In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth – Gen 1:1 (NIV)

So, this picture was from a hiking adventure at the Gatineau Park in Quebec.  After I and my team reached the top of the mountain – I took this snapshot.  I later decided to attach one of my favorite bible verse to it. 

It’s from Isaiah 61:1-3, which says that “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.”

As I read this scripture, I started thinking of how so many people are battling  various types of challenges.  During these times, most are incapable of seeing the beauty in anything.  I know because I have also been through some high and low seasons in my life.  Like many of you, I came to the realization that it is possible to choose victory over defeat. 

While people may tell you to rise up and keep moving.  In the end, the choice will ultimately be yours.  Please know that in no way am I taking those seasons of hopelessness lightly.  I am very aware that there are times (for reasons beyond our control – perhaps a health challenge) that it may be difficult to just “rise up and move.” 

However, I believe that the one thing that is important to be aware of regarding our journey here on earth is to realize that we live in a broken world.  For me, this is a reminder that pain and suffering is inevitable. 

I know this is hard for most to understand or accept sometimes.  Especially since we live in a world that sometimes associates suffering with failure or sin.  Yes, there are times when sin hinders our growth.  However, having this realization of a broken world helps set the stage for how we will face and handle the tough times – when they do come.

You have heard it many times that “everybody has a story.”  Those who often have a smile on their faces, as well as those who put a smile on the faces of others.  The longer we live, the more we see that no one is immune to the challenges that comes with life.  There are times when we experience emptiness or feel that not a single person truly understands what we are going or have gone through.  This is one of those lies that can linger on our minds – which sadly, most people (myself included) have sometimes believed.

I have met and continue to meet a lot of people who have shared their stories with me.  There is one thing that cannot be debated or that is otherwise universal across the board.  It is that everyone has in the past experienced or is currently experiencing some form of challenge.

As I browsed through some of my collection of photos, I thought about how to use them to tell stories that inspires.  I also reflected on how we are all capable of recognizing the significance of whatever crosses our path – most especially if we took a little time out of our busy lives to just “be still.”  I hope my picture collection helps you to see things that you ordinarily would not have paid attention to. 

As you begin this journey with me, I leave you with one of my favorite children’s song.  It goes – “All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small, All things wise and wonderful, The Lord God made them all.” (Hymn by Cecil Frances Alexander)

Be well…