Through God's Lens


Often, I find I live my life through my camera’s lens... (I should mention that I’m a photographer)... as in, I can’t carry on a proper conversation until my camera’s back in my sling bag because I’m continually adjusting settings while shooting in manual. (Ain’t nobody got time for shooting and talking at the same time!) Maybe it’s quirky, maybe it’s clever, or maybe it’s insanely irresponsible. Nevertheless, I just can’t help it. Living through my camera allows me to preserve the people and scenes around me just the way I see them. The way I see them with my heart, and not simply with my eyes.

It’s a weird concept to explain. See, when I shoot someone, I don’t see the little imperfections the woman in front of my camera feels she has. I don’t see what she sees.

She sees her imperfections as negative:

  • her weight
  • her scars
  • her wrinkles
  • her crooked nose
  • her uneven hips
  • her thinning hair
  • her sagging body
  • her past mistakes
  • her previous indulgences
  • her poor dating choices
  • her impulsive shortness with her child

She sees reasons to feel shameful. Reasons to not relax in front of a camera. Reasons to not let her photograph be captured.

I don’t see those things.

I see a perfectly-made imperfect woman who God made as both gentle and strong, humble and daring, child-like and wise, quiet and bold.

And God? He sees… you. As you are. In a way neither my camera nor I fully can.

I imagine that He sees your struggle with trying to eat healthier and exercise regularly so that you will be alive longer for your children. He sees your effort to keep your body healthy, because your body is a temple.

I imagine He sees your scars as reminders of the time you were late to work and broke your wrist when you tripped on the sidewalk because you were running in slip-on shoes. The time you leaned over the top of the staircase so far that you somersaulted down the stairs and hit your forehead on the sheet mirror at the bottom. The time you shaved so quickly in the shower before work that you cut your ankle and it bled until you went home at the end of the day. The time you ate popcorn in college and chipped the face off your front tooth. He sees the hockey game where you skated into the boards and broke your beautiful nose.

I imagine He sees all of these “flaws” as representations of the curious, adventurous, daring side of you.

I imagine that He sees your past relationships as reasons you can trust Him now; your sagging body as testimony to the children your bore and raised; the love and protection you give young children and vulnerable grandparents; the kindness you show to strangers at the grocery store; the forgiveness you extend to the people who’ve hurt you; the the dedication you practice in regards to being as Christ-like as you know how to be.

He sees… you. The you that He made; not the you that you think you need to be.

All of the things that He’s put in your life to shape you into the woman you are right now, the woman He planned for you to be – they are things to accept, be open about and celebrate.

I’m not at all trying to imply I can see everything God can see. Not at all. I’m simply trying to point out that God made you to be y-o-u. Photographers behind cameras don’t see you the way you see you. Cameras certainly don’t see you the way you see you.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be”

— Psalm 139:13-16

And, most importantly, God doesn’t see you the way you see you. He sees you as perfectly imperfect. (After all, He made you in His image – and, you’re human.)

I think that we all, myself included, need to be reminded of this. We need to try to see ourselves as the women God made us to be, rather than the women we think we are supposed to be. Our society constantly shouts at us that we must be perfect in every aspect of our lives – a kind of perfect that is not upheld Biblically. A kind of unattainable, spiritually unhealthy, distorted kind of perfect. “Perfect.”

“God is looking for imperfect men and women who have learned to walk in moment-by-moment dependence on the Holy Spirit. Christians who have come to terms with their inadequacies, fears, and failures. Believers who have become discontent with ‘surviving’ and have taken the time to investigate everything God has to offer in this life.” ~ Charles Stanley

So, maybe we all need to stop being so harsh with ourselves. Maybe we need to learn to see ourselves as the women God made us to be: perfectly imperfect women who God made as both gentle and strong, humble and daring, child-like and wise, quiet and bold.

What do you see when you look in the mirror? Do you think God would be proud or saddened by how you think of yourself?