Category Archives: Holy Spirit

It’s that time of year …

not for celebrations and parties.  Not for get-togethers with good friends and people you may know.  Not shopping for bargains and gifts, not meeting up to have a good time and not for having a nice glass of wine with like-minded folks.

Well, actually, it is that time of year, but not for everyone.

For some, this time of year means eating a cold can of beans alone in an empty room without power because the electric bill wasn’t paid.  It wasn’t paid because the baby needed medication and there wasn’t enough money for medication and electricity.

For some, this time of year means standing on the street, in the cold, wearing street clothes and house slippers because there wasn’t enough money for rent and if there wasn’t enough money for rent, there certainly wasn’t enough money for a coat and shoes.

For some, this time of year brings memories that are bitter and hurtful; thoughts of years past that ran, one into the other, with no happiness or joy.

For some, this time of year means nothing.  It is simply the passing of time while watching the world go by, just like the year before and the year before that.

For some, this time of year means family, food, friends and fellowship.  It is these people who embrace the season and enjoy it as they always have, together with the people they love and are comfortable with.

But what about all the others?

Who, when they set down to their family table laden with food, surrounded by family, warm, cozy and perfect, think of those who have nothing, expect nothing and know nothing different from the emptiness they feel every year at this time?

I and many others call ourselves followers of Christ.  We say with our voices  how much we love and want to be like Jesus.

We sing praises, bless our food and continue on in the same traditions we have followed for years.  We praise Jesus and say we want to be like Him but prove time and again that we recite words we believe but don’t, deep down, mean and we fail the very Jesus we say we want to be like.

He wants us to share what we have; not just home, warmth, family, friends and food, but the very word that would bring others to love and honor Him.

Invite a stranger to Thanksgiving dinner.  Invite several strangers.

Let’s bring someone homeless to our home and make them, for one day, family.

Let’s show them that Jesus is real and that they are loved.

This time of year is our time, the Jesus follower’s time.  Our time to put our money where our mouth is.  To be hospitable, to offer shelter and food for those who are hungry and the ones the world calls outcasts.

It is our time to take in everyone, despite everything, and to show them Jesus.

If we, who claim to be the hands and feet of Jesus don’t show love to the oppressed, be certain that the evil one will.

He will entice and enchant them, then make them slaves to his depravity and hatred of all things good.

Don’t give the devil the satisfaction of beating us to the punch.  Let us be the Jesus we claim to want to follow and lead someone to Christ by being the hands and feet of the Savior.

Make no mistake –  Satan is working hard to win the souls of the lost and if we don’t work harder, he will win because he doesn’t give up if he doesn’t get a response on the first pass.

Be Jesus to the world and don’t give up just because you can find an excuse.  Having an excuse doesn’t excuse us, but overcoming excuses and finding a way to be Jesus to the world shows our true alliance.  We are with Jesus or not with Jesus.  It is as simple as that.

Everyone reading this post is welcome to Thanksgiving Dinner at my mom’s house.  You, for one day, will be our family, you will be warm and your bellies will be full.  Must love, or at least tolerate dogs, though, because our place is lousy with them!  🙂

Sleepless nights …

were made for blogging.  There is just something about being wide awake in the middle of the night that makes me want to write; makes me want to share things that mayhaps I wouldn’t share on a normal day.  I imagine many bloggers have an agenda that they follow religiously.  I have no agenda.  The filter between my brain and mouth fails with distressing regularity and ergo, the often off the wall, “what in the world was she thinking” blog posts become reality.  This night is no different from my life on a daily basis, a life that is filled with inconsistencies, confusions and ethereally beautiful moments.  Therein lies the problem; the differences are  not easily discerned until it is too late to turn back..

I have so many thoughts going through my mind right now that focusing on simply one is nearly impossible.  I am trying ardently to deal with, what I truly believe to be the answer to a prayer that I have been praying about.  The answer was not what I wanted to hear and not the outcome I had hoped for.  Nonetheless, I did ask for an answer and was given one.  So there you have it.  Question asked, answer given.  Whether or not I am pleased with the answer is irrelevant because it is not my will I am working to achieve, but my Father God’s.  He sees the big picture, the whole thing, all of the edges and I am left in the moment I am in at the  particular moment I am in.

That’s the thing about praying.  I ask for guidance and answers and, while I should be leaping with joy when I receive an answer from God, I find that sometimes, despite my best efforts, I question Him.  In this particular instance, I realize that I have been through a very similar scenario four times at this point and all four times, the outcome has been the same.  I am disturbed by this.  Not by God’s infinite wisdom, but that I am so predictable that I would take the same path, though with different beginnings, that lead to the exact same outcome.  One that offers no closure, but simply an abrupt end to what was thought to be a wonderful thing.

Life is confusing at times.  Though it has moments that are so beautiful, it hurts my  heart to look at them, I find that, for the most part, I am looking for answers to questions that have no answers.  It seems that the questions, more often than not, are riddles and I have never been good at riddles.  I threaten, in my  mind, to simply write people off and never try to correspond with them again, and then my conscious click in. There are times when I wish I didn’t have a conscience and could think and do whatever I wanted to whomever I wanted to do it to and not have a moment of guilt over it.  But were I to go there, then Satan would be as happy as a witch in a broom factory.

Throughout my life, I can think of four distinct relationships that have ended without closure.  Without reason or explanation.   Four distinct experiences that have, for reasons unknown, ended the same way.  I am certain that there is a lesson to be learned here, but obviously, I have not yet learned it.  I trust too much, share too much, give too much and then wonder why I am left standing, empty handed and alone, at the end of the day.  One would think that after so many experiences that end the same, there would be a red flag; a warning sign or some other type of blinking light that says “you don’t want to go there again”.  But there isn’t.

I am too trusting, too gullible, to easily manipulated.  I know this, but it doesn’t seem to help me learn from past experiences.  It is difficult, though, when each experience starts differently.  It is impossible to know, at the beginning, how it will end.  It doesn’t make being too trusting, too gullible and too easily manipulated any easier to swallow at the end of the day.  It leads to disappointment, as much in the deceiver as  in myself and adds layers to the wall that has to be rebuilt in order to preserve my sanity.

Friends come and go.  Some are much better at deceiving than others and, as I said earlier, being a gullible sort, I fall for the “we have so much in common”, “we are cut from the same cloth”, “I feel like I’ve known you forever” line.   I think that, in the future, I will be oblivious to this line of thinking.  I don’t like being used and am saddened that I have, once again, been simply a sounding board and ego booster that, once the course has been run, am nothing more than a  blast of wind on a summer day.

I wish I had the answers.  I wish I had the knowledge that is not revealed to me.  I live my life walking on faith and sometimes, the faith is misguided.  That is no-one’s fault but my own.  I am gullible and I do have a seeking heart.  That makes me an easy mark for those who’s only agenda is lifting themselves to a higher level.  I don’t hold it against them as they are doing what they do.  I hold it against myself for enabling them and allowing my thoughts and feelings to feed the fire and come to the realization that they thrive on this enabling and then forget me completely.

It is an humbling experience to learn that, even though I should know better, I still fall into the same traps of wanting to be a part of something important, something beautiful, something exceptional only to realize that I was only a stepping stone.

I want to be angry, but that is not in my nature.  I will cry and I will berate myself for being a fool, but know that, most likely, I will repeat the same cycle over and over again.  The complexity of my heart and mind is, in reality, simply too much for most people to comprehend and so they just pretend that I never existed.

I don’t mind it, overmuch, but with each transparency, I learn that I will likely never learn.  Such is the nature of my life.  But I’m ok with that.  I figure if I walk through a door with my eyes wide open then any surprises that come up are on me for, when I walked thorough the door, I did it willingly.  In my mind, I go to places unknown, with no stresses  or pain; no insecurities or moments of foolishness, but only the beauty of God’s Amazing Grace.  I am blessed even when I feel  more like I’m being punished.  No one can ever punish me as much as I punish myself and as long as I take it, it will continue.  Praying for the strength to break the cycle, even when it hurts.  I am me.  I am Gina.  I am not a doormat.  I will work each day to remind myself of these basic facts.

twitter

It’s just a picture

Just a picture indeed.  Often times … no, let me rephrase that … most of the time, when I’m heading out to shoot some photographs, I go by myself.  It’s not that I always prefer to go alone, but it’s hard to find folks who are willing to get up before the sun and spend the day watching the same thing for hours as the light changes, hardens, softens, highlights and clarifies.  When by chance someone does want to go along “for the adventure of it”, after about an hour, they’re done.  Too many times to count I’ve heard the words “how many pictures do you need?”  There is no harm or malice in those words, simply a lack of understanding of what it means to be a photographer in love with light.  To most people, light is just the opposite of dark, makes it easier to see, comes in the morning and leaves at night; they cannot fathom that it is oh so much more.

Light has many moods, influenced by many things, but there are a couple times of day that I can count on finding amazingness .  These are the golden hours or, as they are sometimes called, the magic hours.  These are the first and last hour of sunlight in a day (though they are more in tune with the golden 30 minutes) and they are pivotal times for a photographer.  The light is low and soft and depending on the weather, can manifest in a variety of ways that couldn’t be captured in a lifetime.  That is the reason another question always comes up.  “Why do you have to get up so early?” or “why would you want to be there so late?”  I have a simple answer; because I am a photographer.  I chase the light, gauge it, study it and try to gain intimate knowledge so that I can, in my weak, mortal way, capture it before it changes.

I don’t go to a place to take a picture or a snapshot, I go to shoot it.  Maybe the first photograph will nail it or it may take hours or even days, going to the same place, watching the same thing, knowing that if I keep up the vigil, I will be rewarded.  These are the kinds of things that my friends and family balk about and why I usually ending up going alone.  But it’s not their fault.  They don’t eat, live, breath, sleep and dream photography.  They don’t look around them and see a hundred things that draw their attention.  They don’t feel the Spirit of God instilling in them the need and desire to photograph that which He has made. Nothing wrong with that.  That is one of the things that sets me apart from them.  It makes me different or as they like to refer to it, weird, geeky or odd; probably some other stuff, too, but all along the same vein.

Understanding the language of light is to a photographer like understanding the concept of music is to a pianist.  Without understanding, there can only be frustration.  I have spent years studying the art of photography.  Maybe I could have made it easier on myself by taking classes, but I wanted to learn it for myself; to see what worked for me and, as the years pass, start to see a style of my own emerge.  And that is why I get up so early and stay so late and why i will continue to do so because the language of light is one of the beautiful ones that I know.

Psalms 19:1 ~ To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.

His grace in my moment of weakness (a poem)

At times like these, I truly know

That there are ones, whe’er friend or foe

who’ll say a prayer that I’ll be whole

In my time of weakness.

Without my saying a single word

The warriors of Prayer were instantaneously spurred

And their heartfelt prayers, my Father heard

In my time of weakness.

His encouragement began in my mother’s home

Where by grace she knew what was already known

And her love covered me like a blanket of blooms

In my time of weakness.

It then continued at my sister’s pool

Where love for my precious family did fuel

Dulling the  confusion of my inward duel

In my time of weakness.

Then there is a moment,  as every now and then

A priceless bit of time with my dearest friend

The one I know, for certain, will be there ’til the end

In my time of weakness.

The reminiscing of days gone by

Some with laughter, some with sigh

Some with tears brimming in our eyes

In my time of weakness.

Knowing that what was once can be

No longer a part of real life for me

Knowing I see what i want to see

In my time of weakness.

In my heart, I realize the pain they’d feel

If but a glimpse of my sadness was revealed

Knowing inside I had lost the zeal

In my time of weakness.

Getting down on bended knee

I pray that from these chains I’m freed

That no more would life be consumed by grief

In my time of weakness.

Driving home with my thoughts I felt so close to despair

Then creation rumbled as it cried out its prayer

That your gentle loving spirit would sooth my every care

In my time of weakness.

© gina minton kearns

Daisies in June

Jim is gone.  He is with Jesus. Even if it were in my power to do so, I would not bring him back to this  life with it’s twists, turns, trials and sorrows.  So this day, this night, this moment, I set him free.  Happy Birthday my precious one … I loved him in life and will love him, even if by God’s will, there is another, until my last breath, for he was a gift of my Father and he helped me see what I needed to see to fulfill the destiny God has for me.  I had words to say, but was unable to  find the way to say them  … and then they were given to me by the Sweet Holy Spirit … It always seems that, at my weakest moment, He gives to me what I need to hear … this time, He gave it to me in words … My God.  My Savior.  My Jesus.

Leave a Reply

Enter your comment here…

What is an idol, anyway?

Idols.  I think it is safe to say that, when talking about idols in the Biblical sense, the image pops into our minds of statues or other man-made things that we choose to worship.  But in the grand scheme of things, those types of idols are only a small part of what is placed before God.  Now, Webster’s dictionary defines an idol as a representation or symbol of an object of worship: a false godso if it is a representation or symbol, it can be many things.  Money, worry, job, children, anger, food, alcohol, sex and a myriad of other things could be considered an idol.  I have, as likely many followers of Christ can say as well, had idols in my life.  I have spent many nights thinking about how I was going to pay my bills instead of giving the problem to God, letting Him handle it, and then praising Him for it.  I have sacrificed many a blessing because I was too busy chasing after something that ultimately could not bring me peace or joy that lasted more than a few minutes, or at best, a few days.  The valley is a place that I am more familiar with than I would like to be.  The mountain is where I prefer to find myself, but without the valleys, how could I possibly know that there was a mountain to be on in the first place.  I’ve spent a good part of my life searching for something and then grasping onto the first thing that made me feel whole, only to learn that the wholeness was only temporary and that the weight of my burdens soon overpowered me again and I would find myself right back where I started.  God doesn’t share.  He won’t give blessings to us when we are giving our praise and adoration to something else.  It took me a long time to come to the realization that there is only one thing I truly need to be at peace with myself, with my life and with the world around me, but once I realized it, it was so simple that I could scarcely believe that I had been looking everywhere for what was in my heart to begin with.  When I asked Jesus to save me, He did and the Holy Spirit took His place in my heart and soul, but, and isn’t it a shame that there always has to be a but … but when I put the stress and failures of my life on a pedestal, then I hinder any blessing that could have been mine.  This whole post came about because I was reading in 1 John, chapter 5 this morning.  The chapter is about love and faith, confidence in God when praying for things that are in His will and the knowledge that He will provide them for us.  But the very last verse says Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen. There can be no confidence in God when He is not the center of our lives, if He is not the object of our worship and if He is only an afterthought, so little children, keep yourselves from idols, amen.

1 John 5:14-15:  14 And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us, 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him

Myself ain’t who she used to be

Myself.  One of the first words we learn as kiddos and one of the most damaging ones we can use as an adult.  I can do it myself.  I don’t need any help.  I have everything under control.  I am the master of my universe.  I can handle it.  All of these phrases have passed through my mind and many of them through my lips.  And it is such a lie.   A deceitful, self-defeating lie that is harmful to me on so many levels.  I, on my own, am like one of the chickens my grandparents used to raise.  There was a wire fence that was open on both ends, but the chickens would get behind it and walk back and forth all day and never realize they could go around.  The world, even my tiny, limited part of it, sometimes threatens to overwhelm me, forcing me to try to find someway out besides the door.   But, I can handle it.

I had dinner this week with one of my oldest and dearest friends.  We’ve known each other since we were in second grade.  I only see her a few times a year, but that doesen’t matter.  I know she is there.  At least I do now.  We only recently reconnected after having lost touch for many years.  That is the way with all of my old friends.  There are people that I think of nearly every day, but somewhere along the way, I decided that I didn’t need anybody.  So without meaning to, I lost touch with wonderful friends that I would loved to have known as an adult.  The blames lies with myself and the lie I decided to believe … the one that told me I could handle it.

As I get older and the Holy Spirit continues to guide and teach me, I see things more clearly.  I see that myself is not who she used to be.  That myself died when I gave my life to Jesus.  All these years that I have continued to believe the lie that I can do it myself and don’t need anyone has been my own doing.  Jesus took that along with all the other baggage when I gave myself to Him.  I didn’t have to carry it, but as long as I was determined to, He was going to let me.  When I look past what I let myself believe to what is actually real, I see myself as who I am now, not who I was then.  I find that I can be myself instead of making myself into someone that myself thought I wanted to be.  I am who God wants me to be.  There is power in that.

Spiritual Encouragement… we’re all on a journey to somewhere

Over the years, I’ve taken tens of thousands of photographs and created nearly 800 greeting cards; birthday, love, funny, serious, soulful, uplifting and more… but of all of them, the Spiritual Encouragement ones are my favorite.  They are thoughts and verses that have come from the ashes of the trials and difficulties in my life, the sorrows, disappointment and heartbreak… born of the refining that I didn’t realize was even happening.  I know that just as I stumble and fall, there are millions of people in the world I live in facing the same trials… hitting the same walls… struggling with the same demons.  During my own journey, with each refining came learning and the more I learned, the more I knew and the more I knew, the more I wanted to know and I started listening.  Once I became still and listened to what The Spirit was whispering to my heart and soul, it all started to fall into place.  Before I created a single card, spiritual encouragement or otherwise, there was a phrase that exploded in my mind and it was crystal clear ~ Through the Eyes of the Spirit ~  He was setting me on a path and I didn’t even realize it…

In the late winter-early spring of March, I felt compelled to create a greeting card for people who were struggling with the death of a loved one and the profound feeling of loneliness, sorrow and pain they would face that first year.  The words were there, and they were not mine, for there was a wisdom, though I had never experienced such a loss, of complete understanding and empathy. The photograph on the front of the card is one that was taken on a country road in the Fall, beneath a canopy of the brilliant colors of the changing leaves.  It was on the way to Bark Camp Lake, a beautiful lake park located in Northern Scott County in Southwest Virginia. Dad fishes for trout there and tells me how pretty it is and that he thinks it would be a good place to take pictures.  So in late October, Jim and I made our way up to celebrate our anniversary.  It was a beautiful day, the trees more beautiful than I had seen in years.  The sky, a perfect October blue, was dotted with fluffy white clouds and the wind rustled the leaves, causing an occasional windfall.  Along the concrete paths and on the wooden dock, fallen acorns, not yet discovered by deer or squirrels, lie among the fallen leaves.  Yes, it was a beautiful day…  And it was the last anniversary we would celebrate, but I didn’t know that.  Even so, I found comfort in the words, and after Jim’s sudden death a few months after, they sustained me with encouragement.  My sweet Jesus was, as far as I am concerned, speaking directly to me and His encouragement inspired me to encourage others, using the photographs and verse that I see and feel Through the Eyes of the Spirit, an incredible gift and a blessing that I cannot describe.  It consumes me.

For more Spiritual Encouragement cards from Through the Eyes of the Spirit, click the links on the right to open a new window, or visit the homepage of Through the Eyes of the Spirit by clicking on the photo below: