One reason why I love creating photo albums is to fill them with endless memories. Whenever I have time to myself I pull out an album and look through pictures of my kids when they were babies. And like a good book, I keep going until the entire album is finished. Once I get through their albums I start looking at my “before kids, marriage, and my husband” albums. It’s those pictures that remind me of having no responsibility, no one to look after, and REAL time for myself. Every time I look at my albums, I laugh at the memories that come alive just from the picture. It’s like I am there, remembering it all.
I would sit looking through my album and think “Oh how great life was” “How free I was” “How HAPPY I was.” I sat for two days looking at my albums anytime Jax took a nap, as if it were a novel I was trying to finish. I would spend time on each photo, remembering my friends, studying my smiling face, wondering where that girl went. I wanted to raise the pictures up to God and say, “This, this is what I want!” “That happy girl, that smile, that freedom, that joy.” I wanted to say “Look God, this is who I am, found her!!”
It was in this protest where I wanted so badly to be “that girl” in the album, that I started to wonder what was it that I wanted so badly. I dug deeper into “that girl.” If I’d really begin to remember my “before life,” I’d remember my pain, my anxiety, my depression, my discontentment in life. I’d remember the times when I felt like life wasn’t worth it, or when I lost my best friend and couldn’t stand to be here another day. I’d look at “that girl” in this album whose smile was so perfect and really see that she was far from it.
I’d see that looking back at this surface material was giving me an illusion that I had some great life before Christ, before having my kids, before marrying my husband. It was a lie from the enemy. I let my memories take me down a path where I started to believe life was better before now! This album was just pieces of my life, a time that I was lost, unhappy and desperately looking for purpose.
In my reflection, I began to think about Lot’s wife. In her family’s desperate flee, she “looked back.” She looked back at the world she was fleeing, at the lavish life she lived and she thoughtlessly disobeyed God. She was so connected to the lavish living that she couldn’t fully process that God sought to save her. What He had was so much better than what she had to leave behind, but it didn’t matter. She was so connected to a life with materialistic things that she lost grasp of what really mattered. I don’t want to be that woman. That woman who “looks back” so lustfully, seeking to fill a void that the enemy planted. I don’t want to be that woman who thoughtless disobeys God with doubt and fear. I want to be the woman called granted me to be. The woman He planned for.
I get to live in the present, seeking God’s plans for me. I get to look forward, knowing that what He has is more than what “back there” had to offer! I am thankful to “look back” and see who I was before however, I won’t confuse it with the REAL love, joy and peace that comes from a Christ centered life.
I challenge you to do the same.