ReflectionsI am honestly not sure why this photo has stuck with me. It has something to do with how the top of it is all browns and the bottom is black and white…it isn’t a technically great shot, or even necessarily pretty—but the reflections being so different than the actual birds is really intriguing to me.

As I think about reflections, a couple of things do come to mind. The first is how often after prayerful reflection, things can and do look so different. If I am able to reflect, or practice the spiritual discipline of examen, I can actually see much more clearly. Often reflection helps me to see what is clouding my decision making: the pride, the anger, the envy, the bad habits, the unforgiveness. These sins stand out like the reflections of these Sandhill Cranes do on the water.

On the flipside, when I clear those things out, I can see more clearly God’s path for me. It doesn’t happen all of the time, but it happens enough now that I know to look for it that I do try and remember to look for it.Flightpath

Back to the Sandhill Cranes. They winter here in Alabama at the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge. I have read that anywhere from 12,000-20,000 will be here each winter.  They start back to Michigan in February. This is their path. My unscientific mind mulls over what would happen if they didn’t follow their path. It probably wouldn’t end very well. Good for me to remember.Sandhill Cranes

One more thing about reflections. They show you something that is there that you wouldn’t see without the reflection. My devotion this morning (Jesus Calling, Sarah Young, Feb 8) “happened” to discuss Peter walking on water, on a surface that can’t really be seen. This is a great passage for God to give me right now as my new path seems to be taking me where I haven’t been before. What a great reminder in the devotion:

“I guarantee that you will always have problems in this life, but they must not become your focus. When you feel yourself sinking into the sea of circumstances, say, “Help me, Jesus!” and I will draw you back to me. If you have to say that thousands of times daily, don’t be discouraged. I know your weakness, and I meet you in that very place.”

I am thankful that wherever God’s path for me goes, that Jesus will be right there to help me.

And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. 

And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea.

But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear.

But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” 

Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”  When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”  (Matt. 14:28-32, NRSV)

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10 thoughts on “Reflections

  1. The CS Lewis quote was just what I needed today, thank you! 😊 You have such a gift, your photos are pure art….miss you and love you!


  2. I miss you a lot ! It’s wonderful to see your photos and hear your thoughts –the next best thing to having you here with us .
    Bless you, Shannon .


  3. Thank you for sharing this Shannon. I find the photo to be breathtaking, so serene and balanced in nature. Your reflections are so helpful to me – the lifelong student. Thank you for the reminder and re-examination of the spiritual discipline of examen. May your path lead back to see us at some point, you are dearly missed.


  4. Hi Shannon,
    Blessings to you! Thanks so much for this wonderful message!
    I was in North Carolina’s Outer Banks this weekend. There were so many swans that winter on the Sound there… They were just beautiful! Your thoughts about the cranes in Alabama really ring true.
    We miss you at VPC!! Best wishes in the job search!
    Paula Fergusson


    1. Time flys faster and faster as the migrating birds would tell us if they could talk. So that each renewal of trust in God comes sooner than the day before.


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