My grandmother passed away recently. Although I know where she is as a woman of faith, it still hurts to know she is no longer here with us. Recently, I had a memory of her, a memory that I had once forgotten but God brought to the forefront of my mind.
When I was a little girl, my grandma had a large Thomas Kinkade painting that I would frequently stare at in fascination. The painting was titled “Pools of Serenity” and featured a gazebo tucked away in a forest surrounded by colorful flowers. Next to a bright blue stream, you will notice a path that goes from the steps of the gazebo and leads into the forest. On numerous occasions, I would sit in front of this painting for extended periods of time taking it all in.
One day, while staring at this painting, my grandmother noticed me looking at it intently. She spoke to me and said “Ciara, if you look real close, you will see Jesus.” The moment she told me this, I searched the entire painting for a figure of Jesus. I was looking for the long brown hair, brown beard, sandals, and disciple styled clothing, but I never found someone who fit the description. Soon, while looking down the path into the distance, I saw a small outlined figure. You couldn’t decipher who the person was based on appearance, but this individual was clothed in white. I remember saying “I see Him! I see Jesus!” and my grandma smiled at me.
I won’t lie to you, I have been hurting since the death of my grandma. The pain has hit much harder than I anticipated. As a young girl, my grandma helped my father raise my sister and I for three years. The memories of spending those years with her have been on rewind in my mind over the course of this week. Throughout all these special moments, I’ll forever cherish that my grandmother taught me to see Jesus.
When my life gets hard, difficult, and trying? See Jesus. When I feel weak? See Jesus. When I want to give up? See Jesus. My grandmother instilled in me the love of the Father and through her example I learned to see Jesus in all things. When my life is in complete chaos and I am in way over my head?...see Jesus.
However, like I did as a little girl, it can be hard to see Jesus in the big picture. When everything else is catching your eye and you are searching for what you believe Jesus to be in that situation, you are usually left feeling as though He isn’t there. You feel as though Jesus has left you, forgotten you, overlooked you, or straight up abandoned you. You look at the big picture of your life, search for your interpretation of who Jesus should be in that moment, and feel lost when you don’t see what you are searching for. I get it because I have been in similar situations as well. In fact, I have been stuck in a situation like that recently.
“Ciara, if you look real close, you will see Jesus.” The death of my grandmother opened my eyes to see that Jesus is in the bigger picture, I need only to look closer. He may not be what I expect to see in the situation, so instead of forcing my own interpretation, I need to look real close and see Jesus for who He is and not who I think He should be. When I feel stuck in a rut of sorts, Jesus is there asking me to draw near. When I feel as though my life is closer to rock bottom than the glass ceiling, Jesus is reminding me that my true success is found in Him. When I feel as though I am disappointing everyone around me, Jesus lifts my spirit.
Jesus has always been part of the bigger picture. He has always been on the path before me, showing me the way. Even now, in my pain, I have decided to look “real close” and see that Jesus is here in my hurt. He hasn’t left my side or abandoned me to figure it out on my own. Jesus has been with me every step of the way and has championed me to continue forward in Him.
I want so desperately to put all my love for my grandmother into words because I want the world to know just how special she was. I know that is an impossible task because when you love someone as much as my family and I love my grandma, words do no justice. The only thing I can do to show the world how much I love my grandma is to live a life that sees Jesus in any season I find myself in. There will be days where I sit down and stare at my life in fascination and there will also be days where I sit, stare, and wonder what in the world I am looking at. At the end of the day, regardless of what picture I am staring into regarding my life, I will do as my grandmother said and look real close so I can see Jesus. The legacy she left is one that will continue to live through me and that’s ultimately to live for Him.
Grandma, I love you so much and I wish I had the time to thank you for everything you have done for me on this side of heaven. I hope I continue to make you proud. You ran your race so well and I promise to always see Jesus just as you did.