Before and After


This week we started creating Eli’s room.  Yes, he is nearly four months old but I think it was wise to wait.  Decorating a nursery before the baby arrives expresses the parent’s personalities.  Waiting on Eli to make his own choices will make his room reflect his personality.

Yes, he is ONLY four months.  But I saw with my own eyes how he selected the theme for his room.  We were in Buy Buy Baby, he was placed in several cribs to test out the bumper pads.  His dad and mom bought the set that made him light up, sing, and kick the most.  So now they are building the room around his favorite jungle animals.

But first we paint the piano.  How many babies do you know have a piano in their room?  Tori gave it to Dustin for Father’s Day.  You see Dustin worships the Lord every morning with Eli right there beside him.  Eli delights in his daddy’s voice and accompaniment.  Dustin can now teach Eli to not only play the guitar but also the piano as they worship the Lord together.

I took before pictures because I love to take after pictures.  I think it is an obsession with me.  How can I take something and completely redo it or ‘fix it’?  Obviously it is a national obsession as well.  Every day in the media we see dozens of rooms, homes, yards, and even human bodies being made over.  We sit transfixed and squeal with awe when the after shots are aired.  We laugh with the countless OMG exclaimed by the surprised contestants.

Mike and I bought a 50-year-old tiny house and restored it into a country cottage.  The process gave us a creative high.  Two years later and I still smile when I remember the before and delight in the after.

Here’s the bathroom

And here’s the kitchen


I have been trying to create a way to photograph before and after pictures of my maturity in Christ.  I know I am nothing like I was 20 years ago.  These past two years I have changed so drastically I don’t recognize myself spiritually.  I know there have even been changes in this month.  But how do I capture these awe-inspiring after shots?

Sadly taking a picture of myself shows only the natural aging process.  The OMG I cry out is not from excitement!

A still photo can’t capture spiritual growth.  But a movie camera would work.  What if believers allowed a camera crew to follow us around and record how we interact with our spouse, children, parents, neighbors, co-workers, and friends?  Would we view a kinder, more loving, peaceful believer speaking words of deeper wisdom and knowledge?

Our memories can deceive us but a recorded video, well that would do the job.  Many parents have manipulated their children into good behavior with the threat that God is watching and will play back every moment in front of all of heaven.  That’s a terrifying thought even if you’re not eight years old.

But that after scene doesn’t match what I perceive of Heaven.  Somehow I think when we step into our after life with Jesus, we will be so overwhelmed with awe that the OMG will be a worshipful “Ooooh, My God!”

We will shed tears for all our failures but as He wipes those tears away we will have full understanding of how there is no condemnation for those who are IN Christ Jesus.  Oh, how precious His blood that washes us clean.

Until that day, we are still in the before shots.  Everyday is a new before and He is reading our hearts delighting in our desire to reflect Him.  He is still at work molding, shaping, and refining His children.  He will complete His good work.

I just hope that when I step into His Presence and that after shot is taken I’ll hear my Lord exclaim, “Ahh, I did good in that one.”

Then I will know He was glorified in all He did through my life.

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