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it is old news that us southerners experienced some eventful snow days recently.  wanting to fully experience these rare snowy moments, i rushed out the other evening to take pictures as the snow began to fall.

photo 1

i live right beside my church in the sweet “mayberryesque” town of homewood.  so as the much talked about snow (not ice, that’s what we usually get.) began to fall, i couldn’t wait to get outside and experience it.  there may have been snowmen and snowball fights, but my first priority was to take some pictures. i crossed the street to the church and quickly snapped a picture of the front of our sanctuary.  when looking at it later i thought, hey that’s not half bad.  i mean i don’t need to quit my day job, but i thought i captured the whole scene quite nicely. (even if it was taken with my phone.)

photo 2


then later that evening i saw a picture that my friend and coworker, andy cartee, had taken and shared on our church’s facebook page. same night, same building, and same snow, but i was blown away by how much more beautiful his picture was.  i kept saying to myself, “danielle, you should have stepped back to really see the whole picture.”  how did i miss those incredible snow-covered oaks? while my close up was just a glimpse of what surrounded me, andy captured the bigger, more beautiful picture. his is boldly framed with glorious oaks. (i sound like my mother as i go on and on about trees.)

i know these are simple snow pictures, but i keep thinking about how i all too often approach life, ministry, and God’s story like i did my photograph.  i zoom in and fixate on one or two issues. depending on what i perceive in my small frame, i can feel complacent, worried, prideful, scared, angry, or sad. when focused on my tiny view, i can miss an opportunity to see the greater picture.  i miss the oaks.

since that snowy night last week, these are the lessons i have been continually repeating to myself:

when the lens of life’s journey captures moments that don’t seem fair or make sense… step back.  what is unfocused to me, my great God sees clearly.

instead of allowing ministry challenges/successes to frame the way i serve… step back.  maybe it is time to broaden my view and remember God holds the landscape in His hands.

when things don’t go my way…step back.  i am constantly in need of the humble reminder that God is the main subject of the story, not me.

because i didn’t step back, my picture is void of the oaks. may that not be the case for my life.

“they will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.” isaiah 61:3

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