Pictures reveal a lot–much more than the plus and minus of the pounds we carry. They capture moments in time. They capture what we look like as life happens–what our smile (or lack thereof) reveals.

Over the holidays I encountered old photographs of Emily and me as we first started ministry. Our smiles were bright, full of hope, and perhaps naive. Even moving was a thrill then. As I turned the pages, I ran across pictures from a really difficult season. I looked tired and tense. The smile seemed a bit forced. Emily still looked great, of course 🙂

Then, just a week ago, we took new pictures. I got a look at them and noticed the unforced smile was back, but it looked a little different than before. It had a bit less idealism and a bit more contentment in it–like the difference in the smile of a newlywed couple and a couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. Both smiles are beautiful in their own way.




Each is a part of us. So take some time this week to browse through your before, during and after pictures. You know what the “during” was–the breakup, loss of a loved one, the excruciating ministry transition–you know what you’re “during” is.

Before is good. After is swell. But, it’s the “during” that makes us who we are. So, resolve to live well during your next “during.”

I ran across this gallery of photographs of U.S. soldiers before, during and after war–amazing work by Claire Felicie I thought you would enjoy. Click on any of them to see the full image.