When you picture Jesus, what do you see? What is His posture toward you? What is the look on His face? What do you see in His eyes? I believe these to be some of the most fundamental questions for those who follow Jesus.
For a variety of reasons, I think we often have it wrong. We picture His arms crossed, or Him shaking His head. We see disappointment in His eyes. But I don’t think that when we see those things, we are actually seeing Him. We’ve built a picture of Him based on our own brokenness, and not based on His Beauty, the truth of who He is.
As a mama, I have a few practices that I have put into place in my life to cultivate the type of environment I want for my children. (Stick with me here…) One of my most life-giving of these “mothering practices” is to seek that in every first encounter with my children each day, they would be met by me with a look of love and affection. This was inspired by an interview on The Oprah Show with Toni Morrison years ago. She asks (referring to when your children walk into the room), "Does your face light up?" She explained, "When my children used to walk in the room when they were little, I looked at them to see if they had buckled their trousers or if their hair was combed or if their socks were up. . . . You think your affection and your deep love is on display because you're caring for them. It's not. When they see you, they see the critical face. What's wrong now?" She said, "Let your face speak what's in your heart. When they walk in the room my face says I'm glad to see them. It's just as small as that, you see?"
This penetrated my heart and has shaped me as a mama. When my children get out of bed in the morning, it is my heart’s desire to greet them with my warmth, a smile that’s reflected not only on my mouth but through my eyes. They awaken to open arms ready to embrace them with affection as their first experience of the day. I seek to do this when they arrive home from school or work or piano lesson or a play date. I want them to picture a countenance of love and affection toward them when they picture me. I want this to form their identity as my beloved children.
It’s amazing to me how God so often reveals Himself in the most unexpected, seemingly small, mundane moments of life. Just the other day, I was simply feeding Isaac his lunch. I walked over to talk with him and I smiled really big, my heart filling with love and affection for him. And the way he looked at me just absolutely took my breath away. He literally radiated my love, reflecting it right back to me. His eyes sparkled and his body leaned in and his face lit up, with his round-and-rosy-cheeked smile. It felt supernatural.
Immediately I sensed in my spirit, “Christy, this is the way I look at you. With utter love and kindness and celebration…And the way Isaac looks. This is how I see you. Radiant with my love, reflecting in the center of your being my very self… I look at you, ever and always, with lavish love.”
The words from Psalm 34:5 immediately came to mind….Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.
Shame. This insidious part of being human that the enemy loves to trigger with his lies about our worth, our purpose, our belonging. There is so much shame everywhere. I see it so often on people’s faces, in their eyes. And I experience it too, just like every human being does.
"Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces." (New Living Translation)
If I could really see the way Jesus is looking at me, radiance would stream from my soul and shame would have to run the other away.
Oh my precious Jesus. Thank you for this picture. How kind you are to come to me through my baby boy and show me, once again, how your look of love changes everything. Please help me to fix my eyes on you, ever an always, and to always know in the depth of my being that I am your Beloved Daughter whom you delight in and sing over and rejoice in…and please touch every one who is reading these words with a fresh revelation of your life-changing, soul-altering love.
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