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I had seen several posts on Instagram of couples looking so fun and whimsically romantic that I decided to look for a moment like this for my husband, Art, and me to capture. We were on vacation so surely this would be a realistic endeavor.

That night, we walked out from dinner just in time to see a beautiful sky swirling with a magnificent sunset. “This is it!” I grabbed my phone and tapped the camera option. I’m not much into selfies but when it’s just the two of you and a couples picture opportunity presents itself, you do what you have to do.

I positioned us just so, held the camera out and clicked.
It was horrid.
The position of the camera was so low it looked straight up our noses. Delete.

I held the camera at a higher angle and clicked.
It was also terrible.
My hair blew across my forehead and the position of my neck looked incredibly awkward. Delete.

I handed the phone to Art and reasoned that since his arm is longer, he could get a better shot. I turned just a tad and lifted my head more. He clicked.

I obviously was still talking when he clicked and now the expression on my face looked like I was half-asleep or knee deep in a really bad head cold. Delete.

By this time the sunset wasn’t the same. The mister was way past wanting to cooperate. And I suddenly got a serious case of inappropriate laughter disorder. Art clicked one last time.

Again, it was a photographic fail. It was blurry. My eyes were closed. My hand was moving trying to get my blowing hair out of my face. And it was too dark to even appreciate the sunset.

But there was something about it, I just loved.

Don't Delete That Photo...

It wasn’t at all what I thought I wanted. But it was imperfectly right.

Something about it captured the essence of both our struggle and our choice to persevere. Our love that gets blurry and hard to clearly understand some days. His patience. My craziness.

And isn’t this what makes up so much more of life than perfect smiling poses and artfully edited pictures?

It’s moments that simply happen, not the ones manufactured, that truly capture life.

So, maybe let’s be a little more shy with that delete button. And a little more snap happy in the midst of the mess.

Capture ‘that look’ from the teenager.

Don't Delete That Photo...

The smirk of the stubborn toddler.

Don't Delete That Photo...

The kitchen table with the dirty dishes still in view.

Don't Delete That Photo...

The piles of shoes by the front door.

Don't Delete That Photo...

The imperfectly perfect bond between two hearts trying to figure out love together.

Don't Delete That Photo...

The untidy places within sacred spaces.

This is life.

I want to get to know a little more about your imperfectly wonderful, messy beautiful life. Tell me in the comments below about a scene in your world right now that you might want to capture in a picture today. I’ll be hanging out here for a bit today reading and responding to your thoughts.

Also, if you’re on Instagram, tag me @LysaTerKeurst if you post a less than perfect but oh-so-right picture. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

By Lysa TerKeurst

{Photo by Rocco Lucia}
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  • http://walkingwellwithgod.blogspot.com Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God

    Lysa,
    Oh which “picture” would I pick? Would it be my husband (recently married) and I kissing beneath the giant hole in our kitchen ceiling from a roof leak? Or even better, a group photo of us with the revolving door of workmen who’ve been living with us as we try to get our TLC starved house back in good condition? The picture I envision in my mind (part of my daily prayers) is my 21 year old son being baptized because he has, like the prodigal son, returned to his Father. That would be the best snapshot of all! Thanks for helping me to see that the messy places in our lives are truly “photo worthy”.
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • Christine Minardi

      I was so excited to see your email this morning. You have become a treasured “friend”. I think my heart and the way I process things, is closely wired like yours, so your writing hits me, straight in the heart. Anyway, this makes me think of one of my favorite Christmas photos of all times. It was from a family of 5, who’s middle child was losing the battle to cancer. In my mind, the picture I was about to pull out of the envelop, was going to be deeply moving and tug on peoples heartstrings, or so I suspected. I mean, this was likely to be their last holiday together and I’m sure they wanted to capture everyone together, with a lasting impression. Well, they did that all right. As I pulled out the picture, they were all dressed up and making extremely ugly faces. It made me smile and think, they definitely captured “their family” and “their” character. They did not feel they had to have the “Instagram” shot. It was a beautiful thing!

      • http://www.LysaTerKeurst.com Lysa TerKeurst

        Yes,
        Christine… imperfect beauty! Wow, your comment bring tears to my eyes. I would love to see that photo of that precious family. And your “treasured friend” line is one I’ll rub into my heart today. Thank you!

    • http://www.facebook.com/nico.cubby Nico Smith

      I wish last night could’ve been caught on photo. My husband, Ron Smith and I had a very successful DJ gig for the May monthly dance at Erin’s Pavilion Southwind Park. I am so g…lad that nothing decided to go remotely wrong whatsoever last night. It was a wonderful time, andwe were in a “DJ booth”, whic made it extremely cool. Boy, do I wish pictures could’ve been taken of us hard at work last night!

      • http://www.LysaTerKeurst.com Lysa TerKeurst

        Yes, Nico… you get it! I’m going to pray for another opportunity to capture that shot with your husband! Thank you for giving us that glimpse into your life!

    • http://www.LysaTerKeurst.com Lysa TerKeurst

      Kissing beneath the giant hole in the kitchen… and the son! Yes, you totally get it beautiful Bev!

    • Joanne Peterson

      Bev,

      The news of your son’s return to Abba is the sweetest news! Praying/praising in joyous thanksgiving!

      Joanne

  • http://merciesaneweachmorning.blogspot.com Carol Branning

    It would most definitely have to be my Christmas tree! Still up! Fully decorated! Yep, that would be it!

    • Elizabeth

      Carol,
      I had to laugh because I still have a natural tree sent by a neighbor in my dining room. Although watering won’t help it now, I know I can still enjoy it. I was going to toss it today, but now I’m going to wait and think again about all my wonderful neighbors and friends. People can think what they want–do what makes you happy.
      Blessings,
      Elizabeth

    • http://www.LysaTerKeurst.com Lysa TerKeurst

      Carol and Elizabeth… ya’ll just seriously made me laugh!!! Yes, please take a picture of the tree!

      • Jan

        My natural Christmas wreath is still on my front door. I did manage to take the Christmas bow off finally last week. I thought about putting an Easter/Spring bow on it but never did. HaHa!

  • http://www.marycaldwell.net Mary Caldwell

    This is so true! How often we pick and choose what we want to enjoy and what we want to discard. Instead of living life to the fullest.

    • http://www.LysaTerKeurst.com Lysa TerKeurst

      Yes, Mary! I’m on a an anti-discard photo crusade right now. Sometimes what seems like a bad photo in the moment turns out to be a treasure later.

  • Karen Crane

    I just took a photo of the shoes by the door!! They looked so cute, all tangled together, all pink and black, and different purposes, and meant to be. I told my daughter I would miss this pile after she goes off to college, so I was trying to savor it! Great Post!!

    • http://www.LysaTerKeurst.com Lysa TerKeurst

      Yes, Karen! You should frame this photo and hang it by your door. I love the photos that capture the essence of the everyday wonders. This one sounds perfect!

  • http://www.marycaldwell.net Mary Caldwell

    I forgot to add the scene I would capture. Since it is so early I would capture this time together with my husband. When we are both drinking coffee, trying to wake up and trying to get some writing accomplished before our world awakes with the sun! It would not be a pretty picture, but it would show love, acceptance, and courage to try new things.

  • Kathy

    I would post a picture of a friend and I at Women of Joy trying to get that perfect pose to post. We are beautiful to God no matter how our bad our angle is, how many chins we have or how round our face is. He loves us right where we are, no matter what the picture looks like. Now to learn to love myself.

    • http://www.LysaTerKeurst.com Lysa TerKeurst

      Yes, Kathy! Learning to see ourselves like He does… crucial life lesson. Yes, that photo sounds perfect:)

  • Sarah

    Good Morning! Looking out my window to a day of dark clouds and dreary weather. There is one open space in the sky that shines down a beautiful ray of light that screams out a huge day filled with hope for any messy trails I might face. A true picture of Gods love…..

    • http://www.LysaTerKeurst.com Lysa TerKeurst

      Yes, Sarah… snap that photo and journal that moment! sounds wonderful:)

  • Susan

    Oh, Lysa . . . thank you for your insight . . . mine would definitely be those fingerprints all over the walls I had washed and painted when the nest was empty, the ones that, before TODAY, frustrated me, but I now see are marks of His approval that He has given me the privilege of impacting more lives. (I tried to take a picture for posterity, but, interestingly, those fingerprints are not so pronounced to the camera’s eye . . . hmmmm!!!!)

  • Shannon

    Wonderful reminder!! I would have loved to have captured the scene yesterday in my living room. My four year old daughter running to get a glass of water for her little brother who was recovering from a boo-boo. The outpouring of care, thoughtfulness, and love was amazing. He took a couple of sips, calmed, and showed her the boo boo when she asked with concern. They were hectic moments after he took a yucky fall on blacktop, but to witness their love and bond warmed my heart.

    • http://www.LysaTerKeurst.com Lysa TerKeurst

      That’s a perfect moment, Shannon… praying this same scene plays out again and that you’re able to snap a quick picture. How lovely.

  • Teresa T

    Well, we are both still in the picture! That counts. Right now, he is making be breakfast in bed. That is a picture I cherish.

    • http://www.LysaTerKeurst.com Lysa TerKeurst

      Yes, Teresa… beautiful!!!

  • Jami

    I would take a picture of the hour long process of us giving our kids showers and getting ready for bed or the look of exhaustion on our faces as our son says “guess what” at 900 pm on a Friday night and goes on to tell another story without missing any details. This post has me undone this morning. I want to make it into a wall sticker.

    • http://www.LysaTerKeurst.com Lysa TerKeurst

      My husband and I just took a picture together of us both giving the “look” to our teenagers. It’s on my Instagram. Yes, capture that look my friend… you’ll love having it to look back on and laugh.

  • Carol Love

    Thanks for the wonderful insight. I need to learn to love the clutter that is always in the front of the RV across the dashboard. We are full time living in the unit and working part time and there are jackets and gloves and boots and stocking caps, etc “stashed” there. When the weather gets warmer there will be less clutter but I do not foresee it ever being “neat”. Oh, and there is the leash and towel for the dog as well as the stuff for us. Love this way of life and need to learn to appreciate the messiness that comes with it!

    • http://www.LysaTerKeurst.com Lysa TerKeurst

      Take pictures with the mess included… turn them black and white and you’ll see the art contained within. Perfect, Carol!

  • Wanda

    Thank you Lysa for a wonderfully encouraging perspective. I have always loved that about you. “Unglued” is next on my reading list and if it is as life-changing as the last two books of yours that our ladies Bible Study went through, I need to start it today! I have always tried to enjoy all the little moments of life but after our oldest child of four committed suicide on February 17, 2014, I have had a crash course in seeing just how precious life is and how fragile it is and how much we have to depend on God for every moment of our lives! I thank God He is in control and that I can trust Him with me and with my children’s lives. Prayer and God’s Word and encouraging posts like yours have been such a balm to my soul. Keep encouraging dear sweet sister and I hope to meet you in person one day and give you a big hug in person!

    • Susan

      Oh, Wanda . . . there are no human words . . . what a precious promise that He is so close to the brokenhearted. Abba, pour out Your power on Wanda’s family that they know Your peace that surpasses all understanding, that they know Your presence in powerful ways as they journey through this grief. Amen.

    • http://www.LysaTerKeurst.com Lysa TerKeurst

      Oh Wanda… I’m so sorry sweet friend. My heart hurts for your and your family… weeping with you. Yes, I would treasure meeting you.
      My prayer for you… “Lord Jesus… I ask that your most tender mercies fill Wanda and her family right now. I pray they sense a depth of comfort that can only come from you. And might you make a way for me to meet Wanda one day soon as well? Thank you Jesus… Amen.

  • Pat Cobb

    Thank you for making me think about all this… when I thought of pictures that I had taken, one immediately came to mind…. A “selfie” that My sister and I took on my birthday and of course I didn’t post it on FB because it was not good of either of us! But I can still remember that night after we all had been together at dinner. It was a fun night of family and love and together-ness…precious time that she and I don’t get to have much! When I look at the picture still saved on my phone, we were laughing and just being silly together and those are moments I cherish with my sister! Thank you for reminding me of what is important in this life we let ourselves get too busy and caught up in!

    • http://www.LysaTerKeurst.com Lysa TerKeurst

      Yes, Pat! Post that picture. Laughing pictures are truly the best. When we laugh we show those we love that our feelings for them are authentic and genuine. I love it!

  • Kim

    I am going to go up and take a picture of the clean stacks of laundry my high school boy always places on the floor in front of his dresser. It is a battle I have chosen not to fight. He is neat and organized, and will be gone away to college in a year.

    • http://www.LysaTerKeurst.com Lysa TerKeurst

      Yes, Kim…. as a mama who has take many of mine to college… definitely snap that picture. It will a treasured memory. Crazy how the everyday stuff matters more than we realize.

  • Leah

    Great post lysa! I get so annoyed with all the files of stuff my husband leaves around the house…it has turned into such a pet peeve! BUT– I am taking this post to heart and taking a picture of those blessed piles, because my husband is deploying this month. I know I will truly miss those piles over the coming months, because those piles represent his presence!

    • http://www.LysaTerKeurst.com Lysa TerKeurst

      Oh Leah…. “Those piles represent his presence.” Tears… thank you for the sacrifice you and your family make one behalf of all of us. Your comment stirred my heart!

  • Wanda

    My picture would be the day I left a rehab center. After 9 and a half months in a Christine base program for a alcohol problem. All the other women i was with and the worker that help me go through the program and made me realize that God was walking out with me to help make my life back to my kids and grandkids. I’ve let him in and for 3 years he has worked wonders. Thank-you for letting me share.

    • http://www.LysaTerKeurst.com Lysa TerKeurst

      And thank you for sharing Wanda… you are a walking miracle. It’s an honor to read your story. So inspiring.

  • Jodi

    My eyes rolled at the sticky greenish spot one afternoon when I was in the kitchen after work. It was from my sixteen year old daughter’s breakfast smoothie and was a little tough to wipe up by 3:00 PM. As I scrubbed some I received a nudge, “You only have one more year of this. She’s going to college soon.” You see my son is finishing his first year of college this week, and oh how I miss the beeps and crashes of video games coming out of his room. And the belly laughs and hollering of him and his buddies. I miss our heart-to-heart talks and discussions about life and school and girls. With my daughter I’ll miss the hard-to-get-out-of-her discussions about her loves and heartaches, complaining about how boring school is becoming, anxieties about tryouts and soccer games, and that precious laugh!!! So the gummy, green tiny smoothie spill was ok. I’m working on being more ok with her pile of book bag, soccer shoes, pom poms, etc in at my back door.

  • Cathy

    My husband getting his hiking gear and two dogs ready for much needed solitude hike today. He has died to self all year and put other things and people first so it is good to see him getting ready for his day.

  • Teena

    Oh the pictures I have missed. The shoes scattered all over the house, the clothes all over the floor that only seem to make it in the laundry hamper for me, the dog toys chewed up and spread out…..I hadn’t thought of the beauty and sweetness of the imperfectness in my little world. Hmmm, I wonder what God has in store for me today.

  • Carol

    As I sat at my computer and looked around at all of the different possible pictures I could take I wasn’t embracing the good of it all. I finally decided to take a picture of the top of my buffet. On one end is a pile of school books that I use when I write my lesson plans. That pile reminds me that I have a good job while many who need jobs don’t. Right next to it is a pile of paid bills. This pile reminds me that I am able to pay the bills. Next to that is a pile of papers having to do with my son’s car accident. It was a horrific accident, but he walked away from it with only a scratch. This pile often reminds me of all of the loss associated with that accident, but I will focus more on the good of his survival and good health. Thank you, Lysa. Thank you, Jesus!

  • Jennifer

    I am quietly reading and checking emails, while still in bed. Our beautiful 13 month old granddaughter had a sleepover with us last night. We have a crib in our room, for just these occasions! I’d take a photo of her sweet, beautiful face sleeping so peacefully. What a joy she brings to our family. So blessed, Thank you Jesus!!

  • Marcy

    A picture of my big sister in a Rochester MN hospital in rehab, recovering from surgery of her 2nd brain tumor. It’s hard, but God is Good.

  • http://susanndouglas.com Susan Douglas

    Last night went to the ever so awesome Brandisa concert and would have loved a picture looking out from the srage of all the husbanda, wives, girlfriends, moms, dads, teens, kids,, couples on datea, single folks, and volunteers singing along and Praising our heavenly Father as He poured out His love to us through the music. I’m going to shout out to all my friends and ask for a copy of their selfles to make one big collage picture to remind me of a couple of hours of Heaven on earth last night.

  • Mona K.

    There are SO MANY pictures to choose from in our home! Would I share the “snow” all over the carpet from a chewed up stuffed animal created by the puppy my middle son rescued one year ago (whom I told in no uncertain terms NOT to bring her home!)? Or maybe the pile of junk mail on our table that I haven’t been able to get to because I sliced my finger this week while cutting an apple for my daughter’s lunch & she promptly took over and got me to the ER quickly. Or would it be the pile of sawdust on the patio that my husband created yesterday while building something to raise my oldest son’s bed so he can fit his desk under it in hopes to make room for the middle son to come home from college next week?? So many pics to choose from…maybe I’ll take one of each so I can cherish these moments when the house is no longer full of snow & sawdust and stitches…

  • http://sharminj.blogspot.com Sharmin

    I love this post. I’m so bad about deleting photos I’m in because I just don’t like them. Someone told me once I was deleting myself from my children’s memories. It made me look at things in the whole new light…..even though I still try to get the “best” side of me. (still looking for it, it’s hard to find! :) ) My husband and I had a very difficult year last year, there was even a point when I didn’t know if our marriage would survive. Praise God, He intervened and our marriage is better now than it has been in a few years. In March, we took a little weekend vacation (just the 2 of us), and I was determined to get a great “selfie” of us. It didn’t happen, but I still have the photo he let me take (with the promise it wouldn’t show up on Facebook.) It’s precious to me. It was a time that made us closer, even if we did have to cut the weekend short because of more bad, winter weather. (It was a long winter in Arkansas). I try to take more photos with my children and not be so critical of my appearance, but I’m still a work in progress.

    • http://www.bethcoulton.com Beth

      You are beyond beautiful to your children – they will treasure each photo they have of you. Don’t delete them, and don’t shy away from being IN them! (believe me, I do the same thing….)

  • Heidi

    Today I will be going shopping with my 17 year old daughter. We will be grocery shopping along with trying to find a graduation dress for her, getting our nails done and just walking the mall. This is a lot to do in one day and it will probably be hectic but I will cherish every moment (even if we argue about a dress!) She will be going off to college this fall and I want to remember every moment. Thank you for your insights into capturing everyday life. I will definitely be taking a picture of two today!

  • Valerie

    My son hugging on me this
    Morning trying to wake me up. It would definitely be blurry and a messy background. I’m not a Morning person but he is full of such joy and Love all day long! Love those snuggles.

  • http://www.allsparkledup.com Julia

    Excellent article, Lysa. I’m really thinking about this. My blog has a lot of pretty and fun photos. Someone once told me “why do you pretend to have such a nice life?” The question caught me off guard because I don’t pretend! I actually do think I have a beautiful life. God makes it all good in the end so why not get to the good now? Why wait till the end? I’ve never taken photos of the shoes by the door but now I want to because they are fun and colorful all jumbled there. I’ve never taken photos of the dishes in the sink but I ought to because I’m smitten by the soap bubbles and even keep a bubble wand by the sink for bubble fun while washing dishes. I’ve never taken photos of the piles of old tires and boards and junk in his “outdoor den” in the side yard but I should. He’s in construction so to him, those piles are beautiful resource material, not trashy junk. Thank you for the article! It has given me a new perspective. I really appreciate you.

  • Loeie

    I love this post and if I had to choose a picture right now, it would be the most recent picture taken of my dad and I. I’m definitely not a fan of having my picture made because I’m overweight, but I would post this picture of my dad and I to signify how far we’ve come in our relationship. It hasn’t always been easy for the two of us, but we’ve gotten through alot and now our relationship is stronger than ever and that means everything to me. Praise God for giving us this second chance, and praise God for leading me to the realization that I am a child of the King and, if God can lover me just the way I am, weight issues and all, then so can I! I feel like there will be many more photo opportunities in my future! God bless you for this post and for all that you do for all women!

  • Christen

    I just snapped a selfie of me and my 18 month old son. He’s laying on my chest being snuggly for 10 seconds or less. Even though he’s chewing a coaster and I’m unkempt and still in my pjs and sporting a double chin, I don’t want to forget him this little or the smell of his hair. :)

  • Clio

    There are remnants of an impromptu dinner party all over my kitchen and dining room interspersed with a little league uniform and ballet clothes. There are half-empty wine glasses and a vase with roses. My favorite wooden salad bowl (a wedding gift) is out waiting to be put away. It is a mess. I am so grateful for this post, because at first all I could see was the mess and it was overwhelming when combined with a busy Saturday of activities. Now I see my sweet life full of memories and laughter and a time with my kids that is going to pass too fast and needs to be treasured NOW. Thank you :)

  • Rachael

    Lysa – not only do I no longer delete those photos, I’ve started framing them and putting them on the walls! It’s REAL! The one that started it was a picture of my daughter with her cousins…they are 9 a and under and her uncle had them all facing the sun. Their eyes are closed and faces are stuck between smiles and grimaces…and it is HILARIOUS. Because they are trying SO HARD to give that picture the adults want, and failing miserably as their corneas burn. Lol. Bless them. And instead of deleting it, I printed it and framed it.

    :-)

  • http://motheringfromscratch.com Mothering From Scratch

    {Melinda} This is the “perfect” day for this post, Lysa! My daughter is going to her first prom! I’m excited to capture this moment … and have been telling her for two weeks to just relax and enjoy it. To not worry about everything turning out “perfectly.” (I need to listen to my own advice!)

  • Ashley Fields

    For me, today anyway, it’s the cluttered mess that is my bedroom. Way too much stuff for the small amount of space. Last weekend it would have been the picture I took with my best friend, her a bride in flowing white and me a bridesmaid in shimmering navy blue. I don’t like pictures of myself to begin with but when taken next to someone shorter than me (I’m 5’11”), I tend to lean towards the other person. The result is awkward.

  • http://twitter Melanie

    If it was light enough I would take a picture of my husband, my 4 yr old son, the 2 dogs and 2 cats all on our (luckily king size) bed. That up until recently, for almost 2 years, I have slept in by myself. This June will be my 2 yr anniversary of being free of breast cancer. Even after all the surgeries, etc. we kind of just “got used” sleeping separately. And although the pets clearly loved it, our family got physically disconnected and in “auto mode” of just getting thru each day. I was in a SUPERFUNK! :( so in the last fee weeks I decided I was no longer going to live that way…my family is beautiful and loving and imperfectly PERFECT. <3 so that's what I would share…my beautiful family…all together. I hope you all have an amazing day ;)

  • http://www.peachneitherherenorthere.blogspot.com Samantha

    It is not easy to let go of perfection, even when we can never attain it. Thank you.

  • Shar

    What a great post & eye opener! It made me realize (again) that things don’t have to be perfect.. Just be happy with what God has provide. Thanks!

  • http://todayanewday.wordpress.com Tammy

    Today it would be messy rooms of my twin sons who turned 18 today. Our life is beautifully messy and while I hate clutter and stuff, I have found that life is more than clean housesor rooms, but living it in the moment. It has probably taken me 18 years to get this though.

  • Rosemary

    Definitely my 16 year old’s self claimed corner of the kitchen. The buffet is piled with books, notebooks, pencils, a pair of eye glasses, his trumpet, backpack and gym bag. Makes you want to come on over for lunch doesn’t it? It’s okay…the nest empties all too quickly. This I know for sure!

  • Jennifer

    I would take two pictures. The first one of the ankle monitoring device strapped to my right leg for 265 more days. The second picture would be of me spending my morning in quite time reading my Bibile. God is good, he forgives, he loves me. He has given me a new life! Praise The Lord!

  • Cindy

    I would snap a photo of the Me I saw in the mirror this morning. Big, squishy belly, breasts too big to describe, cellulite that has seemed to magically appear. I am 70 pounds overweight and struggle to find the discipline to change. I struggle to see the beautiful parts of me that I know are there. Yet I am grateful to know that I am loved JUST AS I AM. Deeper and wider is His love than any I have ever known. He wants me to be free of this weight-chain that I have created that I thought would protect me from my past. I can do all things through Him.

    Thank you for the reminder that even in the perceived ugly moments in our lives we are wonderfully and marvelously made….we are enough just as we are.

  • Christine Minardi

    Thank you for this, I thought of one other thing. My mom used to be known in our family as “the worst photographer”. We used to ask her to take pictures, only when others weren’t around, knowing, the shots would be horrid. Many years ago, I made a page in my scrapbook called, “guess who took these pictures?” The pictures were a large blank wall with 3 people far off to the side. The 3 were barely in the picture and one persons body, half cut out. Most of the other pictures were headless or at least forehead-less. I think my mom would press the button down so hard that is would cause her to shift at the last moment. It was like the kickback or recoil of a gun. This article reaffirmed my decision to display all the pictures and it is, one of my favorite pages in my album. Here’s to “Un-Instagram and Un-Facebook” like pictures!

    • http://www.bethcoulton.com Beth

      I am hysterical laughing! TOO FUNNY! Your mom sounds like a photographer extraordinaire!

  • http://www.juliesunne.com Julie Sunne

    Perhaps the heaps and heaps of…well…piles in my house. I remind myself of the character Muggles from the classic The Gammage Cup by Carol Kendall. :) Or the not-so-glamorous me playing football and baseball and whatever else with my growing-too-fast children.

    Wonderful post, Lysa, and I love the selfie of you and Art.

  • http://morninglories.wordpress.com Laura

    That was great! I laughed out loud! Thanks for reminding me it’s okay to be Human, dirty dishes, odd camera angles and all.

    Take a deep breath and simply be (im)perfect. It’s okay. Our Lord is perfect and that’s all we need to know.

  • http://www.strivingforsimplicity.blogspot.com Jodi

    This was a “just the right post” for a rather teary morning. I laughed when I saw the shoes by the door…mostly in astonishment that there is someone else who has that pile by her front front door too. And someone else who can’t seem to get the Facebook perfect photo of herself and her husband. :) Thank you so much for your honesty again. I feel normal. And understood.

    • http://www.strivingforsimplicity.blogspot.com Jodi

      I only have a front door. Not a front front door. :)

  • http://www.patstanton.org Patti Chriestenson

    It’s a bright morning. But the blinds are closed. The hall light is off. (Doesn’t sound like a good setting for a photo opt, does it?) Returned from a sleepover…and now catching up! So no – I won’t be snapping a child’s photo in the dark, but it was a sweet thought. Had I caught the moment – the caption would read, “If you snooze, you lose doesn’t apply after sleepovers!”

  • vicki

    Thank you for your post today. It was exactly what I needed. I have 2 pictures: the first would be me and my newly wedded hubby sitting in the oncologist office last week, hand in hand, waiting for the brand new diagnosis of my cancer. Me frustrated because the doc was 2 and 1/2 hours behind, worried for obvious reasons and stressed beyond words while my hubby, bless his heart, taking his recent “in sickness and in health” pledge very seriously is keeping me entertained with song and dance not caring about the onlookers in the crazy crowded waiting room. The second is my 12 year old daughter deep in thought in her infuriatingly messy bedroom sitting upside down (literally) reading a book and looking up at me as I open the door like I am crazy and this sight is completely normal.

    • http://www.bethcoulton.com Beth

      wow. this is awesome. Thanks for sharing.

  • Wendy

    My daughter wanted to check out my new phone last night. She took a bunch of pictures. I posted one of my favorites, it’s blurry but you can see her laughing & so much joy.
    I wish I had a picture from a family gathering last year. My mom had just past & all of us had gotten together to celebrate her life. As we gathered together & were talking, my sisters (they drifted apart for a long time) stood side by side. And started giggling. They were laughing at their baby sister turning 40 (but it was so wonderful to see them together like that). It brings a smile to my face every time I think about it. I’m pretty sure Mom was looking down & smiling too.
    A few years ago God showed me that times of silliness should be treasured because sometimes we get so caught up in the busyness of life that we forget to enjoy these moments.

  • Lisa E

    Thank you for such a lovely post. My picture would have been taken yesterday as I was camped out on the couch with the flu. In my pajamas all day with my two beautiful dogs lying next to me “taking care of me”. The house was a mess, and my dear husband trying to do what he could to make me feel better. He even went out and bought me a cupcake!

  • Melinda

    Yes, My favorite pictures are those that are imperfect, but bring a beautiful memory smile to my lips. I think one of my favorite pictures happened several years ago. My daughter had been married two days before so my parents, sisters and spouses were all at our house. It was Mother’s Day- we had just come home from church and my mom looks at us and burst into tears- It was the first time we had all been with her on Mother’s Day since we started leaving home. SO we decided to get a picture of the four of us….My husband and one brother in law were taking the pictures and we started laughing- and couldn’t stop- they kept clicking- I treasure that photo. We have one more of my sister, myself and my cousin doing the same thing- trying to get that perfect pose, and we just lost it- the sun was the wrong direction – my brother in law was trying to figure the camera out and we couldn’t stop laughing- What joy those bring- I lost one of my precious sisters to cancer in 2011- and I can’t tell you how many times I have relived those moments of joy when looking at the those pictures.

  • http://capturingtheidea.blogspot.com/ Alexis

    Awe, how beautiful!

    I love this post, Lysa! :)

  • Ashley

    Oh Lysa! I love love love this post! I am photographer and this is what I want to shout from the roof tops! Everyone wants those photos of their family looking like they walked out of a magazine, and it’s just not real! I love capturing families in their homes, of their relationships and the mess of life! My favorite photos of my family are the messy ones, that shows who we are and where we are right now (which is a family of 3, with a little girl who insists on wearing a princess dress and usually has chocolate smeared across her face). Thank you for this! I can’t wait to share it!

  • http://www.bethcoulton.com Beth

    Just posted on Instagram my daughter and I in the middle of OUR messiness, sitting around the kitchen table at our laptops applying for teaching jobs! (for her). We ARE the messiness- unshowered and in our pajama clothes still at 3:10 in the afternoon lol!!!)

  • Kristen

    I would capture a black and white photo of my two daughters hands (they are 15 and 12), on top of my bible, holding my husband and my wedding rings. We have been married for 17 years, together for 21. We’ve grown up together and made it through two miscarriages, loss, addiction, anger and resentment, a child with anxiety and depression, another with depression and thoughts of suicide. And every time there is an issue, we come out stronger than before. Recently, we’ve experienced even bigger issues. And at the point where I thought my world was crumbling; at the moment when I simply collapsed to the floor, not knowing if I could do it anymore, the good Lord spoke to me, pulled me up out of that heap on my tile kitchen floor and said, “Child, I am with you.” Most people would have thrown in the towel. It’s those things in that photo that have honestly held our family together. In fact, I’m going to take that photo today and frame it. It’s a snapshot abd reminder of our imperfectly messy life and those things that have once again held our marriage together. Simply a bond that we refuse to give up on.

    • http://www.bethcoulton.com Beth

      This is awesome. Just amazing. Yes, frame it!

      • Kristen

        I just took it – out in the grass, atop Jeremiah 29:11, my favorite verse. It’s lovely!

  • http://www.jenniferdougan.com/ Jennifer Dougan

    Lysa,

    Such sweet snapshots of you and your man. You look happy. :)

    Our men are a wonderful thing, aren’t they? Mine is playing with my son and two nephews right now behind me. They have plastic swords and are stalking him. Jumping out from closets or corners suddenly, he roars and they scream in happy terror. :)

    Have a great week, Lysa,
    Jennifer Dougan
    http://www.jenniferdougan.com

  • Dee

    I love this post. I have not taken pictures of me or me with my husband because I feel like I look awful. I am way to fat, my wrinkles are more prominent and my chin, well, what is that stuff sagging under what used to be my chin? Then I went to the funeral for a friend’s husband. She had so many pictures of him doing ordinary things, reading the paper, cooking, gardening. Right then and there I decided I would never look “model perfect” and began snapping all sorts of photos of the hubby and me. I know when I post some on facebook someone might think, “Wow, look how old looking she got,” but do you know what? Most of the comments talk about our love and what people see in our smiles and our faces. My goal is now to get some pictures of me and the kids, well men, so when pictures get put up at my funeral they won’t say, “Wow, look how old mom looked.” They will say, “Remember how much mom used to love Christmas Eve?” or, “Wow, don’t you miss those huge chocolate rabbits mom always gave us on Easter?” or “Man, mom sure loved going to the beach.” They won’t notice that I never did get into a size 14 bathing suit!!!! I realized it really was selfish of me not to leave some happy memories for my kids because I was being too critical of my looks. My looks, really???? They care about my heart, not my looks.

  • Elley

    I would take a picture of my living room right now. My 23 yr. old son has been home for a couple of days and will be moving 6 yrs. away next week. There are his turkey hunting clothes, his gun, some dirty laundry, and a few other things. I will miss this “mess” when he leaves. But I thank God today that he got a new job in his field and was able to spend a few days at home before he moves.

  • http://aol Grace

    I so enjoyed this title. DON’T DELETE THAT PHOTO… I started to scrapbook a few years ago. I noticed that some of my best pages were the candid photo’s that weren’t perfect. I’m my families historian, through scrap booking the major & minor milestones. It’s the not so perfect photo’s that make the best stories. We’ll have these memories forever…

  • http://www.simplyablogoflife.com Sabra Penley

    Lysa, my husband read this post before I did (what’s that about?)! And he made it a point to tell me it was just like our experience last Saturday on our romantic picnic. Never good at selfies. Arm too short. Wind blowing hair in my face. Trying to take a picture of him with the camera while he was laying his head on my lap–first I got the top of his beautifully bald head, then just his shoulder, then his sunglasses. And, yep, I deleted them all. Not again…next time, I’m making a collage to capture the moment! Thanks for a great post!

  • http://www.nancyaruegg.com Nancy Ruegg

    ‘Love the concept of “imperfectly right.” Yes, there are stunning sunsets, perfect pie crusts, and sweet moments to savor. But what a delight to proclaim, “This house, this meal, this effort is imperfect, but it’s RIGHT.” Because in the imperfection we can choose to see the good, the genuine, the love. My new adventure for next week? To watch for the “imperfectly right.” (This is going to be fun!! )

  • Melissa Moorhead

    Pictures with my daughters. I hate taking pictures of myself because I am fat and my teeth are messed up. I have come to realize that I am robbing my girls of precious memories. My girls don’t see me as being fat or ugly. They see me as their mom. Their love for me is pure and I am going to stop being selfish and start loving myself because God created me.

  • Lori

    Short and sweet… I love it… your post.. the photo.. the way we see things…. I see love…
    Thank you.. that was beautiful.

  • Jess

    Wow Lysa, everytime I read your blogs I feel like I’m having a conversation with a close friend. I’m not having a great day but this has helped me change my perspective. God bless you!

  • Georgetta

    I am on the West coast so I am a slow poke:). Lisa, I appreciate your post on today, not only because of your beautiful photos. It helped me to realize what I have been doing. My kids started baseball last week. The pictures I took were way less than perfect. What I realized was the beauty of being able to see them in the moment. In addition to this, I still have those less than perfect photos and i am proud of them.

  • Phoebe James

    I’d love to capture the look on my husband’s face when our newborn daughter makes a poop. Or the look on my face at 2 am severely sleep deprived when I’m nursing and looking into the face of the child we prayed for.

  • Linda Brown

    Today 54 year-old me was tired of my gray hair making me look washed out and o-l-d. So I bought some hair color…”lightest medium brown” is what the box said. Red is what I got. And I mean red! Whoa, what a shock! I asked my 82 year old dad to take a picture of me with my phone. He accidentally hit the button that turns it around to take a picture of the user and was like, “Oh! Oh!” when he suddenly saw himself on the screen. I laughed and came over to show him how that button worked. I looked over his shoulder and took a “selfie” of us. It’s a HORRIBLE picture of me, but we’re both laughing and there is something about it I love. Maybe because I love my daddy, who has had some serious health issues this year, and I cherish those lighthearted moments…
    Don’t have Instagram, or I would share it.

  • Frances Thomas

    I recently got my first smartphone and am learning how to use Instagram. I had taken photos of the azaleas in the yard in full bloom & put them on my Facebook page & friends enjoyed those photos. So one beautiful sunny day I was outside with my 2 little dogs (a papillon & a toy poodle) & decided it would be a “perfect” day to get photos of them to share on Facebook, so I laid down on the ground to be at their level to get the right shots & it was like they had a conspiracy against me …. it would look like the perfect shot, but each time I clicked one or both of them would turn away. I deleted some & posted the rest adding funny “conversations” of what the dogs would probably be saying. Actually I think it turned out more fun than I thought it would, but it definitely wasn’t what I was expecting.

  • Mia

    My imperfect world would be the Legos everywhere in the house including my bedroom, or my son’s signs saying that this is R2D2’s bathroom.
    But today I’m at a horse show. I ride dressage which is all about precision and perfection. None of which my horse and I have. I have moved up to third level which is just plain hard. I do not have a fancy horse so even though the judge killed me on my not perfect flying change, I am happy because it’s a HUGE improvement from where we were.

  • http://www.mythirtyone.com/198634 Monica Addison

    Last night my hubby took my daughter and a longtime family friend to a Father-Daughter Banquet. We haven’t seen her in years. She’s 23 and was in hubby’s Sunday School class @ 13. She first asked him to take her then since she had lost her dad to suicide. She’s kept up with us on Facebook, but to see them together again along with my daughter was priceless. I wanted the perfect picture with no ironing board or messy table in the background. They fussed and said, “Just take the picture! ” Priceless shots!!

  • Jacqueline

    Hi Lysa, I never took pictures with my family or kids. I would rather be the one to hold the camera and take the snap. I have always thought that I’m not a picture person and regardless if any angle, I just Come out horrible. It was always hard for me to look at my pictures. I deleted and ripped any picture that displayed: my body size my pale skin, my thick nose, just any part that showed “ME”. Inside of me, I wished I could have been part of all those snap shot moments :'(. I have always lived with that regret and wished I could have been part of those special moments with my kids. Even now, is still difficult to take pictures. I always made sure to go over the pictures and delete all that I would appear in. I could just never understand why I couldn’t make a picture look nice with me in it? This message has open up my eyes and heart. It spoke to me and it saddens me but at the same time it gives me hope and courage. I’m so thankful that a simple message is so POWERFUL.

    ;) Thanks, Jacqueline

  • http://www.ourstringofpearls.blogspot.com Amy Strouth

    Hi Lysa! Thank you for your beautiful words. I’m just getting to this today, but I had to share my own photo story. It just happened yesterday. The picture is actually a really good one, but it’s the circumstances surrounding it that are imperfect. Yesterday we held an open house-type memorial service for my pappy who died recently. It was at a big, beautiful park in my city. Partway through the day I realized that four generations of women in my family were represented there at that moment…and I thought a picture of it was totally necessary. So my husband snapped one of my grandma, my mom, me, and my daughter perched on a rock. It’s beautiful. And though we all wished it would’ve been under different circumstances, I think it’s an awesome representation of the strength and endurance of my family…and that in those hardest moments, we’re able to lean in to each other. Not to mention I could just hear pap gushing over how good of a picture it is. :-) Hoping I can still tag you in the pic on instagram, as I already posted it!

  • Heidi

    Lysa, I laughed when I read your devo today as I have deleted so many pics the older I have become over the years. My poor husband and children have endured “just another one” after my neck looks to “big”, but eyes half closed from the epic sagging effect of almost hitting 50yr, my arms aren’t positioned for that “thin” look, or whatever! Thanks for the reminder that the pics not about how we look in the picture but how we love at the moment:).

  • http://songskatesang.com/ Kate @ Songs Kate Sang

    I love this! Such a great reminder – it reminds me of this post that I wrote – http://songskatesang.com/2013/12/25/dont-hit-delete/

    Hugs!
    Kate

  • http://godsdailymessageforthedense.blogspot.com/ Cynthia McGarity

    Oh, Lysa, I’m a few days late to find you hanging out reading and responding, but I wanted to say “thank you” for this incredibly poignant and beautiful post. My daughter is graduating from high school this June so we went and got “her pictures” done with a friend of mine who’s a pro photographer. Of the 800 (yes 800!!!!!) shots we received – and they were all gorgeous – my favorite was one of Colleen on the beach. She was sitting in the sand in her green and blue chevron dress, posing for the camera, when a wave rushed her and threatened to soak her through and through. She lifted her bottom up (picture the crab walk races we did when we were little) and looked back over her shoulder at me, cracking up…oh, it was MY FAVORITE of all the shots. She looked like she did when she was a toddler, just joy and surprise all wrapped up in a perfectly imperfect moment. It won’t be the center picture on her grad invitation, but it will definitely make the cut! Best, best, best to you and yours!

  • Lisa

    I’m not on Instagram so I can’t show you the pic but its my cover photo on Facebook because its just so imperfect. We were trying to take a family Easter picture. We had taken a beautiful one last year but this year my grandson just wouldn’t cooperate. Every picture they took he was throwing a fit, trying to get down, covering my husband’s face, kicking, hiding his face. The picture I chose to keep has his mother and I both trying to calm him, my husband talking into his ear with his little body all scrunched up mid-fit covering both of their faces and my two sons and son-in-law all smiling perfectly at the camera seemingly unaware of the chaos as usual. Definitely a keeper.

  • http://jennainabudhabi.wordpress.com Jenna

    Wow – what a beautiful post and a beautiful reminder. Thank you.

  • Michelle Murphy

    I’m that mom who always wants the “perfect” picture of every situation. My children grew up wearing the perfect outfit, perfect hairstyle and perfect smile…..almost. On Easter a couple of weeks ago it hit me that I didn’t have any plans for Easter pictures. My children are now grown, just recently moved out, in fact. My oldest daughter who just got married in January came to church with her new husband. I thought it would be great to snap a photo of them. Not being the morning person, she wasn’t prepared for me to be snapping pictures and needless to say, I got a “less than perfect” picture of them. My dutiful son-in-law smiled happily but my normally agreeable daughter did NOT. It’s the only picture I have of them for that day. I will not be deleting it.

  • Jan

    I would like to capture a picture of the look on my daughter’s face (she’s 19 & a lovely young woman) when I ask her the same question for the third time because I couldn’t remember the answer the first two times! HaHa

  • Mare

    I think the photo of you and Art (the 1st one is the one I’m speaking of, but both are cute!) is really sweet. I hope that’s not the one you were so critical of yourself in. You look beautiful and in love!

  • Tristina Senter

    I had several this weekend. But I would say the messy face of my daughter while eating birthday cake ice cream. Blue melted ice cream running down her face and a spot on her nose with sticky hands.

  • Amy C

    Hi Lysa,
    I didn’t get to read this until today (Monday) because I was at the Women of Faith Conference
    listening to YOU! :) You were GREAT! And I loved it when you changed into your comfortable
    shoes. Thank you for being so open and so real, you have glorified Christ by showing us all
    that it is o.k. to be real, and really be a Christian! Keep writing and we will keep reading!
    Amy C

  • Beth WIlliams

    I am a picture taker. At any event I take dozens of pictures to capture the memory. I don’t want instagram photos. I want real life! I would love a picture of my hubby, iguana (yes iguana) Tiny and I together. That is my little family now. Oh sure I wouldn’t mind having my sisters, husbands, nieces, nephews, great niece & nephews all gathered together for 1 glorious happy pic!~

    Blessings :)

  • http://www.bethanyboring.com Bethany Boring

    Thank you so much for leading the way through the lens of your own camera! Thank you for allowing imperfection to be applauded and ushering in this mom’s craziness! Suddenly, I’m looking at my camera roll pictures in a new light. Love the messages in our messiness! Thank you!!!

    In not on Instagram…yet I think I might just check it out to see the replies! I have quiet a few to choose from myself!

  • Liane

    Hi Lysa,
    I wish I’d taken a photo of my teenage daughter racing to the school-bus stop this morning. She woke up late again — 5 minutes before the bus came, to be exact. When I realized that she’d left in a whirlwind without brushing her teeth, washing her face, eating breakfast, or probably donning clean clothes, I was annoyed. But as always, your post brings me back to finding joy in the less-than-obvious places. Now I’m chuckling at how my daughter must look this morning, probably like Oscar from “The Odd Couple” (and because she’s not exactly a “girlie-girl,” she probably doesn’t care), and I’m reminded to say a prayer for her, because her day hasn’t started off well and she’ll need some uplifting. So that’s the photo I would post: my crazy baby girl running to the bus stop in a blur of morning breath, mussy hair, and wrinkled clothes. I love her with all my heart.

    Thank you! I love your blog.
    Liane

  • Kelli

    Great reminder Lysa! Thanks for sharing these posts with us!

  • Becky Ash

    Thank you so much for posting the “imperfect” pictures. I see so many photos of people with seemingly perfect lives…always smiling, clothes matching, hair in place, etc. I have to admit I’m a bit embarrassed when our pictures are taken with a mess in the background or someone refuses to smile. I tend to notice this way before I see the precious expressions on my kids faces. So I often hit delete and try again. This post has made me realize that the “mess” is sometimes just who we are :) And I can be okay with that!

  • http://sallyswords.braveblog.com Sally Ferguson

    In my 4 generation household, I just got the best hug from my 3 yr old granddaughter. That melts me. And it makes me appreciate the messiness of doing life together.

  • hilda

    I’m embarrassed to admit, but I’m guilty to the 20th degree of taking “manufactures” photos! It’s SO much effort…and for what?! What you shared brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for clarifying what PRECIOUS moments with my precious family is really ALL about, those imperfections that somehow create our FAMILY-LIFE story, REAL memories in the making..ahh now that’s better!

  • racheal r

    I would have to say my favorite picture would have to be a picture of my little brother and i on one of my birthdays as a teenager. I was sitting down in a chair wearing a hooded jacket while making this “mug shot” half embarassed and half “ugh”. my brother was behind me making this really goofie smile.

  • https://www.facebook.com/healedministry Cheryle Cain

    Lysa, I’m going to follow you on instagram ;-) You are so right, our need to capture the perfect pic then post for likes, can take away from the moment (if we let it). Everything documented in albums!! I work for CPC and am looking forward to hearing you share your story tonight at the banquet!!! Our church did “Unglued” last summer and this summer we are gearing up for “Made to Crave” coupled with body&soul workout demos. I thank God for social media…. what a perfect way to reach out to hurting people. Thank you for your ministry and I look forward to meeting you!! Cheryle

  • Cindy Wells

    So hilariously funny to read this post after my Facebook moment this morning. My husband had left for work, my first daughter off to school. My other two homeschooled children still in bed and I am sitting on my just cleaned back porch relishing in how peaceful it is and thought I would “share that with the world” on Facebook. Perfectly pictured was my table, my plant and my cup of coffee. Before I snapped my shot I took a sip of the most bitter coffee I have made and just had to laugh at the thought of me trying to post a visual picture of my tranquil moment all the while knowing it was staged awefulness. So what do I do next, I post my picture with the title. “Sitting on my porch listening to the birds this peaceful morning, and drinking a cup of the worlds most awful coffee.” – I just had to laugh when I read your appropriately timed post on this same subject.

  • Marianne Wilson-Viera

    The sacred spaces of a photograph are often what is depicted in the background. The coffee percolating on the stove, the chewed pencils falling off the table, the notches on the wall for growing children, and the sun slanting through a window casting long shadows on linoleum and wallpaper that might have been replaced many years ago (in a perfect world). But the imperfections make it a perfect world in the present moment, for the eyes that look off into the background and appreciate it.

  • miranda bolt

    Love this!!! My husband bought me a very nice camera for my “push present” even though I had a csection and never pushed..not once..except on everyone’s nerves!! Haha so oh so often I’m in the other side of the camera and not captured in the pics…but I’ve come to love taking “selfies” at night when I rock my 2 year old to sleep and kiss his hair and face and neck…because I know he won’t always be this small…but I felt a challenge from this post…my husband and I bought our home 5 years ago and it’s 108 years old!!! We have done a lot if fixing up but I find myself soo often fussing at him to fix things that have happened since we bought the house…like the ceiling in the kitchen has a patched up piece because my hubs didn’t step on the beam in the attick…and his foot came right through…and the hole behind the picture in the living room wall because I thought there was a stud…no stud..boom drill went through the wall…so many if these “scars” in my house hold some of the best memories of our life together and now I don’t think I could stand to fix them…I never plan on selling the house. We bought it with plans to raise our kids there and play with our grandkids there.. so I think I’ll do a photo album of the scars of my home…the best scars have the greatest memories!!!

  • http://www.faithbarista.com Bonnie Gray | Faith Barista

    I love, love, love this post … ‘cuz I can hear our voice telling it all to me. And that sunset that melted and disappeared? yes. except in my case, my husband Eric was laughing at me as I discovered we were left in the cool of the post-sunset breeze! :) and then I started laughing. and then we just hugged and he made fun of my cavegirl-still-learning pinterest self. it was so fun seeing all your sacred space photos, friend! a wonderful little break… cuz now I got to get my writing on… and my heart feels lighter and happier having spent a moment with you here, Lysa. xoxo