Saturday I took a photography class. Fully embracing my Japanese heritage as I do, I have one of those big DSLR cameras that makes me look like a (half) Asian tourist at every band concert, sporting event and family gathering.  I have always loved taking pictures but until now I had no clue how to really even use my camera. Much to my surprise, in one day I learned how to take almost professional looking photos (www.photographybyjillann.comfor any Lake Country and DFW friends with DSLR’s J). Even more surprising, about 20 minutes into the class I fell quite ill and almost lost breakfast in front of 11 women, most of whom I barely knew. 

Jill Ann’s photos were incredible and to see the memories she has “frozen” (as she called it) of babies, toddlers and sweet little families was nothing short of impressive.  But as I looked around the room at the other moms of predominantly little ones, I got a pit in my stomach. I was learning to use my camera now and my daughter is two years from leaving the house. I was sick to think of all the blurry and over and underexposed photos I had taken while the kids were small, still in our control and not embarrassed to call us their parents. The nausea wasn’t about photographs insomuch as it was about what is passing by me and the fact that I can’t get it back or slow it down.  Yes, I literally felt sick that I did not have quality memories of my children’s baby and toddler years, but I was even more ill that my job as mom, my family of five and those precious memories whether blurry or crystal clear, are quickly becoming just that. Memories.  Pepto, anyone?

Why do I follow Jesus Christ? I follow Him for many reasons but bouts of nausea in a photo class, trying not to cry at my son’s 8thgrade graduation or starting a file titled “college” for my 17 year old are high on the list. I can get so bogged down with sadness of what could have been, of what should have been and of what I would do differently that it can completely take over my thoughts and emotions. That state of mind unfortunately leads to nothing productive, nothing godly and a nothing way of life. But in this season of graduations, birthdays and milestones I have been reminded by the Holy Spirit to move once again from “why” thinking to “what now” thinking.  What does what now look like when it comes to mothering regrets?  Through prayer and time in God’s Word I have been reminded I have a choice, not only everyday but sometimes every ten minutes.  Am I going to choose to look behind or ahead?  Am I going to focus on regrets I can’t change and time I can’t stop or on what I can do differently in the next hour?  God has been reminding me that when I ask “what now” I move from a place of paralysis to a place of productivity.  It is slow productivity, but by God’s grace it is a place that will lead in the end to less regret, more abundant living and fewer ulcers.

“Lord, thank you for an opportunity to learn to capture my kids, husband and even the dog on film. Although it is hard to accept time seems only to be passing by more and more quickly, please help me to remember daily to abandon why thinking and to be a what now kind of woman.  Help me focus on doing today so I can have more joy, more peace and so I can be fully present with who and what is in front of me. In Your Name, Amen.”