“If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. … Face it, friend. He is crazy about you!” —Max Lucado, minister and author

For nearly 40 years, as long as I’ve been a mom, my kitchen refrigerator has been a magnet (pun intended) for snippets of my family’s story, secured by (what else?) magnets. The nature of these crayoned drawings, photos, postcards, etc. did change over time. The exhibit evolved as the five kids grew, from scribble-scrabbled paper to certificates of achievement, from baby pictures to graduation photos. But the display always evokes deep emotions and treasured memories.

Sometimes I don’t retire an old snapshot or piece of art for years, because that photograph of little Rose on the beach or the “ferocious” T-Rex drawn by preschooler Evan still makes me smile. But, of course, my fridge is not the Louvre—space is quite limited, and every few months I weed out some artwork to make way for the new. Mind you, I rarely throw these gems away entirely. And in recent years, with the addition of grandsons Aiden and Peter, the pile of “keepers” just keeps growing. These are all priceless artifacts, because they reflect the people I love best.

Now, I don’t always love what is in my refrigerator, especially when I’m cleaning out mysterious sludge in storage containers that migrated to the back shelf weeks ago. These unsavory items are gladly pitched without another thought. I’ll never be nostalgic for the old meatloaf or souring milk inside the fridge, not the way I am for Patrick’s craft stick creations adorning the outside. What’s in the fridge helps keep me alive. What’s on the fridge reminds me of my reasons for living.

There’s plenty of room on that refrigerator door for my photo, just as there is for every single one of ours.

When I came upon this lovely quote from Max Lucado, it made me pause and reflect. Why is it so hard, if not impossible, for me to believe that my picture could possibly be on the Lord’s hypothetical fridge? I have no problem imagining photos of others gracing the heavenly icebox door (you know, Mother Teresa, Desmond Tutu), but I automatically assume my snapshot would never make the divine cut—and certainly not any piece of art or writing that I’ve created.

I also haven’t traditionally taken compliments very graciously. I’ve either deflected them (“No, it’s really not good!”) or mumbled faint thanks with a qualifier (“You’re too nice—my hair looks terrible in that picture!”). At one point a few years ago I started training myself to just say a sincere “thank you” and leave it at that. It felt strange at first, but I’m coming to understand that those words of praise and encouragement deserve to be accepted with simple gratitude. To do otherwise implies that the giver of the kind word is just plain wrong.

From there I’ve been thinking of ingratitude in general and how it impacts the one who is spurned. What does God think of my graceless attitude toward God’s immense love for me? Instead of admiring my modesty and self-effacement, is it possible that God is actually disappointed and hurt? Like an unappreciated gift, like an invitation thrown away without even being opened, my response to God’s love is too often rejection: “No, I’m really not that good,” as I wallow in my inadequacies and insecurities.

In this scenario, I see myself removing those divine refrigerator magnets. Surely other people deserve a spot, much more than me! Look at that other woman’s sweet smile in that photo! How about the expertly drawn sketch, far superior to anything I could make? And so, I question God’s opinion of me and take it upon myself to set God straight—to correct God. Which, now that I think of it, is the exact opposite of humility on my part.

I don’t often ask my kids and grandkids what they think about the snapshots and artwork displayed on that old fridge. But I suspect they understand that these items all symbolize my immense love for them and pride in them. I don’t think they’d rip them down and throw them in the trash, not at all. My family might not always agree with my positive assessment of them, but I’m sure they would leave their images and handiwork up there, knowing how much they mean to me and that my refrigerator gallery, featuring my loved ones, brings me so much joy.

I say that God is my loving parent, and I do believe that’s true. As God’s beloved child, it’s high time I reimagined that heavenly appliance and the curator of the “Great Refrigerator Art Exhibit.” There’s plenty of room on that refrigerator door for my photo, just as there is for every single one of ours. God selected me and celebrates me. Can I leave everything just where God placed it? Can I trust God’s judgment and just say, “Thanks”? Can I finally accept the fact that God is, indeed, crazy about me?

Elise Seyfried
Elise Seyfried is the author of five books of essays. Her essays have also appeared in Gather, Insider, The Independent, Chicken Soup for the Soul, HuffPost, The Philadelphia Inquirer and many other publications. Elise recently retired after 20 years as director of spiritual formation at a suburban Philadelphia ELCA church.

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