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Layers of Truth

Updated: Oct 25, 2022

While editing photos recently, I was reminded of the comparison that can be made to our lives and the editing process. Photos are considered "raw" when downloaded. I then do "soft edits" by adjusting the lighting and warmth of each image. After that I pull photos into Photoshop where I basically digitally "paint" the image. I typically spend anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes on the higher end edit.

I see the process as a very clear portrayal of God's heart for us and our relationship with him. He patiently waits for us to come to him as we are. Once we draw near to him, God "paints" our hearts layer upon layer with truth and love. He waits day by day and season by season for us to draw near to apply the layers of truth onto the canvas of our lives. He does this through people who see us as God sees us and encourage us. He also paints our lives when we seek to listen to his voice through reading the Bible and during times of worship where he can minister to our hearts.

The below photo I took of my son was not an easy one to capture.

He was either making faces at me or trying to hide and run from me amidst a bunch of Christmas trees. He was terrified people would laugh at him if they saw him with the hat on. He could not believe that people would not laugh at him because he had already let lies convince him otherwise. But then.... he listened to me. He relaxed and looked right at me. I was able to capture the sweet soul of the boy I adore and love with my entire soul. You can see the raw photo if you click on the arrow on the right of the photo below. It's a sweet photo. But the edited version you see below... it's captures my heart!

Click on arrow to see the original unedited photo.

Photos straight out of the camera can be rather unimpressive and ordinary even when it’s a great photo with good lighting! The photos still capture the person, or people, being photographed. But, they are a little grayish as you can see if you click on the arrows on the right of each of the photos on this post. The raw images lack the color, richness and warmth that can be added with “layers of love” during editing.

Our everyday lives are messy and we sometimes aren't the best version of ourselves (a.k.a. yell at our kids, etc.). Our days can be gray and and filled with shadows due to work, school, family, health struggles or because we are juggling so much and feel worn thin. The times that we feel "raw" and less than all God created us to be, are the times we need most to draw near to God so he can paint truth upon our hearts.

Recently I took photos of students at the school I teach at. I had stepped away from photography because the editing process takes so much time. But when I was invited to take photos of the students before the school's fall dance, I said yes because I love the families and the students. Some of their moms are my dear friends and I couldn't resist the opportunity to bless those I love.

Click on arrow to see the original unedited photo.

I know the power a fully edited photo has to minister to hearts. Teens often do not see themselves clearly. They see themselves through layers of lies, self criticism and the worst one... comparison! I loved seeing the reactions on my friends' faces and some of their daughters faces when they saw the full edits. It was in those moments, I realized that being a photographer is a sort of ministry of encouragement.

Click on arrow to see the original unedited photo.

The two images below I took during a family session a couple of years ago. The lighting was absolutely perfect. And then... well, I was completely captivated by these two photos. I made sooo many different edits. I began to feel like maybe I was a little too obsessed! I began to realize that this too is an example of God's heart for us. He is completely enamored by each of us! Much like a mother gazing on her sleeping child, he hovers over us in loving adoration.

Click on arrow to see the original and the many variations of this photo!

God also loves to delight our hearts with unexpected blessings. I have had live butterflies for photo sessions before. I didn't have butterflies the day I took the photograph below and was kind of bummed because I knew sweet Karis would have loved butterflies! So I added a butterfly from another photo I had taken. It brought me joy to know it would bring a smile to her heart! This too is much like God's heart!

Click on arrow to see the original unedited photo.

So, back to my last session.... just a few more of my favorites! I am so grateful for the opportunity to capture these wonderful students. It was amidst the insanity of taking these photos (without a much needed assistant) that I was reminded how much I love taking photos. I knew despite the fact it was not the ideal setting for the kind of photos I like to take... I would be able to capture these students in a way that would delight the parents and would help some of the students see what God and others see in them! I am so grateful I was given the opportunity to shine a spotlight on these AMAZING students!

Click on arrow to see the original unedited photo.

Click on arrow to see the original unedited photo.

To the students (whether in the photos I posted here or not) thank you for the honor of taking your photos. I had a blast! May these photos be a reminder that though you may feel ordinary, and maybe even sometimes inadequate, you are extraordinary! What God has placed within you is powerful!

To the guys at K.C.A., I see in you inner strength and men of character. You have everything it takes to accomplish great things for God! I am proud of you for seeking to honor God with your lives and so glad my son has you all as role models!

To all of the precious young ladies, you were so much fun and easy to photograph! I loved how you all laughed soooo much. I hope in seeing the photos of yourselves your eyes are opened more to the priceless beauties each of you are! Listen to truth and ignore the lies! Don't compare yourselves among yourselves or to anyone!

"We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves.

When they measure themselves by themselves

and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise."

2 Corinthians 10:12

I see in each of you true beauty (inside and out)! So many adjectives come to mind that describe you individually and as a group: joyful, kind, gentle, warm, considerate, thoughtful, perceptive and oh so radiant! Each of you are nothing less than exquisite and beautiful!

"He who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it!"

Philippians 1:6

To all who read this, always remember that despite how you feel, you are God's masterpiece and a priceless work of art!

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