*This blog was originally posted in 2017 on Beautiful in Your Heart.
When my oldest daughter was born, my camera became my new best friend. I captured every facial expression, every outfit, every event, every everything. Not only did I capture them, but I printed each and every picture and placed them in carefully labeled picture books by week and month. So the first five years of her life are basically documented to the day. You want to know what she was doing in year 2 month 5? No problem! I can break out the albums any time.
When my son came along, it became harder to keep up. But I managed to keep documenting both of their lives up until he was 26 months old. That’s right…I was still “mommy” enough to count by months at that point. But then I realized that our house would be overrun by photo albums if I didn’t figure out a better system of keeping up with my sweet babies.
So I turned to blogging. I posted cute pictures of cute kids with cute descriptions of all their happenings. And a few years into that hobby, I found that you could print your blog. My blog wasn’t quite as detailed as the photo albums, but it was still divided up by month with all of the major highlights. So I have each year from 2008-2015 printed in book form.
But in 2014, baby number 3 came along. And all hope of keeping up with month by month detailed descriptions of their lives went out the window. I did backtrack enough to put 2015 together, but then the magic stopped. Thankfully, I post a lot of major things and pictures on Facebook. And what do you know? Now you can print your Facebook posts. So…2016 and 2017 should be arriving in the mail any day now. I am officially caught up. For now. (Update: ’18 and ’19 have yet to be printed…)
Today as I sat anticipating my new books’ arrival, I got a little sad. It hurt my heart to think how my baby girl’s facial expressions and outfits and events have not been captured with the same care and attention that my oldest daughter’s were. A collection of Facebook posts can hardly compare to every printed picture organized by week and month in sweet photo albums. I was lamenting the fact that I had let my youngest down. But then the Lord reminded me of something:
He hasn’t missed anything. And He has seen what matters most.
Every moment hasn’t been captured on camera, but He has been with me every second of every minute of every day. He has seen the silly giggles and funny faces. He has seen the tears and muffled cries. He has seen the nights of rocking babies to sleep while singing praise songs to Him. He has seen the cooking and the cleaning and the dirty diapers. Oh, the dirty diapers!
He has seen the birthday parties and July 4th fireworks and Christmas mornings. He has seen the bedtime prayers and kind words spoken between us.. He has seen the frustration and the angry words as well. He has seen the time trying to memorize Bible verses and the time singing good ol’ country songs. He has seen us dancing in the kitchen and the many minutes sitting in time out. He has seen it all.
And it has all been for His glory as every moment has been recorded by Him.
“So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 NLT
In this world of mommy comparison and social media, it is easy to become convinced that every moment needs to be recorded, shared, and posted for all to see. Almost like if it isn’t, then it didn’t happen.
But that is a lie.
Nothing we do for our husbands or children or work or friends or even strangers, is ever useless or unnoticed, if it is done for the Lord. He is the only audience we need. He is the only one who matters. And He is the only one who can take our inadequacy, our failures, and the moments when we just don’t feel like we’re enough, and grow us into something beautiful.
Our children may not see every moment of their lives. But the One who matters most does.
When we plant seeds for Him by showing love and kindness and gentleness and patience, He is right there. When we water what we’ve planted by teaching them scripture and telling them about a Savior who loves them with an amazing love, He’s still right there.
But we need to remember this:
“So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” 1 Corinthians 3:7 NIV
We can be the best moms in the world. We can plan amazing birthday parties to celebrate life and involve our kids in cool mission projects and teach them respect and manners. We can show them responsibility by making them do chores and empathy by letting them in on other’s lives that are not just like them. We can help them with school work and sports and piano and any other list of things. We can even keep amazing picture books for them.
But in the end, God is the only One who makes things grow from the seeds we plant.
So I am challenged tonight not to worry so much about how many pictures I take or albums I keep. Because in the end, they are just pictures. Providing them with moments to love and learn and grow in the Lord is what matters most. And He will use them for His glory.
When my littlest grows up, I imagine she won’t be asking what she did in year 2 month 5 of her life. And she’ll probably be glad she doesn’t have as many picture albums to keep up with! But I do expect her to reminisce about the times we laughed together and cried together and grew in the Lord together. And those are things that can’t be lost just because they weren’t printed in a picture book. They will be saved in our hearts and minds. They will be seen by a good, good Father. And they matter.
So fellow mamas, keep living and loving and laughing and crying and just BEING. Be strong and IMMOVABLE in the Lord. Live ENTHUSIASTICALLY for Him. PLANT seeds and WATER them. Nothing you are doing is useless. No moment too insignificant for the Lord.
Snap a picture…or don’t. But keep your focus on the One who matters most. He loves you and your babies so very much.