Length: 2 minutes 21 seconds (470 words)
We love pictures like this. A father reveling in the laughter and arms of his children. Kids delighting in just being with dad. It captures a moment of celebration and connectedness.
But what about the other moments? The ones the camera didn't capture? In our social media culture, we can become deceived by a beautiful picture. We are bombarded with amazing, unbelievable images every day. We "like" and "heart" stunning photographs. But is it true?
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8 NLT)
...what is true...
What's true about this image is there is more to this family than this moment. So much more. If you take this image at face value you will completely miss the point.
Before this moment, there were tears of confusion and fear. There were angry screams. Family confrontations about financial responsibilities and maturity. There were threats of violence and more.
Before this moment, there were desperate calls to the police, the sounds of sirens, and nosey neighbors in front yards trying to see what was going on. There were curse words and insults being shouted.
Before this moment, there was despair, feeling like nothing would ever change except for the worse. His family talked about it. His wife felt the cold stab of it in her soul. "What have I done? Should I leave? What have I exposed my children to?"
While in the New Life Program at Steelbridge, he wondered if he could really change. Maybe it's too hard? Maybe I was born this way - destined for destruction? Maybe everyone would be better off if I was gone?
But little by little, day by day, he began to change. His heart began to soften. As he surrendered to the control of the Holy Spirit, things began to get better. As he began to learn what God says about life in scripture, his thinking began to change - about himself, his purpose, his family, his future.
The moment captured in this image represents two years of restoration, struggle, and renewal. Two years. 730 days of failure, perseverance, and healing.
How do you capture that in a moment? How does one moment accurately describe all of that?
What is true about this family is: they are transformed, there is more than meets the eye.
Addiction and homelessness are not simple problems. There are no easy solutions. This beautiful moment is made possible by grace, mercy, and love. Each poured out through people - ordinary people. God uses ordinary people to do His extraordinary work.
Partners who support our work financially. Gifted staff who love and serve daily. Volunteers who pray and offer their presence and support in person.
It's how God works. We offer Him what we have - money, time, talent - big or small. And He uses it to do miracles.