First, a warm and enduring thank you to my friend, Faith, for taking these pictures. Your God-given talent & creative presence made all the difference!
To follow Faith on Instagram search @sailubju
And secondly, the day these lovely pictures were taken. This day. I want to talk about this day. The pictures are a miracle and a reminder. The mundane is beautiful, valiant even. I love my life but, truth be told, it’s just not as romantically perfect as these pictures make it out to be.
We told the boys we were taking pictures. Oh man, I’ve never heard such whining and complaining. I asked my fiancé Abraham several times, “Would it be wiser to do this some other day? Perhaps we should just go home? The boys seem so… miserable.” Really, inside, I was miserable too and mad as all get out. Why, tell me why, just for one day you boys can’t give me this? Sue me for wanting a couple decent pictures of our family.
Jesus, is this really too much to ask?
Yes, my kids were whining at me, whilst I – in turn- whined up at Papa-God. Real mature.
In spite of my horrid attitude, sweet & merciful Jesus stepped in. His whisper changed everything. I received a huge ole present from God that day. One I’ll never forget- not ever.
My oldest stepson, Isaiah, we’ve had our moments. I’ve had to work at winning his heart. Everyone tells me it’s normal. I know somewhere inside Isaiah does appreciate me…sometimes. Oh but it’s been hard loving a little boy who consistently pushes you away.
So, on our way to take these pictures he was again testing my patience. Abraham and I tried everything. We did the stern reprimand thing, the timeout thing, the grounded from video games thing. Nothing. I was frustrated and so very angry.
I bitterly asked Jesus how He thought I should handle the situation.
Raquel, speak soft and kind words to his heart
No way! Nah-uh. So not going to happen. This little boy needs timeout NOT a motherly love session.
But I grudgingly did as I was told. I knelt down in front of Isaiah and told him that I loved him. That I needed him to be in these pictures because I intend to marry his father [soon] and that he, Isaiah, is a very important member of my new family. That I am marrying his dad and in the process adopting him as my very own son.
We are, all of us, a forever family.
Isaiah didn’t say much in response and I felt defeated. But we did get through taking the pictures. Isaiah even held my hand. I did my best to play it cool and not jump up and down declaring victory and shouting for joy.
I thought this was my present from God. A decent engagement photo session with no tantrums. Except God is the best Papa ever invented. He doesn’t give “decent” presents. He gives amazing presents.
Towards the end of our session our friend and photographer, Faith, said to me,“It looks like Isaiah is rather a bit more connected to you than Elijah”.
W H O A. I’ll pause and let that sink in.
Truly, one of the most rewarding and uplifting things someone has ever said to me. I am so very proud of these pictures. They are real. Our family wasn’t trying to be something we’re not – picture perfect.
We’re just us, a normal, everyday, family desperately in need of God’s mercy and grace.
This family is a forever family because Jesus at the center changes everything.