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One of my favorite parts of vacation is looking back through the pictures I took as we drive back home.

This year, I noticed that almost every picture I took was of my family. In fact, you can’t really tell where we went unless you look very closely, and I had to ask Todd to send me pics that showed our surroundings.Todd and Kids New

Thankfully, he had plenty, and that made me curious. What did everyone else’s camera roll look like?

After a little investigation, I discovered that Hunter’s had grown only slightly, so focused was he on taking in the experience and living in the moment. With few exceptions, only the unique, bizarre, or extraordinarily beautiful made it into his album. Considering the fact that he lives his life looking for and celebrating the novel and new, this came as no surprise.Hunter's pic

Hope’s album was that of an artist, full of interesting shapes, patterns, textures, and color combinations found both in the common thoroughfare and in out of the way corners. Boasting many subjects none of the rest of us even noticed, her album is a testament to her ability to see and appreciate things other people don’t.Hope's pic

Todd took almost as many family pictures as I did, but his were mixed in with pictures of signage, venue superstructure, and images he created for work while waiting in line to board rides. This didn’t surprise me either, as Todd is always collecting that which inspires, whatever the form, and putting it to use as quickly as possible.Todd's pic

Watching Louisiana whiz by, I realized that although our family had been together all week long and participated in the same activities, we’d each taken away a different collection of memories, a slightly different experience. The albums on our phones told those stories and revealed much about what we value and focus on as individuals.

Like the way people live their lives.

All it takes is a quick scroll through Facebook or Twitter to see that these are troubling times for the human family. Bad things are happening in the world—some of them unspeakable—and the Enemy is alive and well, gaining footholds where people allow him to and destroying whom he may.

It’s easy to get caught up in it all and give way to fear, but look around!

God is alive and well, too, calling men to repentance and doing a fresh work in the hearts of those who surrender to His will. In the midst of conflict and tragedy—sometimes as a result—the Truth of God’s Word is being spoken boldly. The deeds of darkness are being exposed by the Light. Sinners are repenting, and Christians are being forced to examine not only what they believe, but why, as they defend their faith. Many are learning, for the first time, what it means to walk by that faith on a daily basis.

Exciting stuff! Let’s not miss it.

You see, when we choose to focus on ourselves and our own comfort and safety, the Enemy gains a foothold in our hearts and minds, twisting the way that we interpret the world and process our present circumstances, putting us on the defense. Anger, worry, and fear mark our words, our actions, our very countenances.

But when we choose to focus on God and make Him our priority, the Father, our Creator and Sustainer, opens our eyes to His activity in the world, reminding us that He is still in control and working all things together for our good, our ultimate good as His children being His glory. We gain confidence and perspective. Our lives are marked by peace, love, and joy.

Victory or defeat, my friends, which will it be? What story will your album tell?