Last night the kids and I ended up at my computer watching videos from when they were little.
Yes, it was bedtime; and, no, I didn’t plan to make it a hang out time with the kids… I was simply on a mission to find a photo one of the kids has asked me for.
But all of a sudden, there we were: my boy on my lap, my girls leaning on each of my shoulders. We were scrunched into a 2×2 foot space, bodies touching, breaths warm… and we were laughing.
Closeness and kindness and joy was filling us up and overflowing and we were swimming in good memories and sweet thoughts.
The kids were saying things to each other like “you were so cute when you were little!” and “oh my gosh, you still make that face!”; and, they find lots of opportunities to mock my ‘mom voice’ (you know, the voice that comes out when we moms take videos of cute things are kids are doing).
We laughed until we were literally crying.
Honestly, though, it was an experience I don’t get much of these days. Yes, we love each other. Yes, we’re close and bonded and thankful to be a family. But here’s the reality: family life can be tough.
There’s bickering and fighting. There’s complaining for space, lots of ‘leave me alones’, and a struggle for independence that comes harder and faster each day the kids get older. There are things to do, places to go, responsibilities to be responsible with. There are stresses, and tears over homework, and yelling, and door slamming. And, while we don’t mean it to, all the day to day messiness often blurs our minds to the truth.
The truth that we are human and broken… and all in need of grace….
The truth that we love each other madly and deeply…
The truth that we are who we are because we are together…
The truth that we couldn’t get through life without one another…
The truth that we are each God’s greatest gift to each other…and
The truth that sometimes renewing our joy in the journey begins with stopping to remember where we’ve come from.
Going through the photos and the videos of the ‘good days’ reminded us of where we’ve been: we’ve shared pillows for naps, had dance parties in PJs, made up songs about hot sauce, and taken baths with so many bubbles we thought we’d lose each other. We’ve kissed at monuments, had soggy diapers, cried when we dropped cookies, and helped each other up when we’ve fallen. We’ve made forts out of flowered sheets, set out buffets for stuffed animal families, and squished into beds together because being alone in our own was way more uncomfortable.
We’ve cried… but we’ve also laughed our way through our lives together.
One of my favorite verses in the bible says, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is TRUE, and HONORABLE, and RIGHT, and PURE, and LOVELY, and ADMIRABLE. Think about things that are EXCELLENT and WORTHY OF PRAISE. (Philippians 4:8).
Let’s do that today. Let’s rebel from the thoughts that tempt us to bitterness and let’s fill our minds with GOOD things. Let’s go through old photos and videos, put new pictures in our frames… let’s surround ourselves with the TRUTH about our lives: we are blessed.
We are blessed. We are needed. We are right where we are supposed to be.