I do not presume to know how it must feel to have your life be ripped apart at the seams by a sudden close family member’s death, by the loss of a close friend in an accident, by the words "you have cancer and we need to operate immediately". I have been insulated, protected from that pain for reasons I do not know or understand, but am thankful for on a daily basis.
On Friday I had the opportunity to photograph a family who has experienced that life-ripping pain. I approached them to see if they would like to have a family session taken before a life-altering surgery taking place tomorrow. And they agreed. I know this family only in that "HiHowAreYou" kind of way from Sunday mornings at our church. Leslie was part of a group of kind-hearted women, who , knowing me not a bit more than they knew Adam, worked together to provide warm delicious meals for our family after Kaylen’s birth. Tyson is our worship leader (and MAN can that kid lead worship like no other I have ever experienced.) Their son TJ is one of the most precious little bundles of joy I have had opportunity to interact with. And their life is being ripped apart by cancer.
Tomorrow this happy family picture will be interrupted. Their Monday mornings should be filled with this. And instead Leslie will have her forehead removed, and doctors will seek to do battle with the bad cells infecting her body. She will look different, feel different, be different. But her heart will be the same. Because through it all, this young courageous woman has remained strong in her faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. I don’t know how. I know that my faith would definitely be shaken were i to face a mountain of this ginormity. So I admire her. And wanted to honor her in some way, to bless their family for the blessing that they are to all of us around them.
A few weeks ago, I saw Leslie come stand in the doorway of a room we were having a church meeting in. She looked tired. Worn down somehow by the heavy load she has been asked to carry. And her loving husband came up behind her, put his arms around her and just whispered something in her ear. I didn’t hear it, but I am betting it was something along the lines of "I love you. You’re beautiful and we’re all going to be okay." She lit up with a smile and melted back into him. And the love they have for each other is so evident, so glowing, so radiant. It is amazing. THEY are amazing. And I was honored to be able to be a small part of their lives, and capture a moment in time of their story for them last week.
Tonite we will come together and encamp ourselves around their house, covering her and her family in prayer. There may be gaps in our circle, as the weather is cold, and everyone is tired from the time change. But I know for a fact that there will be angels there praying with us. If you are reading this – I beg you to pray with us too. At 7:00 pm, central daylight time, pray. Pray for Leslie, that she would be lifted up in strength as she undergoes this surgery and the long road of recovery that stretches out after that. Pray for Tyson, that he would remain strong, as her support, in sickness and in health. Pray for TJ, that his little heart would not break from missing his momma. Just pray.
You are in God’s hands Leslie. May you find your comfort there.
(all images are used with the express written permission of the A family, copyright2008 2sisters photography.)