Excerpt from “Mirrors to Windows” by Katie Messer
19 Aug 2016
In Mirrors to Windows, Katie demonstrates a simple but dynamic change of viewpoint. Stop fixating on the internal (Mirrors): self-image, perceived needs, insatiable longing for acceptance and love. Instead, steer your eyes outward (Windows), and you’ll see with clarity that the best life and the truest love have been waiting for you all along. God is waiting to blow the roof off your expectations and desires. It is God who saves, God who redeems, and God who takes all demented attempts of our own searching and striving for happiness and belonging―and turns it into something truly beautiful as we embrace the Cross of Christ and His divine calling.
When I finally found a place that was not occupied by other cars and people, I locked my doors and walked down the side of a steep mountain ledge, looking for a quiet place to write. Before I got out of the car, the Lord instructed me to switch out of my flip-flops and into my silver-sequined ballerina flats. I found this very random, but I had come to realize that the Lord does not direct without purpose. As I switched shoes, I also felt led to take my cell phone with me and put my hair back into a ponytail. The randomness continued as I grabbed my phone. I really had no idea what the significance of all this was—I didn’t think my phone could even get reception that far back in the rugged park. I shrugged it off and just headed out.
The short path from my car to the mountain ledge was about thirty feet of twists and turns between mossy boulders. Upon arrival to a place where I could write and pray, all that the Lord had brought me out of over the past year overwhelmed me. As I wrote, I recalled my regret for the ways I had behaved in my hatred and lack of forgiveness—both for others and myself. Yet, all the while, I was filled with praise for the way the Lord saved me each time I royally missed the mark, from the dangerous and harmful situations I put myself into time and time again. How great is the Lord to restore broken lives for His glory!
“I will take you to be My wife in faithfulness, and you will know Yahweh.” HOSEA 2:20 HCSB
I also reflected on the fact that a few weeks previous, the Lord had given me the new name I’d felt such disbelief—almost disgust—over. Yet, the Lord prompted me to write it down, and I obeyed. Thus, “Purity” was penned onto my journal page.
“But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel, ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!’” ISAIAH 43:1 NASB
I sat on the mountain ledge and admired all that the Lord had created in the natural masterpiece around me. As a warm, gentle breeze of late summer brushed past my face, I [noticed] a lizard, about eight feet below, sunning on a rock near the running stream. I began to sketch it. I was soon to be embarking on a new chapter of seeking after the Lord with my whole heart, and I was so excited about it.
I was soaking in the blissful serenity when an intense buzzing noise began around me. Being that I was sitting amidst an outcrop of volcanic rocks on a mountainside, the first thought that came to my mind was rattlesnake.
I slowly looked around with desperate desire to find out where the angry serpent was in hopes of backing away from it. Yet, as my eyes returned to the ledge before me, I was startled to find it was not a snake at all, but rather a hummingbird only three feet in front of my face! The buzzing bird hovered before me. I did not know what had held its gaze for so long. Why had it not flown away when I moved? Then, suddenly, words were spoken to my heart. “I will lead you out.” In the next second, the rapid-winged bird zipped out of sight.
In my undergrad, I had studied Latin American Studies as well as International Relations. Thus, the significance of the hummingbird within Latin American folklore was not lost on me. Legends within that region of the world believe that fallen warriors return as hummingbirds and butterflies to guide their people to victory. Thus, I immediately thought about a warrior preparing for battle.
After this odd encounter, I checked my grip on the ledge before grabbing my things and returning to the steep path uphill toward my car. I had been spooked pretty good by the whole event and realized that time had gotten away from me. It was time to return from the breathtaking scenery, but I could not shake the words spoken to my heart. What could they mean?
As I walked back up the dirt trail and the road came back into view, my eyes tried to refocus on the reality of what was now before me. Where serenity had caused me to breathe deep, I now held my breath as I witnessed three men taking an intense interest in my car, which I had parked alone and away from the nearest vehicles about one hundred yards down the road at a swimming hole. Another car now sat beside mine, and something about the situation just didn’t feel right. I was parked in the middle of the wilderness…what could these three guys possibly want? I knew instantly that the situation I was walking into was bad.
I placed my keys between my knuckles as I continued to walk toward my car. I had nowhere to run behind me. I had no other options before me. As I drew closer, one of the men was just getting back into the passenger seat of the other car. It was as if he did not see me until I was barely feet from my car. As his passenger door closed, I reached to unlock my driver door. The men sat silently in their parked vehicle, with neither music nor the engine turned on. It seemed painfully obvious that they had not expected to see the driver of this lone car return. And now, both parties were mildly stunned and silently weighing the options of what to do next.
As I turned my back on the men to unlock my driver door, I heard a severe hissing noise once more. I briefly looked around for a snake before hopping in my car and locking the doors. With my hands on the steering wheel and the men still sitting in their vehicle just feet away, still staring straight ahead, the hissing noise rose back into my thoughts. My tires had been slashed! At this moment, I heard the voice of the Lord shout to my spirit as clear as day:
“Get out of the car or you are going to die!”
Trying to look as calm as possible, I took a deep breath. The hissing sound was still audible within the car. I calmly, and quickly, opened and relocked the driver door. The men were looking at me as I did this. I did not acknowledge them as I pulled my key from the driver door and then began to run down the dirt road as fast as I could.
With my silver shoes sparkling in the afternoon sun, I pulled out my cell phone and dialed 9-11.
“Nine-one-one, what’s your emergency?”
“I’m in upper Bidwell Park and I’m running away from the men who just slashed my tires!”
“Ma’am. Where are the men at this time?”
I turned around quickly—only to see their red sports car racing down the dirt road behind me!
“They are right behind me!”
I was praying silently as this nightmare unfolded. I darted off the road as the car drew closer, kicking up a huge plume of dust behind the vehicle. Knowing that I could not outrun them, I began to run through the tall, dry grasses toward the gravel parking lot at the nearby swimming hole. At this point, the three men in the sports car continued down the dirt road toward the one exit out of Upper Park. There were three cars parked at the swimming hole, and I darted down the steps toward the sound of laughter and swimming below.
All the while, I was still on the phone with the dispatcher, giving details about the men, their car, and my current location. I was told to stay put and that a park ranger would soon be there. Within one minute, I could hear cars pulling into the parking lot. I didn’t want to move. I’d positioned myself close enough to the strangers at the swimming hole that from above, I looked like one of them. I didn’t want to give away my location in case the men had returned.
I finally heard a door close and the dispatcher assured me it was the park ranger. I walked back up from the swimming hole and found him looking around. Two police officers had also arrived with him. With the phone still glued to my ear, I told the dispatcher the police officers had arrived, and she told me he would take care of things from there. I hung up after thanking the dispatcher for her help.
The police officers tried to calm me down in order to understand me. I was still reeling from all that had just taken place. They squinted their eyes and leaned forward, trying to make out the various details I was spitting out so quickly. Eventually, they escorted me back to my vandalized vehicle in their police car. I still did not want to be left alone. By the time we arrived, the tires had indeed gone flat. It had also been confirmed that one of the three men in the red sports car was a convicted felon on parole.
My phone died as I tried to call my dad. The officer allowed me to use his phone, and my dad rushed to arrive on the scene. He spoke with the officers briefly before a tow truck was called to move my paralyzed vehicle. And it was at that moment, as the tow truck began to load my car onto its back two wheels, that it occurred to me who my protection had come from.
All my life, I had idolized my dad as the one who would save me in every situation of peril. Yet, through this hair-raising experience, God had made it clear to my heart that although my dad would be willing to die to save me, only God would be able to be my protector in all circumstances. And now, as I faced an upcoming adventure not only in a different state but soon to be in a different country, the reality of God’s divine protection hit me like a ton of bricks.
What is love? Is it s’mores on the beach at sunset? Is it a mountain vista overlooking acres of evergreens after a hike? Is it scuba diving through a shipwreck? Kayaking as the summer rays kiss your face? Climbing sand dunes? Skydiving? Author and blogger, Katie Messer, would answer that any interaction with God’s creation points to the infinite love of God. Yet, the place in which she sees God’s love most fully manifested is in the ultimate act of unabashed love by her Lord, Jesus Christ. She thanks God for her God fearing husband and their two children who share in these international adventures. “Mirrors to Window: Change your view to see God’s true romance” is a book of Katie’s own honest testimony of God’s radical rescue and redemption within her own life. “Blooming Beauty” is Katie’s official blog site. Check it out for encouragement in how to see and thank God through all circumstances of life. Why? Because you are worth it to an infinitely loving God.