Wednesday morning, I scrolled through all the pictures on my phone from mid-2016 to 2018. It made me feel full, as if I had eaten a good meal and was settling in for a nap. I watched our babies grow, even seeing the startling realization that I was pregnant for the fourth time unfold in the photos. I cut my hair short. I learned how to dress myself. I made space for work and redecorated our home, changing the spaces to suit our growing and maturing family. The faces of my closest friends showed up beside my own and the seasons cycled, bare branches shifting to the explosion of green summer. I wanted to go back and hug my babies, yes, but I also wanted to hug myself. The main thing I felt for the me in those photos was compassion. Life was full and hard and so much good was growing even if I was too exhausted to see it.
I knew those seeds were germinating. That’s why I took the photos. I wanted the record of what looked like nothing because one day I would know it was something. This is the startling truth of our lives at every point. These ordinary days, where we wrestle for hope and discipline and faithfulness, will burst forth with some new life. We just might not see it for a few years; in the moment, it simply looks normal. It was true in 2017 and it’s true today in 2021.