I took this picture for our 2008 family Christmas card.  While I’m not really a photographer, our friends and family loved the snapshot.  In fact, we’ve probably had more comments on this photo than most of the other ones we’ve sent out.

Strange.  Because it actually wasn’t a great day.  I snapped this on a Sunday afternoon after church, about three weeks before Christmas.  All I wanted my family to do was spend ten minutes in the side yard getting this picture.  The kids were not cooperating, and I was growing increasingly testy and frustrated.

We ended up arguing on the way out to take the picture.  We snapped at each other between poses, and it took me more than a few moments to stop sulking after we wrapped up.  But the picture – it looks great.

I was actually looking for awkward photos for this post, but the truth is, I delete them.  I keep the best.  I think deep down I’d rather have a perfect picture over a bigger story.  I’d like to reframe reality, so I just hit delete.

But this is also true.  Some of the most conflicted moments in my family life have also been some of the most authentic moments of grace. When I’ve had to tell my kids that I may be a pastor but I don’t have it all together by any stretch, they see a dad in need of redeeming love, and a God who is more than willing to offer it.  Those moments can be front row seats into the grace of God.

Do you have any awkward moments to share?  What’s the story behind some of your family pictures?