Learning to See: 101 A Beginning


Today I am honored to feature the second part of a guest post by a very special woman, Elise Finch, whose insights are evident in this second of a two part reflective post series.



Not many of us feel we need instruction on ‘learning to see.’ We open our eyes in the morning, blink a few times to clear the sleep away, yawn dramatically, stretch emphatically, place our feet on the floor and push off into our day.


As I’ve gotten a bit older, now 47 years of age, I no longer take for granted that blinking a few times will signal clear sight in the morning. I have scars on my corneas which prevent my natural tears from moistening each lens. While not hindering my overall 20/20 vision, the chronic dry eye which has resulted means that it takes a bit longer and often some drops to allow my eyes to focus well.


I lumber downstairs to our coffee pot and fill the largest mug I can find with my morning ‘nectar’ and settle in to my comfy spot on the couch for my devotions. Upon reaching for my glasses, I notice they are smudged… again. Clarity of sight becomes a daily struggle, first my eyes, then waking up my brain with caffeine, finding those glasses which seem to walk ‘by themselves’ around our first floor, tending to them and then sitting down to open up God’s Word.


cross-out-of-focus-c2a9-2014-simon-peter-sutherlandSight! It can require a little work to bring it into focus.


I open God’s word, visual acuity in hand, and set out for fellowship with God. I check my devotional ‘plan,’ open to the section of Scripture upon which I’m studying, grasp my favorite pen and journal, ready to receive from Him, when… Blast! That conflict I had with my spouse last evening, settles in beside me. Words from within compete with the words on the page in front of me. A sleepy child stumbles through the room carrying their Bible, like a toddler carrying a teddy behind him. “Morning Mom! I sure wish it wasn’t mid-August. I hate school.” Their heavy sigh completes the statement and wafts through the room hitting me in the face. I home school. They hate school. If only I were a better teacher, a better mom, more creative… A car alarm goes off, my older son’s. “Austin, could you please shut that thing off before we wake the neighborhood?” He charges down the stairs like 20 men, door slams, car alarm turns off and we all try to adjust to the adrenaline which met us through the slam of the door. Again, I turn to the Word. Where did I leave off? What am I doing? How do I find God in the midst of the fog?


Seeing often takes a little work to bring Him into focus.


I’ve pondered this on many a morning; seeing involves understanding the relationship between your eyes and the object that you are seeing. The infant learning to see, learns to see within the context of relationship, first its mother, whom he’s heard through 9 months of living inside her, then through touching her face and making out the shape of her cheek. Her cheek lends another sensation to the infant hand; it’s soft. That soft cheek leads the infant’s focus to the curve of her mouth, the curl of a smile, the sound of a voice filled with pleasure. He knows her love, before he sees her love. He understands the word, “love” because the word has a rich context rooted in intense relationship. Intense because initially, she is his world and he’ll understand everything else in the world in relationship to her.


As adults, we continue to learn to see similarly. Although in our busyness, we often confuse visual acuity with actual sight. We live in a fast paced world, lead frenetic lives, frustrate our senses with the immediate and the urgent. We pursue the expedient and shun the exhaustive, often carelessly assuming they are one and the same.


We approach relationships similarly. Looking at a text on our phone, we presume to understand tone. A Facebook post tempts us to believe we have some understanding of what’s happening in another’s life. A sermon touches our hearts and we assume we’ve not only absorbed that teaching, but have the scripture readily available, it’s truths deeply applied and accessible. We see much, while in the midst of all that life and technology teases us to believe, we understand little.


Seeing involves comprehending the relationship between what your eyes visually take in while delving deeply into understanding the object of your focus. IMG_1936 2


Seeing God, whether in the midst of a morning’s “quiet time,” finding Him in the midst of a significant trial, apprehending His hand when the wind is raging, the waves are high and He appears asleep in the boat involves a little work to bring Him into focus.


God’s Word isn’t ‘just words.’ John 1:1-5 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”


In the beginning was the Word. The Word wasn’t a book, it was/is a man, Jesus Christ. He was in the beginning with God and all things were made through him… everything from the trees outside, to your person, your innermost thoughts and feelings and the day you are now experiencing. (Psalm 139 says he knit us in our mother’s wombs and every day was planned for us before one of them came to be.)


In Jesus is life and it was by his Word that life was created, the spoken word and now the written Word. John 21:31 “..these are written so that you may believe that Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” Life at birth and life through rebirth and life in the midst of the “stuff of life” which needs His life.


His life was and remains the light of men and as we approach his Word, that light shines in the darkness, whether the fog of an uncaffeinated morning, or life giving truth in the midst of trial, or whispers on the wind of a storm, “You have not been overcome. You remain and I rest in the boat because I have a plan for you and you are in the midst of it. I see the end of the matter and if you did too, you also would be at peace.”


Seeing involves understanding the one who breathed life into all things, the one who breathes life into us and into every cloudy and dim situation that we face. It involves delving deeply into his Word so we see more than just ‘words on a page,’ we see how he relates to man throughout the full counsel of scripture. His promises, his covenants, his justice, his grace and his mercy filled in the outline of the face of our Father. It involves some work to know Him well.


It means not being satisfied with a glance, a blog post, a text from a friend or a devotion. As an infant learns his mother’s love by seeing, by feeling her cheek touched gently to his, we cannot grasp the care of our Father or trace Him out without deeply knowing him and delving into the well of His Word, where he is richly revealed, sight is clarified and seeing becomes understanding.



About Elise…….

Elise, wife, and mother of four is one of the most capable, intelligent, witty, and insightful young 11083704_10204283203292712_2301980311741552868_owomen I know. She manages to home school her children in ways that bring out the very best in them and never fail to reflect her perceptive creativity.

She made the choice to leave a professional career when her first child was born to devote herself to training and teaching her children.

Elise has a passion for the Lord that is evident in how she serves others and disciples her children. Her sense of humor has seen her through more than a few tough places and her faith has been tested in multiple ways and in the midst courage has sprouted up through each trial.

There is no one I would rather go shopping with, share a cup of coffee with, or delve into the latest books we have read. What a joy to have her as my daughter!

21 thoughts on “Learning to See: 101 A Beginning

  1. WOW! I Love the analogy about a newborn with the mom. I got all “feely” with the touch the cheek. I’ve been studying about the conflict between our natural eyes and our spiritual eyes… Our spiritual eyes must connect with the heart of God the same way the baby touches the mom’s cheek. Lovely!

    Dropping by from W2W.

    1. Thanks for sharing this reflection and how it seems to fit well with your own study about natural and spiritual eyes. So glad you stopped by! Blessings and love for you this day!

  2. I can really relate to trying to spend time in God’s Word among the commotion. I also homeschool and if I do not get up early enough, before everyone else, it makes it difficult for me to have time with the Lord. Some days I accomplish that and then some days we all get up at the same time.

    I enjoyed reading your thoughts on Learning to See.

    1. I am sure you can, Renee! I have watched this many times over when I have been with our daughter and I was confident this two-part post would resonate with many such as you. Blessings on your day and commitment to homeschool and still seek to steal away moments with the Lord.

  3. Such beautiful truth — and you’ve hit on the the most painful part of the aging process for me. I do get frustrated with my glasses, etc. — but am trusting that what I”m losing in visual acuity with my eyes, I am gaining in acuity for seeing the unseen, the eternal.

  4. Thank you Elise and Pam for sharing these precious thoughts! “Life at birth and life through rebirth and life in the midst of the “stuff of life” which needs His life.” What a great reminder that HE is to be rooted into our every moment. I was with my adult daughter as I read the first part of this post last week, and was overwhelmed at the BLESSING that God brings to us as Mothers when we are allowed to watch our own children passing along the truths of God to their children. May God bring Blessings to you both today!

  5. This is good. I need glasses every day to read, and while they are a bother (why are they always dirty?), they are a huge blessing. I’m grateful that the Lord continues to work on our spiritual eyesight as well, giving us the tools and aids we need to see him more clearly!

  6. Elise, thanks for sharing! I loved your insight!

    “It involves some work to know Him well.” Yes, it does. I’m always so sad to run across adults who rely what they hear in church services (and usually only Sunday mornings!) for their spiritual food. Paul told us to be workmen studying the scripture. A workman has to work!

    1. I passed this along to Elise and she was so encouraged by your words. Thanks so much!! You are so right in what you shared here about those who only rely on a church service to develop a relationship with Him!

  7. Elise and Pam – what a powerful reflection from and through two remarkable women who continue to bless me personally in so many ways, this reflection just being the most recent.

  8. Wow! This is so in-depth and thorough. Thank you for sharing this Elise and Pam! Has me ready to head into some of my morning Bible time with a fresh perspective and passion. Thank you!

  9. Elise enjoyed this post so much. As a 66 year old who has recently gone from just reading glasses to also needing distance glasses for driving this post says a lot to me.

    It does involve so much work to SEE Him well, and I am ashamed I didn’t spend that time when I was younger. I was in church and in the Word, but not really seeing the Word.

    Beautiful reminded with the baby comparison as I ponder on that and my grandsons.

    1. I passed this encouragement along to Elise and so appreciate you taking time to share this. As a 72 year old who recently learned I am starting to have some effects from cataracts that are beginning, I am appreciating sight in all areas and on all levels as well. Have a great day!

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