Truth on a Picture Card

The old theme song from Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood echoed in my ears as I dropped Jon off at school . . . “It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor. . . .”

Jon and I had left for school on time, reviewed Jon’s affirmation page created for our commute, and considered his contribution to society as we conversed about statements such as, “Jon has great things to say,” “Jon is valued and important,” and “Jon does his best and that is good enough.” I relish mornings like this because it appears Jon’s sense of self-worth and confidence is strengthened—a process the Lord and I talk over quite often. On this high note, I began the drive home.

(Photography by Osvaldo Gago, cc-by-sa-2.5)

(Photography by Osvaldo Gago, cc-by-sa-2.5)

Traffic was unusually slow . . . like s-l-o-w-motion S L O W. And then, traffic stopped for so long I began to look for a parking meter and wasn’t so fond of Mr. Rogers anymore.

Two hours and 10 miles later, I reached home, greeted by construction workers clanking, banging, scraping away our old carpet, and installing wood flooring. The wood dust looked like smog had filled our home. Suffocating in dust, I climbed over stacks of furniture and scads of paperwork to find my computer. By mid-afternoon, I felt toxic and needed some air.

As I went to stand, a huge pile of picture cards for Jon’s communication needs splattered all over the dust-coated floor.

Picture cards are common tools used to help facilitate communication for those with communication challenges or intellectual disabilities. The pictures represent a sequence of activities typical folks do automatically: getting up and dressed, getting out the door and to work, and going through the day. Most do the thousands of one-step processes without difficulty. To aid people with neurological challenges, each step is pictured on a card or chart.

In many ways, such cards are lifelines to functioning.

God’s Truth in Pictures

While dusting off the 15 cards Jon uses when he brushes his teeth, I began to think about truth. God uses word pictures to help us understand Him and how we can function in this broken world of ours. Think with me in pictures . . .

  • a cloud and fire for the Exodus
  • a fortress and rock for our protection
  • the stars and nature revealing God’s creative work
  • tears for sorrow
  • a checklist (if you will) for the Ten Commandments
  • open hands for God’s generosity and grace
  • the rod and staff for correction and reproof
  • the crown of thorns for His death
  • deep roots for faith
  • water as refreshment
  • eagle’s wings for rest
  • the empty tomb for resurrection
  • the breastplate of righteousness

And on we could go for pages.

(Photo by Mark Kobayashi-Hillary. CC-BY-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

(Photo by Mark Kobayashi-Hillary. CC-BY-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Of all the cards I would choose, it would be a picture of the cross, for it is there that Christ demonstrated His love for us and died so that we may have eternal life. Our hope begins at the foot of the cross . . . where we release, surrender, and embrace the Christian life as it is.

Let Me Hear from You

We all need to be reminded of God’s simple truths because they are lifelines for us all as we live surrendered to Him.

Will you share with me what image of God’s truth you’d have on your picture card? I look forward to hearing from you.

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

  • RohnaH

    Hello again,Colleen!

    I was glad to see your message in my inbox this morning. My picture card (at least for this current part of life) would be running shoes for perseverance and running the race that God has set for me. As I read your entry about Jon’s picture cards, I thought about all that’s done for both my boys (on the spectrum) here at home as well as at school. My older son, Paul, uses a picture schedule and the teachers have been so great to implement that in each class he has, from reading to speech and even lunchtime! Currently, he doesn’t have a picture schedule at home, but I think once we get his waiver services going (yay! he just received his slot a month or so ago) that is something I can get his worker to do for/with him. God meets us right at the point of our need, doesn’t He?

    • Dear RohnaH,
      Well hello again, friend. I LOVE your comment! Running shoes can represent so much; as you said perseverance and running the race before us. I also thought of the many times I ran in and out of offices looking for answers and yet the Lord called me to wait. And from there, many hours running around parks and homes asking for strength. God is so faithful, so willing to help us through even when we are running away from Him. Thank you for sharing such a vivid word picture…reading it today is so meaningful as I am running to the Lord for help with illness. Your words have been God’s faithful reminder that He is near. Thank you. May He continue to empower you as you walk with Him each moment and serve your family with hope and love. Colleen

      • RohnaH

        Thank you for your kind words, Colleen! We may never meet in person, but I think of you as a friend, too. 🙂 I hope you (or whomever is not feeling well) feel better soon.

        • RohnaH

          Geez. It should be whoever, not whomever. Serves me right for using such a hoity-toity word. lol

        • RohnaH,
          Yep, it’s me. Thank you for the encouragement and prayers.
          Let’s stay connected! = ) Colleen

  • Wayne Bays

    The image that I would like to have is the look on Job’s face when God finally answered him in the last 3 chapters of his book. I’m sure I’ll have the same look some day.

    • Wayne,
      WOW! What a fantastic thought. I don’t know if it could be pictured…so much loss and grief, yet so much comfort and care in those final chapters. A face of humility, brokenness, sorrow, hope, relief, respect, righteous fear of our Holy God mixed with a softened brow of our gentle shepherd. I can’t imagine. Your words have brought something new to imagine about our Lord…how wonderful it is be still and think on such things. Thanks so much for your comment. Hope to hear from you again. Colleen

  • donna

    I am not sure if this is what you are asking but my picture card would be of a limousine driver, with me in the back seat of the car. It would remind me that God is in control, he knows exactly where I am going and he knows how to get me there. He will handle any thing that might happen to jump out in front of the car. So I guess in one word , Trust.

    • Donna,
      This is exactly what I was wondering…how we picture Christ in our lives says so much about our beliefs in Him. As I read your words, I sat back and thought of you, being a queen, carefully driven by our faithful Father who promises to know the way. There is a calm sense of peace…you weren’t frantically reaching for a map, telling the driver where to go, or worried about being lost…there is a tone of elegant resignation that you-a queen-are secure and cared for without fear. Oh how I love this word picture. Thank you for sharing it with all of us. What a blessing! Colleen

  • Keli Miller

    My picture of God would be when one of our Angel’s Arms, (our special needs ministry at church), children got on a horse for the first time this summer during our adventure weekend. His smile and the smiles of everyone clapping and cheering are just how I know it is going to be when we go home. No one will be different and everyone will be cheering everyone on and will be sincerely excited and happy.

    • Keli,
      Oh my, what a word picture. My son has done some equine therapy and you are right, there is such joy in the experience! I wonder if some of it is the feeling of delight…others are looking UP to them, which rarely happens with those who are different. You picture of heaven is wonderful…clapping and cheering one another on! I immediately thought of the experiences we have with my son’s involvement in Miracle League; a sports organization dedicated to offering a variety of athletic team events for those with disabilities. We cheer on everyone…anyone who runs in either direction, carries or hits a ball, is pushed by a buddy to the goal line…it doesn’t matter the color of the jersey or the level of difficulty, we are simply delighted to share time together. How wonderful that will be in heaven. I love your comment and hope to hear from you again. Thanks so much for reminding us all to remember heaven awaits. Have a great day! Colleen

  • jean

    The picture that pops in my memory is Christ’s agony in Gethsemane before his crucifixion.Especially His statement Father let this cup pass over me not as i will but as you will.

    Even up to now that i am almost 33 years as a christian i still find it difficult to obey the lord in some areas that i needed strengthening in my weak points.And without that picture i cannot have the lead on what to do in making decisions that is laborious for me to obey,i am thankful that i need not sweat, blood but there are times that my tears are so deep that my veins i think will be tore apart.

    I find comfort in God’s promise that those who sow in tears will reap in joy.

    Yes there is joy in sowing in tears,for God really knows the deep seated sorrow and grief we shed for every tears.Though i do not see my deliverance yet,there is a blessed assurance that waiting will bear the sweet fruit of an answered cry for victory not as i will but His will be done.

    • Jean,
      If you only knew how many times I call to mind the picture of Christ and his death for me…how He obeyed even unto death. What grace! Just today, I came upon some ‘old stuff’…fell into old habits of focusing my mind elsewhere and not fully on Christ. Oh how I hate it when the Lord gently reminds me that I’ve once again, needed His grace. Always and always more grace! About tears…I have found they are cleansing to the soul; tears carve our places in us that make room for us to grow in empathy, grace, mercy, kindness, gentleness, servant hood, unselfishness, and more. So as we grieve what we have lost, we gain what Christ wants to put in us. Hardly a day passes that a few tears don’t touch my cheeks so you are in great company. It’s wonderful to hear from you! You sound like such a gentle soul; I would love to stay in touch. Have a peace-filled afternoon! Colleen

      • jean

        Right colleen we are in the right company our Lord Himself is a man of sorrow.

        The good thing about our God given sorrow is the Joy that is with it,for it is a sorrow of love for our needy loved ones,that our lord
        ‘s love sustains.

        • And He does sustain us, doesn’t He, Jean.
          So great to hear from you again. Have a wonderful day!
          Colleen