Whose Kingdom are you Seeking?

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Have you ever looked at someone else and thought, “Man, I just wish I could be where they are?”

In life, in career, in marriage, in family, in social status… whatever it is, many times we want what someone else has. The whole deception that we are never quite doing enough or being enough leads us to jealousy and greed.

I remember just a couple years ago, the huge desire I had to be a mom. It drove me to tears to see a pregnancy announcement because I was praying so hard for that to be me.

Fast-forward to now and I am savoring every bit of my very precious alone time while the kids are napping. Today I’m blogging. But typically it wouldn’t be far-fetched to find me snuggling up on the couch trying to play catch-up with my DVR. Which some days may, in fact, be the most fun thing I do that day. Depending on if the show hasn’t already been spoiled for me. That’s a buzzkill.

The truth is, I got everything I coveted for (a family) and yet I still find myself wanting to resort back to the days of wasting my time watching TV. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but it’s true.

Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

All these things. All the things that we need in life will be provided for when we seek God first. It’s not prosperity gospel – it’s the gospel. Because when we seek after God, when we truly chase after building His kingdom… we can do without and we feel blessed with little.

The reason we become greedy is because our kingdoms look small. Our jobs don’t look important enough or our homes pretty enough. We can’t seem to find the right friends or right clothes to make us feel good. And we are too busy staring at people who are too busy staring at people who are too busy building their own kingdoms.

Seek first His kingdom…

God’s kingdom looks a lot like giving with no strings-attached, loving with no conditions, serving with no reward. There is no status involved in God’s Kingdom, no Pinterest board dedicated to it’s cause. Because the things that actually give us value are not measurable here on earth.

I love being a mom. It has been the most fulfilling and God-honoring thing I could have ever asked for. But if I’m not careful, I could build my own kingdom around it. I could try and become “super-mom” with super kids who wear super-hip clothing and are the super-athlete/musician/student. Trust me, there are Pinterest boards for all that.

But more than anything, my desire is to raise children who are united in building God’s kingdom instead of their own. It’s going to take a lot of work and prayer – I can already see the sinful nature has been passed down from me and planted deep into my children’s DNA. But if I can become good at anything, I want to become good at seeking first the kingdom of God. Not for my own boasting, but for the ones who will model their kingdoms after mine – most importantly, my children.

And so next time you are tempted, like me, to become envious of where someone else is in life – remember whose kingdom you are seeking. And that in order to build the Kingdom of God, our kingdoms must look small.

 

Behind a Photo

I post a lot of pictures. Especially of my children. There’s no arguing that. Setting my photography business aside, taking photos for me is both a hobby and creative outlet. I love capturing little moments throughout the day – whether at home with my little ones or out and about. These are memories I will cherish forever and I’ve never regretted taking a single photo.

What I do regret sometimes, is sharing them online.

I’m not worried about my children growing up and getting upset that their faces were plastered all over social media. In fact, I think by the time they are old enough to care, social media will be such a natural part of life – used for business, education, etc. – it may be for their benefit to have early records and memories of their childhood documented. Especially in a fond and positive way. I never want to portray them in a negative light or share things that may embarrass them later in life. So of course, most of my photos consist of smiles and laughter and sweetness.

But there is a life going on behind the photos that isn’t always as pretty. And sometimes when I only share the sweet moments, people think they know my children, when they really don’t. I’ve had people make comments to me about my children, based on photos, that are completely way off base. And this… this is what concerns me. This is what makes me regret sharing.

I’ve tried to find the balance between being “real” and also respecting my future “adult children,” by not sharing every little blowout (literally and figuratively). Do I let people keep making assumptions? Or do I correct them when they say something completely off base about my child? Should I stop sharing photos altogether? Or do I just suck it up and realize this comes with the territory? These are the questions that I mull over daily. And I’ve been getting into mama-bear mode frequently, where I just want to protect every piece of who they are.

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Micah is witty, creative, adventurous, but cautious at the same time. He talks in sentences, most of which is astonishingly understandable. He loves sports – any sport – and never wants to miss out on a party. A lot of times, he brings the party with him.

Hannah is sweet, strong and fiercely independent. She can be as quiet as a mouse and in two seconds pierce your eardrums with the loudest shrill. She loves attention, but is particular about who gives it to her. Feed her, and you have her heart.

These are who my children are today. They are always changing and growing. I have no desire to box them in or create their identities for them. I want them to be who God created them to be.

I love that we have the internet to share photos and document stories and feel connected. I love that long-distance family and friends can feel a part of a happy moment in our lives just by sharing a picture.

And I really don’t mean to be rude or pompous or arrogant with this concerned-mama-bear post, but if I could make one request and plea to you it would be this – when you meet my child for the first time, don’t assume that you already know them because you’ve seen their picture online. Take the time and really get to know who they are. When you do that, you will see that there is a lot more to the story behind a photo. And I can guarantee you that 100% of the time, you will prefer the original.