Take the picture, no matter what’s in the background. I was searching through old photos on the computer to find one in particular (to no avail), but the longer I looked, the more my heart filled with joy as I saw smile after smile of my kids in their childhood messes.

I went past the formal pictures–the first day of school, the staged family pictures, etc.

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But I lingered on the simple moments–mismatched outfits, messy faces from ice cream, playing in a room with toys everywhere, helping Daddy with a task.

The candid shots hold so much power.

They capture personalities.

They capture your kids’ hobbies.

They capture real life.

Mama, take the pictures, no matter what’s in the background. Don’t try to move the pile of laundry. Don’t clean up the kitchen counter first. Don’t sweep the floor. Don’t arrange it perfectly so the mess is hidden.

When you do those things, you’re hiding life.

You’re not fully capturing the moment.

Sure, you might not post it on social media, but maybe you should. Maybe you should show the world the reality of motherhood–the messy, the beautiful, the overflow of love.

One day, you’ll be glad you have that picture. At the moment, the small things won’t mean anything. You’ll just see them as a mess, or they’ll be overlooked altogether.

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But trust me, when you look back in a year or five years, you’ll notice those shoes your daughter was wearing–the ones your toddler tossed out the window at a gas station, or a toy she loved playing with sitting in the background that someone else’s little boy or girl is enjoying right now. You’ll see your favorite mug sitting on the counter, waiting to be washed–the one that has since been shattered when it accidentally hit the floor. A beloved pet that snuck into the shot–oh, how you wish you could rub his belly again.

You’ll see these snapshots of life, and they’ll take you back.

You’ll linger, and you’ll see the magic that filled those moments–the magic you didn’t see in the middle of that day.

Mama, take those pictures. Don’t worry about what it looks like. Capture the moment. Capture joy. Capture life. You’ll be so glad you did.

Tynea Lewis

Tynea Lewis is a teacher turned work-from-home mom. She and her husband are raising two little girls, and they love spending time together at a family cabin in Pennsylvania. Tynea remembers loving to write as early as first grade, and now God uses her passion for writing to encourage other women.