By the time you read this I will be “Leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again.” Actually I do, but lyrics seem to have overtaken my thoughts. Doug and I travel to Madrid Spain, where Becca has been studying since January — (Actually, mostly traveling while some studying.) Who can blame her? She is my daughter and milking this experience for all it’s worth. Doug will stay for one week as the three of us drive through southern Spain. Then … Becca and I take on Portugal and Morocco. Yes! I am a little excited.
Life Moves Fast
Life moves fast sometimes. Don’t you just hate those occasions when all your fun is condensed into one short period of time. As I anticipated the BAM BAM BAM of our calendar in April and May, I wished I could have spread things out. But it was not to be. I could not control the timing of the Great Banquets, then Easter, then Ian’s art show and then the end of Becca’s semester. And after each big meaningful event I barely had time to savor it.
Stopped in my tracks
Still catching my breath from Ian’s art show this past Friday, the very next morning I find myself rushing to my next thing. En route, I get two flat tires, YES you read correctly. Two flat tires. I didn’t even know that was possible! It felt as if my once cute Golf All-trek turned on me and jeered, you’re not going anywhere! Yes of course I was annoyed and frustrated and I fought the underlying lesson. I problem solved, called upon help, and stewed as I waited.
Do you see the work I have done?
As you can imagine, the flat tire escapade wreaked havoc on my day. First I waited to be towed. Then I waited for new tires. Even candy crush couldn’t curb my impatience. In all the waiting, I heard the Lord say, “slow down Debbie, do you see the work I have done.”
Reviewing the night before
Still stewing I thumbed through the pictures from Ian’s art show. And then I listened to some of the video Doug recorded from Ian’s talk. On second hearing, I was shocked. How could I have missed it? I was sitting intently in the front row and still, I missed it.
As many of you know I circled Ian’s relationship with the Lord in prayer during the Lenten prayer challenge. And that prayer, yet to be answered, continues. But the Lord is gracious. And He used the forum of Ian’s art show talk to gift me with some evidence of His work in Ian’s life. While Ian coolly resists any hint that he belongs to Christ, I can see that Christ has made a mark on Ian. An indelible mark that even Ian cannot deny. How could I have missed it?!
How could I have missed it?
I am close to Ian. Perhaps in some ways even too close. It makes me think of those extreme close-up photographs of ordinary things. Such photographs are difficult to identify. For example, guess what this is?
For those of you who attended Ian’s art show, thank you for your support!
What will Ian say?
Driving to Ian’s art show, Ian and I were both excited but I was also anxious, especially for the artist talk. Ian can be oh so unpredictable. I recall as a young mom during Sunday worship, on the edge of my seat for the children’s sermons as if to brace myself for what the cute ginger would say. And most Sundays my bracing was warranted. At age 23, Ian’s unpredictability, only enhanced by his brain injury, still evokes the same fear. What will Ian say?
In the end, I was so very proud and pleased and encouraged and impressed and hopeful for Ian’s future.
Perhaps I have been just too close. I needed to step back and really listen. While impatiently forced to wait for new tires the Lord gifted me with some fresh insight about my exasperating son. Why exactly was I so very proud and pleased and encouraged and impressed and hopeful about Ian’s future?
God’s undeniable work in Ian
BECAUSE… I heard evidence of His hand on Ian in remarkable and unmistakable ways. I have always acknowledged the obvious physical miracles, but this new revelation fills me with hope for Ian’s eternal home.
Ian is made in the image of God. Whether Ian acknowledges it or not, that fact remains.
Genesis 1:26-28 Then God said ‘Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth.’ And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
The Imago Dei
The image of God, the Imago Dei, is a foundational concept important for any Christ follower. It is the key to understand our significance and our purpose. While our capacity to reflect His divine image is marred by sin, the image itself remains perfectly intact. The way I see it, when we accept His stamp on us, and embrace the notion that we are image bearers, life begins to make sense.
Think about a mirror and its simple purpose. When we look into a mirror we see our reflection. As image bearers for Christ, when others look into us, they should see Christ. In other words, we should reflect Christ, by exhibiting Christlike characteristics.
We are Image Bearers
How does it work? The Bible says God will make His face shine upon us. It is often quoted as a benediction after a sermon. As if to say, leave from here, as image bearers of Christ.
Psalm 67:1. (ESV) May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us,
As an awkward teenager I had horrible buck teeth. At about 13, after having seven teeth pulled, I got a mouth full of silver braces. I remember being so self conscious. I recall my Daddy saying, Debbie dear, you smile big! Show off those braces. You are just beautiful and the apple of my eye.
As image bearers of Christ we may feel self conscious, and even uncomfortable given such responsibility. But the Lord says, you are just beautiful and the apple of my eye. Reflect me!
The disenfranchised reflect Christ
In my humble opinion that is why some of the purest reflections of the image of Christ are seen in the disenfranchised. (Babies, the disabled, those with special needs those on hospice or the elderly who are declining) It seems as if there is less SELF to impede the reflection of God. I’m not saying that sin is absent. I am saying that Christ’s image has less to overcome and seems more evident.
I could tell by Ian’s choice of language during his talk that he tried hard not to, but he couldn’t help himself. Ian reflected Christ! I heard it, without any doubt.
In fact at the start of his talk, Ian quipped, “I just love people. People are the greatest invention ever!” Ian and God agree on that.
Check out this exchange at the end of Ian’s talk.
Moderator, “Ian you show bravery and resilience. What keeps you going?”
Ian, ramble ramble ramble… but the gist went like this. “When I was at Craig hospital for I don’t know, like a year, all the other patients were just sad sacks. They pretended to be nice to your face, but they were just sad. Who wants to be sad all the time? I realized, wait, I can still be happy. Oh geez this is going to sound cheesy, but I thought it would be great for me to be the one to bring some light to the ward. And I think I did that.”
As his mom, I can testify to that fact. Ian was a light. Ian is a light.
Later Ian added, “even in college people ask me, whats with you man, why are you happy all the time? And my response is why not be happy? Through it all, probably inside myself all along, or maybe from my grandpa… I just love people. So I just carry on being annoyingly happy.”
I would suggest that THAT is a reflection of the image of Christ. Given Ian’s disabilities, struggles, set backs and history of medical challenges, you can’t continually manufacture happy. God has gifted my son with an amazing capacity for joy that confounds those around him.
Ian must still say YES to Christ
It’s true, Ian must still claim Christ as his own and admit the source of his joy. But as his mom, I am delighted to witness and now know with confidence that God himself has staked a claim on my son. There is no other explanation.
And in case you were wondering, the close up photograph is a cornflake. 🙂