When I look at these pictures, I see and feel so many things.
I see my firstborn – oh, how I love him and wish him all the Christ-centered joy, purpose, confidence and contentedness in the world.
I see the amazing people who have served here as teachers – pouring into the lives of our son’s and daughters at just the right times – oh, how I appreciate them and couldn’t imagine our lives without the ones who are here currently and those who have gone before – setting the bar of love, grace, achievement and kindness so very high for all of us.
I see sweet gifts from people we love – oh, how I love to look at shirts on our kids, pictures on our fridge and spatulas in our kitchen and think of the people we love at home and those we have loved and spent time with right here in this home.
I see the house we have the opportunity to live in here in PNG – oh, how I am thankful for the unique ways in which God pointed us to this particular house and has enabled us to use it as a place of memory-making, fun-having and, hopefully God-reflecting love.
And, along with what I see, I feel so many things – things that are evident from these pictures and things that are there just below the surface – unseen by so many.
I feel joy – what an incredible feeling it is to see a child of yours awake, excited and engaged in something constructive, positive and joy-giving.
I feel sadness – what a heavy feeling to see the child you love, full of potential that you recognize, battling daily to understand his immovable, unshakeable worth in the eyes of his Father.
I feel tiredness – what an exhausting task it is to parent four unique personalities, battling daily through their struggles, all the while facing struggles of your own.
I feel heartache – what a heart-wrenching experience it is to see the ones we love hurt on such a deep level.
I feel weakness – what a helpless feeling it is to see your children struggling to understand the truth of who they are in Christ, as you pray fervently against the lies of the enemy that plague them on a daily basis.
I feel dependance – what a gift it is – though an unwelcome one, so often – to be unable to traverse this difficult road of parenting on our own.
I feel relief – what a gift it is to know that the God of the Universe is responsible for pursuing all of my kids hearts, and my own, and that He will stop at nothing to get their attention.
I feel blessing – what a gift it is to bring my daily struggles to the foot of the cross of victory, and to encourage my kids to do the same.
I feel reassurance – what a gift it is to know the truth of the Gospel, which reminds me that He already has the victory and this victory is mine too, in Christ.
I feel hope – what an immense gift it is to serve the God of the Universe and to be able to, daily, put our kids – the unknowns, the difficulties, the victories and the successes – in His capable hands, asking Him to show us and others His glory through every circumstance, the easy and the challenging alike.
For me, photographs, are more than just pictures.
They are memories.
They are feelings.
They are reminders of the truth that I cling to, on days when the joy is evident and on days when the struggle is overwhelming.
May your day be filled with reminders of God’s presence – both in the easy and the hard. I promise He is present in both.
Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Psalm 27: 1-3 The LORD is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall.Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.
“We are not adrift in chaos. To me that is the most fortifying, the most stabilizing, the most peace-giving thing that I know about anything in the universe. Every time that things have seemingly fallen apart in my life, I have gone back to those things that do not change. Nothing in the universe can ever change those facts. He loves me. I am not at the mercy of chance.”― Elisabeth Elliot, Suffering Is Never for Nothing