I know I’m just now getting back into blogging… Maybe it’s because I have more time at home on my hands, but honestly I think it’s because there are some big things that have happened that I want to share with others. From having a baby of our own (post to come soon) to watching a dear friend loose her own son, I’ve seen my photography take on a whole other meaning.
I think I always saw photography encapsulate the really joyful moments of life and never fully understood, nor do I still, that joy & love can also be captured in the moment of extreme pain and grief. I want to preface this post by saying I struggled with if I should post or not because these photos included here are very hard to look at. But after talking with this friend, getting permission to post, backed with a lot of prayer, I pray you see the beauty here. I pray that this helps someone in their grief know they aren’t alone and maybe encourages another to be willing to sit in the grief with someone else, even if it is uncomfortable, even if it’s scary.
I felt unworthy to capture such raw moments but yet soo honored that the Lord would allow me to capture life here today and gone tomorrow. Watching the verse in James 4 play out before your eyes is incredibly hard to swallow but yet a needed reminder for me:
What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. (James 4:14)
The morning Leslie called me was completely orchestrated by the Lord. My son Jax normally will wake up between 4 & 5 AM to nurse, but on this morning he had an unusual 2 AM wake-up call that had me nursing and looking at my phone that was on silent when the dreaded phone call come through… I knew Hayes, Leslie and Seth’s son, was having some trouble staying stable after being born with a Diaphramic Hernia and a phone call at 2 AM couldn’t be good news… As soon as I heard the words, “Hayes is gone, can you please come up to the hospital and capture these last moments we have with him?” The only words that could come out were “…. Of course, I’ll be there as soon as I can.”
I hung up and cried while holding Jax. As soon as I could, I headed that way and praise God that my camera was somehow completely charged. I’m telling you, everything was an act of God and his grace…. Which reminded me that he is acquainted with every bit that we go through… even our grief… He knew the pain and grief that Leslie and Seth were going through and wanted to remind them that he valued Hayes’ life to give them memories to look back on and remember him.
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isaiah 53:3)
He knows what it’s like to have His son die. Jesus knows the sting of death, but he also knows the victory over the grave and full eternal life that Hayes is experiencing RIGHT NOW.
Even though we may not know how to be with people in their grief, I think the thing I was reminded of is that our God knows. He alone equips us for every good work and word to meet people where they are and simply to be with them, because he is acquainted with grief and equips us to do every good work and word.
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21)
Photography captures moments that are fleeting. Here and then so quickly gone. Moments that can never be replicated… That’s what I watched unfold as I quietly clicked the shutter release on my camera at the hospital. These sweet friends wouldn’t have any more moments with their son… This was all they had and I HAD to give them every single moment. The moments I wanted to look away were met with the the thought of “This is all the time they have with Hayes.” And thoughts of, “Lord, I can’t do this anymore.” were met with the reminder that our Father is constantly present with us in our most joyful and sorrow-filled moments, so we as his children get to do the same for others.
I’m thankful that the Lord would allow me to capture these moments. Hayes’ life impacted me in ways that I can never fully put into words. I can’t fully express how it reminds me that the Lord’s plans are for a greater purpose than I can comprehend, or even how our deep love and affection for the things He gives us, like our children, are to be even more grand and beautiful in eternity because they will be complete in the presence of our Savior.
Hayes’ you made me fall more in love with my God. Lord, I’m grateful for his life. Thank you Jesus for being so near in the days of joy and especially in the days of grief.
Thank you for reading.