One main perspective changer was remembering back to March 2010.
When my husband nursed (or tried to..) our sweet friend Jess' little boy, Caed.
He is now two years old. In this photo he was under six months old....
Now that I have a child (that looks this size..) I can't imagine if someone allowed him to latch. Jess and Grant did not know us that well at the time. I CANNOT BELIEVE that they still wanted to be our friends. Seriously, I don't know why they did.
In fact, they wanted to be our friends so much, they (VERY INTENTIONALLY) asked us if we wanted to hang out every Thursday. We are pretty notoriously anti-commital to EVERYTHING, and I think we were nervous about this, but we agreed. We called it FLITIS (a mixture of Flynn and Whitis)...and it was/is AMAZING. It was life. Some weeks were SUPER MESSY and some were just picture perfect. Some dinners were burned and some were amazing. Some bedtimes were easy and some were whiny. They taught us so much about intentional, loving parenting and discipline. They taught us about intentional friendship. Pursuing a consistent friendship with people is IMPORTANT. Life gets in the way if you're not intentional. I think I am saying "was" because there remains a very sad fact that rings true for every army family at some point, or many points in the journey they travel. It is time for them to move. In one part of my heart, I am OVERJOYED at what the Lord has for their family in Texas. I am eager to see how he is going to use Jess and her gifts in a different way. I am eager to know how they will serve and plug in there...but I could not be more sad to lose such an amazing friend in my day to day life. Jess and Grant are awesome at SKYPE...and do so with their friends and family in Kansas City..but it is not the same as "doing life" every week...
Jess taught me a ton about photography and being a creative mind...and that is not all bad. In fact, I have seen her business and her creativity just blossom and grow so much the past couple years. IT has been awesome to watch her value herself and her work how it should be valued. I have gone on shoots with her and observed her awesome style of photography. I loved watching the way she parented her two sweet kids...and how she just gave her heart to them every day....even if it meant being consistent in disicipline and in schedules...but also flexing when necessary.
We realized that two creative minds would work HORRIBLY if we tried to be productive, but AWESOME if we tried to accomplish something cool...
Grant and Brandon are two manly, Godly men...and I loved hearing them talk about parenting, army, ministry, etc. They built each other up...and I loved that.
One of the best gifts Jess ever gave us was photographing Briar's birth and his hours with us. It was amazingly special and I am FOREVER grateful for it. She is one of the VERY FEW people that met Briar. She has seen both of my natural deliveries (if you have done this, you know it's a very..shall we say...vulnerable spot...words are spoken and noises are made that you really don't want even your nearest and dearest to experience...). She cries when she remembers Briar and it makes me think that there are other people who valued him and thought he was real and beautiful. This is one of the best gifts I could ever have.
I had her come for Finn's birth as well. She also took newborn pics and maternity pics.
Spoiled, much?! She is such a gift to us, not just because of her amazing, breathtaking talent (Which yes, is a factor) but because of her deep understanding of who we are, and the way she makes that come through in the photos. For example, the awesome globe below..we want to do a globe photoshoot when we bring Eli home, but we did something cool with Finn too...almost reminding him that we want him to be in the world, but not of the world...we want him to have a heart for the nations...and for orphans...but most of all..to know that he is so LOVED.
These are just a COUPLE of the amazing photos that Jess has taken...I will share more another day, but I felt like I needed to do a post on the amazing people that have taught us so much about life and Godly living. I have been praying for disicpleship, but in this friendship, I truly feel like I have been able to see some "Life on life" discipleship.
Discipleship in my mind is a relationship where you can gain knowledge and insight in your walk with the Lord. Taking a step closer. That is what I feel like I could do when I watched her and the way she prayed for her kids, her husband....she is awesome. See photos below for proof.