Losing Jesus’ Face: A Guest Post by Carolina Hinojosa-Cisneros

I first met Carolina Hinojosa-Cisneros through a writing contest where we were both entered. She beat me, but I was enriched by getting a chance to see her work and start to get to know her heart. I was very excited that I was able to meet her face to face at the Declare Conference in Grapevine, Texas a few weeks ago, where we were able to eat dinner together. Her personality is so warm and friendly–I loved her right away. I hope you love her, too, and visit her website: Cisneros Cafe. Enjoy!

Losing Jesus' Face

by Carolina Hinojosa-Cisneros

“…art is not one of forgetting but letting go. And when everything else is gone, you can be rich in loss.”

Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost

An editor friend of mine recommended to me a stack of books for reference while writing my own book. One of those books happened to be Rebecca Solnit’s, A Field Guide to Getting Lost. True to its title, it is a narrative of loss. While my immediate response was one of longing, Solnit digs far deeper and much wider as she maps out loss from language, art, light, to distance and beyond. Upon reading the book, I find treasure maps which God wants to see me navigate.

When I can’t hear God in grand ways, or through gentle dew dripped leaves brushing against my warm skin, God calls out to me in books. Words rise from the page and take hold of my soul in places I didn’t know were still available to love. Sometimes I don’t receive the blessing of a message for days, most often years later.

When I was a young girl, I lost the face of Jesus. A picture not bigger than a playing card, hung out in my pocket as a gift from my grandma. She never wanted me to forget that Jesus was with me. When I lost Him, I wondered if I’d ever find Him again.

Two decades passed, and one evening, as an adult, I arose from a panicked dream. My palms were sticky with sweat, and my heart was frustrated in my chest. I don’t remember what the dream was about, only that it left me breathless, and when I awoke there was a light radiating from my right. It wasn’t blinding or bothersome. It was more like a steady glow. A warmth rushed over my body as if someone had simply raised the temperature from inside of me. The chambers of my heart relaxed.

A crown of thorns, like a delicate pile of wet branches, was the first thing I made out from the glow. Years of Sunday school lessons drew pictures of crucifixion on my memory. My eyes slowly ventured to see who was wearing the crown. I didn’t have to see His face to know He was Jesus. I closed my eyes tightly away from the vision. Was I dying? I was living in sin, battered from life, lost. I didn’t want to go like this.

Before long, I slept again. A vision which had last a few short minutes would stay with me for the rest of my life. Jesus had found me in the middle of my bed, breathless from dreaming empty dreams. He lit up my soul by meeting me where I was. I’ve never had a vision like this one since then. It was the winter of 2012. Months later I would attend The Amazing Grace Women’s Retreat and life would forever change for me.

I’ve lost Jesus’ face a few times since then. Mostly, I’ve forgotten what He looks like when He reminds me of His promise that my family will be okay, His promise that I don’t have to search any farther than the answers found in my youngest daughter’s eyes, my son’s laughter, my oldest daughter’s spirit, and my husband’s immense patience.

I often have to dim my own light to see that God’s shines brighter. I remember that day the light of Jesus’ face lit up my spirit. I had to lose His face to come to this place. I had to navigate the maps inscribed in me from the day I was born to find my way back to Him. When I think I’ve lost Him, it is He who never left.

“…the light that gets lost, gives us the beauty of the world..”

Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost

Meet Carolina Hinojosa-Cisneros

Carolina is native to San Antonio, Texas and a poet, writer, and blogger at Cisneros Cafe, where she talks about soul work through faith, family, commentary, writing, and books. She’s married to Erasmo, and they have three children: Faith, Ryan, and Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in The Acentos Review, Rock & Sling: a journal of witness, Mudroom, The Lookout MagazineZouch MagazineAmity Coalition, Sagebrush Review, and moreShe holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

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