yesterday morning i sat on the beach waiting for the sun to rise. i was doing everything i could to hold onto my camera and still somehow keep my hands from freezing. this was the first time in a long time that i had actually set out to take some pictures on my own time, almost hoping that my original love for it would return. it seems the passion fades in the busyness of "doing" photography if i'm not careful.
i had arrived a little earlier than I had planned and i was so close to going back to the car to turn on the heat and wait there. until an older lady came up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder. "excuse me, excuse me, but do you have anything that could open this?" i turned around, looked down, and saw the bag of raisin bran. "i want to feed the birds, but i just can't seem to get this open."
immediately a flood of questions ran through my head. is she serious? is she crazy? why in the world would you ever want to feed the birds? am i really going to be interrupted by thousands of seagulls flying overhead just to get a piece of cereal? doesn't she see i have a camera? how am i supposed to get the pictures that i want as i'm dodging birds for every shot?
"yeah, of course, here you go..." and i pulled my car keys out of my pocket and sliced a big hole in the top of the bag. "oh, thank you so much!" she said. she walked about 15 feet behind me, emptied the entire bag of raisin bran onto the ground, and then took off for her morning run along the beach, not worried one bit that i was the one left to deal with the soon-to-be chaos.
well, the inevitable happened. birds came from everywhere. i don't know where they are before the food is on the ground, but they sure do figure it out quickly. large groups of seagulls would swoop down, feast on the cereal, and swoop back up into the sky. back and forth, back and forth. this went on for at least 5 minutes...and yes, i was dodging birds left and right, and actually laughing at myself out on the beach. stand, sit, stand, squat. you get the picture.
in the middle of everything, the sun began to rise. and i started to realize that the large groups of swooping birds would actually make for a really great shot. i swung my camera around to the front of my body and started snapping. click, click, click. soon the raisin bran was no more, and the seagulls dispersed.
on my way home, i started thinking about the selfishness of my heart. that i had come to the beach with my plans in mind. and in those moments on the beach, no thought ever crossed my mind in considering what the lady wanted. it was all about me. what i wanted. and it was all hidden inside my heart. from the outside, she would have never known what i was thinking. i responded positively and helped her with what she needed. but that's not the point because there was a huge problem on the inside.
here's the kicker. even in my selfishness...in the exact moment of selfishness...God said, "here you go, Katherine, experience something gorgeous. watch the birds fly across the sky with the sun beginning to rise behind the ocean. see the beauty. i have the power to do all things, to create all things, and i want you to see me in these things."
y'all, he meets us where we are. that's amazing! and because of his great love, i want to praise Him! i don't want to be characterized by my selfishness, but i want to love Him and serve Him, and love others and serve others.
you don't have to have it all together. when we come to Him, and allow him to, he changes us! he can take the ugliness inside of us and make it beautiful. he does this, not because of anything that we've done or not done, but because he loves us. it's by His grace. and i'm so thankful for that.