'm good at taking photos or not is not the issues; I find great peace in taking photos and I know that's an area God meets me in. When I go off walking to take the photos, I go with a knowing that God is with me, that He and I can and will commune, and as I enter into that peace and that intimate place with Him, He always finds a way to bless me with at least one delightful, unexpected moment - which I now call "Story Photos."
I hope you enjoyed my walk, and I pray you'll walk with me again... but, more importantly, and with all my heart, and with a great awareness that God desires it, too, I pray you take hold of your natural talents, your 'hobbies' if you want to call them that, and use them to meet with the One who loves you far more than you'll ever be able to comprehend this side of Heaven.