Sunday, March 31, 2013

"Parent"dox: Believing Isn't Always Seeing

Sunday Night "Parent"dox #7: Believing Isn't Always Seeing
When I walked into my daughter's room last night to check on her, I found her tucked in bed, light on, with my camera snuggled up next to her.  (She, of course, was still awake.)

"Why do you have my camera?"

"Mom, I need it so I can take a picture of my bedroom and take a picture of the Easter Bunny!"

(Some of my daughter's handiwork I found after confiscating the camera.  A valiant effort on her part.  Feels a little bit like you're on the Tilt-A-Whirl at a carnival, doesn't it?)

My sweet, sweet girl.  I bent down, kissed her forehead, and assured her the Easter Bunny would only arrive once she was sound asleep.  She reluctantly conceded and gave up the camera in exchange for her beloved "Lovey" and a few rounds of Mom singing "The Good Night Song" while snuggling her.

Even at the tender age of 2, my daughter was already looking to capture visual proof -- some sort of evidence -- of something she believed in, but had not seen with her own eyes.  

Seeking My Own Photograph
This camera incident with my daughter had me reflecting on my own faith in a different way this Easter Sunday.  How often do I ask God for a "photograph" of some sort?  He sent His one and only Son to walk this Earth, to teach, to lead, and ultimately, to die for my sins.  He paid the ultimate price for me.  Yet time and time again, I find myself second-guessing, wondering, craving some kind of proof; some kind of photograph.  

Can this be real, God?  Do you really, truly love me -- me -- with all my flaws and shortcomings? Could you really have sacrificed your Son, in all of His perfection, to die for me, in all my imperfection?  How can I believe your love and grace can be extended to even me when there is nothing I can see?  No proof?  No evidence?  No photograph?

These questions creep into my thoughts more than I care to admit.  In the small things, in the big things.  When I worry. When I doubt.  When I fear.  

But He doesn't worry, He doesn't doubt, He doesn't fear.  His love is bigger than all of that.  His love is bigger than my imperfections, my flaws, my shortcomings.  His love is bigger than my worry, my doubt, my fear.  His love is bigger than my sin.  He doesn't ignore my sin; He sees it and forgives it and loves me still.  His love is bigger than I can ever hope to fathom.

For me, today is the greatest reminder of my faith; of not seeing, yet believing.  


No, I didn't see it myself.  No, I have no photograph.  But I am blessed with hundreds and hundreds of snapshots of God and His perfect love each and every day.  

  • My husband.  My son.  My daughter.  My family.  My friends.  
  • The way He provides for me, even when I struggle to know what it is I need.  The way He is moving in my life for His purpose, even as I feel unsteady and unsure myself.  The way I can be moved to tears of joy when I am worshipping Him, even as I face grief or sorrow.
  • Love.  Laughter.  Life. 
  • The faithfulness of a new sunrise and a new start each day.  The beauty and renewal of spring.  
  • The relationship I have with my heavenly Father.  The feeling I try over and over to put to words, but find those words always falling short.  The inexplicable peace and comfort I find when I turn to Him in the midst of a storm.  
  • The miracle of an almost-here niece.  The sweet words of my children's prayers.  The kind words of a stranger at Meijer.  
He is present in the little things, in the big things.  He is with me, always.  

His photographs are all around me.  

Seeking Photographs as Parents
In some ways, parenting requires a sort of faith, too: a faith in the future; a faith in ourselves.  Day in and day out, we do our very best to make decisions in the best interests for our children. We search for the "right" words to comfort, teach and guide our children, the "right" consequences to help our children learn from their actions, the "right" decisions for the choices we face as parents.

When it comes down to it, we really have no way of knowing how we're doing in the day to day. We are asked to believe in our parenting, even without seeing immediate results.   It comes down to faith.  

Even when it is hard, even when we are faced with decisions that may break our hearts in the present, we make those decisions because we have faith that in the future, those tough decisions will pay off for our children.  We have faith that we are providing them with a foundation to grow into the children, teenagers and adults God intends them to be.  He gives us these beautiful, precious gifts for a short, short time, and we do our best to help them along the way to become loving, honest, responsible adults.  

I know it's not easy.  I can't even count the number of times I've wished for some kind of "proof" or "evidence" to know that I am on the right path of parenting.  If only I could have that photograph of my children as adults.  Just a quick little sneak peek to reassure me, to encourage me, to let me know they turned out "OK" and that I did "OK" as a parent.  

Once again, if I slow down and take a closer look around, there are a few of those snapshots sprinkled here and there every once in a while.  
  • The unprompted "please" or "thank you."
  • The pitter-patter of toddler feet into your bedroom one last time because "I have to tell you a question before I go to bed, Mom.  I love you!"
  • The genuine hug from brother to sister, when they think you aren't looking.
  • The matter-of-fact way they tell you "Mom, guess what?  Jesus loves me even more than you do!"
  • The honesty and courage when they own up to a choice they made and are not proud of, but are learning from.
  • The time they put away there coat and shoes without being asked.
  • The afternoon at the library when they offer one of the trains they are playing with to the little boy who has none, all on their own accord.

These photographs may be fleeting, a little blurry at times, and may not occur as often as we'd like, but they are there if we look.  

There are still those times, though, when my doubt, my worry, my fear kick in.  I find myself wondering... Wouldn't it be amazing if we could just know?  If we could just see that we are on the right path, and then it would be so much easier to believe in ourselves as parents?  

But that's not how parenting works.  That's not how faith works.  It is believing in the unseen, trusting in the unknown.  That is what makes it so amazing, so powerful, so beautiful.  

Have faith in yourself as a parent, even when it is hard.  Especially when it is hard.  He put His faith in you when He put that child, His child, in your care.

Have faith, You Are a Good Mom.  

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched.  They must be felt with the heart."  ~Helen Keller

Wondering what began all this blogging craziness?  Check out my first post for the back story on "You're a Good Mom" if you're curious.


  1. One of the very best so far. This one really moved me! You have a beautiful ministry, Carrie. - Dad

    1. Thanks, Dad. You are the best. :)

  2. I definitely related to this: "In some ways, parenting requires a sort of faith, too: a faith in the future; a faith in ourselves." I ask myself almost every day if God got it wrong when he gave me Henry, because I feel so ill-equipped as a parent. But He always reminds me that Henry is exactly where he needs to be and I am exactly he mom he was supposed to have. God shows me this in a hundred different ways. Like you said, we have to slow down and notice those "snapshots."

    1. Henry is a very lucky boy to have you as his Mom!


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