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Why a Picture Still Falls Short After a Thousand Words

First-girl is running around the backyard, cutting grass to feed to the neighbor chickens. Second Little has a carrot the size of her arm in her hand, freshly pulled from our miracle garden, because really, who would have ever thought I could grow something from soil and sun?

We’re sitting in the backyard, waiting in time suspended before Baby Girl Three arrives. We’re soaking up the sun but more than that, getting our hearts fill of the moments suspended in time. Moments that would probably seem mundane and nothing to write home about to anyone else.

Except these are the moments that leave me heart-aching with the beauty, the simplicity, the goodness. Like Heaven is kissing Earth for this brief instant and the glory of it all is too much to bear. No wonder every time an angel appeared in that Old Book, someone was usually so overwhelmed they nearly fainted. Or cried. It’s all a little too much for these earthen vessels of clay and blood and bone to take.

Here on this muggy summer afternoon I shake my head in wonder at where a year can take you. How many of us, how many times, have wished we could fast forward to a moment ahead in the belief that it will be better than where we’re standing today?

Yet how many moments of brilliance would we miss because we didn’t also walk through the daily grind, the long nights of suffering that make us want to skip ahead to the dawn? 

For how can beauty shine as brightly without the shadows for contrast?

Would my heart-break under the weight of the glory in this moment if we hadn’t walked through three years of nomadic wandering before this home, if we hadn’t first lost a baby before the anticipation of holding this next one?

There are two pictures on my phone, and but for one extra child, they look nearly the same. Yeah, we’re a little older but the location, the clothes, the pose, it’s all nearly there. But what you miss is the three years between those pictures and all the laughs, the tears, the unexpected, the simplistic and the downright boring moments that passed.

You miss that there should be another babe standing there in the flesh, or that the first time we took that picture, we were on welfare and calling that place home. This time, by the grace of a hundred miracles, it’s a vacation spot with jobs waiting for us when we go back home.

What if Abba let us pick random days to see in advance? Would that make us braver for the knowing or despairing certain defeat? 

Sometimes life feels a little like trying to rush from snapshot to snapshot but oh, the depth, the richness that blooms when the camera is turned off, when we’re between peaks or valleys. Because it’s not the same girl standing in those two pictures, not really, but I couldn’t know that just by the looking. It’s only in the living out the days that you or I become the fullness of who we were created to be. And no single day, no matter how glorious or terrifying, can capture or define that.

Maybe in another couple of years we’ll have another picture with yet one more little added and the belly swollen. Or maybe we won’t. Either way, it will miss the thousand moments that no picture can ever capture and no heart forget, the moments that whisper to a future glory being born out minute by minute if we will have eyes to see.






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