Thursday, June 14, 2012

Seeing your photo

Two months ago I assembled all of the outfits, the blanket, the books, the soccer balls and we headed out to meet our friend, Allison, at a local park. It was finally time for our family photos. It would be the first time we officially took pictures of our family of 7.

My recollection of "family pictures" took place in a dark room in a local motel by Olan Mills' creepy guys. Or perhaps an every-ten-years-church-directory photo where all of our heads looked like they were photoshopped on wonky-like. So, I probably have a pretty distorted view of photo sessions and the pictures they produce.

Our time with Allison was wonderful, and the pictures made me cry...over and over and over again. I just saw God's beauty and grace and mercy in every scene. It was amazing. I ordered the large pictures I wanted for our home and really didn't think much about it.

But, God kept prodding my heart to order some smaller photos to put around our house and to give to a few family members and friends. It was on my to-do list for a while. I finally marked it off and placed my online order (with by the way which I highly recommend for quality and price and expedience). The order came in yesterday, and I was a happy girl.

Normally, they would sit on my desk until I figured out what to do with each of them, but again the Holy Spirit prodded me to put them in frames today. So, I did...while the littles were playing Japanese steakhouse upstairs (I know this from the sound of utensils constantly hitting one another and hearing "Fire" and "Catch this" from time to time).

When their little feet came bounding down the stairs, I showed them one of the photos in the keeping room. What happened next surprised me to my core and brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my face and thankfulness to my heart. They squealed...literally. All three of them. They pointed a the photo and laughed and grinned uncontrollably. I told them, "There are more. I put them up all over the house." They ran from room to room downstairs trying to find all the new pictures of "our whole family." They would find a photo, tell the others, and then they would all stare at it as if they had never seen it before. But, they had....we have a book with all the photos from our photo session in it. They can see it whenever they hangs out in the living room...every day.

But, this was different....they didn't have to pick up the book...they could just look up and see the picture on the mantle...or on my nightstand...or in the kitchen... They were awed, amazed and so excited. My heart was beyond happy.

Now, why did they react that way? We ALL want to feel like we belong to something bigger than ourselves. There's not a ton of concepts in psychology that I totally agree with (and I've had years of education in that area), but the need to belong is one of those critical processes that everyone desires. That's one of the benefits of Biblical community...churches...clubs...groups...teams....they offer a place where people can belong. People feel wanted and needed.
In much the same way, churches are supposed to be places where Christ-followers belong. It's NOT about being needed by God, because we are NOT! He doesn't need us to satisfy Himself or He would not be self-sufficient. He is enough. Alone. He doesn't need anyone or anything. Yet, He desires to have a relationship with each of us. He pursues us.

We all have various strengths, weaknesses and spiritual gifts that are important to being the entire body of Christ. Some churches are overly "heady" with lots of staff, little input from the body and a less-than-desirable-sense-of-belonging. Others focusing on the "belonging" more than glorifying God and members become the center of attention rather than the Creator. Each are off base. Church is to be a place where God is exalted, members are encouraged as believers and the world is being reached for the glory of the Almighty.

Do you see yourself in the photo of God's family? Do you see where you belong and how He loves you?

If you are not even in the picture, I would love to share a story with's about how much God loves you and cherishes you. He paved a way for you that you are not going to believe. It's an overwhelming photo of man's demise and selfishness...and of a God who gave up His Son to pay a debt He didn't owe...and of an eternal home that brings joy, peace and ultimate fulfillment. He has weaved my story....please email me at and I'll be glad to share it with you. I beg you.

The photos above are courtesy of Allison Lewis at She's booked up, just so you know.

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