It has been four years since we last had family photos done…Avery was 18 months old. And our photos were beautiful…we chose just the right one for our Christmas cards and sent them out to all of our family and friends. I’m sure I shared it on social media and all who saw thought the picture was just perfect. The funny thing about the picture we chose was that Avery was being an absolute terror in it…she was actually screaming in rebellion (shocking!) and we were fake-ishly smiling and trying to get her to cooperate through gritted teeth. Can you tell that in this picture?
Probably not. Our photographer was beyond talented and when I got our pictures back, I was so happy to see that despite Avery’s revolting…she still captured some beautiful photos. But I never shared the truth of that picture…that it was actually complete chaos.
Now, I may perhaps come across now as a “Debby-Downer” but I truly don’t mean to…I want to come across as a realist. Someone who continues to try to be vulnerable, raw….true…when sharing myself and our family on social media. Because the truth is…we are not picture perfect. We are all broken sinners in need of Jesus.
We recently had family photos done and I am hesitant to share them. I don’t want to present my family in a false light. I don’t want to be the family that we’re not. The pictures are stunningly beautiful. Michelle Hill at Rae of Light Photograph is beyond talented and took amazing photos. I truly cried when I saw them because my children look so beautiful. But there is so much more in those pictures than a beautiful and “blessed” family.
In these photos there is real life.
There is a husband and father who works long, long hours to provide for his family so that they can live out the calling that God has placed on their life. He tries his hardest but still fails, because…well, we all do. There is a husband who almost lost his wife and still fights the demons of that reality.
In these photos there is a wife and mother who had a hysterectomy at age 26, who almost lost her life and suffered from PTSD and depression because of it. There is a mother who feels guilt for not enjoying the one pregnancy she will ever experience. There is a woman who struggles with patience and fights her sin daily so that she can love her family the way God designed her to.
In these photos is a 5 year old girl who doesn’t truly understand why she can’t have a sibling that will 100% without a doubt be a part of our family forever. A little girl who has loved and lost two little brothers in her short lifetime.
In these photos is a little boy, born with a craniofacial “defect” – who will fight this “label” forevermore and endure many surgeries to “correct” it. A little boy who does not truly know his birth parents…and perhaps never will. A birth mom shattered more so by the removal of another child. Loss.
There is brokenness. Sickness. Infertility. Miscarriage. Marriage struggles. Financial struggles. Sin. Confusion. Grief. REAL life. Beauty.
But beauty BECAUSE of those things. While it is all so broken, there is beauty in it all…because it is purposeful. Because all of that brokenness has led us closer to Jesus.
In these pictures there is redemption, restoration, HOPE. Yes, my family brings me joy but they are not my source of joy. I do not find my purpose in being a wife or mom. I do not find my hope in how socially acceptable we are as a family. I find my joy, hope, and purpose in Christ alone.
THAT’S what I see in these pictures…and that’s what I hope is portrayed. Yes, the pictures are beautiful. Yes, I will display them in our home. Yes, I will likely use them for Christmas cards. But…there is so much more in these photos than beauty or blessings…there is realness, true life, LOVE. Love for each other and love for life BECAUSE of the love Jesus has covered us with. I pray that you see the love and that you see the beauty in our brokenness.
His will, His way…