This Session, This Season, This Family

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A nervous call from a Mamma wanting a photo session with her family, that happened to include a sweet boy with autism plus a photographer who's first job before a camera ever graced her hands was teaching children with emotional disabilities equals one of the most precious sessions I have ever been able to do. I hope you will enjoy this look into the other side of my life that tells stories with photographs and people.
This Session, This Season, This Family
Glimpses of lives long past and blessings of futures unfolding.

This Mamma, with a quiet spirit and a strength that holds them all together, these four.  The woman who is graced in a beauty that I am quite sure she has no idea she possesses, but one that my camera sees, every bit.  She shines, her tenderness wielded firmly against iron clad courage and strength. She captivates.

A Dad who’s world is constant contradiction, one moment holding them all together, these four and in the very next one, bent low & longing to pull out, to usher into being simple words from the smallest fingers holding tightly to a red wooden train. A Dad, who like the camera, sees the way that dark haired, pillar of strength beside him radiates, piercing light in to the dark of his push and pull reality.

She captivates him still too.

They are doing this season and this session with grace and thanksgiving, for each other, for moments together captured by a stranger who is humbly on the outside looking in.  They smile nervous smiles of uncertainty and anticipation but once they see bits and pieces of themselves, captured in this outsider’s lens, this Mom and this Dad, they relax in the reality of their family’s uniqueness and they see its beauty unfold right before their eyes. This stranger has shown them their grace, their blessings, their beauty.

And this stranger, the one holding theses captured moments in her hands, she is fully alive. God, in these seemingly normal times, this job assignment, this session, is reminding her of why He led her down the winding, broken road that she has traveled with Him. He is emptying out bits of His vision for her in these simple moments of life with strangers, who with every snap of the shutter feel a lot like friends.

He brings back moments from a past life in a classroom, moments with children just like the one gripping that red train and with Mamma’s and Daddy’s living every day praying for the thing that will work for their child, their gift, their joy.  In these pieces of her past pouring back and flooding her mind, He answers another one of her why’s from long ago, and she sees clearly the absolute blessing and provision in it. It was all in preparation for right NOW. The beauty of saying yes to God when it’s unclear, of acting out that reckless faith, is that sometimes when we are brave enough to be obedient without fully understanding, He not only gives us enough to keep going but He takes us back and shows us the answers we looked for, the reasons for it all so long ago and those answers, they.are.beautiful.

God reminds me- the stranger- the outsider- in those moments that this, this giving of one’s own experiences and understanding and grace and abilities to make everyday things easier for others is what she is here for. Be it in capturing treasured images of the season of life unfolding for a family who has been uniquely entrusted, a heaping dose of sarcasm & laughter, an open home, shared tear,  or a soft place to land heavy hearts that have found themselves empty again and again, and again, this is where she feels alive. This is where she meets Jesus, where with hands scarred and outstretched He bends low and He pulls out words, not just from the sweet little boy’s hands tightly clasped to the red train, but from the soul of the stranger girl with the camera, who now sees so clearly and who grabs hold of her own memories and answers from a life long past and she snaps her shutter to create stories and answers and memories from the season right here. The one where new mercies flow in the now.

Isaiah 61 reads:
61 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
    that have been devastated for generations.
Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
    foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
And you will be called priests of the Lord,
    you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
    and in their riches you will boast.
Instead of your shame
    you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
    you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
    and everlasting joy will be yours.
“For I, the Lord, love justice;
    I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
In my faithfulness I will reward my people
    and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants will be known among the nations
    and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
    that they are a people the Lord has blessed.”
10 I delight greatly in the Lord;
    my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
    and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
    and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the soil makes the sprout come up
    and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness
    and praise spring up before all nations.
In every moment, every season, every session, I pray that I do what we all have been anointed by the Holy Spirit to do. I pray I seek out those things that make me feel alive, not for selfish gain, but because if I am alive the Holy Spirit is present and has free reign to work in me, to restore the long devastated, to comfort, to rebuild, to bestow on strong Mamma’s a crown of beauty and on Dad’s double portions of strength & grace. I pray to always seek beauty from ashes and to be a light in the darkness, a hope for greater things to come and a reminder that the grace that pours out over our present times is enough.

It is always enough.

Love and Blessings,
The slideshow of images that go with this session can be found here at the original post on my Photography blog.

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