Thursday, December 29, 2011

do you see Him? He's here with us....

before i begin i want you to know,
i humbly took these images of a gorgeous new home around the corner from my own home.

i contacted a family member related to the home owner & 
asked if i could have permission to write about what i saw.
the images & the poignancy of this site.
these images break my heart...
however i also see HOPE here.
& that is exactly what He wants you to see too...

this was obviously to be someone's dream home.
i envision plans & details layed out on a kitchen table for quite sometime
until this gorgeous home came to fruition.

it was stacked stone & gorgeous
a circular drive
a large pool in the back.
i had never gone inside but knew it was to be on the tour of homes
for the highschool my girls attend...
then just before thanksgiving, it burned to the ground.
all those dreams, all the newness

it's truly a horrific site to see the remains of a fire.
it's frightening and dark
it hurts your heart whether you knew the home owners or not.
years of personal belongings & dreams

a few weeks after the fire
dan asked if i had noticed the manger scene.
i was quite certain it had not been up prior to the fire.
sure enough, it was built after the home burned down.

the sides of the structure....were the sides of her grandchildren's bed...after the fire.
(the grandchildren also put up the Christmas tree for her after the fire)

the thought that a nativity scene was built
the fire.
after the horrific incident.
out of the mess
out of the seemingly hopeless situation
there sat the manger.

right in the middle of all the mess
sat the manger.

 i pondered on how symbolic that scene was.
how powerful.
what a true picture of how He came.
He left Heaven's throne
where angels sing Holy Holy Holy to Him
never ceasing praise.
He left that
to come into our world
your world.

if you have ever thought your sin was too big 
or your past was too dark
your heart was too far gone
or the things you've done are too messy for Him.
it's not.
they're not.
is too far gone for Him.

she was an unwed pregnant teenager
he was a simple carpenter.
he figured he'd honor her & go ahead and marry her
but divorce her quietly later.

she claimed she was a virgin
& that the Holy Spirit came upon her
& that she would deliver the savior.
the one they had waited long waited for 
to free her people.
no one believed her.
of course no one believed her.
what a scandal.

they thought their savior was to be a mighty warrior
that he would come to the golden power city Jerusalem.
Jerusalem was the holy city where the temple was located.

they sure weren't expecting a baby...
in Bethlehem.
nothing good came from Bethlehem.

mary & joseph were traveling & realized she was soon to give birth.
it actually didn't happen in a barn
it was a hollowed out indention in the mountain
where animals could hide for shelter.
there was yuck there, messy smelly animal yuck there.

it was not clean nor was it quiet.
it was dark and messy.

an angel shows up to shepherds.
shepherds were smelly & dirty & poor.
the shepherds were tending to the sheep
that incidentally were being raised and would be taken to Jerusalem
for sacrifice for people's sin.

are you following this?
how amazing is that detail.
the first people that found out that their savior
promised about 400 years earlier
had been born
were the shepherds tending to the sheep
that were the sacrifice for sins.
yet HE was to be THE final sacrifice for sins.
i love that detail.

the shepherds weren't even allowed in the temple
HE came to them.
not in a fancy church with perfect pews & a steeple
to them.
out in their filth & dirt.
on a dark night.
THE light came to them.

majesty in the mess.
that's how He came.

if you have ever felt you couldn't make it to God
please know 
that Jesus 

& that my friends
is the HOPE of glory.
the HOPE that all will be made right one day.
the HOPE that you were never alone.

as i drove around the back of this home that dark dreary rainy day
it took my breath away
to see the cross from the church across the street
through the burned down ruins of this home.

the cross, the scene of his death, on one view.
the manger, the scene of his birth on the other view.

the cross
the reminder that HE came
oh He came alright,
not to who "they" thought
or to where "they" thought
but He came
& then He gave His life.
no more slaughtered sheep
no more blood of any clean animals.
He was the perfect sinless one.
He gave His life for us.
& love
all right there
to view
through the dark charred mess

He was there all along.
majesty in the mess
hope in the midst of a storm
or a fire
or cancer
or divorce
or unemployment
or famine
or fear

God with us.

do you see Him?
He is Emmanuel
He is here with you...

& to the homeowners
my prayers are with you
as you rebuild your home & your hearts

my prayer for 2012 is that my life, my words & actions, my home
glorifies the Lord.
that whatever glimpse you get into my life
through reading these simple thoughts i have
while somedays it's a silly thought
somedays it's heartfelt
that He is glorified.

isaiah 61.3
"To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified."

 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

luke 2


KTG said...

You just made me tear up.So wonderful, the gospel never loses its power.
I'm blow drying my hair while I read this.Started to smell it burning, I was so captivated by your words!

Anonymous said...

Glory be to God. Thank you for writing this, we all need some encouraging words in our lives. My prayer for the New Year is the same as yours. May we all lift his name on high & know that HE is always with us no matter what. God Bless you and your family!!

Love Being A Nonny said...


Jeannine said...

Thank you, thank you, Paige, for sharing these powerful images and awe-filled words. I have shivers and tears...I needed to read this today. The mess is not too big for HIM, in fact, He was born into a messy situation.

I can start over this morning, because His mercies are new, and you have reminded me of that in a truly convicting way.

Rebecca said...

I have been reading your blog for a long time now, but this is my first comment. Thank you so much for this, you have no idea how much it blessed me. And my prayers are with this family.

Between You and Me said...

oh, how I love these words...this truth.
the glimpses of your life that we see here at simple thoughts does glorify him...

praying for the home owners....

Sheri said...

Wow. This is by far your best post Paige. Love it! Praying for your dear neighbors and thank you for sharing your blog with us - Happy New Year to you and your beautiful family. So glad that God crossed our paths this year and thanks so much for being an inspiration to us all. xo

just ask beth said...

so tragic,but a profound message that our God is and always will be with us!

katie purcell said...


Meg said...

Absolutely, stunningly beautiful. Thank you for filling my heart with hope this morning. What a Savior!

Pine Tree Home said...

Thanks for taking the time to share this.

Talia said...

What a beautiful post. Thank you, thank you. This is EXACTLY what my weary soul needed.

God is great and ever present.

Kim said...

Well said, mt friend. Well said.

Shannon said...

Amazing Paige! What a beautiful post.

Sogni Siciliani said...

Very touched by the story but miracles do happen. I hope the family is able to recover from their loss.
A miracle occured in cincinnati on Christmas Eve.
A lamb was born at the Nativity scene at the Krohn Conservatory.
The night watchman was present to witness the birth.
It send chills down my spine to think about it.
Take a look at the links.

Hope you have a wonderful New Year!!!
Love your blog.

Belle (from Life of a...) said...

So touching...thank you...and blessings on the dear family who lost their home.

fleurcottage said...

that is so amazing...these folks took the time to present Jesus in their pain - what a testimony! thank you for sharing the Good News!

A Thrifted Market said...

Truly a wonderful post!! May the Lord bless this family as they pick up the pieces and may we all carry this reminder in our hearts throughout the New Year! Happy New Year Paige!

Bravehearted Beauty {formerly LLH Designs} said...

My heart has been tuned into very similar thoughts this Christmas season. I wrote about the imperfection of Christmas on my blog {and mentioned the stinky, poopy stable}...startled a few friends. It's deep stuff. Good stuff.

So sorry to hear of anyone losing their home to fire. Church friends with young children lost everything on Christmas night to a fire. But the Lord is their strength, shelf, defender, shepherd and savior.

Hugs to you and this dear family.

Bravehearted Beauty {formerly LLH Designs} said...

Oops...meant SHIELD, not shelf! But the Lord is our everything, so surely He can be a shelf to us if needed. :)

Gina said...

Beautiful. Some people would only see a burned down house. God gives eyes to see so much more. I'm glad you did. :) And glad you shared. ;)

Privet and Holly said...

Just what my
heart needed
to read today,
dear friend.

xx Suzanne

3 Peanuts said...

Such beautiful words and images paired here. Sad but beautiful too because there is always hope in God. All you do glorifies Him, Paige.

The home owners have my prayers.


Anonymous said...

BEAUTIFUL!!!! I am simply breathless. What a picture of Christ our Savior and KIng.
Thank You Paige for sharing your heart. I am challenged and all the better for it.


Anonymous said...

But He wasn't with us when cancer struck and I don't understand why

Debby said...

It is amazing that the manager scene was built after the fire. Seeing the cross from across the street showing beyond the ruins......amazing. Such a beautiful sad but such a reminder of what is important and how God can give hope. Hopefully no one was injured.
Great words.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post..You have "Simple Thoughts" but they are "So Inspiring"..

Kerri said...

The image of the cross from the church gave me goosebumps. Your photos are always amazing, but this leaves me in awe.
There was a house fire in a neighboring town Christmas night. It was a million dollar home, yet regardless the message is the same. The family had everyone over Chrismtas day and that night they left for a ski trip. Everyone survived bc they were not there during the fire. How fortunate that they are hereas survivors!

Courtney DeFeo said...

beautiful paige!

Wendy said...

Thank you, Paige, for bringing new insight to the wonderful message of the Gospel--good news. Believers have hope and that hope is for everyone who believes.

Wendy said...

Paige, Thank you for your beautiful words and these poignant images. A true message of the meaning of Christmas, and a beautiful prayer for the new year.

Bethanie said...

Simply beautiful Paige...the picture with the cross in the background gave me chills...your words are so poignant and beautiful, heard the story so many times, but reading your words made it so real. thank you.

Shelley Chic said...

WOW!What powerful, amazing words! Thank you for sharing & for reminding everyone that God is with us, always. Bless you!

Katherine @ Grass Stains said...

What a wonderful post! So touching to see the nativity scene in the middle of someone's personal devastation. Thank you for sharing it with us!

Lady Courtney said...

The was the best post on a blog I have ever read! AMEN!!! When bad things happen, we must remember he is there for us! Happy New Year!!!

Lemonade Makin' Mama said...

This... the words and your photos... they made me cry. I shared them with my man and cried some more. I'm giving it to a friend in need of this encouraging reminder right now too. Happy New Year.

Anonymous said...

I had to read this three times to get through the whole thing without crying. I'm just speechless because it is so beautiful and so perfect...your words, the story, the steeple, the manger. Thank you for sharing it all with us ~

XO sarah

Bonnie said...

Wow, Paige. I will remember this for a long time. Beautiful and thought provoking.

Jill said...

Beautifully written. <3

christina said...

i couldn't comment from work on this post, but had to return.
i carried this post with me saturday morning... and i thank you, as i walked trying to be brave, i thought of these words, and didn't feel so alone. glory be.

Carol S. said...

This is the post I was meant to start my new year on. Beautiful post glorifying His name. I'm sorry for anonymous that suffered through cancer and all who have struggled through so much, and pray for faith through the storms. Thank you Paige, Happy New Year.

susan murphy said...

Beautiful post, Paige...thanks for sharing such a Glorious message and amazing pictures. What a reminder that He is always with us...

Ramona said...

Absolutely beautiful post. Thank you.

stacey said...

that truly is beautiful. thank you so much for sharing this!

Kat said...

Paige, it breaks my heart every time I drive by this house on my way to Publix. I admired this house, every step of the way from the time it was framed to completion. The first time I drove by it after the fire, Lauren and I both cried. Broke our hearts, she whimpered from her carseat, "Mommy, what happened to that beautiful house? Is everyone okay?!?!?" The first time I saw the Nativity scene in the yard, it symbolized hope and was such a scene of beauty, that all was not lost in the fire, but rather how incredibly strong their faith was. It saddened me the other day to see the house completely leveled, but I hope that it marks the beginning of the reconstruction of the new home in its place. Beautiful post! I especially love the pictures of the SJN steeple peeking up over the roof line. Just beautiful.

Michele said...

LOVED this, thank you for sharing your simple thoughts that are so profound!! Love your blog, hope one day we can meet, I am a good friend of Tara's from between you and me.....thanks again for sharing!! Beautiful!!

RachelRAdams said...

precious post ~ my heart, thoughts & prayers are with this family. your story pointed us once again to christ, looking upward!thank you

Joleen said...

So beautifully well written. Hope beyond circumstances, and even Hope in the middle of the circumstance. Jesus, You are worthy.

sara@augustfields said...

paige....thank you for this. i treasure these words like you do.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post! May God bless you and the family who lost their home in the fire.

Diane J/Ohio

Heather said...

Oh wow, those are such moving words and pictures!

Alecia said...

Thank you for that beautiful picture...your passion for Him & His Truth is encouraging. My prayers go out to that sweet family.

christan perona said...

Oh, Paige, this is my FAVORITE of all of your posts. Absolutely phenomenal. Thanks for being so bold. I plan to post about this post on my own blog next Christmas. :)

Kelli said...

I have chills...and tears.