Guaranteed Picture Perfect Moments

by Christie Perkins

Sometimes we think we know what is best for us.

Yeah, we think we have it all figured all out. You know, it’s the perfect, flawless, plan. In our heads the picture is complete. We actually think we know all of the details of what is best for us. And then (because we claim the teenage syndrome of “all knowing”) sometimes question why prayers aren’t being answered. We wonder if we are being heard at all.

Guaranteed Picture Perfect MomentsBut if we step back we will realize that our picture’s not quite perfect: we are just a kindergartners attempting to draw the perfect picture. As an adult it is easy to see that a person has shoulders, not just arms protruding from a neck that’s the same size as our thighs and hips. And there’s more to a simple line for our lips. A scraggly lined lip isn’t really fire engine red but a soft muted mauve.

Experience and prior mistakes in our own drawings tell us so. (Well that and my high school art teacher… who knew the eyeballs are not actually positioned on our hairline?)

Thankfully someone else has the right perspective. It makes life so much better. As an adult it’s easy to see that the picture’s not quite right. And in all of this I’ve realized that we don’t actually know what is best for us.

There’s always something better in store. And in all of my experiences, I’m grateful for someone who has a little more experience and perspective than I do. Even when it comes to a simple family photo.


A Family Photo Flop?

I prayed for sunshine. Over and over and over I prayed.

On this very important day in 2013 the clouds lost their brilliant luster of fluff and swirls. Instead they stretched across the valley in a thick charcoal wooly blanket.

Not today. No, no, no, not now. More than anything I needed sunshine.

I was getting my last family photo before my life took a significant spin. You see, I was headed into my mastectomy and chemo in a few weeks (the first time I got cancer) and I needed this one last genuine picture before my life changed significantly. I guess I saw it as the picture that would signify my life of sunshine and daisies.

…And long flowing hair.

The weather was messing all of this up. At least there was no rain or I would get the dreaded pictures of how I looked on a bad hair day (and no one sees me on dreaded hair days).

So I do what I always do when life takes a direction beyond my own will. I pray. Yet, somehow the more I prayed the more I stressed about the rain clouds; the darker they seemed to get.

Was He listening? I know that Heavenly Father always listens to prayer but today it seemed to ping pong off those thick clouds. Why was today so different? Didn’t He know my hearts desire? I know it was just a picture, but to me it was more.

So, I said another prayer, packed up the clan, and headed out to meet the photographer at our outside location. Nerves bundled up inside and secretly I confided to myself that that this wasn’t going to work. Since the clouds weren’t minding, I decided to pray that by some miracle that they were at least waterproof clouds.

I held my breath.

When we stepped out of the car I noticed the sunshine on the photographers face. The clouds were still thick. Sunshine? In this? Wasn’t she worried?

“Great weather, huh?” I smirked. But before she answered I threw out my responsibility toward the weather, “I’ve been praying all morning that the sun would pop out.”

I was questioning my faith. Did I have enough faith? I looked at the clouds. Must not, I thought. I must be doing something wrong. But I know that sometimes someone is praying for rain while someone else is praying for sunshine. Couldn’t the counter prayer get their rain later…I was losing my hair here.

And then she said something that changed my whole perspective. “No, no. We don’t want sunshine. This is actually the most perfect weather for pictures.”

“What? Really?” I said; my eyes popped (not really… that would have been gross). The picture in my head wasn’t quite right. My vision consisted of a stick figure with arms protruding from a neck that’s the same size as our thighs and hips. There was something more to it than I could see.

“Yep, sunshine casts shadows on the face. This is so much better.”

Wow. Little did I know that the perfect picture in my head needed a few rain clouds. All along I was counter praying for the blessing that I needed. It’s a good thing Heavenly Father didn’t get me exactly what I wanted but He gave me exactly what I needed.

His perspective is perfect.

The rain held off and as soon as we got back to the car and drove out of the subdivision (not even 3 minutes later- I’m not even kidding it’s written in my journal) there was a massive downpour and major lightning. Another tender mercy for our picture perfect moment.


Trusting Him

He knew this overcast day would be the perfect backdrop to our family photo. It became my one last genuine family picture before my life changed significantly. This picture signified my life of sunshine and daisies amid the storm.

Heavenly Father hears every prayer. And when you think He is not listening, think again. He has the perspective and you just may not realize He really is listening to your heart, not necessarily your words. He could easily see that my picture of the perfect picture just wasn’t quite right. And in all of this I’ve realized that we don’t actually know what is best for us.

There’s always something better in store. And in all of my experiences, I’m grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who has a lot more experience and perspective than I do. Even when it comes to a simple family photo.

So cool.


Stage 4 Cancer is a Gift

So, as I tromp through life with stage 4 cancer I can’t help but think about this incident with the family photo. He knows what I want most and I draw this picture for him. I’m sure He sees that there’s an arm protruding from a neck. He knows that my family needs this trial. And though I may not completely understand it all, or want it all, I know that it is what we all need.

So take a look at your own trials (everyone has them) and give thanks for a Father in Heaven who is listening and helping us fine tune who we are. These trials are gifts. And I know that there are rewards attached to them that are far above our expectation. A perfect family photo, so to speak. I know that he is the giver of perfect gifts. Keep on tromping.

I am confident that there is something greater waiting.

My cancer is a gift. I may not see all the details of the gift right now and some days it has my nerves all bundled up and I wonder how the end result of all of this is going to work out. Yet, in all of this I have learned to trust. If I can just remember the perfect photo moment I’ll realize that there’s a perfect picture in the works.

And I can’t battle with that.

So what is my one word of advice for the picture perfect moment in your life? Just trust. Keep praying, He hears you. Of that I am 100% certain.


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