Today, I am thankful!  My first “real” day off in a few weeks.  I slept in.  I have no commitments.  That is such a relief.  My youngest are out collecting leaves so we can make a craft.  The oldest is on the computer doing math.  I am on a shabby barn red church pew that is nestled up against our house on the back patio.  It’s crispy cold jacket weather.  I hear the very hum of autumn around me:  birds chirping, leaves scattering down through messy branches and kids playing.  So thankful.

We recently had our first ever “real” family pictures taken.  It was an ordeal.  I was so expectant.  I had vision and a mental checklist.  I am just your average, everyday control freak.  I went into this experience wanting results that I, honestly, can’t even say what they were.  I am probably a photography clients worst nightmare.  I chose this little petite photographer in Weiser, Randi Davies, to do our portraits.  She is so tiny that I felt bad with her carrying all of the props, furniture, and ginormous camera around, all while limping, while I was trying to stay as still as possible to look pretty.  Priorities.

Way back when, I saw some of Randi’s work and loved it.  She is like the unicorn of photographer’s in my mind’s eye!  I finally committed to the investment and set it up and it was going to be stinking amazing.  However…

Tripp’s idea of a family photo and my idea of a family photo are not the same.  I made it very clear to my entire family before we left that this was all about me.  Evidently, Tripp did not concur.  Oh… how I was frustrated with my sweet little man.  I had the unicorn in my very presence and we were right there…  but still not.  I was so sad!  We tried to get him to cooperate and I tried to exercise patience and gentleness.  In the end, I left in tears.  I didn’t ‘feel’ like it went well.  I was disappointed.

When we got the pictures later online, I couldn’t believe it.  Amid my mess, Randi was able to capture the dynamic of our family and the photos are stunning.  I can hardly understand it.

Anyone who knows Randi knows that she has this tiny adorably distinguished voice to round out her small self.  On a personal level, I know her to be meek and sweet.  I tell you what…  she gets her freak on behind that camera, people!  She is a different person.  She has clear vision, direction, and a louder assertive tone in her voice.  The whole time I was feeling that things were bad, she was calm, cool, collected and all, “I got this, yo!”

I left crying and I can only imagine she left comforted and excited because she was seeing things from a completely different lens than I was.

We got a client preview on her website to see some of the pictures she didn’t post for us on FB.  They are amazing.  They are more than I could have dreamed of.  I fall in love with our family when I look at them.  I can remember looking back, years ago, through her portfolio and seeing these amazingly awesome people and wishing I could be them.  Now, that I see us,..  is that really me?  Is that really us?  Those look like really joyful people…  and we are.  ❤

I feel this illustration directly reflects the Lord’s relationship with us during our “storms.”  No, I am not saying Randi is God.  I I am saying, for reference sake, that we say she was playing the most adorable portrayal of Jesus (Ever!) in our photo session.  I represent the guys in the boat freaking out as they cross the sea of Galilee (referenced in Matthew 8:23-27, Mark 4:35-31, and Luke 8:22-25).  During the storm Randi is sleeping PEACEFULLY downstairs totally chill.  I’m all, “Randi, this is bad!” And she’s like, “Back off, woman!  I know what I’m doing.”

I can see this and I think I get it, but then the next storm will come and I’ll freak out again.  I do have to say, from my very small experience with Christ, it is getting easier to get through the storms.  But, the storms tend to get bigger.  So, my next step is to stay calm and trust even when “real” life feels bad.  I need to pray for and study faithfulness and ask the Lord to reveal this part of His character to me.  I need to distinguish what I value as “real” and toss out the rest of the crap the world throws at us.  I am, honestly, more prayerful that I can learn this lesson from the outside and not have to endure a test on faithfulness!!!  Selfish, huh?  Thankfully, though, Jesus loves me despite my character flaws.

He loves this girl.  I’m trying to define what His love looks like and replace that with my understanding.  It is a mind bender.  A good one, though.  He always works in these weird ways.  Who knew I would get such a unique picture of His desire to work for us, not against us, than in this same photo shoot.

Another parallel to Christ that I have drawn from this photography session is that when we are in our weakest and most vulnerable, he is at His strongest.  He would have to be, and I am confident Randi will give Him the credit for her talent, to make something so amazing as our family picture portfolio amid circumstances we had.  We were all tired, stressed.  Mom’s surgery was just days before…  only the Lord could bless our mess in such a way!  This is my favorite picture of the entire day and I don’t think we could have planned it.  It is this spontaneous essence of the Lord that I am curious and excited about.  It gives me hope.

October 2013 Randi Davies

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