In 2003, my husband and I were living in Topeka, Kansas. It’s a long story. We’d gone there to work for a a pastor who was in ill health. Terry was going to take over the church for him after a few months. Well, six months into our time there, we learned that the man was healed. No job for us at that church. Terry found a decent job at a factory and we moved to another church nearby and waited on God to direct our path. It was a long, difficult three years while we waited.
We had dial-up internet access, but knew nothing of social networking. Email was the “thing” then. I was writing…I guess I’ve always been writing… but on paper, not a screen! I knew nothing of blogging. My husband’s grandmother, Nita Saylor, had just retired from her job at the Delta faucet factory. Her going-away gift was a digital camera! She had no desire for it, so she gave it to us. I still remember the day it arrived in the mail. I eagerly opened the box and took out the parts, read the manual and stood in awe at how I could view the photos instantly. I had a good time with that camera. We used it until we upgraded some five years later. I have shuffled these photos around from hard drive to hard drive and now, I am placing them here for safe keeping.
When I looked at these photos, I got a lump in my throat and that butterfly feeling in my stomach. Could this little girl be my Lauren? Can this baby boy actually be my Mitchell? Mitchell helps his dad do yard work and vehicle maintenance now. Lauren just made a fresh batch of no-bake cookies. I feel sadness mixed with joy. I’m so happy we made fun memories way back then, when she was four and Mitchell was one. I am glad they are growing up into fine young people. I’m glad I’ve gotten to be with them on every step of their journey. But…I’m a little sad, too. Sad that these few grainy photos are all I have left of those days. Oh, and the journals I wrote. I still have those. But these days are gone forever and ever. I’ve decided not to think about the sad part; just to think about the happiness part. Because despite the fact that the people in these photos were wretchedly poor – it was that year, 2003, that our total income was a whopping $13,000 – we were happy. We shared love and laughter. We saw God work miracles and provide needs for us that were above and beyond what we could ask or think. While we suffered, we grew. And while we grew, we smiled. We smiled because we loved each other, because we were saved and, because no matter what, our God would never leave us or forsake us.
Thank you for walking down memory lane with me. I still have that bittersweet feeling as I share these photos. Part of me remembers all my faults and failures, the other part of me says, “Nobody’s perfect”. Part of me is joyful that I made these memories, the other part of me desperately wants to go back in time somehow and squeeze these little ones one more time, savor the moments a bit longer and correct my mistakes. But no one has that luxury. No one. So I will just say to my Savior, thank you. Thank you, Lord, for letting me live and experience these happenings. Thank you for letting my children live and grow and become what they are today. For while I do treasure the memories of the past, I know that today is all I really have. Today. I want it to count for Him.