When you're taking a photograph, you always hope to get the person or thing you're focusing on in sharp relief - especially if you're capturing moments at something as fleeting and important as a wedding. But cameras play tricks on us just like life does, and sometimes the images don't come out just as you'd planned.
In the blurriness of some, you see the softer strokes of an artist's brush instead of the fine detail of modern technology. In those blurry moments captured, there is a quiet beauty that captures emotion better than the most carefully planned and focused image. Such is life. In our blurry moments - the dead of night when we'd much rather be sleeping than parenting; the bleary eyed mornings that follow; busy times; times full of fear or dread that have us constantly distracted as we try to practice holiness in prayer while still tending to our daily tasks with purpose - Christ paints what we cannot. He paints grace, hope, joy, love. He fills all the empty spaces with color, like my lawn unmown suddenly giving up a crop of small yellow flowers that bless me with joy instead of disgust over another unfinished task that marks my many failings. Across the toy-scattered yard, His clouds chase the sun in the morning, running across the field to the yard in alternating darkness and light of such beauty it takes my breath away.
So too, life is sometimes dark. Too dark to take good photos. As a lover of natural light, I have my camera flash permanently disabled, and sometimes I have to edit images that lack detail and light. Sometimes they aren't salvageable, like the moments when I give in to fear and worry and my soul is as tossed as the disciples' were when they weathered a storm at sea without Jesus who could easily have calmed the waves. In the darkness of that storm, they lost faith that He would ever make it in time to rescue them. So as I hold my Amy in the dark night, with a thunderstorm raging outside and her little body ravaged by a sudden seizure, the first in months, I am choked with grief and anguish and my cry is more of "Why?" and less of "How?" and I am not looking anymore for rescue or relief or hope, but simply an end to suffering.
Yet those dark moments we invite Him into, He infuses with beauty, too. Even in the lack of detail, the graininess of our understanding, the imperfections of our edits of life's script, He is holding the Painter's brush and trading our ashes for beauty moment by moment and day by day. Moments of fear given to Him bring instant refreshment and clear sight that allows us to treasure what He has given today - manna, the gift of food just for today, not for tomorrow, but enough for now - treasures that if we make them our focus and hold them too close and too dear and forget the Giver of all good gifts, they turn sour and the next day the memory is filled with maggots instead of life.
And so today, our last day of waiting and perhaps our last day of this particular dream that she might be totally freed, we drink hope in dark places and beauty in blurry ones. Ever present Help in time of need and fatigue and physical pain. Painter of portraits we cannot even imagine, come fill our lives with Your surpassing beauty and grace and lead us surely, even without our worldy flashlights and focus rings, on the paths crooked to our feet and always straight under Yours.
Please post this blog button all over the internet and rally prayer for my daughter as we face the uncertainty, grief and fear of the coming weeks.