Snapshots Beyond the Picket Fence

Jan 5, 2013 | Faith

Medium Format CameraSnapshot One: A family celebrates as their son receives an organ transplant. A true miracle. Hope for new life is with them!

Snapshot Two: A family watches their little son fade away before their eyes from cancer. Hope for new life has not come to them.

Snapshot Three: Fill in the blank.

I wondered whether to pen these words, but somewhere deep inside my soul cries out. As I switched computer tabs from one blog to the next, I’m left numb. So alive for my friends who are celebrating. And part of me is crushed, reading words of a father seeing his son slip away. There are no words to speak into their pain.

The message at Life Beyond the Picket Fence is that when life’s full of the unexpected, dirty, and difficult, good things can still grow. The life in-between. I don’t know where you are today on your picket-fence-journey. I don’t hear from each reader, but those I hear from validate the need for encouragement in the hardest and darkest of places. I haven’t lost a child. I have no idea what it feels like to have one taken before your eyes. What I do know is that sometimes there are no words for pain.

I encourage you, my readers, to place yourself in a snapshot of life that is difficult and messy. Maybe it’s your own snapshot or someone else’s. Acknowledge it for what it is. If it’s a day to celebrate because good things are growing, then celebrate! Acknowledge the hard places you’ve been and celebrate the victories. Don’t minimize the miracles, grace, and good things God has done.

If it’s a day of muck and mire, acknowledge it for what it is. Feel the pain. Allow yourself to naturally grieve, mourn, Shovel in Dirtbe angry or sad. Don’t minimize the pain. Let the fullness of life validate where you are. It hurts.

Whether your snapshot of life is full of harvest or drought, when the winds blow and the seasons change, go with it. Experience it. And when the winds of springtime come, take up the hoe, till the ground and let God grow the seeds He’s planted there.

The same dirt that brought drought will bring life in the right season.

That’s the character of God.

Life’s not a picture perfect image of Hollywood. It’s not a story book with a happily-ever-after. It’s a story that changes with every season, some years with bountiful harvests, and some with devastating drought. Living in between means you put the seed in the ground again, no matter what came before.

Having faith that something good can always grow

Even in the coldest, deepest pain.

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Father, will you be with each one who needs to feel your complete grace, whether that’s in joy or pain? Will you minister the fullness of your character to their need, today? Will you speak to their spirit what words can’t. Will you carry them in this season, bringing them to the place where You will grow the full harvest of the past, present, and future, for Your honor and glory. Amen.

P.S. The giveaway for “Isn’t It Time for a Coffee Break” is still open until January 9. Click here for more details.


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  1. Tracy

    Powerful post Brenda, joy and sadness wrapped in one set of circumstances, and God is in it all
    God bless

  2. hiddinsight

    Thank you for your timely words of encouragement… I’m so glad you wrote this. It’s true that sometimes there just aren’t words, just prayers.

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