September 17, 2013

hand in hand in hand... (in Hand!)

A few years ago, while on a family vacation, I had planned out a little family portrait session on the beach.  I have always wanted a beach portrait and since it is where we go to get away and to regroup and to meet Him... since it is one of our favorite places as a family - it just made sense!

I planned out our outfits and decided ahead of time on poses, on hairstyles, on makeup... I mapped out the time of day and the backdrops and my plan was to be oh so bossy for just a few minutes and get enough shots in to make it easy and not forget that we were on vacation, and not working at all!

It worked... we shot for maybe 20 minutes and got some of my very favorite family pictures ever!  This shot though?  This was going to be staged walking towards the camera - but as we were positioning ourselves far enough  away, this was captured: 

I can't tell you how much I love this! How much this one portrait captures that is just so "us"... 

At first - it made me think of when Moses asked to see God and He told him that He would make His glory pass before him and Moses would see His backside... (Ex 33)  Not that we are God - or that I really want ya'll to see my backside... but that Scripture always reminds me that God goes before us... and when all we see is after the fact... when our vision is limited to what already happened - He is willing to show us a glimpse of what lies ahead!  I believe what Moses saw was a prophetic vision of the future and I believe that God is still wanting and willing and waiting to show us glimpses of Glory - if only we will ask.

As I mentioned... this was taken a few years back... before broken hearts and broken dreams and broken trust... this was before hope and the best laid plans were all shriveled and dried out... all starved up... before heaps on kitchen floors and a slow awakening to a deeper grace and a truer love.

When I look at this picture now... I think of this Scripture:

"So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good.
At the right time we will harvest a good crop
if we don’t give up, or quit.
Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance,
let us work for the benefit of all,
starting with the people closest to us
in the community of faith."
                                                             ~ Galatians 6:9-10 The Message

You see... these... those two up there in that picture?  Those are my people... My Honey and My Girlie and they are the core of my Community of faith... they know me - all smiles and out there... and they know me - all broken and stuck in here... We have been broken together - and have been healed and made whole again (and again and again) - together.  

Hand in hand in hand... all the while clinging to the Hand that heals and saves... holding tight to the nail scarred Hand that set us free!  

We could have given up... hardened our hearts... gone all legalistic and self righteous... if we would have gone down that path - it would have led to destruction.  To be honest... there were days I had no strength... no will to go on.  No one ever told me that it would be so hard.  After all - didn't we do all the things right?  There were moments and hours when - when I was raw and reeling - I could feel my heart building walls of protection... resolving to broken trust never being healed up whole.  I felt a pull to the downward spiral of shame and of failure and of how-could-this-happen.

I had to fight against that.  I had to find someone... maybe two... who would remind me of Truth when the lies felt more real.  I had to allow His Love to pour in and through and out - when I just wanted to keep it all for myself. I needed it... but that is not how He has created us to be! We are vessels... conduits, if you will... and He is abundant in how He fills and overflows! And this verse? This verse reminds me that I can not give up.  Not I... because He never does.  No one is too far... every one is within His grasp and Grace is free for all.

Oh - it cost Him... it is never free... but because He paid the price, it is, for us, Freedom!

So we purpose to do good... to press on and press in and work for the benefit of all, to be mindful of being a blessing.  We hang on to each other and we hold hands with the One who spread His Hands out wide... Who bled and died... Who became sin for us... Who loved us this much!  

When we cling to Him... and hold on to each other...  doing good is easier.  Oh - it's not always easy... but when we are in it together... it is easier.  When we lean in and trust anyway... when we ask to see His face, He gives us a glimpse of what is to come... His glory passes before us, and He calls us to stop looking back... to stop looking at our past, but to look ahead to His future.  The plans that He has for us are good.  They are more than good... they are overflowing with grace and love and purpose... they are redeemed and wondrous and Kingdom... 

So now, when I look at this picture... I see what was ahead for us back then... and I see the Glory of what lies ahead...

(...and I see us still hand in hand in hand... in Hand!)

Won't you join with me in prayer?

Father God,
we come to You and reach out for Your Hand.
We desire to weave our fingers in close and hold on tight...
to press our palms into your Nail Scarred Hand
and get a glimpse of Your Glory,
a vision of the future ahead.
Jesus, we thank you that when we are weak, You are Strong!
When we feel at the end of our rope and unable to do just one more thing,
You fill us up fresh and show us the way!
Thank You that You don't call us to do ALL the Things...
but You set before us each day certain things
and when we partner with you,
we are mindful of being a blessing!
Holy Spirit - remind us that doing good leads to something...
that when we gather together and work for the benefit of all, 
when we sow seeds with reckless abandon
and let Your Love flow...
we reap a Harvest of good...
of answered prayers and testimonies and provision...
of healings and miracles and community...
and we reap a Harvest of growing alongside our brothers and sisters
and belonging in the community of faith!
So we reach for You... 
we want to hold Your Hand
and be led by the Spirit...
we want to do good,
to make a difference,
to be the gift!
In Jesus' Name!

Linking up today with these lovely Link Up's:





  1. Anonymous2:30 PM

    Beautiful photo, thank you for sharing, feeling encouraged and uplifted. Have a blessed day. Tara.

  2. Anonymous5:06 PM

    Karrilee I love everything about this post, the picture, your words and your heart. I also know the hurting and the healing that you talk about. I am so thankful of His hand that holds us and heals us. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Oh my friend. This one just pulls at my heart. I'll admit to be a little biased in loving your words and posts, but this one feels a little extra special. Maybe its the open honesty and vulnerability in pulling back a layer; maybe its the fact that you're able to look back and have joy after being through that time; maybe its just the abundance of grace I see here. It is all beautiful as you shine a light on our Lord and the work He has done in your life. Thankful for His healing mercies. And for you.

  4. Thank you for sharing hope and grace, Karrilee. I pray your grip tightens on His and that your family sees the other side of this hurting. These words especially - "I had to find someone... maybe two... who would remind me of Truth when the lies felt more real"

  5. This post speaks to me and also makes me want to know more of your back story. I am glad I stopped by from Tell His Story.

  6. Curious about what it is you are talking about here, what you've been through to get to this place. Perhaps you've written about it before? I was thinking that much of our lives are represented by that picture, random, mundane clumps of moments that build the nest of our lives into a place that holds new birth. Lovely.

    1. Shelly, so lovely - yes - 'mundane clumps of moments that build the nest of our lives...'

      I probably could have linked to some other posts... because yes, I have written a bit about it over the last year or so. Even in those, though - things are left a bit blurry on purpose, just a little lacking in detail. Consider it a covering of sorts!

      It was through those hard eacharisteo's that we learned more of what grace really is - and what it really costs... thankful that we were all willing to saturate in it together!

  7. Hi Karrilee! Looking back is always so clear isn't it? How can we ever know what's ahead. It's probably a wise thing for God to hide our futures. I know I would be too weak, and think I couldn't make it. But, as you point out so beautifully, God is there all the time, with the strength to love you through.

    Love the matching colors in the photo, and the easy grace of it. I can see why you love it so much :)
    From #Tell His Story,

  8. Hi Karrilee,

    We had our family pictures taken on Sunday night near our home. I've gotten a sneak-peek at a few of them, and was surprised to see how many cool shots she got when we were completely unaware. Looking through the photos, it was like a window into my own soul and the souls of those dearest to me. It also reminded me how I need to take family photos more often.

    ~ Jennifer

    1. Jennifer - yes - I saw some of those family shots - GORGEOUS! I LOVED the one of ya'll in the tree - so pretty! Some of the unplanned shots are always the best... they show the real life, the interaction and the ease... I love those! And I agree - family photo's are essential - (especially in our culture filled with selfies and so many profile pictures - to have portraits that show our heritage and our roots... that show, as you said - the souls of those dearest to us - SO precious!)

  9. Dear Karrilee
    What a beautiful post and picture! I don't know what caused your so much suffering, but what I do know is that, as you and your family held Jesus' hand through it all, He worked only good out of your trial as He promises us. Your tender love for your Honey and Girlie never ceases to bless me! I remember you using this picture a long while ago and even then I thought it to be soooo special.
    Blessings XX

  10. Beautiful post, my friend! We have a picture almost identical to this that was taken during our family session a few months ago. (Minus the beach...rats.) ;) But I love it because we're holding hands and walking toward whatever is next...together. Thank you for the reminder that He walks with us, matter what is ahead. Blessings, sweet friend! Have a wonderful day! :)

  11. Oh sweet Karrilee!! I love your post and your heart! Your words always seem to bless me, sweet friend! I'm so glad we have that Hand to hold onto when life gets rough! Thank you for sharing with us!

  12. Yes, He goes before us, leading the way. What we see behind Him is just a taste of who HE is. We are just given glimpses so we can keep faith for what is ahead.


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