Mom and Dad have been asking me to do portraits for them for awhile now, and today was the perfect afternoon! What fun to spend some time making portraits of them as a couple. Dad and Mom seem pretty level headed and laid back in public, but they really can be hilarious and…kind of like newlyweds. I mean, they sort of bust the traditional monochromatic stereotype of the homeschool mom and the pastor dad. Pretty sure I deleted 2/3 of the pictures I got because they were in the throes of laughter. I have no idea what they were laughing about.
Particularly in this present culture, their marriage does one’s heart good! Their marriage is characterized by a love and delight in one another, mutual respect, Biblical headship, mutual submission to God’s wonderful plans and intentions for marriage. They truly have a beautiful, dynamic relationship, centered on the only Rock and Truth, Jesus Christ. They’ve done their share of failing, as has anyone who has ever worked hard to succeed at something, and they would be the first to acknowledge that their successes haven’t been through their own strength, but through the strength of their Savior. That is a success that lasts! They are building a beautiful legacy.
I’m so glad to have their example in my lives!
Pretty is such an overused term. It has its place: “That’s a pretty dress,” for instance. But to call a person pretty is to focus entirely on outward appearance, and forgets all about the soul. Beautiful is a little more appropriate. But I prefer the term lovely. Lovely seems to me to get below the surface of a person’s appearance, and touches on their heart. A person can be “pretty” but have a wicked heart. But a lovely person has to have a heart that is full of light. Someone else may have a different opinion on the syntax and connotations, but that is what they mean to me.
Last week, we were all at the Gaslight Restaurant in Rockerville, and both Anna and I felt the need to get outside for a few minutes. We got outside just before sunset, and the light was almost perfect. The light was just getting a little iffy, which accounts for some of the graininess of the pictures, but other than that, it was great. And with wonderful rundown buildings for a backdrop, we had a photoshoot ready to go!
Anna is my youngest sister, and I sometimes am surprised when I realize that she isn’t a kid anymore, but a young lady! And she is a young lady with a heart of gold. We have our moments and our relational difficulties, but I can see how God has been working in her heart (and in mine, for that matter), and we are closer now than we were a year and a half ago when we moved out here. This is one of the reasons I’m so glad to be living at home, even at the age of 25! If I had left home prior to college, or right after college, I would have missed out on this opportunity that I have had, to work to improve our relationship and to try to mend some of those areas where I’ve messed up, and to become better friends with her. Seeing the way the little girls at church look up to Anna is truly heartwarming. They adore her, and she loves on them like crazy. She has a great work ethic, a sense of humor, and an artistic flare that for some reason she tries to keep hidden. But you should see her drawings. But more than all of that, she loves Jesus.
She’s a lovely person.
Friendship and fellowship are two of God’s greatest blessings, and they go hand in hand with the command to love. Over and over throughout the New Testament, the church is commanded to love. Christians are called to love everyone – Friends and enemies, widows and orphans, rich and poor, old and young. But special attention is given to command Christians to love their brethren, those with whom they share the bond of faith. The bond of faith is a blood relationship of a different sort – We weren’t all born to the same parents, but we were washed in the blood of Christ, cleansed by His sacrifice, and the bond of Christian faith is a bond that is eternal. If we aren’t able to love our Christian brethren with genuine love, then whom will we be able to love?
What a delight it was, then, to spend the evening with my pastor’s family, fellowshipping over a meal and then heading over to Stockade Lake as the sun was setting. They had graciously agreed to let me practice family portraits on them, muddling through posing and lighting and everything else that comes with a photo shoot. And it was a joy!
This family is truly characterized by their love of their Savior, which manifests itself in their love for each other and their love for others. J.O. and Dana have a beautiful, Christ-centered marriage, and they love and honor one another so wholly. And their children are a testament to that, thriving and growing as children in their parents’ Gospel-driven home. After finishing up by Stockade Lake and enjoying the pleasure of God’s Creation, we went back to their place for hot chocolate and tea and more good conversation.
Family is a wonderful thing.