“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” 1 Chronicles 16:34
People often say that a picture is worth a thousand words. And it's true. However, I have often thought that a picture can also capture a thousand unspoken words. You know, the moments that can only be seen when you know what you are looking at.
What started out as a ministry photoshoot ended up capturing some sweet family moments for me. I told the kids that they could wear whatever they wanted. There was no time to plan any outfits so I was not going to pick that battle.
Now, if I had only show you one of these pictures, you would have never been able to see the chaos that was going on in my head the day the pictures were taken. Our oldest son came out wearing a coat, which made perfect sense being that it was winter. Our middle son comes out, apparently dreaming about summer and wearing a short sleeve shirt…in the middle of a cold winter day. And while our youngest was wearing a 3/4 sleeve blouse that was closer to winter, the season it actually was, it would be more suited for the fall months.
Now. Being the visual person I am, the chaos in my head was not because I wanted a “picture perfect moment” I gave up on those years ago. While I may need to catch myself from time to time, I have fully embraced that there is no such a thing as a picture perfect life. However, I believe that a picture can capture a thousand wonderful unspoken words and moments…if we pay close attention to what we are looking at. I don’t know what you may see by looking at this pictures, but here is what I see.
As I stared at these pictures a few weeks ago in the quiet of our living room, trying to decide which ones to have printed and framed, All I could do was be thankful. I laughed out loud and cried a couple tears. You see, when I look at these pictures, I see God’s enduring love and faithfulness staring back at me.
When I look at this pictures, I see my sweet man. I see a man that works hard and takes care of us…no matter what. I see the battle scars that have come with almost 19 years of marriage. I see the victories of a love that doesn’t give up because the giver of that love, Jesus, is the One that holds it all together. I see us working hard and intentionally holding on to each other in the midst of life trying to pull us in a million different directions. And when brokenness comes our way, we make the choice to hold fast to the hand of God and to each other. No, we don’t always get it right and it can get messy at times, but I there are a lot of good unspoken words here. I am thankful.
Through these unplanned captured moments, I see each of our fearfully and wonderfully made kids. I see each of their personalities and how even in the midst of navigating the realness of all the wonderful and hard things the teenage years hold, they remain God’s most treasured gift to my man and me.
When I look at these pictures I see our boys becoming young men and bravely figuring out their place in the world. I see them finding the courage to work through the storms that have come their way. I see them having fun and being willing to invest in strong friendships, friendships where they are not just liked but also known for who they are. Yes, I see the hard places, but I also the good and there is a lot of it. I am thankful.
Through these pictures, I see my sweet baby girlfriend’s hard boot on her right foot. She ended up with three stress fractures last fall and had to sit out the remaining of the soccer season (a sport that she loves) and take time to heal. Yes, I see the disappointment that she felt, but I also see her sweet and courageous heart. In that season, she learned to pay closer attention when other kids felt lonely or unintentionally left out on the playground and she would find ways to encourage them. I see a lot of good there. I am thankful.
Sweet friend, I don’t know what “thousand words” your “pictures” may be trying to say to you. My prayer for us today is that we would stop comparing our pictures. Remember there is no such thing as “picture perfect” life. Instead, let's cheer each other on to find the good and often missed unspoken words in our pictures. My prayer is that with our arms lifted high and our hands open wide, we would “Give thanks to the Lord” knowing that “He is good” and believing the truth that no matter what a picture may be screaming at us, “His love endures forever” (1 Chronicles 16:34).