I think it’s true. There are so many things that can be said about a picture. Pictures have memories, and stories, and emotions attached to them. They can stir up something in us. At least I know that’s the case for me. In high school, and through a lot of college, more often than not I could be found with my camera at hand. Nothing fancy – just a point and shoot. But I always had it. I kept it around to capture the memories so that one day I could look back and remember as much as possible about my life. & then share those memories with others. That is the inspiration for this new series. I want to take hold of the opportunity to share memories, and stories, and emotions with you. Because it all makes up my story. It all makes up who I am today. The truth is, this series could go on forever. I have a whole lot of pictures. So I’m planning on this being an ongoing occurrence here at The Pruim Life. I look forward to digging through some oldies, but oh so goodies to give you a greater glimpse into my life. So here’s the first installment.
This picture is one for the history books in my life for more reasons than I ever could have dreamed of on the night that it was taken. Let me tell you why…
This was a Wednesday night in the fall of what I think was 2004. It was the first and only time that I ever attended the junior high youth group as a student at my would-be church. You see, in my junior high years, my parents were getting my brother and me plugged back into the Lutheran church that they had attended once upon a time, so I spent most of my Wednesday nights at confirmation classes. But this one random Wednesday night that was probably in my eighth grade year, I didn’t have confirmation class; and for some reason I didn’t have school the next day either. As a result, I made plans to sleepover at my cousins’ house. Before I went to their house for the night though, we went to their church (which I had already visited on occasion for the Sunday services) for some of the student ministries. Jordi was helping out at the children’s ministry and Matt was going to the junior high youth group, so I had the choice to either help out with Jordi, or tag along with Matt for the event of the night: the Pumpkin Olympics. The picture shows the choice I made. Since I didn’t know anyone, I stuck to Matt (the brunette boy next to me in the photo) like glue as the night went by, which meant I was on an olympic team with all boys. That didn’t bother me. In fact, I remember secretly thinking to myself that I felt super cool for being the only girl with all the boys. I also remember during one of the events saying that I wanted to be the representative of the team to shot put a pumpkin because “girls are strong too”. They were troopers and let me do my thing, but I can humbly admit now that I was not, in fact, as strong as the boys and did not throw the pumpkin very far. I remember the youth pastor, Jason, drop kicking a pumpkin for the “opening ceremony” while wearing shorts & knee high socks. I remember having to roll a pumpkin across a field with my head – ya know, the kind of thing that only junior highers do. Otherwise, the rest of the details of this night are a bit of a blur.
But despite the haziness, this night was still monumental. Because God had so much in store for me as a result of it that I was completely unaware of at the time. Let me just point out how:
I didn’t know that within the two years following these pumpkin olympics, this non denominational church would become my home church. I didn’t know that my life would drastically change as a result of attending and getting plugged into this church in high school. I didn’t know that this night would be a wide open door in my path to meeting Jesus for real.
I didn’t know that years after this picture was taken I would be a leader in the same ministry that I was attending as a student that night. I didn’t know that I would serve under the leadership of the same youth pastor that wore shorts and knee high socks & drop kicked a pumpkin. And I didn’t know that he would not only become my own youth pastor my senior year of high school, but that he, and his wife, would also become mentors and dear friends.
I didn’t know that down the road I would regularly see most of these boys every Sunday at the high school youth group, instead of this junior high one. I didn’t know that literally half of these boys would become such good friends that they are still a part of my life to this day. In fact, I didn’t know that two of the boys in this picture would stand in my wedding – one of them being the best man.
Because my favorite part of this story is that I didn’t know that I met my husband on this night. Yep, that adorable blondie in the orange sweater is my now hubby. I didn’t know that neither he nor I would remember that we met before we thought we met. Because our first real memories of meeting each other happened later on within the next year of this picture being taken. In fact, no one believed me (minus my cousin) that I even existed on this night until Jason found this picture in his archives years later and I could prove every doubter wrong.
You see, this picture is incredibly sweet to me because it is the perfect representation of Christ’s provision in my life – in all of our lives. At a mere 13(ish) years old, I had no clue that this picture, this night, would represent so many giant factors of my life as an adult. Every time I look at this, I can’t help but smile at the ways that God has worked things out (after I laugh to myself at how ridiculous I, my husband, and our friends all look in all of our awkward junior high glory).
This picture is full of memories. It’s full of then-future, now-present meaningful relationships. To prove it to you, here’s a shot from our best man’s wedding this past October. The junior high version of the three on the left can be found above.
& here’s one of me and present day Matt
Sometimes God is at work in our lives in ways that we don’t realize until we look back after time has passed and we see his hand prints all over them. The picture from the pumpkin olympics is full of God’s invisible hand already at work in all of our lives. & boy am I glad to have this keepsake to always remember it by.