As I officially launch this blog, it seemed appropriate to formally introduce my family and share a recent family picture.
My husband, Jeff, and I marked our 20th wedding anniversary this past August and are raising our two beautiful daughters, Rachel and Abigail. God has truly blessed us with these girls, and you will undoubtedly learn much more about them in future posts. They are my "Irish twins," having been born less than a year apart back in 2001 and 2002. Each is the other's best friend, and they are the delight of my life. It is my greatest privilege to do my best in God's strength to raise them. And I learn something about him every day as I parent them.
In fact, God taught me a lesson through this very picture, our 2008 formal family portrait. I love the idea of taking this kind of photograph, but I am "photo phobic" because I don't believe I generally photograph well. So it is all I can do in the weeks leading up to our picture appointment to minimize my anxiety at the prospect of having my image forever ingrained in celluloid (okay, things are digital nowadays, but you know what I mean!). And this year was no different.
So I prayed desperately for one picture to turn out well enough for me to tolerate. "Just one," I literally begged God. And I pleaded with dear friends to pray the same prayer.
And I must admit that God answered the prayers with a resounding, "Yes." This picture turned out well. Not only can I tolerate it; I actually like it quite a bit.
But he took me very literally, as this was the only shot of the seven or eight poses we took with which I was really comfortable. And that disheartened me a bit until God spoke to me and said, "You asked for one, Tina, and I was faithful. Next year, try me for two. Go ahead; test me."
This reminded me immediately of Abraham's "bartering" with God over the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah (see Genesis 18:16-33). In that situation, Abraham negotiated with God over the number of "righteous" people it would take to spare the cities. And the interesting thing is that God - the Creator of the universe who holds all things in his hand! - willingly allowed Abraham to do this. Abraham's requests were heart-felt and honest - not whines, but true petitions. And God encouraged that so Abraham would see God's commitment to him.
With these pictures, I have always been afraid to ask for more than one "good" pose. After all, I surmise, this is nothing important in the grand scheme of things, and it's rather selfish, to boot. In reality, I don't need any "pretty pictures" to hang on my wall or mail with our Christmas cards...because God has demonstrated his love for me in truly significant ways. But God has a history of showing concern for the little things - even the truly insignificant matters - in our lives. Not to justify our human pettiness, but to show us something about him: that he loves us so much as to take notice of the tiniest of concerns. And, when he truly wants to get our attention, he moves in those areas because then we take notice.