Lessons I've Learned in the Space Between Family Photos
It hangs at the center of our photo wall. Sometimes, we pause and stare into the glass cherishing the sweetness of its contents. It holds precious memories of that day. It is our first family photo. The little boy in this wedding scene was just eight years old. Looking a little like Dennis the Menace. So innocent. Most likely, nervous.
I’ve thought about that little boy a lot over the past few days. I’ve watched him grow into a remarkable young man. And now we’ll have a new family photo to grace our walls with the sweet wedding memories we made this past weekend. Our family is close to doubling since that first family photo and we count ourselves so richly blessed.
I’ve learned a lot in the space of time between these photos. I've triumphed, and I've failed. But God, used each of those failures and triumphs to teach me, grow me, stretch me and most importantly invest into the hearts, relationships and lives of my family.
Here's just a short list of the lessons I've learned (and still learning) in that space between family photos.
1. Attitude is a little thing - it makes a huge difference
2. Life is short - very short
3. Some things just aren’t important - not even a little bit
4. Enjoy the small things – because they’re really not that small when you add them up
5. Respond to judgement with grace – because they haven’t walked in your shoes how could they possibly understand?
6. Choose love over fear – fear lies, love heals
7. Be a student of your relationships - “fear of each other is usually rooted in a lack of understanding about each other.” Mitch Anthony
8. There is a right order to relationships, but no one is required, expected or asked to choose one over the other. 1. God 2. Spouse 3. Children 4. all other relationships
Let's chat a little about attitude.
That Still Small Voice brought a question to my heart this past weekend. As He gently nudged me He whispered, "what attitude will you choose?" It was in that very sacred moment that I committed my attitude to Christ. I'm so thankful I chose rightly. The precious moments I shared with each one of my family members will forever be etched in my heart. And I will get to pause at a new photo on our wall and be reminded of those sweet moments of that day and how very blessed I am.
Friend, choose wisely today.
Your attitude is a very powerful thing. It affects you and everyone you encounter. It can be ugly, or it can be beautiful. My friend, the blessings that await you when you choose wisely are indescribable.
Happy people look younger!
“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
Do it for Jesus!
“And whatever you do...do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Colossians 3:17
Freedom trumps frustration!
“What you have learned...and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:9
Smiling is contagious!
“A joyful heart makes a cheerful face...” Proverbs 15:13
I realize it’s not always easy to choose the right attitude when others around you choose the alternative.
“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4
I promise if you commit to choosing the right attitude ahead of time before you find yourself in a situation or company you’ll experience peace.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” Colossians 3:23
The pressure will be off. You’ll find that it’s easier to love those that aren’t choosing wisely. You’ll be the influence…not them. I believe when we commit our way to the Lord, He honors it.
“Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus” Philippians 2:5
In fact, He blesses us because we choose wisely.
“Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38
“for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” Galatians 6:8
I also believe when you commit to something like this He equips you.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33
God will not leave you on your own.
I’m not suggesting that just because you choose a wise attitude that it will always result in others doing the same. Sometimes, even though you’ve chosen to express love to others, it’s just not received. That’s okay. The issue here is your attitude. Not theirs. Move on. Remove yourself from the situation, if necessary. Pray for them. When your attitude is right, you will be able to do this.
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” James 4:10
”Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” Philippians 2:14-15
Have you found yourself face-to-face with awkward or uncomfortable situations? Have you found yourself among difficult people? Or facing a circumstance that causes you to feel less than confident or worse like you don’t belong? Check your attitude, friend. Start there. Then pray. He is faithful. I’d love to hear if you’ve found yourself here and what that space in between taught you.
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