In the lead-up to Pope Francis’ Apostolic Journey to the U.S., we are launching #FrancisontheFamily, a Diocesan-wide campaign that focuses on the catechesis of #PopeFrancis pertaining to family life. We have chosen to highlight some of Francis’ most repeated challenges to us – encounter, accompany, witness, and welcome – as a way of sharing the joy of family life.
By: Karey Nobles, Guest Contributor
My life is kind of an open book. From back in the days when I would post our very emotional struggles to conceive on my infertility blog, to today as I share daily photos of our intimate family life on my Facebook photography page, I have always been pretty public.
We could have gone in the opposite direction. My husband is a television news correspondent and sometimes people in the public eye go out of their way to shield their families from exposure. I know some who do, and I get it. Sometimes I even question whether we should be doing the same.
But then I’m reminded of why we do it. We have a story to tell. Ours isn’t unique, or special, or different than many other families. We’re just a family, living our lives and struggling just like everyone else. But while the struggles are often the same, families are unique and special. All of them. And sometimes the world needs to be reminded of that. Sometimes our fellow families need to be reminded of that.
Pope Francis calls us to do as much. Just last week the Pontiff said that the unique joy that God gives to families and couples, in moments of joy and suffering, “must be witnessed to, announced and communicated externally, so that others, in turn, take the same path.” And in an address to the Philippines earlier this year, he said, “Do not hide your faith, do not hide Jesus, but carry him into the world and offer the witness of your family life!”
My first thought upon hearing his words are, Me? I’m no witness! I can barely keep it together most days! Have you seen my house? But the truth is we can all be a witness and there are so many ways we can accomplish that. Right now, my attempt comes in the form of my 365 Project, where I share a photograph of my family’s daily life each day with followers of my public photography page.
I definitely didn’t set out to promote family; I’m doing it to hone my photography skills. And, naturally, my subjects are going to be those who are around me the most. But I include the good (daddy’s home from a work trip!), the bad (the daily messes, or those adorable pouty faces we all see so often), and sometimes the suffering (we’ve gone through three miscarriages, two of them just since starting this project in January).
The feedback I’ve received has been very positive and commenters often remark about how they just love seeing our family. And when I post about adoption, it gets people especially excited. I love that. It’s an added bonus.
No, we’re not perfect. But when looking back at the 250-plus days so far, there is beauty in the mess. And I hope our joy comes through.
Honestly, it would be hard for me not to share our joy. God has blessed us with two beautiful daughters through adoption, and a son conceived after many, many years of trying. I am so in awe each and every day of God’s work that I want to shout it from the mountaintops.
It’s like the words that hang in the middle of a yellow paper sun on our home school room wall – “Let your light shine.” The verses read, “Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Matthew 5:15-16). I’m not so sure about the good deed’s part (I need to work on that!), but I think of our light as God’s abundant blessings. He has given us so much brightness, and I feel like I have to let it shine, to tell our story, so that it may glorify God.
Karey Nobles is a wife and mother of three children, two adopted and one biological. Her blog, All You Who Hope, has gained national attention for its contribution to the conversation to the physical and spiritual trials of infertility as well as hope and trust in God’s loving plan. See more of Karey’s photography here. The Nobles are parishioners at St. Leo’s Catholic Church, in Fairfax.
Follow the Catholic Diocese of Arlington on our platforms: