Recently I asked a friend to photograph my little family in our home.
The idea is that staged photos don’t accurately portray real, raw life. Over the course of several hours, Alison followed us around the house as we cooked dinner, washed dishes, played with our dog… All typical evening activities. We tried to act as natural as possible, despite the quiet clicks of her camera.
Three pictures stood out to me as achingly honest. As my sweet husband and I prayed before eating dinner, Alison captured this progression.
Note Jon’s hands. Steady. Unwavering. Solid. He is truly the voice of God in the wilderness to my grumbling Israelite.
Here is a brief narration of my “praying face”:
Come, Lord Jesus… Did I turn the oven off? Has Penny eaten yet today? Worst dog mom ever. I hope these asparagus taste like bacon or maybe just straight butter. Wait, is she taking pictures right now? Okay, try to look really moved by the Spirit or something. Focus, Fraker. Oh, give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good… Oh… Yeah. He really is good. Thank goodness that His mercy, His love, His forgiveness endures forever.
That is, unfortunately, a summary of my relationship with God.
I struggle with talking to Him. I know that I should want to, but who has the time? Okay, I have the time, but I don’t need to talk to Him right now. Life has been good here in the (512), and there isn’t much to say. I mean, I don’t really have any requests or projects for Him to work on.
When I finally take a moment to focus, I see my relationship with God for what it really is: staged photographs. Not real, raw life. I pose with my trophy, a scribbled-in Bible, a sign of my overall godliness and intimacy with the Bridegroom. I pose alongside the students in youth ministry, proof of success in my field. I pose in my office, religious keywords strewn around, evidence of my ability to “go and make disciples”.
When I finally take a moment to focus, I see that if my relationship with God is centered around myself, it is empty.
“For from His fullness, we have all received grace upon grace.” (John 1:16)
From His fullness, despite my emptiness.
Nothing I do. Nothing I say. Not my actions. Not my words, whether spoken or written.
Just undeserved grace upon grace.