Out of brokenness, a miracle

Written by Amber -

A few weeks ago, I was in a funk. Ever been there? In 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, Paul tells us that we should boast of our weaknesses so that the power of Christ can work through us, making us strong. I'm going to be very honest with you in this post about my brokenness.  Stick with me, because [spoiler alert] this story has a miraculous ending.

The back story:

Sure, I was distracted and stressed for various reasons, but it did't give me any excuse to be snarky. Chad and I were NOT on the same page with each other and we found ourselves stubbornly remaining that way. Tension was building, short remarks were flying, there was lots of silence and even a night of sleeping on the couch (one for each of us, actually). If we had been 4-year-olds, we would have been stomping around with our arms crossed.

Normally, every time we start our workday, have a meeting about design or a photo session with anyone, we lift the entire thing up to God first. We know we wouldn't be where we are today without God's continuous guidance and orchestration of details in our lives, so we make sure to credit Him for EVERYthing. We've learned that without His blessing, things fail.

The actual story:

Chad and I found ourselves in a very quiet car ride to central Illinois for a photo session. We pouted separately, still unwilling to communicate about what was bothering us. Upon arrival, we fought quickly, slammed car doors, gathered our gear and slapped on fake smiles. The clients, dear friends of ours, were having a rare family reunion at their parents' home and we were there to capture some portraits of them together as a gift to their parents.

As the morning went on, gorgeous moments were captured of the happy family amidst their endless fields of wildflowers. After all the portraits were completed, they went inside and we continued taking pictures of the scenery surrounding their modern estate. Between the draping willow tree and the pond's wooden dock, I stood on a stone slab bench to get a better shot of the dragonflies through some cattails when it happened...

Suddenly, the stones were toppling over toward the pond! I flailed around in attempt to keep my camera above the water and awkwardly fell, scraping myself down the rock, stopping just before the water's edge. The pack of memory cards in my back pocket protected my hard fall. Chad and I tried to fix the bench—riiiiiight. Together, we couldn't even move the heavy stone slab an inch! How was my weight enough to cause the stone to topple?? I brushed myself off and let the family know what had happened.

En route home a while later, I began downloading all the photos from the memory cards to our laptop. That's when I discovered that one of the memory cards (of course the one with my favorite, and most important shots from the day) was completely crushed and bent out of shape! It had been nearly punctured when I had fallen on the stone bench and now it wouldn't even fit in the card reader. Noooooooo.......... I started tearing up at the realization that those moments from several hours earlier would be stuck on this memory card forever and could not be recreated. With a pit in my stomach, I wondered how I would tell the family that I had lost so many of their photos. Then it hit me: this was the first time EVER that we did not pray over the shoot beforehand or depend on God in any way!

To top it all off, just a couple days prior Chad had posted The Minimalist Bible: Tower of Babel poster about the pride of people seeking achievement & recognition without depending on the Lord. This broken memory card was exactly what we deserved. It was a direct attack on our work (which we had placed over God) and God was disciplining us like He did with the people building the Tower of Babel.

When Chad and I realized all of this, we shamefully cried in the car together. We began apologizing to each other for our lack of love and respect for one another lately. We confessed to God all of our recent shortcomings, all the ways we had denied His guidance, and the ways we had "stolen His thunder" with our actions. Pulling off the Interstate, we weeped before the Lord for quite a while, praising Him for teaching us this lesson through loving discipline, praising Him for being the powerful God He is and asking forgiveness for our foolishness.

The miracle story:

We then began to plead with the Lord for a miracle. We knew He was fully capable of fixing a little hunk of plastic—the God who parts seas, causes limbs to grow back, bones to come to life, animals to talk and who can resurrect the dead—but we needed his mercy... not for our sakes, though. We told God we had learned our lesson and were fully willing to tell the family we had messed up, but for their sakes, we pleaded that God would restore the memory card of their special portraits. We told God that if He granted this miracle, we'd give Him all the credit by telling the story boldly, without leaving out details of our brokenness. The two of us have never prayed with so much vigor, passion or humility before. We were beyond confident that God could grant this request... but wondered if He would.

After a short wait, Chad did his best to bend the card back to a more flat shape and shoved it into the card reader. We waited with expectation, and I kid you not, 139 non-corrupt digital photos downloaded from that crushed memory card onto our laptop. WHAT?!! We cheered, cried some more, praised the Lord and thanked him immensely. God gave us a MIRACLE!!! A real, undeserved, just-because-of-his-love-and-mercy MIRACLE.

This crunched card will forever be a memorial for us; proof and reminder of God's power & love and of our need for TOTAL dependence on Him. We are nothing without God!