It wasn’t our first photo shoot. It was one of several during a phase of my life where gravity is making itself quite known and I have never weighed more, other than in pregnancy, of course. Not a season where photo shoots are relished. We needed a cover for my upcoming book, Sufficient Grace, and we needed it quickly. The options from our previous shoot, the ones where only part of my face was showing as I re-enacted weeping over my bible, were not working for the publishing team.
We tried several ideas.
Me holding three candles.
Me holding three baby bracelets.
A gorgeous picture of a bold, red petunia growing defiantly through the railroad tracks. Because that’s what sufficient grace is…beauty, where it doesn’t belong. Where you would never suspect it. I will save that gem for another post.
A storm was gathering the evening I donned my black lace dress to stand in alleys and tiptoe into the dirty reservoir, with my worn, tattered bible clutched close. Ever close.
I agonized over the cover. How will we ever capture what this journey has meant for me…for my family? How can one picture encompass all of the grace and grit?
Rachel Sharpe, my ever patient, ridiculously talented, up and coming birth photographer extraordinaire, and SGM Remembrance Photographer….said we needed to drive out into the country. The sky, darkening behind us.
I wanted it dark. A storm brewing is exactly what those days felt like. A storm, surrounding one girl, with only her worn, tattered bible to cling to for shelter and comfort.
“One more,” she said. “Can we do just one more?”
We drove to the country road. I couldn’t see what she saw from behind the lens. I just stood in the middle of the road, holding the same bible I clung to years ago, the one filled with teardrops, as I grieved for Faith and Grace and wept through the days I carried Thomas and the days I longed to hold him again. The bible my Dinah gave to me, many years ago…a lifetime ago.
The wind blew my hair back, and my mind wandered to those days, as I felt the question, spoken with such accusation, “Where is your God, now?” The days I searched for Him. The days in my own fierce storm…the storm of my life, when I looked to Him. I held my worn bible tightly, lifting my chin. I can handle the storm, when my eyes remain steady on the One with grace that is always sufficient.
The storm can be viewed today as behind me…with a future ahead. Or harkening back to those days of birth and loss, it can represent the upcoming storm. And, me…standing in the midst.
The lines on the road. So much behind me, and yet…so much ahead.
Looking back on that time, years ago…the lines…the wondering which direction to go…our choice for the life of Thomas…our choice whether or not to stay married…our choice of which voice to listen to – the doubtful sneer of the accuser or the gentle whisper of my Father, still and small. I’m not looking at the road in front of me for direction. I’m looking off at something else. Someone else…for direction. I am armed, prepared, protected from the storm behind me…with my tattered bible in hand.
The dress, the heels…well, aside from the fact that every girl needs a little sassiness… they represent beauty in an unexpected place. That’s the grace He gives. That’s what this walk looks like. Heels and black lace on a country road.
Someone else commented that the telephone poles looked like crosses. I have often described that season of grief as the heaviest cross we had been asked to bear…so far. And, of course….we know that the cross signifies, always and most importantly our salvation…the blood our Savior spilled, so that we could be saved…redeemed…His.
In the end, no matter how strikingly gorgeous many of Rachel’s pictures were…this is the one. This is the one that tells our story.
I hope you will read it, and find encouragement and hope in the pages of my humble offering! Sufficient Grace is being published by Comfort Publishing, and will be released October 7, 2014.
It is NOW available for pre-order:
Midpoint Distribution: http://www.midpointtrade.com/book_detail.php?book_id=82149
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sufficient-grace-kelly-gerkin/1119458376?ean=9781938388477
(And, yes, they spelled my name wrong. Humility.