One picture doesn’t always speak a thousand words. Sometimes it only speaks a few words that the photographer wants to share. Some unsightly things are cropped out and discarded to make the photo more attractive. I know, because I crop out lots of unsightly things when I take photos of my children. I try to avoid capturing any unsightly backgrounds that try to upstage the true focus of my lens. I even snap pictures at different angles, in rapid succession, so that the ugliness doesn’t crowd in on the beauty I am trying to illuminate. I discard those pictures that don’t fit the image I want to portray. Capturing a few good images is exhausting work.
Last night, during a long drive home, the kids were quiet from swimming, and I quietly retreated into my sanctuary. I noticed fireflies all along the edge of the woods, lit up in small groupings. My eyes were drawn to the small flickers of light next to the dark trees. They were beautiful. I turned in my seat to gaze mindlessly at the fireflies, but after passing several mile markers, I felt a heaviness in my spirit. I have felt this heaviness in my spirit for a few weeks now, but I have worked really hard at cropping this feeling out of my life. I have tried to stuff it down and not give the Lord space to lighten this load.
I am burdened by the brokeness of it all.
Thad and I are 2 broken people trying to lead other broken people to reach lots of broken people with the hope of Jesus Christ. How in the world is that possible?
This brokeness of who we are and how we parent and how we live the day to day is the part of us that I try to crop out of our perfect pictures. When I angle others’ view into our personal life, I can hide the parts of us that I don’t want unbelieving eyes to focus in on. I fade the ugly to illuminate what I deem beautiful. I choose the parts of our pictures that I think are most helpful to the Lord. It is exhausting work.
I believe that the brokeness of us all, the unsightly shadows lurking in the edges of our pictures, is the part that the Lord would love to bring into focus. Those things that we would rather leave out of the snapshots of our lives are the things that actually show the true beauty of the One who is constantly redeeming us. He is always changing the lens and wiping the smudges off to show His workmanship in our lives. The Lord was born for this work and He delights in cleaning up our mess.
When I make space for redemptive work, He becomes the focus and I fade into the background.
And that brokeness is no longer a burden. It becomes a small flicker that captures the eyes of those who are searching for a little hope.