The other day, while slowly packing the last remnant of Christmas decorations, I found myself reflecting on this past Christmas of 2013. Pondering comes second nature to me, so as my thoughts drifted into a bay of comparing it with years gone by was familiar waters. Asking myself this rather weighty and significant question, “In the last year had I witnessed any areas of spiritual or personal growth ?” Indeed, this past Christmas was a paradigm shift, driven robustly by agents of change, as they were ushering in hints of transformation. Touching on deep recesses of my heart that need greater redemption, perfections futile pursuit being one of them. To the outside observer these appear as gentle whispers of change, holding merely the slightest of nuances. However, these subtle shifts have become glorious music to my ears, a symphony composed of clanging keys, as Christ eagerly longs to free me from such cumbersome and binding shackles. A liberating sound available to all who request it… the prophet Isaiah wrote of this very truth…
“He has sent me to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the [physical and spiritual] captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound.” *
Liberty shows up in the strangest places recalling His freshly acquired freedom, as I surrendered laying on the altar the “Perfect” family Christmas card photo. Christmas 2007 heralds as the epitome for this unveiled revelation. Remembering that year as I gathered the reluctant family for a DYI portrait session and recollecting how it played out. For starters, we accidentally positioned the tripod smack dab under the bird feeder causing birds to swoop wildly for seed, while on the porch steps the boys taunting each other mercilessly. Even after the bird feeder was repositioned to accommodate the hungry birds, our photo ops were fleeting faster then bird seed. We were rapidly growing weary of saying cheese and my sneaking suspicion told me there might not be a “Perfect” Christmas photo to send that year. The small window to get a family photo had closed, and the shades pulled down tight. Fortunately, all hope was not lost, as our computer savvy son Derek offered to Photoshop the picture. Like magic he replaced a smile on his brother’s face, painted his dad’s white socks black, and made it all cohesive changing the color to black and white. This photo still holds a special place in my heart knowing all the behind the scene truth to get it that way.
In 2013 grief knocked the stuffing out of perfectionism and detailed planning clean out of me, so came the birth of the impromptu Family Christmas photo on Thanksgiving day. A new season without my mom and recent family divisions, fueled a desire to connect with my husband and children like never before. It did it matter if we had color coordinating outfits, nor a winning Kodak smile, kneeling in front of our 6 ft. Charlie Brown Christmas tree we had each other. Sharing a common ground of loss and our own imperfections, by the grace of God choosing to rejoice in the midst of it all. The camera capturing our real life, authentic and raw images never to see the stroke of Photoshop tweaking. Somehow becoming perfect in all it’s imperfections.
Yes, 2013 had brought growth and new found freedom, timeless truths propelling me to even grander heights in the days ahead; excited deeper, more profound healing is headed my way . Now, that is truly something to smile about.
Thank you Father for your promised redemption from unhealthy perfection. Helping us to see ourselves as beautiful diamonds fully faceted by your love. Hearing you speak boldly of who we are in You… already perfect in your eyes!
“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor.”
“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19
* Isaiah 61