Happy Tuesday! Today’s tip is a tip for life overall- a quote to lean into…to soak in. It is my heart’s desire. Some days I live into it. Some days I don’t do so well. But thankfully God knows my heart…and my heart yearns for it.
For me, photography helps me to enjoy every little thing, to see beauty amidst the ashes, to dance in the rain of life. It opens my eyes to see. After reading Ann Voskamp’s book “One Thousand Gifts” I am even more convinced that giving thanks to God amidst the crap of this world is the key to joy. God is worthy of our thanks. The fire refines us. Through the difficulties and hardship, He redefines us and we become whole. My journey of seeking to dance in the rain is a beautiful ongoing journey of seeking joy in the midst of suffering and giving thanks to God because in this space I need Him. I yearn for Him. I realize I can’t live this life on my own strength. Thank you Meghan Matt for profound words that ties my heart into one beautiful quote! It’s so easy to have joy when things are good and beautiful, but the challenge to have joy and to en-joy when things are bad, ugly, and not-so-glamorous is one to seek towards. My days are still challenging since my husband’s accident (almost 4 years ago), but my heart desires this path…the gratitude journey that births joy.
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Every now and then, I have really sweet moments in photography that allow me to embrace the goodness of God and relish in his amazing love. I love when I have the opportunity to bless someone who has given much to others. It fills me with unspeakable joy!
Yesterday, I had the honor of photographing baby Razack with his “Indianapolis” family, the Stonekings. It was a celebration of all that he is, of all that he has overcome, of God’s love and healing, and of hope given to a little boy who was in great need of heart surgery. Brandie and Joshua Stoneking took Razack into their care a few months ago, acting as his parents who did not travel with him for the trip. He quickly became a part of their family, and I know a piece of him will forever remain in their hearts. Today is a day of sadness as they say good-bye, but also a celebration of the hope and life Razack has as he returns to Africa. I am always amazed by God’s love when I see someone sacrificially love another in such a way as this. Please pray for their family this evening. They said good-bye to Razack tonight and soon he will be on an airplane heading back to Africa. Please pray for little Razack as he transitions back to African culture and to his family there. I’m sure he will be feeling uneasy, just like the Stonekings.
Razack’s Story (told by Brandie Stoneking)…
When I received a phone call in February from a fellow church member, I never (in a million years) would have guessed what the woman on the other end of the phone was going to ask. She wanted to know if our family would be willing to “host” an infant from Burkina Faso, Africa who needed heart surgery soon. I, of course, was in shock but after a day of praying about it with my husband agreed that hosting was something we could do. Razack came to us, three weeks later, as a 9 pound 7 month old in need of open heart surgery to repair a significant septal defect (a whole in his heart). We agreed to love and care for him as if he were our own. I picked Razack up from the Indianapolis airport on March 21st and instantly fell in love. Razack’s heart surgery was performed by Dr. Mark Turrentine on March 27th at Riley Children’s Hospital. Josh and I stayed by his side the entire 6 days he was in the hospital. Razack recovered remarkably and was able to come home the following Sunday. Since his surgery, Razack has flourished!! He has gained close to 6 pounds, which given how often he eats (every 2 hours!!) isn’t surprising:) We have fallen in love with this sweet little boy and we will forever count him as a part of our family. Razack has been with us for close to 3 months and we knew the day would come when we would send him back to his family. I don’t think I ever could have imagined the impact that Razack would have on us.
If anyone is interested in hosting a child who needs surgery that would not be able to receive it in their home country, contact Tami Shobe at www.cmmwest.com. Children’s Medical Missions is a non-profit organization that reaches children all over the world.
Brandie & Josh, you are heros in my eyes. A hero is a person who is admired for courage or noble qualities. I admire you for your courage AND your noble qualities, too!! 🙂 You pretty much rock!!! Thanks for sharing sacrificial love with the world. Thanks for inviting our church community to join in! I am praying for your family this week and hoping you are filled with God’s peace knowing you gave this little boy hope in a broken fallen world. You gave him a safe home filled with love so that his heart could be made whole. What a gift you have given to him these past few months!