Don and I recently had the opportunity to be a part of an anniversary shoot that was photographed by Capture Photography, and styled by Chic Stripes. Jenny, the photographer, sent me an email and asked if Don and I would model as their couple. She couldn't have known then, but the timing was just perfect as we will be celebrating our two year wedding anniversary next Monday. What excited me about the shoot was that Jenny asked me to describe our relationship beforehand so she could capture us authentically as a couple. Here's what I told her on Facebook Chat: "We are both people of strong faith and God is the center of our marriage. We are both very mission-minded and want to have a deep impact on the Kingdom of God. Together, we are quirky and funny. He (Don) is supportive and genuine and always listens and sacrifices for me. He considers himself my protector and defender."
This shoot was such a joy to be a part of! Jenny was super organized and made the experience entirely enjoyable! Prior to the shoot, I spoke with Sydney, the stylist, and she advised me on some clothes to bring that fit within the shoot's "mood" if you will. The photo shoot took place at The Depot, which is this really cool, "off-the-beaten-path" art studio on Broad. Upon arrival at the venue, we were greeted by Jenny and Sydney with snacks and music. I then went over and met with the girls of Lou Stevens Glam Squad (who were currently working on Alex, another model) where Britny made my hair look better than it ever has before, and where Mallory made me feel beautiful and excited for Don to see me. After they finished shooting Alex, it was time for Don and I to have some fun. During the course of shooting, we changed outfits three times, and each outfit reflected a different side of our personality as a couple: elegant, retro, and laid back & fun-loving.
So much can happen in the span of two years. When Don and were married on September 28, 2013 we were faced with the harsh reality and severity of circumstances beyond our wildest understanding or comprehension. We were not in control. We had no answers. No resolutions. No idea how to fight apart from prayer. We were planning our wedding (what should be a joyous time) while merely trying to survive. But God had other plans for us in our suffering. He heard our feeble prayers and saw it fitting not to leave us in our dark, miry pit, but to give us a new hope, a new life, new identities, and a new love. That's just the kind of God He is. Today, we are thankful for the trials, for the suffering, and for the losses we faced as we know that we can rejoice in the goodness that has come from them and the ways we now better understand WHOSE we are. Our relationship is now more rich and posses greater depth than any other earthly relationship I have ever known. So I will count all of those losses we endured as gain as I breathe in the beauty of this wonderful realization.
I am so grateful we had the opportunity to have photos taken of us now, two years later. Photos that showcase in still life and black-and-white how God has given us beauty for ashes, joy for mourning, and life for our places of death. I look back at the photos from our engagement session, and while the quality of the photos are beautiful and while there was still some joy to be seen, I also see a girl that was in a lot of pain and trying her best not to let it overcome her. I see a man who was loving and supporting that girl while trying to always remain strong as her helper. However, when I look at our anniversary photos, I see a couple that is very much in love, enjoying a brand new season of life, and whose joy is 100% real. No facades. No hiding. It was like in some way God used Jenny and the rest of the team as a reminder of His goodness in our lives. In these pictures I hear Him speak to us: "See. I am faithful. You can trust me. This is my love for you. Go. Go and share this love with my children."
Two years. Two years and so much has changed. But some things never change. God never changes and His plans for marriage will never change. Marriage matters. It matters in the ways that we get along so well and the ways in which we don't. It matters in the parts of Don's personality that are so complimentary to me (personality traits I have found in very few people) and it matters in the ways in which our rough edges soften each other. It matters on our goods days and even more on our bad. We are no experts. Nor do we pretend to be. We just have a contentment for life in knowing that we, through Jesus, have overcome. He has given us both exactly what we need. No more. No less. Rejoice.
Photos by: Capture Photography