When Your Smile Changes

It's Mother's Day weekend and Facebook tradition calls for changing your profile picture to honor your mom. I clicked through lots of pictures trying to find one of my mom and me together. It's rare we are in photos together because like most moms, one of us is usually taking the picture. I found a suitable photo from seven years ago and changed my profile picture. I stared into my face and I noticed something different about me. I don't smile like that anymore. My grin was much wider then and my smile rose deep into my eyes. I looked at more current photos of me and noticed the smiles aren't like that anymore. Sometimes I'll grin if prompted, but generally I must be prodded a bit to "say cheese".

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Even though "time flies", time brings about many changes. A marriage can go through so much, life and death happen, and daily I feel like I gather heaps of wisdom. Sometimes that wisdom comes with the price of a broken heart or at least a bruised one. Sometimes all that wisdom gathering leads us to keep our smiles a little more subdued, as if to say, "I know a little too much about the world now." I think Mona Lisa was a wise woman who knew a lot about the world and her smile wasn't so much about being coy or shy but simply a statement that she knew a thing or two. Naive no longer.

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Don't get me wrong. I wouldn't change a thing nor do I regret all that I've experienced. God has refined me with His refiner's fire - one meant to bring impurities to the surface and remove them in order to create a finer, stronger metal. I have simply understood that there is a lot more to a photograph than a cheesy grin or a smug mug - there's always a story behind the eyes and why they twinkle or look far off.

Job spent a lot of time thinking about his life and contemplating his situation. I was struck by his comment about his current losses and feeling as though God was judging him. He said:

“My days are swifter than a runner; they fly away without a glimpse of joy. They skim past like boats of papyrus, like eagles swooping down on their prey. If I say, ‘I will forget my complaint,
I will change my expression, and smile."

I don't think God wants us to change our smiles because He knows the truth. We're not to put on an act in front of Him. We need to be honest with ourselves and others and bring our joys and broken moments before Him. A recent song called, "If We're Honest" says it best:

Bring your brokenness, and I'll bring mine
'Cause love can heal what hurt divides
And mercy's waiting on the other side
If we're honest
If we're honest

Don't pretend to be something that you're not
Living life afraid of getting caught
There is freedom found when we lay
our secrets down at the cross, at the cross

This weekend, take some honest pictures with your family. Document this time and if there's joy, give thanks and if there's pain, bring it before the Lord.