Sometimes God speaks to my heart in the most random, “unspiritual” moments.
Like last week, when we had our family pictures done. Despite what any of these pictures may turn out looking like, let me assure you, the hour plus of photo shooting was anything but “ethereal” in any way. There was bickering, huffing and general barking orders like…
“Smile right now and LOOK HAPPY!! Teeth! Show me teeth!!”
My daughter is a photographer, and according to her we, on the whole, were one of the worst subject groups to have to work with.
Whatever. We are what we are… which, in the words of Jen Hatmaker would be a “spicy family”. So be it.
Anyway, amidst the bickering and shoving and throwing the youngest brother in the air and dropping him (yes, that really happened) there was this moment when God infused an “aha” moment into my heart. It was during this shot…
I was searching around Pinterest a little while ago and saw a similar family setup and loved the concept of each kid with their “thing”…a prop that was representative of them in some way. I loved the idea and told my daughter right away I wanted to do this, and made sure each kid grabbed their item on the way to the shoot.
I loved the idea that Todd and I were in the background of the shot, as we very much feel that our heart as parents is to really help our kids find their passion and then help launch them forward into those things. I felt the picture would capture that sentiment well.
But there was a point during the shoot where the photographer who was taking the photo (the photographer my daughter works for took the shots that she was actually in) asked us if I wanted Todd and myself to be out of focus…a bit blurry…in the background.
That was my “aha” moment.
Do I want to be ‘out of focus’?
I felt like there was this download of both understanding and complete peace as my brain quickly processed the question.
Yes, absolutely we should be out of focus. Because that’s the heart of parenting…teaching…leadership of any kind!
The idea that you are given this gift…this child, this student, this person or group that you are given stewardship of…in order to bring them from roughness, rawness, obscurity into front and center focus. To make a positional transfer, as they develop, grow and mature, from being the one that they “follow” to being the one who comes behind to support them as they move up and out.
Even as I gave my answer to the photographer, I felt like I was answering some sort of oath or vow that was being asked of me…
Do you, as a mom…as a mentor…as a leader…want to become increasingly out of focus in the big picture?
And in my heart, in that moment, I spoke my “I Do”.
I do want to see my kids, and anyone else that I have been given the privilege to influence, go further, do more, be better than I ever have. I do want to be a steady runner, who is able to effectively and smoothly hand off that baton of influence. I do want to see them rise to the occasion and walk into their destiny… but also approach their calling and purpose in life with the same understanding that it’s not JUST about them; that even as they flourish and thrive, it will now be up to them to bring along others, who THEY will one day push forward, knowing the blessing of joy and contentment doesn’t just come from fulling THEIR purpose, but from helping others to walk out the same.
To be honest, maybe this seems like a no-brainer or “duh” moment for you. Certainly, it’s something I’ve known in my head for years, but as my kids grow and move toward independence it’s something I need to increasingly take root in my heart. One of the things I can tend to struggle with is the fear of being “overlooked” or left out. I don’t like the thought of “empty nest” season; I love being involved with my kids and their lives. However, deep down I know that the real goal of parenting, teaching or leadership is ultimately….release. I’m thankful for this good dose of God’s grace to be giving me these kind of downloads and reminders now and letting me process them a bit before these seasons are fully upon me.
I know, I know….that’s a whole lot of “deep thoughts” to come out of one moment, in one chaotic family photo session in the middle of the woods, on a random Monday afternoon.
But that’s really how God is, isn’t He?. He’s not waiting for us to be sitting quietly in a church pew to speak to us. He’s in all of our everyday, normal, mundane, crazy moments, and I’m really glad He’s willing to use whatever random thing He knows will connect with us in order to reveal and remind us of truth and teach us wisdom.
Good thing, too…because, frankly, in my ‘spicy’ family, let’s be real….there’s just not a whole lot of quiet anything….ever!