To most, this probably doesn’t look like much. It’s not a perfectly staged “Instagram worthy” photo. It’s just a messy table filled with dirty dinner dishes, cookies, sippy cups and bottles. Except it’s not just that. It’s actually a picture of so much more.
Let me tell you a little behind the scenes to give you the right perspective of what this is actually a picture of…
This is the kitchen table of my dear, dear friend, Brittanie Wallace. Brittanie and I met back in the early stages of dating our husbands, and our friendship has grown and grown over the years. In those early days of friendship, she was busy serving the Lord and living in His Bigger Picture through a number of different ways. She taught a Sunday school class of middle school girls. She went on several international mission trips, loving the least of these and boldly sharing the gospel with those she and her team encountered. The things she was able to do in service to the Lord were big, tangible, visible things.
But then, things began to change. She got married and unexpectedly got pregnant with her first very quickly, and then pregnant with her second not long after that. The ways in which she could live in God’s Bigger Picture drastically changed. Gone were the big, grand gestures of love for the Lord. Instead, her days were filled with diaper changes, feeding children, and dealing with meltdowns.
But then came foster care. It was something she and her husband Evan felt called to do, and it was a big, tangible way to live for God’s kingdom. They went through a good portion of the very tedious process of becoming licensed foster parents, including a 20 hour class in one weekend. They were excited for this next step of living for the Lord. But then came pregnancy number 3! And so becoming foster parents needed to be put on pause for awhile. Although she was thrilled to be having baby number 3, there was also a sense of sadness to have to stop pursuing foster care for the time being.
I can understand that sense of sadness. When you go from being able to serve the Lord in all sorts of capacities, to becoming a mom where it seems like your days are filled with mundane and menial things, it can be hard. It can feel like you no longer have ways to serve the Lord and live in His Bigger Picture, other than in the confines of your own home (which is a huge task in and of itself). And while being a mother does change things and make it harder, the idea that we can’t live in God’s Bigger Picture while being a mom is simply a lie from Satan.
You see, we can live for His purposes and for His kingdom while we are in the season of young children. It just might look different. And Brittanie is the perfect example of this. She may not have led middle schoolers or gone on mission trips since having her three children (who are currently 3 1/2 and younger), but let me tell you what she has done.
Any time I put out a Bigger Picture Project need over the past couple of years, whether it was for a single mom in need of diapers, or a family in need of groceries, Brittanie was regularly one of the first to respond saying that she would help provide those items. She also, has not put loving and serving marginalized children out of her mind. And that leads me back to the above picture. Brittanie may not currently be able to bring foster babies into her home, but she can help those who are. And that is exactly what she did this past Friday night.
She planned a dinner to bring together me and my husband (who have just started the process to foster) and another couple who are currently fostering two young children. She brought us together to be able to hear their experiences and ask any questions we may have. She not only fed us, but she helped us feel more confident as we move forward, and gave us people to turn to along the way.
And so, that picture is not just a picture of a table full of dishes. It is….
A picture of hospitality.
A picture of loving the Lord and your neighbor as yourself.
A picture of loving the least of these.
A picture of the fact that living in the Bigger Picture isn’t just about the big, tangible, visible acts of service.
A picture of a mom of little ones doing her part in God’s Bigger Picture.
A picture of the fact that you can live your life for the kingdom, and live in the Bigger Picture in every season.