Here's the thing, if you are currently experiencing or have ever gone through a difficult time in your life, which is all of us, understanding the truth that God is in control is critical. God is Sovereign. Over everything. If I didn't believe that, I would really struggle to make sense of things. In fact, I still struggle sometimes. Am I alone? Never mind, I know I'm not.
You see, the album of your life is made up of snapshots. And standing firm in the knowledge that every perfectly composed image, as well as every blurry and underexposed photo, is orchestrated by that sovereign God is what helps you see your life for the beauty that it is.
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To Everything a Season
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (ESV)
This passage can be confusing and discouraging, or it can be life-giving. You see Solomon mixes events that are completely out of our control, like the time of our birth or death, with things that we seem to have a measure of free will over, like when to plant and harvest. I don't think this is an accident. It underscores that God is the author of every season and there is actually nothing beyond the reach of his hand. And this brings me comfort. If I am trusting in Christ then I can know that He is working out ALL things, the stunningly spectacular as well as the devastatingly heartbreaking, for my good and His glory (Romans 8:28).
Why should you document your snapshots?
In the opening paragraph, I mentioned that our lives are made up of snapshots, or seasons. Now, if you talk to anyone who knows me, they will tell you that I love taking photos. Of everything. My family has come to expect it. Sorry, kids. I am proud to say that my tendency to post every.single.thing on social media has been tempered as my children grew older (and developed opinions about it), but I still grab the shot. In fact, I now give them a disclaimer as I'm shooting... "I won't post it, I just want it".
So, why do I have this desire to document every big and small part of our lives? Part of it is because it acts as a creative outlet and since we are all created to create that is important. A lot of it is that the memories make me happy. But, as I look back through the years of photographs I have amassed, I realize that a by-product of this obsession is a record of God's faithfulness. He saw us through difficult times and he blessed us with happy times. My photo albums have become stones of remembrance (Joshua 4). And as I look through them I can see God working in our family and our lives, even when we didn't realize it in the moment.
Finding a way to record the moments in your everyday life will become a treasure for future generations as well as a blessing for you as time passes. We are forgetful people, right? We forget the details of those long nights with infants, the messy bits and the sappy hugs.
And we forget the Gospel. The truth that Christ lived a perfect life that we could not live and died a terrible death that we deserved. The glorious truth that if you trust that, you are now clothed in Christ's righteousness and can stand before a holy God with clean hands. And in doing so, we forget that God is in control of all of the big and small things we face. Documenting your snapshots will help you remember.
How do you document the snapshots of life?
There are more ways to do this than the scope of this article allows, but let me give you a few of the ways that I record the good, the bad and the ugly in my little world.
This one is obvious, right? Taking pictures is easier than ever. Yes, I'm talking about that smartphone you have attached to your hip. Ok, that was a low blow... I was just feeling convicted about my hip-hugging phone. Anyway, not only that but the ability to take quality photos is a real possibility for most folks. So snap away! Just remember to get the best photos off of your phone and hard drive and into the hands of the ones who will enjoy them!
Ok, I know what you are thinking... I don't put pictures of my precious babies in my Bible. Well, I challenge you that digging deeper into the Word of God & hearing what he has to say through His scripture (which is the point of Bible Journaling) is a legacy in and of itself. When your children see you in the Word, they learn of its importance in your life. And when they see you journaling about what you are learning in a particular season of your life, they will know who to turn to when they face a similar season.
Also, when you focus on His Word through creativity you are creating a canvas to reflect on later. And a memento of what He has taught you. Remember, we are forgetful. Did you forget?
If you want to learn more about Bible or Creative Journaling, I want to offer you a FREE ticket to the Flourish Bible Journaling Conference that is going on right now (only through May 18th). Twenty speakers are presenting on a variety of creative topics. I'm honored to be a part, and did I mention? It's completely FREE to attend!
What better way to combine your creativity with your memories than on a page you design just for that purpose? Check out The Lilypad Store and Gallery for inspiration on how to do that if you don't know how! You can scrap digitally or traditionally. You can create pages filled with photos and fun elements or you can opt for simplicity in your designs. There is no wrong way to do this and watching your family peruse a finished album, smiling at the memories, is a great joy.
Similar to Bible Journaling, writing out your prayers can truly serve as a monument to God's grace and mercy in your life. I add mixed media, photos, scrapped pages or Bible journaling to my Prayer Journal. I talk about this in the Bible Journaling Conference I mentioned above. My Prayer Journals have become treasures to cherish, and reminders to stay in communication with my Creator. What a privilege. Check out more free resources about prayer here.
On Your Walls
I love to put reminders of the snapshots of our lives on the walls of our home. There are literal snapshots of my family as well as images that remind me of certain memories. I have paintings from places we've traveled to remind me of those visits and to prompt me to pray for the nations. I have scripture on the walls in most rooms of my house and I love putting little printables or hand-lettered art around me when I work.
This printable is a reminder that God is in control of all of my seasons. I should praise Him through them all and I should capture every snapshot!
And check out more freebies from me!