Photo Worthy

We just finished the Thanksgiving season with all the family gatherings, delicious food, and lots of photo opportunities.  Now the oranges and golds are being replaced by the reds and greens of Christmas.  More pictures to come, for sure!

Already our social media is brimming with the pictures that others are sharing of their Christmas decorations.  So much beauty and creativity!  I love doing that every year, sharing the warmth and glow of the season.

But the brightness all around us, even if we only see it in a photo, sure can make the other side of life seem even darker than usual.

Other’s picture-perfect moments, if compared to some of ours, seem off-the-chart wonderful…and ours.  Well, the line on our chart is going in the opposite direction.  Way down.

Several years ago, I saw this picture of Mary and Joseph after the birth of baby Jesus.  It’s probably the most accurate portrayal of the nativity that I have ever seen.

The call of God on their lives to be the earthly parents of Jesus came at a huge cost to them.  They knew that their reputations would forever be tarnished.  Gossip and judgmental stares would be their lot. 

But can you imagine the long trip to Bethlehem for the census?  The discomfort, hunger, dirt, and fear? 

Then the baby being born in an animal stable.  We don’t know for sure, but did they have help delivering baby Jesus?  How Mary must have wished for her mother to be beside her! 

Can you imagine how alone they must have felt?  No family that we know of to surround them with love and care.  No beautiful nursery ready for baby Jesus.  No comfort of a soft bed for Mary or Jesus.  No kitchen full of food, or a meal train at the ready.

Joseph and Mary submitted without reservation to God’s call on their lives.  That special call might seem sweet and incredible to us but to them I can pretty safely assume that on most days it was anything but that.

Over this past week, mixed in with all the beautiful pictures of family gatherings, I was receiving other pictures from our dear friends.

 Dan and Wendy have loved and cared for their Elijah (Speedy) for many years.  Speedy has an extremely severe form of Epilepsy.  He was hospitalized yet again during Thanksgiving, for six days.

Lots of tests.

Still, lots of unanswered questions.

Always, always there is so much love from these amazing parents for their Speedy.

But the pain…the grief…is so real. 

Raw…and deep.

Wendy and I talk a lot.  We speak the same language that comes from special needs parenting.  We can be real with each other.

We understand what Dale Davis was saying in his commentary on the book of Luke when he talked about the benediction in Hebrews 13:20-21…about the part that says may God “do in us what pleases Him.”

That part is scary because we don’t know what it is that will please God.

Can we be like Mary, though, and submit to God’s will for our lives?

“May it be done to me according to Your word,” Mary replied as she was called to be the mother of God’s Son.

“Submission is preferable to consolation, for consolation pleases us, but submission pleases God.”  (Thomas Hog, 1692)

Let that sink in.

There are so many times that I would far rather have the photo worthy moments of family and fun and excitement and adventure and beauty to be the posts of my life.

Not the incomplete family photos. 

Not the tiredness…anger…frustrations…comparisons…resentments that often accompany this special-needs life.

How about you?  What is it in your life that you feel isn’t photo worthy? 

What would you gladly trade in for a more beautiful shot?

Somehow, though, I know that God looks down on our broken and He sees the very people and things that bring Him the most glory and the most joy.

He sees way beyond this temporal into a plan for each life that goes far beyond what we will ever know on this old earth.

And that’s what is eternally photo worthy.

Author: Patty hesaidwhatks

I'm Patty and I write about our adult son who has Epilepsy and Autism, who still lives with my husband and me, and who is a package full of many surprises and joys and challenges and TALK! Lots of talking, which creates laughter and some other reactions as well. I also write about how God shows Himself to me in everyday life.

17 thoughts on “Photo Worthy”

  1. Wow I love that photo with Joseph, Mary, and Baby Jesus…surely that is more realistic than what’s been set as the cliché manger example.
    When our lives portray the fancy photos with all the bells, whistles and flashy tinsel it’s real nice but authenticity and a broken world reminds us that it’s not always holly and jolly.
    I love when we’re bold enough to post both sides, the pretty and the pretty desperate, so we can celebrate with one another at milestones but then also let it be known when we desire for someone to come along side of us in our time of need, just like you’re doing for Dan and Wendy. Prayers for them and their sweet son.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love your insights, Alicia. “The pretty and the pretty desperate.” I love that. I believe most of us have more of the latter. We surely do need the love and support of each other and of God. Thank you for your prayers. ♥️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My heart aches for you and your family, Patty, as well as Speedy’s and others who carry the burden of continual care for special needs children. How glorious it will be one day to see each one restored to perfection! In the meantime I continue to pray for strength, wisdom, and extra-special blessings to restore your spirits!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Patty, the nativity print you shared is stunning. It captures the contrast of light in darkness perfectly. When I came to the picture of Speedy and his Dad walking the hallway, I could see the rays of light that emitted from baby Jesus in the painting surrounding Speedy and his Dad. You asked a hard question- “How about you? What is it in your life that you feel isn’t photo worthy? What would you gladly trade in for a more beautiful shot?” My humanness would gladly trade in those hard places in my life, yet each time I want to cry out for the Lord to “photoshop” the picture, the Holy Spirit draws the words of Psalms 119 to the forefront of my mind- “You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees. . . It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.” (vs. 68 & 71). Then I find myself praying, “Lord, you are keeping me in this place because it is good. Thank you!” May you and your family have a lovely weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As I reflect back on my years as a special education teacher, I remember the deep grief of many of the parents. Many times in an IEP meeting, we had to present test results that brought tears to the eyes of a mother or father. This broke my heart. But when I reflect on the children I served, the memories are sweet. Oh, what precious, delightful children they were! In some ways they were different, but they were also beautiful. I’m thankful that God let me get to know these special kids. I will never forget them! They were a blessing to my life. God bless you, Patty!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can tell that you had/have a heart for special needs children. I’m sure you greatly blessed so many families with your love and care in the classroom. I know from experience how huge that is! Have a blessed Lord’s Day, Cindy.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. There are so many practical aspects of the birth of Jesus that I don’t often stop to consider. It gives me pause when I do. As for Speedy, he’s in the hospital again and may possibly go to Mayo. They really value all the prayers. Thank you, Diane.


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