In our social media culture, where many have developed platforms that project an airbrushed life, it can sometimes be difficult for us as women to embrace our ordinary lives. Our unfiltered lives. I think this is especially true for us mothers, where so much of our lives isn’t neat and orderly and put together because we are in the midst of raising children. As the Proverb aptly says, “Where no oxen are the manger is clean” (Proverbs 14:4).
I love a good filtered image as much as the next person. One that doesn’t alter the image but helps bring its color to life. Because there is something about snapping a photo that never quite captures the essence of the moment if you know what I mean? Take a picture of a sunset, and it never looks quite the same from an iPhone. But adding a filter brings back some of its beauty. It can add in some of that glowy goodness that cannot always be translated from real life into a still image.
But at the same time, I’ve gotten weary of seeing filtered, touched up, and perfected images online. Because sometimes it just looks too filtered. It looks too colorful. Too perfect. It’s not the precise reality of who we are before God.
Because life isn’t lived with a filter on it. When my kids are running around the kitchen and there is spilled chocolate milk, bedhead, and I’m making pancakes in my pajamas, there’s really no filter that even could make that moment look perfect in a picture.
But on a spiritual level, there’s no filter that can cover up those daily moments of sin in our home. The bickering between siblings, the frustration present in my own heart over this or that, the selfishness that often arises in all our hearts as we live and move and breath together in the same space day after day.
This is why I am just so thankful to know Christ! Because I don’t have to pretend moments of sin or trials don’t exist in our home. I can look my unfiltered life in the face, head on. What I mean by that is, I don’t have to cover up life’s difficulties or only find happiness in my “perfect” moments. But I can find joy even in the face of life’s challenges and daily trials because of Christ.
One of the things the Old Testament teaches us is that atonement must be made for sin. This was the reason for the entire sacrificial system. We learn in the New Testament that the sacrifices of bulls and goats all pointed forward to and were fulfilled in the death of the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 10:4-5). There is only one thing that can cover the sin in my heart: the blood of Christ.
Instead of brushing over all my unfiltered moments, I accept them as God ordained moments. God put me here in this moment to teach my kids what forgiveness looks like. When my kids are bickering, instead of wishing away that moment, I can put down the laundry, and face head on what’s happening.
This is the beautiful thing about Christianity ~ a permanent atonement has been made in Jesus Christ in which we have the forgiveness of sins!
There were no filtered moments in His life. Jesus daily took up his cross. He touched the leprous and the sick. Yet, he truly was perfect. He needed no filters. No pretense of perfection. He fulfilled all righteousness (Matthew 3:15). A few years ago, a harmony of the four gospels was published. A harmony is a work that weaves the four gospels together chronologically in the order that the events and teachings of Christ’s life occurred. The harmony was aptly titled One Perfect Life. That helpfully sums up Jesus’s entire life and ministry. It was ‘one perfect life.’ He owned very little and the Scripture says He didn’t even have a place to lay his head that was his own (Luke 9:58). I cannot begin to imagine what it was like for Him to deny Himself daily and then one day take up His cross. But in all of it, He brought us forgiveness in Christ. Because of His perfect life, I understand that mine isn’t. And through His death and resurrection I have hope! The greatest hope I have ever known and my heart overflows with joy!
I have a framework for brokenness and sin in this world. I understand that I am a sinner and that my children are sinners and desperately need God. I understand that what we need most is God’s forgiveness and His gift of righteousness, not our own. I don’t want anything to cloud my understanding of this glorious truth!
There is no filter needed for a child who slides a note under my door that says, “Mom, I am sooo sooo sooo sorry, will you forgive me?” No filter needed for the giant smile that covers my child’s face after they have repented and found forgiveness. No filter needed when I creep into my child’s bedroom after the lights are out and tell her I am sorry for the way I snapped at her. No filter needed when my husband texts me back, “I forgive you. I love you so much. You are doing a great job.” There is no filter needed because there is One who lived a perfect life already. Because of Him, I can embrace my unfiltered moments and see incredible beauty. A real and raw beauty. Redemption. Sanctification. I can find joy in all my moments not because I’m looking through a filter, but because God has opened my eyes to the truth and “ In your light do we see light” (Psalm 36:9).