Where is my heart anyway?

Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?


Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.


Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Luke 12:22-34


For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.


So what is my treasure? Where is my heart anyway? I feel like too much of my time is spent cleaning the floors, picking up toys, wiping tables, doing laundry, making beds, washing dishes. So does that mean that my heart is in my house? Is that my treasure? I don’t want it to be like that. I feel like I’m doing all of it for my family. So they’ll have a safe, organized place to live and play.


But is it really for them? Or is it for me? Is it for my kids if I’m ignoring and reprimanding them so I can keep their home clean? Their bodies clean…their toys organized…their tummies fed…but do they feel loved?


Or maybe my treasure is my business. Maybe my heart is there. Hours are spent taking photos, editing, thinking about what camera equipment I will buy next. I identify myself as a photographer more than I identify myself as a Christ follower. But I do it for my family. Don’t I? Don’t I do it so that we can have enough money? Or do I do it for me?


Is Christ my treasure? At this point in my life I would have to say no. “Me time” is my treasure. Working is my treasure. Keeping up with the house is my treasure. My kids are sort of my treasure unless they interfere with the business and housework. Phillip is my treasure when I take a break from the other things.


But this is the thing, my heart isn’t in any of it. Because my real treasure is living a life that points to Jesus Christ. And since I’m not actively doing that, my heart doesn’t want to do anything else either.


Maybe if Christ is not my treasure, then maybe I have no treasures at all. And maybe I’m just spinning in vain.

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Renewed.

I’ve only written about this topic a few times. I think it probably makes some people uncomfortable. Maybe not. I don’t know.


Anyway, in October of 2008 I became an affiliated photographer with an organization called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. It’s an organization made up of professional photographers who donate their time/talent to go to hospitals and photograph new babies who are either close to death or have just passed away. At first thought, it might sound morbid. And I think that’s where people get uncomfortable and turn off their listening ears.


But when I heard about the organization I had to do it. Had to. I couldn’t sign up fast enough. And in that time I’ve worked with about 12 babies and their families. Each baby and family, precious and unique in their love and their grief. Each experience beautiful and draining. There is something about being present at the birth of a child that just seems Holy. There is something also Holy about being present as a family not only welcomes their new baby, but also says goodbye at the same time. In every hospital room I was in I felt like I was standing on Holy ground. I haven’t felt as enveloped by the presence of God and so used as an instrument for His purpose in my life as I was on those 12 occasions.


But at some point in the last year or so my heart for serving in this ministry sort of got squashed or something. I got “too busy” or whatever. Maybe I became too disconnected from my own pain of my pregnancy losses. Maybe I started thinking it was just a crazy thing to do. Anyway, about six months ago I was up to renew my affiliation and I let it lapse. I just kept not getting around to it.


I just now got around to it. Some things are just too important to put off any longer.


Is it difficult for me to enter a room with a shattered family and introduce myself, and then go to the baby and smile and tell them their baby is so beautiful?? Is it hard for me to take that baby in my arms, the same arms that held my own son after he was born way too soon, and look at that sweet baby with awe? Is it awkward to then make the mental shift to a professional and “glove up” and take the only photos this family may ever have of their child? Does it break my heart? Yes, but God hasn’t entrusted and equipped a whole lot of people to do it. God calls us to do hard stuff. We can do the easy stuff without being asked to. We can do the easy stuff without God’s help.


It would be easier, and has been easier the last 6 months or so, to not be called for these situations. It’s a call you never want to get. And the calls tend to come at very inconvenient times. But if God calls you to something and gives you the gifts to do it well and you choose not to do it, you really are missing out on something Holy. I’ve been missing out on something Holy by avoiding doing this.


I have permission to share these photos. This permission was given to me by baby Caleb’s mom. Usually it’s the baby who isn’t going to make it, but in this case, Mom was terminal and the baby was most likely going to be okay. I was there the first time she held her son. These photos will be treasured by their family for a lifetime. And I don’t share these to pat myself on the back. I share these to point to the One who gave me my story, to the One who created me to be a photographer, to the One who gives me strength to walk in the hospital room and “glove up” and do the thing He’s called me to do.



Are you avoiding “gloving up” as I have been? Are you up for a renewal? Are you missing out on something Holy?

Yeah, they still happen

Earlier today Jack and I were reading in Luke 9 about Jesus feeding the 5000 with the five loaves and 2 fish. I asked Jack how that was possible. He said he didn’t know. I told him it was a miracle. I asked him if miracles still happen today. Without pausing to think about it, he said “No” very matter of fact.


My kid is 8. He’s been raised in church. He doesn’t believe miracles still happen.


So I told him that what if there was a mom who had one baby, but then because of something wacky with her body, she couldn’t have anymore babies. And that same woman now has four kids. Would that be a miracle? He said “Yes, that would be a miracle.” I asked him if he knew what woman I could be talking about. I saw the light bulb moment as he said, “You?”


That’s right. Miracles still happen.


Then I told him to think about that same woman, the woman with the blood condition that she was born with, the same woman who got pregnant with four babies but they all died… I asked him what he thought about that one baby that she had first. The one who didn’t die.


Jackson said, “That’s a miracle.”


That’s right. Miracles still happen.


They happen every day.

Second chance for Christmas

I’ve been enjoying the series at church the last couple of weeks. It’s called “Second Chance Christmas” and it’s kind of about some folks in the Bible who were given a new lease on life and went on to be part of the lineage of Christ. People like Rahab, the prostitute, or Ruth, the widow, or King David when he lost his mind over Bathsheba. I love Old Testament stories and there are just so many good ones about God giving people second, third, fourth…chances to turn their lives around.

Today Greg talked about going from dysfunction to leaving a legacy with the story of David and Bathsheba. And I just couldn’t help thinking about these two little girls and Mikey. God has given them a second chance to have a family who will love them unconditionally, put their needs first, and guide them to become the people God wants them to be. God has taken them from dysfunction to a place where they will have a chance to leave a legacy. He’s breaking the cycle. And what is just so stinking cool is that He’s using us to help accomplish it. Mikey’s already gotten his second chance and these two little girls are going to get their second chance just in time for Christmas. So so cool!!

God is still at work, people. He’s not abandoned us. He’s not absent. He’s not powerless. He’s not apathetic. He is still orchestrating the lives of people everyday that they might have a new life.

A new story.

Once upon a time there was a mommy and a daddy. They had one amazing little boy. He was funny and brilliant and they loved him very much. With their whole hearts. They wanted to have more kids; more amazing, funny, brilliant kids. But they couldn’t and they were sad. One day they adopted another little boy. He helped them to not feel sad anymore. He also was amazing and funny and brilliant and they loved him very much. With their whole hearts.

They loved him so much, in fact, that when they found out he had two little sisters who needed a family, they said “yes.” And they were scared and excited and nervous. But they knew that it was just God’s crazy way of giving them even more kids; more amazing, funny, brilliant kids. Kids that they would love with their whole hearts.