We had family portraits taken over the holidays, what a gift and a blessing it was! As I was looking over the prints I was transported back in time...
When I was a child and a young adult and I thought about my future, only one word came to my mind: NORMAL!!!! I didn't want to stand out in any way. I wanted long straight hair (lol, to those of you who know me), I wanted to live in a normal house on a normal street with normal neighbors (or any neighbors). I wanted to wear normal clothes and have normal parents who had normal jobs who bought normal food and on and on and on it went....Oh yeah, and I wanted to love a normal God.
I think I spent a lot of my life trying to appear "normal." not really having a whole lot of goals other than that. If I did, they were a vehicle on the ride to "normaltown." My wrong-thinking told me that if I appeared normal, then nobody would look close enough to see the real me. The picture of a perfect life was much more preferable in my mind.
I love my husband so much..He came into my life and loved me whether I was normal or not. He may have thought he got a normal girl, but in time he learned that I was a mess. But you know what? He didn't care, and he is still here, he loves me anyway!
When our boys were young, we did all the normal things in the normal ways. We played sports, went to church, had great friends, family and a normal looking house. I even have a few family portraits to prove it. I could finally rest, I had excelled at being normal. What????
There was one huge flaw in all of that...Our God is not normal, he can't be put in my box or anyone else's for that matter. He knows that until you let that thing go that you are holding on to sooo tightly, He can't work in your life.
As a result of that, over a series of events, the normal things I held so dear were gone, a flood, a restoration, a beautiful home, a call to a life of service, no permanent roots, NORMAL was gone...
All of these changes were not done at once, it was like the peeling of an onion, a layer at a time, some of those layers were painful, some were liberating (like shedding your shoes and socks and putting on sandals at the end of winter), some were even joyful, but all along, I wasn't alone, The God who was doing this surgery was making me more and more His, I had to worship at His feet, not at the feet of all the idols in normaltown.
I have learned that there is more joy in the chaos of life, that normal is over rated, and who really is normal anyway? That God loves us just where we are, He sees us all as a "beautiful mess." and the best thing is, that I am His "beautiful mess" and so are you.
Now, back to the pictures. I was struggling so hard to find the perfect pose for a frame. With 13-14 of us, there wasn't one single shot where we are all perfect and normal...and then I saw them. There were two pictures; one of my husband and I with all of the grandkids, 4 of them are under three, and they are all screaming except Layla, our big girl. It is hilarious really, but not at all normal. Then there is another, it shows all of the parents and aunts and uncles trying to make the little ones stop crying or look at the family. I asked the photographer to shoot that one! It's my favorite..Happiness dwells where Normal ends for me!